THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CANGGU
Indonesia is made up of a whopping 17,800 islands, a country that would inarguably take a lifetime to explore, and yet only a few of them remain trafficked by outsiders for tourism.
At this point, it seems like just about everyone has heard about Bali. There’s no denying it’s become the Indo darling in media coverage of holiday possibilities in the nation.
Even within Bali, visitors tend to flock to a few main areas.
One such area?
It’s not hard to understand Canggu’s appeal with its laid back, surfer vibes and plethora of hipster, healthy cafes. And, with proximity to sister ‘hood, Seminyak, it’s easy to chill out in Canggu, and head to Seminyak for pool parties and trendy eateries whenever you fancy.
My Ultimate Planning Guide to Bali has all your questions about when to go, where to stay, what to expect, and more covered. This post isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to Canggu, rather, an outline of suggestions of what to do, see and where to eat and drink ace coffee while in this part of Bali.
Be forewarned: There isn’t much to ‘do’ in Canggu, per se.
Unlike Munduk, Ubud or Sideman, where you’ll have an array of temples, waterfalls, rice fields, and the like to visit, Canggu is usually where I go when I want to work from trendy cafes for a few days (bonus points if they’re sustainable).
Usually, when I found myself in Canggu while I lived in Bali, it was because I had a couple of client meetings in the area, and decided to just stay for a few days and visit some of the ‘hood’s best places for refreshing smoothie bowls, vegan eats, or fantastic flat whites.
Sure, you can find these things in Ubud, but in many ways, they’re more prevalent in Canggu, where an endless array of independent shops, many of which are Aussie owned or influenced, compete against each other.
Should you visit Canggu while in Bali?
Sure, but I’d only go for a few days. It’s a great place to tack onto the beginning of a trip because it’s an easy place to just hang out and relax. If you’ve got a long journey to Bali, a day or two relaxing with hip, delicious eateries, great spas, cool shopping, buzzing beach clubs, and tons of workout options seems like an excellent welcome to Bali.
A Guide to Canggu: 10 Things You Can’t Miss in Canggu, Bali
Have Breakfast Overlooking a Rice Field
Canggu may not have the lush jungle vibes Ubud has going for it, but there’s something to be said for the serenity that comes with morning coffee or breakfast overlooking a rice field and the rising sun.
Two of my favourite spots (go early for ultimate peace & quiet): Crate and Shady Shack.
Treat Yourself to Healthy, Hip Eats
Generally speaking, the food you’ll find in Canggu (and Seminyak) is more Western and trendy than anywhere else in Bali. Ubud has its share of its, but it’s less over-the-top.
Whenever I was in Canggu, I usually ate breakfast and lunch out, and got dinner to go, because inevitably, I’d be working or teaching in the evenings.
Most of these recommendations have dinner options, but check before you go as I’m used to frequenting them for breakfast and lunch.
- Peloton Supershop: My favourite cafe in Canggu- just love everything about their menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is excellent, and the drinks and desserts are great as well. Doesn’t hurt that they’re vegan or affordably priced, either
- Milk & Madu: Beautiful space, good Western eats (a bit pricer than others in the area). Famous for their 2 for 1 pizzas and live music on Tuesday nights
- Secret Spot: Great smoothie bowls and hearty vegan meals (pastas, lasagnas)
- Duatiga: Best for breakfast- plenty of smoothie bowl & egg dishes
- Sprout: A wide, delicious array of healthy eats for breakfast and lunch. Don’t miss the avo on polenta toast, or their flavourful salads
- Nalu Bowls: Hailed by many as some of the best smoothie bowls in Bali, the acai is the one you can’t miss here
- Crate Cafe:
- Little Flinders: High energy cafe with a great glazed tempeh bowl
- Give: The choice of trendy eats or traditional Indonesian food made better because this place is not-for profit, and donates what you pay to a selection of local charities
- Mad Pops: Vegan ice cream that’s pretty damn tasty
- Warung Bu Mi: For your traditional Indonesian food fix
- The Shady Shack: One of my favourite restaurants in all of Bali- everything is delicious here, and I love that they use tons of local ingredients in their dishes
- Green Ginger Noodle House: For that Thai noodle or pad Thai fix
- Falafel Temple: Some of the best falafel I’ve ever had, right in the heart of Canggu. The hummus & tabbouleh are also great
- La Baracca: Wood fired pizza so good you’ll think you’ve transported back to Italy
- Cinta Cafe: Great for breakfast or lunch, they have tasty smoothie bowls, delicious salads, and a huge selection of other things to eat or drink, pending what you’re after
- Sista: Best for that Asian food craving- their dumplings are incredible, and I love that they have breakfast and lunch specials to make trying a few things off the menu easier
- Plant Cartel: Fast food, but make it vegan
- KYND Community: An Instagram Staple, and for good reason- their restaurant is beautiful, everything on their menu is great, and they’re cause-rooted in the Balinese community
- KYND Creamery: The best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had, full stop
- Motel Mexicola: For your Mexican and marg fix while in Bali
- Balibola: A newcomer to the Seminyak scene, their menu is over-the-top and inventive. Here, I tried a classic smoothie bowl, and was surprised by how delicious it was, proving things can look fun and taste good
- Neon Palms: Breakfast is your standard trendy, tasty fare, and lunch/dinner is more taco and tapa style- meant for sharing. It’s a fun place to bring a group of friends if you’re up for sharing bites
Sip on Strong, But Delicious Indonesian Beans & Some of the Best Brew Blends From Around The World
Just about every cafe may have artisanal coffee drinks on their menu, but only a handful (from my experience) truly nail them.
No surprise, most of these are Aussie owned or heavily influenced.
- Peloton Supershop; Secret Spot; Hungry Bird Coffee Roasters; Copenhagen Cafe Canggu; Crate; Shady Shack; Coffee & Oven; Machinery; Koloni; Matcha Cafe (best for your bulletproof fix)
- Coffee Cartel; Revolver Espresso
Watch the Sun Set, Beachside
Not into the beach club scene?
Fear not, you can still watch Canggu’s beautiful sunsets from a spot on the sand for f-r-e-e.
My favourite place to do this?
At sunset, you’ll see tons of families, people, and kids- locals and visitors- roaming the sand, surfers coming in from the waves, and the street dogs of Bali splashing in the ocean.
The best way to enjoy these sunsets, in my opinion?
With a cold coconut from one of the small vendors you’ll encounter up and down the beach.
Hang At An Impossibly Cool Beach Club
If you’re visiting Canggu (or Seminyak), it’s likely you’re there, in part, for the party scene.
No need to wait until the evening to get the fun times going- the coast of both areas is packed with fun beach clubs, perfect for daytime lounging.
Some of the best day clubs to hit-up: Mrs. Sippy, Potato Head Beach Club, Finns, and La Plancha Beach Bar.
All four differ in vibe, but think beautiful pools, menus with Western eats, delicious cocktails and colourful bean bags aplenty for lounging.
Get Your Glow on At One of Canggu’s Affordable, Beautiful Spas
I loved going to spas in Bali so much I budgeted to get a massage weekly.
One of my favourite parts about Canggu? Seemingly endless spa choice.
My two favourite spots, which I returned to time after time:
- Chillax: Great for a cheap, well done massage. Don’t expect a luxe experience here, but do know you’ll get a great massage, and that’s what matters most
- Golddust: A bit fancier than Chillax, Golddust was my go-to for an array of beauty treatments, from pedicures to waxing to facials
Shop the Boutiques and Sunday Markets
Just wandering Canggu, you’ll see a variety of upscale boutiques with tropical and Asian inspired goods.
Definitely pop into ones that interest you, and if you’re in Canggu on a Sunday, check out the Organic Sunday Market near Berawa Beach or Old Mans Sunday Market on the other side of Canggu.
Join a Trash Clean-Up
Trash Hero hosts weekly beach clean-ups in Canggu.
I’m a big fan of sustainable tourism, and usually, joining one of these clean-ups takes minimal time and effort, but makes a big impact in protecting and preserving beautiful locations for future visitors.
Zen Out or Get Your Heart Rate Up at Any of Canggu’s Hip Studios
Whether you’re in Bali for holiday or to live for a few months, staying fit (or getting in shape) will be a cinch. On an island with a heavy expat population, options are varied and plentiful.
You can expect prices to be a fraction of what you’d pay in the Western world. By way of example, a CrossFit drop-in in the US or UK can easily range from $20-30 USD per session. In Canggu, an entire week of unlimited CrossFit classes costs $30 USD. Expect to see similar savings on yoga classes, and gym memberships.
And, with Classpass’ recent launch in Bali, there’s bound to be more options than ever in 2020 and beyond.
A full listing of my favourite studios in Canggu is here, but the places I returned to time after time were-
- CrossFit: S2S & CrossFit Wanderlust
- HIIT & Speciality Studios: Odyssey Movement, Avenue Fitness, Nirvana Strength, Motion Fitness
- Yoga: Samadi Bali, Desi Seni, Chillhouse
- Sound Baths: Chillhouse
Watch the Sun Sink Below the Horizon at Tanah Lot Temple
One of the seven sea temples on the coast of Bali, there’s no surprise Tanah draws crowds every night for sunset.
It’s about 20-40 minutes (traffic pending) from Canggu, so it’s an easy place to visit for a few hours without much effort.
I actually never made it to Tanah Lot. It was always on my to-do list, but never quite made it to the top.
Partly because, I’ve never really been one for commercialised sunset experiences. And, from what I’ve heard, Tanah Lot is brimming with stalls, vendors and people trying to sell you something, in addition to your sunset experience.
That said, I’ve also heard it can be a beautiful experience, especially if you catch a killer sunset on the day you visit.
A Guide to Canggu: Where to Stay
You can find tons of tips for visiting Bali in my Ultimate Guide, but specific to Canggu, different sections have varied vibes.
Batu Bolong is the main area where you’ll find tons of major shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. If you’re going to be walking distance only in Canggu, this neighborhood may be the best place for you to stay. Although, I will say, it’s a bit too developed for my liking.
Whenever I’m in Canggu, I stay in Berawa. It’s more up and coming, only 5-15 minutes (taking the shortcut road) from the other side of Canggu, and brimming with loads of fantastic restaurants and shops. It’s also a bit less crowded, and more laid back.
Usually, in Canggu, I stay in Airbnbs. There are so many great villas to peruse, many of which have private pools or gardens to lounge in.
Have you ever been to Canggu? Is it a part of Bali you’d like to visit? Would you add anything to this guide to Canggu?
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