Heading to underrated Canguu? Here’s what you need to know!
Canggu is Bali’s boho paradise for surfers, yogis, foodies, digital nomads and dog lovers alike, so it’s no wonder it’s been on everyone’s lips recently. Having escaped the splashy mainstream trend that has transformed Kuta, Seminyak and increasingly Ubud, this dreamy seaside town has taken on a bustling life of its own. From craft Kombucha breweries and peaceful yoga shalas, to colourful murals, skating bowls and famous surf, this is one Bali hideaway you’ll want to explore for yourself.
Read more: Eco & Ethical Hotels For Your Bucket List
How To Get There
Located on the coast just north of Kuta and Seminyak, Canggu is about an hour’s ride from Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. You can expect to pay around 150-200k IDR ($80-110) one-way, though some hotels will quote much higher.
Canggu is pretty straightforward to navigate. Four parallel main roads stretch from inland towards the coast – Jl. Pantai Pererenan, Jl. Padang Linjong, Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong and Jl. Pantai Berawa (Jl. comes from jalan, which stands for street). At the end of each of these roads you’ll find a beach: Pererenan, Echo Beach, Batu Bolong and Berawa respectively. There are many smaller roads in between, as well as haphazard shortcuts. A scooter is the most convenient, cost-effective and fun way to get around; just make sure you have an international driver’s license. If you’re not keen on zipping about on a little Honda, local taxi company Bluebird have an app. However, ride-hailing is cheaper than grabbing a taxi on the go and GoJek, Grab and Uber are all good options in Canggu.
Sassy Tip: If you’re using Google maps, look for pedestrian paths rather than routes for cars. This will show you all the smaller, yet still scooter-friendly, tracks.
Where To Stay
Canggu has an incredibly inviting vibe and accommodation ranges from uber-luxurious boutique hotels to laid-back hostels where you’re guaranteed to meet like-minded wanderers. Airbnb offers lots of hidden gems, such as the Rice View and River View Villas, which are located by a small stream near the top of Jl. Padang Linjong, one of the main roads that leads right past some of our favourite eateries. You can rent a whole villa if you’re travelling in a group, or else select one of the peaceful and prettily-designed rooms which cost between HK$200 and HK$400 a night.
If you’re looking to make friends with other adventurers, Canggu’s vibrant hostel scene rarely disappoints. Check out Clandestino, a relatively new addition where you can stay in a dorm for less than HK$100 a night (or choose a private room), surrounded by rice fields yet 100 metres from one of the main streets. With a swimming pool, two bars, plenty of BBQ parties and a terrace with views of Bali’s stunning greenery, it’s no wonder this hostel has found a fan club.
Clandestino, Jl. Kayu Tulang, Canggu, Bali, www.clandestinocanggu.com
Keen surfers might want to stay close to Echo Beach, famous for its black sand and brilliant surf. Just up the road you’ll find the Ecosfera Hotel, a mid-range stay that boasts a cafe, spa, pool and daily drop-in yoga classes. From family suites to budget rooms, Ecosfera is an ideal spot from which to get to know Canggu.
Ecosfera Hotel, Jl Batu Mejan, Echo Beach, Canggu, Bali, ecosferahotel.com
COMO Uma Canggu
Tempted to splurge on an unforgettable stay? The COMO Uma Canggu, the newest addition to COMO hotels and resorts, offers a stunning seafront property complete with a sophisticated beach club and as luxurious a surf shack as you’ll find anywhere. Looking for luxury meets girl power? Sign up for COMO Uma Canggu’s 8-day, women’s-only surf and wellness retreat this November with Australian pro surfer, Sally Fitzgibbons.
COMO Uma Canggu, Jalan Pantai Batu Mejan, Echo Beach, Canggu, Bali, www.comohotels.com
Where To Eat
The Shady Shack
Canggu is a mecca for plant-based foodies and first on your list of places to eat should be The Shady Shack. Jackfruit features in juicy burgers and flavour-bomb tacos. Stir-fried noodles come with plenty of fresh herbs and the perfect onsen egg. Smoothie bowls served in the boho-chic interior beg to be Instagrammed. Plus, if you’re like me, there’s always room for dessert – and the Shady Shack’s vegan sweet treats (think sticky date pudding and cashewtella cake) aren’t to be missed.
The Shady Shack, Jl. Tanah Barak No.57, Canggu, Bali, www.facebook.com/Theshadyshackbali
This quiet and modern little cafe quickly secured top spot as our favourite brunch place in Canggu. Tucked behind some hanging foliage on busy Berawa street, Quince’s menu speaks the language of a chef who clearly loves food. Creative combinations (hello, crispy bacon and spring onion polenta pancakes with rosemary honey roasted pumpkin, sour cream and honey) make it impossible to choose just one dish. Plus, the owner makes her own stunning ceramic bowls, plates and cups, all for sale in the adjoining boutique.
Sassy Tip: Quince’s Jamu, a traditional Indonesian health tonic ideally enjoyed first thing in the morning, is arguably the best in the neighbourhood.
Quince, 51 Jalan Raya Pantai Berawa, Berawa, Canggu, Bali, www.facebook.com/QuinceBali
A great pick-and-mix all-day breakfast is served up at Copenhagen, a modern café with gorgeous Scandi interiors. Choose all your favourite items (eggs, avo and the like) separately. Try the Danish rye bread, local farmer’s sausage and a freshly baked cinnamon roll to cap it all off.
Copenhagen, Jl. Padang Linjong No.71a, Canggu, Bali, www.copenhagenbali.com
Drive past The Slow on your way to Batu Bolong beach and you’ll immediately feel drawn in: The Slow occupies a world of its own. Smooth concrete flooring, one-of-a-kind art and hanging tropical plants create a minimalist yet homely and inviting vibe in this boutique hotel, all-day restaurant, retail space and gallery. The sophisticated and sustainable lunch menu is available from 12pm. In case you get stuck here (which wouldn’t surprise us), there’s a pretty great view of the Canggu sunset from the rooftop terrace and the cocktail selection is divine.
The Slow, Jalan Batu Bolong 97, Canggu, Bali, theslow.id
Hands-down one of the best meals we had in Bali, this is the place to go for a traditional Indonesian meal in a laid-back yet polished setting. Each dish packs a punch and the locavore approach means you can feel good about what you’re eating too. Order the Rendang. You won’t regret it.
Sassy Tip: The Good Food Brotherhood – the brains behind Ulekan – is also responsible for Milk & Madu, a neighbourhood cafe on Berawa (No. 52) known for killer skillet eggs.
Ulekan, Jalan Tegal Sari 34, Canggu, Bali, www.ulekanbali.com
After a day spent paddling out to sea and riding some of Bali’s best waves, a plateful of carbs is just the ticket. There’s no shortage of pizza places in Canggu. At Pizza Fabbrica, owner Luigi serves up Puglian-style thin-crust pizza that never disappoints in an industrial-chic setting. At La Baracca, a rustic and mismatched vintage-inspired interior is coupled with flavourful pizza, homemade pasta and polpette to die for – making it the perfect dinner place with friends.
Warung Bu Mi
There are plenty of local warungs around where you’ll get your fix of delicious Indonesian food (and the roasted sweet corn with chilli butter available from many of the street vendors is a must). Warung Bu Mi is a popular little restaurant where you can choose as many dishes as you like from a buffet-style setup. With lots of vegetarian options, you’ll get a hearty plateful of food for around 40-60k IDR (HK$20 to $30).
Warung Bu Mi, Jl. Batu Bolong St No.52, Canggu, Bali, www.facebook.com/warungbumi
Fish Bone Local & MASON
Walking down Jl. Batu Bolong, it’s impossible to miss the minimalist, handsome open spaces of Fishbone Local (FBL) and MASON. Part of the same hospitality group, both restaurants prioritise locally and organically-sourced ingredients. A partnership with Bali Sustainable Seafood means FBL’s menu aims to minimise its ecological impact on Indonesia’s oceans, while supporting local fishermen and communities. The food speaks for itself, simply prepared with a stunning flavour profile.
Echo Beach Club
Canggu’s restaurant scene can be surprising at first with its selection of elegant eateries, but make sure you reserve one evening for a beachside BBQ. There are few things better than munching on a plateful of freshly-grilled prawns with spicy sambal, sipping a cold Bintang and watching surfers chase the sunset.
Echo Beach Club, Jl. Pura Batu Mejan No.n.4, Canggu, Bali, www.echobeachclub.com
Where To Drink
Ask anyone where to go for a drink and you’re guaranteed to hear Old Man’s. This enormous seaside bar with funky murals, sweet tunes and refreshing drinks transforms into a bit of a party zone at night. From live acoustic music and DJ sets, to organised beach cleanups (every Saturday at 3; free drinks for those who join), there’s always something going on at Old Man’s!
Old Man’s, Pantai Batu Bolong 117X, Canggu, Bali, www.oldmans.net
Canggu’s best skate bar, Pretty Poison is the place to be if you’re looking to party on a Thursday night. Scooters will line the rice fields surrounding this grungy, industrial bar where local and expat skaters go head to head in the outdoor bowl. You’ll may even be able to get a free piercing or tattoo to commemorate the night.
Sassy Tip: Tempting as it might be, maybe don’t sit in the front row on the bleachers; chances are you’ll get hit by a rogue skateboard.
Pretty Poison, Jalan Subak Canggu, Bali, www.facebook.com/Pretty-Poison
Come 5 o’clock everyone flocks to the seaside for the sunset and to catch the surfers’ final waves of the day. On Echo Beach, it’s impossible to overlook La Brisa, an impressive, multi-level tree-house-like structure with greenery, fairy lights and an unrivalled view. This boho oasis fills up fast, so grab your seat early.
La Brisa, Jl. Pantai Batu Mejan, Canggu, Bali, labrisabali.com
Finn’s Beach Club
On Berawa beach, Finn’s Beach Club has made waves as the biggest, baddest of its kind, marketing itself as “The World’s Best Beach Club”. Think: four pools, nine bars, five restaurants, daily DJs, live music and beach front day beds for prime sunset gazing. A little birdy (ok, a tanned and tousle-haired surfer) told us Finn’s also hosts night surfing, a sporting spectacle under the stars.
Finn’s Beach Club, Jl. Pantai Berawa, Canggu, Bali, www.finnsbeachclub.com
The Lawn is one of Canggu’s most well-loved chill out spots, with dreamy beach club vibes permeating the restaurant, pool and bar areas. Get there early (from 11am onwards) and spend the day sipping coconuts and cocktails.
The Lawn, Jl. Pura Dalem, Canggu, Bali, thelawncanggu.com
Black Cat Mini Mart
Do it for the ‘gram. Seek out Black Cat Mini Mart, a tiny convenience store surrounded by rice fields. At the back of the store you’ll find a broken refrigerator – the entrance to a grungy-cool bar. Lit up by neon signs and playing everything from hip hop to ABBA, the interior is home to a pool table and booth seating, while Black Cat’s outdoor terrace is popular with the cool kids.
Sassy Tip: A fun and effective drinking game is to guess whether the next person coming through the door has their phone on record (hint: they almost always do).
Black Cat Mini Mart, Jl Subak Canggu, Bali, www.facebook.com/BLACK-CAT-MINI-MART
What To Do
Take To The Waves
In Canggu, seemingly every other person is sporting a surfboard. If you’re keen to take to the waves, this is a great spot to get started. In the early afternoon you’ll find Batu Bolong crowded with spectators, as rookies and pros converge amid the breaking waves. Take your pick from the countless surf schools right on the beach. We headed to Ada Surf School, at the far northern end of Batu Bolong, where one of the friendly instructors will take you out for two hours for 350k IDR (about HK$200). Perhaps you’ll discover your inner Beth Hamilton. Or perhaps (like me) you’ll be gulping saltwater and wondering why your arms (which suddenly feel like toothpicks) aren’t taking you anywhere. Either way, Ada Surf School captures your memories on camera and you can take your favourite rides (or wipe outs) home for a small additional fee.
Ada Surf School, Batu Bolong Beach, Pantai Batu Bolong St, Canggu, Bali
Beginners, experts, kids, adults – everyone is welcome at Canggu’s open air climbing gym. Daily bouldering classes are from 6 to 7pm, where you’ll learn the basics of scaling walls and build your strength in a fun atmosphere. The super-cool and colourful setup is home to 60 different climbing routes!
Bali Climbing, Jl. Munduk Catu, Canggu, Bali, bali-climbing.com
Browse The Markets
If you find yourself here over a weekend, pop by Samadi’s Sunday Farmer’s Market, where you can find local produce (fresh fruit, seafood and more) as well as clothes, jewellery and beautiful gifts to bring home. Be sure to pick up locally-made skin products from Muka.
Old Man’s market is open on the last Saturday of every month, where you can browse handicrafts, surf wear, vintage clothes and more right by the beach.
Finally, the Love Anchor bazaar is your go-to for souvenirs, jewellery, bags and more. If the giant wooden signage isn’t enough to lure you in, perhaps the promise of frozen yogurt will be.
Samadi Bali, Jl. Padang Linjong No.39, Canggu, Bali, www.samadibali.com
Old Man’s, Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong 117X, Canggu, Bali, www.oldmans.net
Love Anchor, Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong 56, Canggu, Bali, www.loveanchorcanggu.com
Do The Downdog
With its spiritual vibes, laid-back tropical lifestyle and push towards sustainability and giving back to mother nature, it’s no wonder yogis from across the world flock to Bali – and often end up saying “Nama’stay”.
- There’s only one place to go for traditional Hatha yoga and that’s The Practice. Popular among seasoned yogis, this studio boasts incredibly knowledgeable teachers in a lush setting.
- For private yoga sessions or even personalised yoga retreats, look no further than Desa Seni. Set among flourishing greenery, this wellness resort also offers free yoga classes in Indonesian for the local community.
- Another favourite is Samadi Bali, where you can not only choose from a variety of drop-in daily classes but also treat yourself to delicious healthy fare at the Samadi cafe.
The Practice, Pantai Batu Bolong St No.94, Canggu, Bali, www.thepracticebali.com
Desa Seni A Village Resort, Jl. Subak Sari #13 Pantai Berawa, Canggu, Bali, www.desaseni.com
Samadi Bali, Jl. Padang Linjong No.39, Canggu, Bali, www.samadibali.com
Be A Trash Hero
Canggu’s beaches, while busy, are clean – thanks to the various beach cleanups organised every week. Do your part by volunteering at Trash Hero, a global movement with a mission to bring communities together to clean and reduce waste. Find out where the next meeting point will be by keeping an eye on the Facebook page. No sign-ups, no cost, just keeping the little slice of heaven that is Canggu clean.
Trash Hero, +62 812 7827 4214, Canggu, Bali, trashhero.org
Featured image courtesy of La Baracca via Facebook, image 1 courtesy of Baligetawayhome, image 2 courtesy of Como Uma Canggu via Facebook, image 3 courtesy of The Shady Shack, image 4 courtesy of Ulekan via Facebook, image 5 courtesy of MASON via Facebook, image 6 courtesy of Old Man’s via Facebook, image 7 courtesy of La Brisa via Facebook, image 8 courtesy of Debora Cardenas via Unsplash, image 9 courtesy of Samadi Yoga via Facebook.