THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CAFES IN CANGGU
Even if you’re not a digital nomad, chances are you heard tale of Canggu’s epic cafe scene.
Cafes from the area regularly feature on Instagram and other travel sites for their beautiful aesthetics, innovative eats, and ‘gram ready details.
When I first announced I’d be visiting Canggu for a few days as part of living in Ubud for three months, I received a list of cafes that was several pages long.
While living in Bali, I had mixed feelings about these cafes.
I appreciate they help employ locals, but couldn’t help but feel a bit dismayed at how generic parts of the island seemed to be becoming.
And, I know many create opportunities for locals, I always wonder just how much of the profit heads straight off the island. The running joke in Seminyak and Canggu is that both are areas where Aussies on holiday come to brunch in restaurants owned by other Aussies.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for cool, fun cafes, but, I wish more of the profit from them remained in Indonesia to help support the community.
And, I wish more of the cafes retained a bit of the Balinese culture. Some do a good job of this, others- well, they’re indistinguishable from other trendy cafes in Brooklyn, Shoreditch, Portland, Austin, Sydney, Melbourne, and so on around the world.
All said, I spent my fair share of time at the cool cafes in Canggu. I tried to spend more of my time (and money) at ones that I knew supported the community, or retained a bit of the surrounding culture.
To not visit any of them would have been tough as a digital nomad living in Bali. So, instead of avoid the scene altogether, I tried to be conscious with the ones I chose to support.
But, I do recognise the irony in sitting in a cafe overlooking a rice field, sipping activated charcoal shots while families who live in the surrounding area live at or just above the poverty line.
This is by no means a list of all the trendiest spots in Canggu. I’ve intentionally left some places off this list, or just included them in the ‘extra ones worth knowing’ section.
Part of the reason I didn’t leave a few of these cafes off altogether?
Because I saw firsthand how many locals are employed, how it gives them a chance to earn more than they would otherwise, and how they’re able to practice English with visitors, thus potentially creating other work opportunities in the future.
So, even if some of the below cafes felt too ‘cookie cutter’ for an island in Indonesia (in my opinion), I still recognize the opportunity they help create for the Balinese.
As I find myself traveling more and more, I’m becoming more mindful of how I impact a place I visit- what I’m leaving behind, what I’ve given back, or accomplished while there.
Of course, I don’t know for certain whether these places are operated ethically, or just how much they support the community they operate within. But, they stood out to me as being ‘better’ choices in a sea of latest and greatest cafes.
And while there’s nothing wrong with savouring a smoothie bowl while watching the sun rise over a rice paddy, I do believe it’s our responsibility, as travelers with the immense privilege to roam the world, to try and do so responsibly.
A Guide to Cafes in Canggu: 15 Cafes You’ll Love
Best for: Affordable morning breakfast, rice paddy adjacent
From what I observed, the staff seemed to be entirely local. And, I loved how much they incorporate ingredients (fresh fruit) from the island. Best yet, Crate doubles as a concept store and art gallery, showing off local creations.
Sure doesn’t hurt that their smoothies are bangin’ as well.
Come early, this places gets busy. Nomads, don’t expect this to be a good place to work- the wifi is average and there aren’t really plugs around. Crate is best for breakfast catch-ups with friends.
Best for: Healthy, vegan eats with the friendliest staff around
I loved Peloton so much, I visited near daily anytime I was in Canggu for a few days. Their menu is reasonably priced, and incorporates loads of local fruit and veg, plus proteins (tempeh, for example) that are prevalent in Balinese diets.
The wifi is decent, but Peloton can become busy during peak meal times, so I’d recommend coming in off hours if you’re hoping to do a bit of work at the same time.
Best for: Incredible, fresh breakfast and lunch with exotic, tropical ingredients
Shady Shack was another place I absolutely loved visiting. Breakfast here was one of my favourite rituals while in Canggu. The rice paddy view is incredible, and so peaceful with its location on a side road in Canggu.
Also loved that they incorporate so many unusual SE Asian fruits and veg (hello, Soursop), giving travellers a chance to try something new. Huge fan of their tempeh spring rolls, and Greek-inspired salad bowl.
I’ve never tried working from Shady Shack, but there is WiFi available for use.
Best for: Strong brew, great breakfast plates
Hungry Bird is a real-life fairytale for coffee lovers. The owner, an Indonesian man named Edo, used to roast beans in his bedroom.
Self-taught, he opened Hungry Bird, and with time, it became a super popular spot for the Canggu crowd. He roasts beans from across Indonesia, which means there’s support for local farmers.
I’ve worked from Hungry Bird on a few occasions on basic tasks (haven’t tested the speed of their WiFi). Dug the fact there were plenty of seats, plus power plugs scattered throughout.
Best for: Healthy, vegan eats with the friendliest staff around
From the geniuses of Kynd Community, one of Seminyak/Canggu’s most Instagrammable, vegan cafes, comes GIVE- a not-for-profit warung.
At GIVE, you’ll receive a token for your purchase, which you can choose to donate to any of the local causes they support. At any given time, there are three causes, usually differing in nature from education to animal to environmental based.
As if giving back directly to the community wasn’t amazing enough, I also love that GIVE has a split menu- half, vegan ‘grammable heaven and half warung classics. Warungs are family run restaurants in Bali, where you’ll find the best Indonesian food around. Love that GIVE provides mainstream travellers who may not otherwise seek these warungs out a chance to try Indonesian staples.
Best for: Delicious, vegan dishes in a perfect photo environment
I skipped KYND on my first few visits to Seminyak/Canggu- based on how often I saw their pink wall and smoothie bowls on Instagram, I assumed it was just like any other cafe in that part of the island. Read: Over-hyped.
Was I ever wrong.
Most importantly, KYND is a cafe with a mission. They give back through operating GIVE, a not-for-profit warung, and in other ways. The cafe itself is a beautiful, airy space with positive vibes- actual gratitude for Bali poetically written on one of the cafes walls.
And, less important to the masses but meaningful to me, they’re the only cafe I’ve found in Bali with completely nut-free granola. Enjoying a smoothie bowl without modification may not be a huge deal, but it certainly helps in my enjoyment of a place.
Don’t miss their vegan ice cream next to the cafe in KYND Creamery- it’s the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had.
Best for: Speedy WiFi, rice terrace views, and delicious eats
Although I belonged to a co-working space in Bali, with sister locations in Ubud and Canggu, whenever I was in Canggu, I usually stayed in Berawa (a 10-30+ minute, traffic pending drive to my coworking spot, Dojo, on the other side of Canggu).
As such, I sought out cafes with good WiFi in Berawa in case of Internet cuts, which happen quite often in Indo despite the improving infrastructure.
Cinta fits the bill for a beautiful cafe with a great view, wonderful menu with locally sourced ingredients, and uber fast Wi-Fi. It’s small, but I never had trouble finding somewhere to sit, and there are a few power plugs on both ends of the restaurant.
Best for: Hip lattes, friendly staff
Given its name, there’s no surprise this coffee shop means serious business. It’s the kind of place I’d be wary of if I didn’t know they roast their own blends, using local beans.
Don’t miss the special ripple machine, it allows you to print messages on top of that trendy latte.
Best for: Cold coconuts and refreshing smoothies
With locations around the island, there’s no questioning Secret Spot’s success. Love that they use local, tropical ingredients, and even have a few Balinese specialities, like jamu, on their menu.
Their Canggu location also has decent WiFi, good for answering emails or doing a bit or research while sipping a coconut and watching the sunset.
COFFEE & OVEN
Best for: Smoothies and fresh pastries with an environment that supports remote work
Hard to believe I only made it to Coffee & Oven once- I loved the watermelon smoothie I had here, and drool just over the thought of their breakfast pastries and breads.
Best yet, when I visited, there were plenty of seats with power plugs readily available. And while I didn’t test the speed of the WiFi, it was strong enough for me to edit and upload a video.
- Machinery: Great for your caffeine fix while powering through your to-do list (read: great WiFi)
- Sprout: Excellent breakfast and lunch menu- more varied than other spots in Canggu, and super healthy. The avo toast on polenta bread & their salads were personal favourites
- Copenhagen Canggu: Scandinavia meets Indonesia. Cute curbside hangout for your daily cuppa, always lots of dogs hanging around too 🙂
- Koloni: A cafe I only made it to once because I discovered it during my last few days on the island. Loved sipping a flat white in their lush garden. And, with so many healthy eats to be found everywhere in Canggu, it can be tough to stand out, but Koloni’s salad line-up is truly impressive
- Matcha Cafe: Never a huge matcha fan, I appreciated this bamboo-clad cafe’s bulletproof coffee after morning workouts at S2S CrossFit. Their smoothie bowls and chia cups are also ace
Note: For the purpose of this guide to cafes in Canggu, I’ve combined places in Canggu and Seminyak, since it’s easy to reach every place here relatively quickly from central Canggu.
Have you ever been to Bali? If so, did you visit any cafes in Canggu? Which spots were your favourite? Would you add anything to this guide to cafes in Canggu?
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