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A Guide to what it’s Really Like in Canggu Bali
If you haven’t heard about Canggu, it’s the up and coming area on the island of Bali. With a particularly laid-back style, think surfer meets boho-hipster vibe, Canggu in Bali attracts expats, digital nomads, yoga lovers and yes, surfers. The best part about Canggu is that you can still experience it a reasonable price and moreover without the hoards of tourists like its neighbouring county of Seminyak and Kuta. Yet you can find from budget to high-end accommodations and top-notch spas, warungs and western style food, basically something for every budget and traveller style.
Canggu Bali is a fabulous spot on the island of the Gods but here’s the deal, if you’re looking for the best surf spots or beaches to hit in Canggu, Bali, you won’t find that here as I seldom go to the beach unless its for quick dip to freshen up and for viewing incredible sunsets, which you’ll be able to do so here in Canggu.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the things to do in Canggu Bali, where to stay in Canggu and where to eat, in sum what it’s really like in the area, then this Canggu guide is for you. Located slightly upwards on the west coast, surrounded by many rice paddies, Canggu exudes a relaxed atmosphere with its many shops, cafes and healthy restaurants. People come here to chill, hang out, learn how to surf, do yoga and relax.
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Bali gets an ever growing bad rap for being too touristy and overcrowded, which is undoubtedly true in certain sectors of Seminyak and Kuta, but you can avoid these rowdy party hubs by electing, for instance, to stay in Canggu or Ubud. Yet here are a few other things to consider before going to Canggu Bali to see if it fits your travel style. By reading on, and you’ll quickly understand why I truly enjoyed its relaxed atmosphere and easy-going lifestyle and can’t stop recommending it as one of my top five destinations.
Where is Canggu Bali
The laid-back town of Canggu is located in North Kuta’s Badung Regency, roughly 20 km (13 miles) from the Denpasar airport. And even though it’s relatively close to the airport, you’ll need to plan about 45min -1-hour transit to get there because of the traffic situation. The whole Canggu beach area is called “Canggu,” but it extends from Berawa in the south to Cemagi in the north with its beach areas starting south from Berawa, Batu Bolong, (Old Man’s), Echo Beach and then Perenenan.
– Berawa: the coffee center of the area with many expats electing to make it their base with a variety of restaurants and boutiques. There’s a beach area, but the surf can be challenging at times.
– Batu Bolong: Basically the main road with most of the restaurants and boutiques making it the hub central with the very popular Old Man famous happy hour. This is a good surfing area for beginners and advanced. You’ll also find a few yoga studios with most everything within walking distances, making it a perfect base.
– Echo Beach: This is the surfing hotspot known for some of the best breaks on the island. Its also home to many seaside restaurants making it a perfect spot to catch a sunset.
– Pererenan: Surely the top beach of the region with many rice fields around, a very peaceful sector. On the other hand, it will take you a 5 – 10 minutes drive to reach the Batu Bolong restaurants.
Where to Stay In Canggu Bali
Typical Balinese Design at Canggu Airbnb
There are plenty of rooms and villas available to choose from on Airbnb and on booking platforms like Agoda and Booking.com, there’s also some local community Facebook Group pages which frequently posts villas and apartments and rooms available to rent. From private or shared villas, many with a pool and kitchen, the lodging options are vast and travellers will find lodging options to fit any budget and style. Bali is known for having a fickle internet, an important aspect to some of us digital nomads, so if it’s your case, inquire if your lodging as fibre-optics internet.
Areas and places to stay in Canggu Bali
Canggu has three significant areas each with its unique flair and style offering different experiences. There’s one main road called Batu Balong running from inland to the beach and then Jl. Raya Canggu which crosses it. If you want to enjoy the beach and the sea you should pick a lodging south of that Raya Canggu.
Batu Balong: where all the action is, with restaurants, cafés and boutiques.
Echo Beach: Surf central with many waterfront restaurants.
Berawa: Just over the ‘’shortcut’’ another fun area with restaurants and boutiques.
Top Lodging Picks
Koming Guest-house | Private rooms with Wifi and ensuite. Guest can enjoy an American breakfast every morning. This guest house has a lovely pool amidst a garden setting making it a fabulous budget pick and relatively close to Echo Beach. Book Koming’s Guest House Here
A7 Guesthouse | Private rooms
Featuring an outdoor swimming pool, A7 Guesthouse is located within 1.1 km Echo Beach with the added feature of having a restaurant on site. All rooms come with WIFI and have a flat-screen TV with cable channels, ensuite, some even have a terrace. A continental breakfast is served every morning at the property. Batu Bolong Beach is within walking distance from the guesthouse. Book A7’s Guest House Here
WaterBorn Bali | Private rooms & Dorms.
WaterBorn Bali offers a peaceful garden which surrounds its outdoor swimming pool. Each room has a patio with pool views and free WiFi. A continental breakfast is served at the property and guest can enjoy the common terrace, the WaterBorn Bali is located within 1.4 km of Echo Beach. Book WaterBorn Bali here.
Villa Rangga Bodhi | Private rooms
With its location close to Berawa Beach, Villa Rangga Bodhi offers guests an outdoor pool and sun terrace. In addition to free WiFi and parking available on site, all rooms have private bathrooms and a flat-screen TV with cable channels, certain ones have a terrace or balcony. There is a shared kitchen available at the property. Book Villa Rangga Bodhi here.
Aston Canggu | Hotel Newly Built
Scoring a ‘’opening soon’’ promo rate, I stayed at this property and can attest that the room was very comfortable with a small balcony, a safe and a fridge. The included buffet breakfast was by far the best I’ve had in years of travel (seriously, compliments to the chef) and the rooftop pool offers spectacular sunset views. This new hotel is in a prime location one block from the beach and almost right across from Old Man’s – a local favourite bar/restaurant. Book Aston Canggu here.
Black Pearl Hostel | 4 Bed Dorms * Solo Traveller Recommendation
I stayed at this primarily because of its fantastic location. Situated a mere 7 min walk to Batu Balong Beach, the hostel is simple with a magnificent pool, clean 4-bed dorms and free reliable WiFi. You can relax at the rooftop bar and enjoy impromptu acoustic sessions the staff deliver almost nightly, ideal to meet fellow travellers. The main strip is a short walk away and the Fat Mermaid just around the corner is perfect to grab breakfast, a smoothie and a bit of Air Con. Book Black Pearl Hostel here.
Where to Eat
Echo Beach Club Ocean Front View
If you are craving healthy options, Canggu won’t leave you disappointed.
There is a vast selection of restaurants and Warung on Batu Bolong but here are my top favs!
The price range for a Balinese or Indonesian meal is
2.50 3.50$ to 5 6.50$ and for an International cuisine is 8 9$ to 18 20$
$/Roti Canai Unpretentious but satisfying Roti
$-$$/Betel Nut Can’t say enough about this place. Super fresh and tastiest food in town. You must try the Falafel Bowl
$$-$$$/Echo Beach Club Pick your fish or seafood to grill and build your own plate from the buffet. Grilled perfectly!
$$/ Life’s Crate Cafe The place to be for breakfast and lunch. Amazing food, healthy options and generous portions. (note the new address)
$$/Old Man’s Bar – Restaurant Institution in Canggu with partial beach views, offers the best salad variety and fun combination well-priced food.
$/Warung Bu Mi You’ll keep coming back to this fantastic no fuss buffet style Indonesian cuisine – Go early as it gets packed by 7 pm.
$$-$$$/Little Flinders Cafe – Small menu, excellent service and central location.$-$$ Alkaline Restaurant May our food be your medicine is the slogan of this restaurant within the Serenity Eco-lodge. It offers an amazing array of vegan, raw and vegetarian options at very reasonable prices. Delicious food for the body and soul.
Things to do around Canggu
Canggu is a perfect place to relax but this isn’t the place for thrill-seeking adventures. Here are a few chill activities you can enjoy in the Canggu region.
Peruse the local markets of Love Anchor Market and Samadi Sunday Market. Love Anchor Market is centrally located on Batu Bolong, near Mr. Spoon bakery and you can find everything from jewellery, clothes to soap, food and music. Samadi Sunday Market is at the Samadi yoga studio and is an expat favourite.
– Visit the famous Tanah Lot – Plan to go at low tide to be able to access the temple on the island. Best for a sunset tour.
– Happy hour at Old Man’s
followed by Deux Ex Machina
– Balinese Dancing – Cultural Evening at Tugu Hotel Bali on Thursdays 7h30 – A spectacular venue, no meal required, about 90-minute show
– Sunset at the Sandbar or The Lawn – arrive early and grab a beanbag
– Party the night away at Old Man’s or the Sandbar.
– Spa treatments & massages are super affordable. My favourite is Chillax.
– Balinese Cooking class: Learn how to cook some Balinese classic such as Satay, a fun and tasty experience.
– Learn to surf: Batu Balong beach is the place to learn with gentle breaks. A 2hr lesson with board and rash guard will cost you around 350K Ind. Roupies
– Do yoga lessons at the beautiful The Practice or the Serenity Eco-Lodge.
– Here are day trips options you can easily do from Canggu.
Looking to explore more of the island, here’s a fabulous 6-day itinerary.
First, you’ll need to get yourself from Denpasar Airport to Canggu and unless you’ve arranged for a driver to pick you up, grab a Blue Bird taxi and as in any country ask for the rate before doing the run.
There’s no public transportation in Bali, so you’ll need to book drivers or taxis for longer distances as there’s no Uber, Go-Jek or Grab cabs to be found in Canggu or Ubud. They have what is referred to here as the ‘’local taxi mafia,’’ and they mean business. Social feeds show some pretty brutal events and interventions so please refrain from calling those services while in these areas. If you are looking for a great driver, I can highly recommend Komang who’s very polite, professional and really honest. Oh and funny!
Certain parts of Canggu are not very walking friendly as most of the areas don’t have sidewalks or are badly lit at night. For the ultimate freedom and transport, flexibility scooters can be rented for about 5$ a day and generally your lodging or accommodations personnel can arrange the rental for you. You might be asked to show proof of a driver’s license, as it happened to us on our third rental in Canggu.
The shortcut: This tiny stretch of brick laid road connects Batu Balong to Bewera and is renowned for scooters falling over its sides unto the rice paddies. It’s a fantastic way to cut down on time instead of taking the long -way around but be careful and keep your wits about what is going on the road.
Weather & Climate
Both of my visits were in April and the daily rain showers were never for very long. Yes, it is hot and humid all of the time, but the ocean breeze is pretty constant in Canggu making the heat somewhat bearable. Having a pool and AC in the room is essential, as in non-negotiable. Plan your activities for early morning and late afternoons for the best enjoyment while being out and about. Bring comfortable, light and ample clothing, no heavy cotton and woolly fabrics needed here.
Money or Cash is King
As in most parts of South East Asia but some high-end restaurants and hotels do take credit cards. Watch for a 2-3% credit card fees that merchants add to the bill. But be careful of card cloning, seemingly a common thing in Bali so it might be wise to use a bank card instead of a credit card to withdraw money. Among others, there are ATM machines at the intersection facing Deus Restaurant and in front of the Aston Canggu hotel. The maximum withdrawals range from 1.5 million to 2.5 millions and sometimes (rarely) 3 million Ruppies.
Find the conversion rate here
Internet & Data Plans
The internet in Ubud has improved dramatically in recent years, so I’ve been told. Although the WiFi ran slow on occasion in our Ubud accommodation, fibre optic is becoming more prevalent, especially in house rentals, so speeds can be good at times. In our AirB&B, the wifi speed was reasonably decent with a steady connection, and at the Aston Hotel the wifi in our room was excellent, but the connexion at the pool area was less than constant, especially in the afternoon, but all in all, around 10 Mbps download speeds.
As in many places while travelling, tethering through your mobile device or smartphone will provide useful data speed on cellular 3G/4G/LTE networks. You can get SIM cards at the Ika Cell shop at the crossroad of Batu Bolong and Raya which sell them. The vendor didn’t speak much English but set it all up nonetheless. Be aware that most of the packages that are offered might have the GB’s divided up between Social media and Data, Ex. A 9GB deal could give you 4GB Facebook, 5GB data combined. Rates are very reasonably priced around 17$.
Either way, you can rest assured that most lodging, restaurants and cafe have free wifi to use, so no worries.
Oddly, finding a laundry place was difficult, even when we asked around. Finally found this place on Tanah Barak. this place on Tanah Barak. Rates are super economical, and service is a quick 24-hour turnaround.
Initially not knowing what to expect by coming far from the hustle and bustle of Kuta and Seminyak, with few reviews of this quiet area of Bali available varying greatly. I guess it really depends on what you are looking for. I found it to be the perfect balance of remoteness and tourist blend. Canggu still has all that the Balinese flair and culture that makes this island so unique.
Rice fields and the beach commingle, and the town is unpretentious with lots of good reasonably priced lodging options. And found the eating venues selection was far superior in Canggu than in Ubud. All in all, I would return in a heartbeat and can highly recommend it. See what else was included in our south east asia.
Have you been to Canggu?
Please share your experiences, comments or questions below…
Please share your experiences, comments or questions below…