[gallery] So, Bali is boganville. Right? Well, if you go to Kuta area, yes. But go just thirty minutes north to Canggu, and it's completely different. Sitting at Echo Beach, watching the sun set, we see one hawker, a handful of locals, a few handfuls of surfers, a bunch of expats and some more tourists. All calm, all chilled, all getting on with the relaxed life. No smutty stickers, no drunk obnoxious grots. I find myself saying many times that I can see why people fall in love with the place, and live here. Expats sit at beachside cafes, tapping away at their laptop while swigging a beer. Everyone(well, nearly) rides a motorbike down, except for me and hubby, on our bicycles. Everyone knows them though too, branded with The Chillhouse, an accommodation in the area. It's like one big, happy family. Even further north is The Menjangan. It's the quietest part of Bali I've set foot on. Well, that is, until , we, and particularly, my kids, get there. The squeals of excitement that echo through the forest as we bump along the dirt rocky tracks in a double decker open minivan surely scare the monkeys back a step or two. The deer grazing at the beach don't seem to mind the curious kids sneaking up on them either. And the calm bay, bordered with white sand beach, framed by mangroves, is perfect to burn energy. After coming back from a canoe exploration, we wander the boardwalks through the mangrove, chancing upon a Monitor Lizard. The huge lizard watches us as we scuttle past, then slowly moves on.
So, for somewhere different, but still easy and cheap - Bali can deliver. Think outside the square - or from the stretch of hectic tourism that is Kuta, Legian and Seminyak - and head up. Canggu, Medewi, and Menjangan. Treat yourself. We met a few travellers from Australia, travelling up around the North West of Bali, and all of them were very impressed, and so glad they made the effort. Even the girl that wobbled around like a walking bandage after coming of her motorbike on the way up.