5 Of My Favourite Spots In Canggu

It’s easy to see why so many backpackers in Bali fall in love with Canggu. Consisting of just three main roads and surrounded by rice paddies, Canggu is a little hippie oasis nestled on the coast in Bali.  It’s filled with chilled beach bars and a seemingly endless choice of holistic style cafes and restaurants, each equally as good as the last.

After being in Australia for the last few months on my working holiday,  I was excited to fly to Bali to meet my friends from home for a five-week backpacking trip. We didn’t know much about Indonesia but we decided to choose Canggu as the starting point for our backpacking trip as we’d heard such great things about it.  I know so many backpackers get stuck in this little town, however, it was important for us to pack as much into our Indonesia trip as possible so we were just there for a few days in total.

If you too are planning a trip to Bali and have a few days to spend in Canggu, here are 5 places that you have to check out.

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Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot Temple is a must do when visiting Canggu. It’s a stunning ancient Hindu temple that’s built on a rock jutting out into the ocean and it really is one of the most spiritual and romantic places that I’ve visited.

The best way to get there is by local taxi or online taxi such as Go-Jek or Grab (which is cheaper). If you want to save the hassle, try negotiating a price with your driver so that they wait for you while you explore the temple and then drive you back. A reasonable price is around 100,000 an hour (around £5).

Crate Cafe

When it comes to good food, sticking out can be hard in a place like Canggu; Crate Cafe has got it nailed. Featuring an extensive breakfast and lunch menu with everything from brunch classics to buddha bowls on offer, Crate never disappoints. What’s more, the prices are considerably cheaper than other places in town and the cafe’s open space layout means it’s the ideal spot to get chatting to other travellers.

Matcha Cafe

Matcha cafe was another breakfast spot that I really loved in Canggu. It’s a really chilled spot to spend an hour or so and they serve some of the best smoothie bowls around.

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The Beach Parties

For such a chilled place, Canggu has a pretty crazy nightlife. There are loads of chilled beach bars to choose from but the most popular place to start the evening off is at Old Man’s Bar. It’s a nice place to watch the sunset earlier on and it gets packed later on into the night. After it closes, the party tends to spill out on to the beach until the early hours of the morning.

The Sunset from La Brisa

La Brisa was by far one of my favourite beach bars in Canggu. This beach bar has a fantastic vibe with unparalleled views of the ocean and a large selection of drinks and food to choose from. It’s the nicest place to spend a chilled day soaking up the sun and there is no minimum spend price so it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just be sure to make it until the sunset- it’s spectacular.

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Do you have any more questions about things to do in Canggu? Or questions about 20 something travel in Bali in general? Feel free to drop me a message here and remember to sign up via email to receive more travel tips.

Nola Cafe Review, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Anyone that knows me will be aware that I am a huge coffee addict. I love going to cafes and taking the time to meet a friend or spend an hour by myself enjoying a coffee and slowing down. Having a coffee feels indulgent but not excessive, it adds structure to an empty day or reflection in a busy one, it picks you up, it calms you down, it’s a chance to be social or to get lost in your own thoughts and wherever you are in the world, no matter how different the place is, a coffee shop is a coffee shop and that’s a comforting thought.

I’m writing up a list of reviews on my favourite coffee shops that I’ve been to around the world for a new section on my blog so here’s the first one: a review of quirky Vietnamese Nola Cafe in Hanoi. Hope you guys enjoy reading about these cafes as much as I did visiting them.

Nola Cafe Hanoi

Nola Cafe Hanoi

Nola Cafe, Hanoi

I didn’t realise how big of a thing coffee was in Vietnam before I went but this South East Asian country is the ultimate destination for coffee lovers with no end of intriguing and alternative coffees and an endless choice of quirky cafes to drink them in.

In a city as wonderfully chaotic as Hanoi, coffee shops are the one place you can go to escape from the madness and I don’t think I found another place on my trip that was as serene and tranquil as Cafe Nola. Hiding in plain sight with an entrance through a narrow alleyway in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter,  I would have easily missed Cafe Nola if I hadn’t been looking for it.

The Location

Nola Cafe is located at 89 Pho Ma May, Hang Buom near the Hoan Kiem lake. It’s probably best to plug the address in Google Maps as it’s tricky to find.

I’d read about this cafe in my Lonely Planet guidebook that I’d been religiously carting round the country with me so I assumed that the cafe would be full of guidebook loving travellers but I was the only person there.

The Decor

If like me, you’re partial to posting a few Instagram’s then the arty decor of this cafe will win you over. Undoubtedly, getting up to the actual seating area of the cafe was a bit of a workout as I had to climb a steep, narrow flight of stairs to get there but once I did it opened up into a beautiful, wild overgrown garden and outdoor seating area covered with multi coloured patterned umbrellas, little lanterns and dotted with mismatched furniture.

Despite it’s location in the centre of the city, all of the noises integral to the city like beeping motorbike horns were silenced and all I could hear were the sounds of birds chirping.  As someone on their first solo backpacking trip, this little sanctuary was just the mental escape that I needed for an hour or two from the fast paced city.

The Menu

Cafe Nola offers food as well as drinks on its menu however it caters for tourists and food prices are higher than you’d pay in most restaurants and the food is less authentic so I’d recommend coming here just for coffee. Its drink selection is very westernised serving all the usual coffees that I’d have at home like a Flat White, Long black and cappuccino’s as well as smoothies and cocktails. I went for a black coffee and an iced sweet jasmine tea.

I preferred traditional Vietnamese coffees: they’re much more interesting, (you can read more about them on my coffee guide) but this cafe is more about the aesthetics (Let’s be honest, a cafe tucked up and alleyway with colourful umbrellas as a ceiling is always going to be aimed at photo seeking travellers, right?)

The Prices

Prices are high by Vietnamese standards but low in comparison to the UK with coffees averaging £2 and food around £3-£4 a dish.

A 20-Something’s Travel Guide to Paris

 A 20- something’s travel guide for the best vegetarian food, vintage shops and exhibitions in Paris

When one of my best friends told me she was going to be in Paris for July I couldn’t resist booking a long weekend to visit her and explore one of my favourite cities. I couldn’t have been more lucky with the timing because not only was I blessed with gorgeous weather but my trip also coincided with Bastille Day and France winning the World Cup Final so it made for an amazing weekend.

Paris is a city that oozes romance and beauty more than any other European city and it’s a place that’s totally captured my heart. I absolutely adore the French capital for its culture, the effortless Parisian chic style, the magnificently detailed architecture and the fact that there’s a patisserie or boulangerie on almost every street, each as equally wonderful as the last.

I think that Paris is really under rated as a European city as it’s often thought of as a bit stuffy which is a HUGE misconception and whether you’re looking for vintage shopping, quirky cafes or late night bars, Paris has got everything to offer and more. So, if you consider yourself a bit of a hipster then read on.

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Areas you need to visit 

La Marais district

La Marais is an area that’s spread over the 3rd and 4th arrondissement of Paris and its most definitely the ‘hipster’ part of the city. This was my first time knowingly visiting this area and now I’d say it’s my favourite part of Paris. I can only describe it as very ‘London Shoreditch’ with lots of street art, vintage shops, proper coffee shops (which are harder to find in Paris) and boutique stores.

Be sure to check out Mad Vintage for inexpensive second-hand fashion, the quirky Igor Stravinsky fountain and surrounding square and the Jewish district at Rue des Rosiers.

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Montmartre

I’ve been to Paris a few times and I always have to go to Montmartre. Probably one of the most obviously beautiful parts of the city, Montmartre is the artists corner of Paris and the entire area with the beautiful Sacre Couer church and the surrounding cobblestone streets are a photographers paradise.

There’s so much to do in this part of the city but one thing that can’t be missed is taking a walk up to the Sacre Couer because its hard to beat the view over the city from up there. Any film buffs will recognise this church from the classic film, Amelie starring Audrey Tatou- one of my personal favourite films. (Speaking of which make sure to check out the Cafe des Deux Moulins if you’re in the area as it’s the cafe that Amelie was also filmed in).

I love Montmartre because its known as the artists part of paris and along with the portrait artists in the main square you will find lots of independent galleries and exhibitions here. More about these further on in this post. 

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Bastille (like the band)

Not just great for shopping, Bastille is packed full of record stores, trendy bars and music venues.

Be sure to check out Supersonic, a live bar with a New York loft style design, cheap drinks and a party that keeps going until the early hours of the morning at the weekend.

If you’re after somewhere a little more low-key then try Le Berliner. This german bar had a vintage, rustic vibe with squishy arm chairs, a Photo Booth and underground music.

Rue Crémeiux (the 12th arrondissement)

You don’t need to look hard in paris to find gorgeous architecture. However  Rue Cremiux, a quiet Parisian cobblestone street with multi coloured houses is more beautiful than most and the perfect place to go and take your Instagrams (Come on, you know you want to).

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The Latin Quarter

Although touristy, the Latin Quarter has too many beautiful narrow streets, bookstores and cafes to be ignored. One place you can’t miss is Shakespeare and Company. Surely one of the most famous bookshops in the world, I could spend hours pondering over the books in this chaotic jumble of a bookshop located right over the road from the Notre Dame.

Since opening in 1951 Shakespeare and Company has become world-famous however wandering around between the narrow rows of books,  you’ll still feel like you’re one of the first people to discover this literary oasis.

If you’re a film lover or if you’re just looking to take a break from walking then the Latin Quarter has lots of Arthouse cinemas such as Le Champo and Le Reflet Medicis for you to escape in for a couple of hours and watch a movie.

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Exhibitions

La Villa Extraordinaire

On reccomendation of my friend we went to La Villa Extraordinaire which is a really crazy and quirky immersive exhibition that’s open until the end of July in the Montmartre area. This building has loads of rooms full of interactive and contemporary exhibitions, each totally mental and different from the last. It also has a really nice garden area that you can sit and have a drink after.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Palais De Tokyo 

I’m really annoyed that I didn’t have the time to visit Palais De Tokyo on this trip as its somewhere I really wanted to go. This really cool modern art museum has more than most with cutting edge contemporary art exhibitions that are fun and edgy. It has a few different exhibitions at a time of which vary every few months and tickets cost $12 with concessions for students. It’s located near the Eiffel Tower so you could stop by if you’re looking to take a break from sight-seeing.

Green spaces

Paris lacks the volume of outdoor green spaces that you find in other cities like London however there are still lots of pockets that you can go to and escape the urbanisation of the city.

The Seine

Every city needs its water source and in Paris that’s the river Seine. If you’re visiting the city in the summer then you can take advantage of the deck chairs and makeshift beach areas set up along by the river or alternatively just take a stroll along in the sun. Also it’s obligatory to grab a friend and spend the early evening by the river with a bottle of wine.

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Parc de Belleville

The only other place to rival the view from the Sacre Couer is the one from the Parc de Belleville. Unlike the Sacre Couer this park actually has views of the Eiffel Tower and it’s more of a popular choice with locals rather than tourists ( it’s a bit further out in the 20th Arrondissement) so it’s a much quieter place to go and escape the hustle and bustle.

Jardin des Tuileries

If you head over to the Louvre then you’ll come across the Jardin des Tuileries, a beautifully manicured park with a lake, a few cafes and views of the Eiffel Tower. I picked up some hummus, baguette and french tarts for a makeshift picnic here. 91046C02-B0C8-4F4F-84E3-4CAEA89F1DFF.JPG

Eating out

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Paris really is the ultimate city destination for foodies and I’m completely enchanted with the french relationship to good food. Parisians understand that there’s more to food than just energy and shopping for food is an essential part of the day. While there are plenty of supermarkets in the city Paris’s streets are also adorned with speciality food stores like fromageries, wine stores, chocolatiers and delicatessens as well as patisseries advertising colourful and ornate pastries and tarts in the windows and boulangeries with bundles of freshly baked sourdough bread. In the mornings there are also lots of markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables too.

While traditional french brasseries and cafes are still the most common restaurants around, being a huge cosmopolitan city it’s possible to get every cuisine you could ever dream of. As I prefer to eat vegetarian I tend to favour the more contemporary eateries in the city however there were no limitations to the amount of times I would pop into a boulangerie in one day.

Here are a few of my favourite places from this trip

Soul Kitchen

Soul kitchen is a charming canteen style cafe in the heart of Montmartre that serves home cooked food and great coffee with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options available. It’s a really great place to go for lunch where you can sit on one of the little tables outside and it has a small but ever-changing menu that focuses on seasonal produce with meals for around 13 euros. I had the vegan quinoa salad which came with bread topped with the most fantastically fresh savoury lemon spread on top. They also do really good coffees.4EBEF9D3-2E21-4AD8-9D3F-5EAD7057B358.JPG

A L’Ouest Creperie

I’m very grateful to my friend for introducing me to traditional french galettes which we ate for dinner at L’Ouest. This fantastic creparie that’s also in Montmartre, has an extensive two page menu of galettes which are thin savoury crepes made with buckwheat and then topped or filled with ingredients like cheese, vegetables or eggs.

There were lots of vegetarian and Gluten free options at this place and it’s very affordable with prices starting at 9 euros. I went for the summer galette with tomatoes, ricotta pesto and pine nuts and we had them with a jug of traditional french cidre. We couldn’t resist ordering another crepe each for dessert (and an extra jug of cider) and my one (which was topped with very tart lemon curd) was absolutely phenomenal.IMG_9143.JPG

Motors Coffee

In Paris a cafe tends to be an eatery so if it’s a brew that you’re after then it’s coffee shops that you want. We stopped off at Motors Coffee, a really great, grungy style cafe not far from the Notre Dame. They do proper coffees, teas and cafe snacks like bagels, pancakes and english muffins. They also serve oat milk which brings me great joy.

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Patisseries and Bakeries

Staying in the apartment with my friend was great because it meant we had the added bonus that we could cook. Having a kitchen is one reason I always aim to book an apartment or a hostel for city breaks as it’s nice not to be dependent on eating out, especially in Paris when you can just grab some bread from the bakery and some cheese from the shop.

However eating pastries was absolutely an item on my Paris itinerary and I consequently happily gained a pound or two visiting the many patisseries and bakeries in the city. Here are my favourite places I spent my money at this time.

Maison Laundmaine

There are a few branches of this artisan bakery and patisserie in Paris, one of which was right over the street from where I was staying with my friend so I went there daily. Not only do they have one of the most aesthetically pleasing patisserie selections I have seen but they have the most fantastic bread selection. They stock all of the usual varieties of artisan breads as well as loads of obscure loaves like a chocolate loaf and pink coloured brioche aux pralines Roses.

It’s a great place to get a good espresso and a buttery Pain au Chocolat in the morning (which were also wonderful) and I got a box of their macarons for the journey home and instantly wished I’d bought an additional box or two as soon as I tasted one.C5664991-BCC2-45B7-AECD-3DA43D5A3216.JPG758AE443-7793-46ED-8F5B-66DA962B07E7.JPG

Odette

Odette is a lovely little patisserie that’s tucked away in the Latin Quarter with views of the Notre Dame. This was the first place I stopped when I got off the coach from Paris as I was drawn to its beautiful building and little outdoor seating area. They mainly serve mini choux buns and coffee, of which I had a praline one and a cafe au lait. A couple of these little buns are just perfect as they’re not overwhelming meaning you don’t need any excuses to eat them.

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Getting around

Paris really is a very walkable city. You can easily cover the highlights in a weekend on foot so make sure to bring comfortable footwear.

H(appy) Paris: A couple of apps that were invaluable on this trip were:

Citymapper

Citymapper is a travel app that those in London will be familiar with. You simply plug in your start and end destination and this clever app with give you all the possible routes, be it by walking, metro, bus or taxi as well as approximate travel times and prices.

Dojo

Thanks to my friend I found out about the fantastic app, Dojo. It operates in Paris as well as London, and it’s something I couldn’t recommend enough downloading if you’re visiting either cities. Dojo lists all the best independent cafes, restaurants, gigs and exhibitions in the city with price guides, photos and a brief description. You can filter it by what’s around you or by specific categories like coffee shops, bars or vegetarian food so it’s great if you have dietary requirements. When you’ve found somewhere that you want to go it works with Citymapper to help get you there.

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Other useful apps and websites: 

  • Yandex:  Yandex is a good free language translation app that works without internet and allows you to translate by typing, photo or by speech.
  • https://en.parisinfo.com The official website of the Paris Tourism Bereau:  (As far as tourism websites go, the paris one is really good and it’s a great place to see what events are going on in the city and for eating and drinking recommendations)
  • Veilb: If you plan on picking up a city bike in Paris then make sure you download this app. Use the app to find the nearest Velib bike docking stations in Paris and buy a pass to use a bike.
  • G7 Taxi: G7 taxi is the main taxi booking app in Paris. You can use the app to book an immediate pickup or in advance for up to 14 days. You can also use Uber.

I hope that you guys found this post useful and that your ready to start planning a long ‘hipster’ weekend in Paris.  I really loved Paris this time around as I really saw the city in a new light. I always think there’s something lovely about revisiting somewhere that I’ve been previously because everything has a sense of nostalgia to it and when you’ve already seen the landmarks you can spend time getting to the soul of a place instead.

Of course there are many more things to do in Paris than what’s on this list (and the great thing about the city is that it’s always changing on a daily basis) but here are a few suggestions to start you off.

I’ll be writing up a Paris coffee guide soon so keep checking back and drop me a message if you have any questions in the meantime.

How Instagram has edited the way that we travel

Why searching for instagrammable places means we’re missing hidden gems when we travel

As an aspiring travel blogger I love to visit new destinations. However as the blogging and social media world starts to grow and travel is as much of a hashtag as it is a passion, have the terms, Influencer and inspirational become negative words? And are we more concerned with brightening our feeds, than enriching our lives?

There was once a day when travelling meant journeying into the unknown and going with the flow. We used to arrive at a new destination with little more than a travel guide and a sense of adventure.

These days we are so overloaded with information that we can book our hotels and  plan where we’re going to eat before we’ve even left the house. However by making sure that we see absolutely everything when we travel, have we lost something else along the way?

Thanks to influencers and bloggers, the world has never been more accessible, but social media presents a very filtered version of travel. Often we’re so busy ticking off the trendy destinations off our lists that we miss the hidden gems, and we’re so consumed with taking the perfect Instagram photo that we forget to take it in ourselves.

Social media sites have revolutionised the way we travel in so many ways. We’re able to travel around the world from our office desk, however it’s important to remember that there’s more to travel than what we see in the camera lens.

So, next time you go globe-trotting try to find your own adventures. Make friends not followers, memories not posts and get off the beaten path, because the real influencers are the ones blazing the trails, not following everyone else.

The time has come to log out of your Instagram and go make real stories. There’s more to see in this world than what pops up your news feed.