Just a few short years ago, Canggu was little more than a sleepy fishing village, nestled amongst green paddy fields and lined on one side with glorious beaches looking out over the Indian Ocean. The bright lights of Seminyak and Legian may as well have been a world away. Despite undergoing a dramatic change, the Canggu of today has managed to retain something of its original charm, providing a more laidback alternative to its neighbouring towns which has proved irresistible to the crowds of bohemians, surfers, digital nomads and other bright young things that flock there. The streets are now full of trendy boutiques, health cafes and cocktail bars whilst the beaches sport a multitude of surf schools which have opened up to make the most of some of the best surf breaks in Bali.
When to go
No matter what time of year you visit Bali, you can expect beautiful weather and hot sunny days, however, it may be worth considering that the rainy season runs from October to April. Rain-showers, although heavy are usually brief (in fact sometimes they are quite refreshing!) and you can still rely on plenty of sunshine. Bali’s high season is between July and August, with a couple of peaks over the Easter and Christmas holidays, so, if you plan to come during these times, expect to pay slightly higher prices and be prepared to deal with a few crowds.
Where to stay
As it has risen in popularity, Canggu has become home to a wide variety of accommodation options, ranging from beautiful resorts and villas, that has to be seen to be believed, to cheap and cheerful backpackers hostels. Whatever your budget you will be able to find something to suit your needs and hopefully exceed your expectations.
If you have a little bit of money to spend, I would recommend having a look at The Slow, a new boutique hotel that was designed and is owned by fashion designer George Gorrow. This is a small hotel, but the interiors are exquisite and the restaurant is one of the best in Bali.
If you are a bit more budget conscious then have no fear, you can get a lot of bang for your buck in Bali, even at the lower end of the market. Places like the Kosone Hostel and Frii Hotel offer clean, stylish accommodation with a surprising amount of onsite facilities for a great price. Don’t give up on the idea of a private villa either; Canggu is chock full of beautiful properties that can be economical than you may expect, especially if you are travelling with a group of friends.
What to do
There is enough to do in Canggu that it could quite easily keep you entertained for months (and that’s before you even venture out into the rest of the island!). Are you looking for a little bit of action, a cultural, life-affirming experience, or simply a bit of blissful r and r? Whatever the case, this is one place in which you will never be bored.
Canggu is famous for its surf breaks and surfing culture, and, as mentioned above, has plenty of schools that teach classes aimed at everyone from beginners to experts. For sporty types who prefer to stay on dry land, there are plenty of gyms, CrossFit boxes and martial arts dojos as well as a surprising number of horse-riding schools. If you prefer a more chilled out approach you could go for a quick yoga session followed by a nice long massage at one of Canggu’s many amazing spas. Alternatively, spend the day relaxing in a coffee shop or by the sea at a beach club (Finn’s and La Brisa are definitely worth a visit).
Culture vultures won’t be disappointed either if they want a break from all the shops and beaches, there are a few significant cultural sites right on the doorstep. The most important of these is the famous water temple of Tanah Lot (an absolute must do on any Bali itinerary). This has been one of the most important religious sites on the island since it was first built around 500 years ago and it is also, fortunately for tourists, one of the most aesthetically pleasing and easiest to get to. Built on a rocky outcrop which rises majestically out of the ocean, the temple makes for one of the best views in Bali. You can go down to the base of the outcrop and receive a blessing from one of the temple priests, or simply find a prime spot at one of the clifftop bars overlooking it, kick back with a couple of Bintangs and enjoy one of the most amazing sunsets of your life.
Where to eat
The days of struggling to find a decent restaurant in Bali are long gone, in fact, the island now has a world-class food scene and Canggu itself is certainly not lacking in this area. Whilst you will find cuisines from all over the world well represented here, Canggu is most famous for its health cafes. If you are craving some avo toast or a fresh fruit smoothie you won’t have to go far. Cafe Organic is a great example, their food presentation is practically legendary, not to mention supremely Instagramable and their tropical smoothie bowls make the perfect start to any day, even for those nursing a hangover!
Whilst in Indonesia, do not miss the opportunity to try some of the local food – it’s delicious and distinctive. The buffet at the ever popular Warung Bu Mi is a great way to try a variety of dishes without having to worry about spending more than a few dollars. In the evening, I would recommend heading to the Ji Restaurant, which combines beautiful decor, a pan-Asian menu and a rooftop terrace that’s perfect for a few sunset cocktails.
Although maybe not quite as notable as Seminyak and Legian (and lets not even get into Kuta!), Canggu’s nightlife scene is now pretty well established. There are a couple of well-known staples such as Deus Ex Machina and Old Man’s both of which have famous (or should that be infamous?) party nights every Tuesday and Wednesday respectively as well as new kids on the block like Pretty Poison a bar / club / skate park that is the venue of choice for those who prefer to hang with a more alternative crowd. Most nights out in Canggu tend to end up at the beach at somewhere like the Sand Bar, where you can enjoy a spot of live music or wait for the dawn beside a starlit campfire.
This post is sponsored by Bali Villas. With extensive experience in servicing Australian clients, Bali Villas know exactly what families are looking for in terms of location, style and pricing. Each of their family-friendly villas situated on the beautiful island of Bali have been hand-picked by their ‘family expert’ – someone with children who knows exactly what families are looking for.
Contact Bali Villas for a short consultation, and they will be able to find you the perfect villa. Bali Villas aims to take the stress out of planning your holiday so you can concentrate on creating lasting memories with your family. Thanks, Bali Villas for sponsoring this post and allowing us to keep doing what we love!