Where to live?
So, we’ve made our decision to design and build – choosing the area we wanted to live in was the next step. We already knew the area we were looking for and we didn’t want to move too far from where we had already set down our roots. We’ve always loved Canggu, even as it becomes overrun with the uber-cool kids.
Our friends and community are here plus it’s close to all of the amenities we already frequent such as schools, hospitals, markets, restaurants etc. That said, there is very limited land left in Canggu and what’s left is just too expensive!
Exploring on a scooter
That meant looking around for other areas that are close enough to allow us to take advantage of what Canggu has to offer, but are both more affordable and offer a more Balinese vibe, in terms of landscape and culture. So, whenever my husband and I had some free time in the past few months, we’d jump on a scooter and ride around in the blazing hot sun looking at surrounding areas.
Sometimes with the kids and sometimes just us. Some areas we knew well, others we’d never been to.
Exploring was fun but it was a real relief when we finally chose the area we wanted – Babakan. It’s located only one village inland from Canggu and just 10 minutes by scooter. A few kilometres away from the daily buzz of the growing tourist hotspot feels like different world. In many ways, it still feels like old Bali – the Bali we want to live in.
Land hunting on our scooter!
Exploring was fun but it was a real relief when we chose the area we wanted – Babakan. Only 1 suburb inland from Canggu, it’s 10mins away on a scooter, but it feels like different world. In many ways, it still feels like old Bali.
Canggu = blue, Babakan = the red pin drop
After deciding on the village, it was back on the scooter to look for that elusive perfect plot of land in Babakan. Riding around day after day, week after week, going up and down countless lanes (also known as ‘gangs’) looking for empty land whilst avoiding angry dogs and curious cows along the way (hashtag balilife)!
Sometimes there were small handmade signs stuck to telephone poles or gates advertising available land, but more often than not it was a matter of empty land we liked the look of and asking around in our best Bahasa for who owned it, and how we can get in touch.
Fortunately, the locals were very friendly and everyone was keen to take us to meet their friend/uncle/random person who had land for rent (not just out of the goodness of their heart: they also get a significant referral fee from the landowner for their trouble)!
My phone is full of snaps of random pieces of land that we visited just like this one!
Given Babakan is so underdeveloped, we saw a lot of land; different shaped plots, some with rice fields that need draining, some with rice farmers and water bull, others that have been cleared and some that look like a jungle. There were chickens, cows, kites and temporary shanty houses.
We soon found some land that we caught our attention. It was particularly appealing because it overlooked a “green belt”: an area that has been zoned only for agriculture. Our current home in Canggu has been surrounded by newly-built villas as the area exploded in popularity, so I really wanted to avoid this by having a view that can’t be built on.
Unfortunately, much to the landowner’s surprise (or so he claimed!), it turned out that his land was also green belt, so that was a no go. However, perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, as just down the road we found another piece of empty land overlooking the same green belt, but this land appeared to be in a residential zone. It didn’t take long to be introduced to the owner…