In recent years, Kuta has gained a reputation for being too overcrowded and touristy making many people skip this part of Bali altogether when visiting this archipelago. That’s a shame though, because just 10 km. north of Kuta lies the irresistible coastal community of Canggu which is Bali’s best-kept secret. While the neighbouring hotspots of Seminyak, Kuta or Uluwatu can be hectic and crowded, Canggu (pronounced Chan-goo) has an edge that gives it a distinct and unique personality.
This hip little coastal village in South Bali has long been known as a surfers’ paradise but is now gaining attention for its smart cafes, boutiques and an artsy vibe. Stretching between Kerobokan and Echo Beach, its where rice fields meet volcanic black sand beaches. An expat enclave and the island’s newest tourist hotspot destination, it has everything you could want on your holiday. From indulging breakfast options to high-end spas and some retail therapy, here is everything you need to know about planning a trip to Bali’s hipster central.
Things to do
With its numerous resorts, cafes and cultural venues, Canggu is more than just a popular haunt for surfers. There are plenty of things to do here and here are a few must-dos during your trip to this quirky town!
Relax in a luxurious villa on a budget!
There is no place to treat yourself to a luxurious holiday villa than Canggu. As soon as you get off the main roads, you enter a maze of small roads with beautiful villas that can be as cheap as Rs. 5000 a night. With high walls hiding them, these exquisite seaside villas offer you a view of the sea and easy access to the beaches, making it a brilliant place to spend the vacation
Visit the Tanah Lot
Tanah lot is one of Bali’s most famous attractions and one of the most popular things to do in Canggu. This temple is located offshore and faces east so that the sun always sets in the sea behind the architecture allowing you to explore it in all its glory. Only a 30-minute drive away, you can even check out the traditional Kecak dance performance in the evening during your visit here.
Get your surf on
Known for its surfing, great waves can be caught on all the beaches in Canggu and the surf break is close to the beach, so you never have to swim far out to catch a wave. Boards can be rented at many places along the beach. For beginners, Berawa, Canggu or Batu bolong are all great places to learn how to surf.
Go restaurant hopping
Canggu has a lot of cafes and restaurants to suit every budget and taste. From themed cafes to vegan restaurants and traditional Indonesian food, the options here are endless. Most of them can be found along the popular Batu Bolong area, however, if you are ready to explore a bit more, there are many great places all the way from the Finns Club alongside Jalan Pantai Berawa to the beach.
Visit the Sunday market
The Love Anchor market is held at an open-air centre near the Monsieur Spoon. From food, drinks, clothes to jewellery, you can find everything here. Another great Sunday market is the Samadi Bali market which specializes in local food and is popular with the locals for its authentic options. The market starts at 9 am and ends at 2 pm.
Click some Insta-worthy shots with the murals
As you explore Canggu, you can find murals and bohemian street art on the walls and in the cafes and restaurants. While some are quite funky, others are difficult to understand. Get a picture with these in the backdrop in places like Berawa or the famous Old Man’s Surf spot.
Spend a cultural evening at the Tugu Hotel
The Tugu Hotel in Bali is most popular for the cultural night it holds every Thursday at 7:30 pm. Open for all, several Balinese dances are performed at the event. Enjoy an evening of tasty Indonesian food as you watch local dancers in beautiful costumes dancing to the local Gamelan music.
Apart from indulging in these experiences, there are a lot many activities that ought to be a part of your trip. From yoga to skateboarding or treating yourself to an Indonesian massage, you will never find yourself short of things to do here.
Getting around Canggu
The three main streets of Canggu go parallel to the beach and lack roads connecting them in between. Which means the best way to explore this beach town is by wearing your comfy shoes and walking all over! If not, renting a bike or catching a Go-Jek(Bali’s alternative to Uber) is the cheapest and best option for you.
Best time to visit
The weather here is tropical with warm temperatures all year round. However, the best time to visit Canggu is between May-September when it is less humid and the prices for accommodation are cheaper than in the high season.
With its relaxing vibe, even if it is for a day, Canggu deserves a visit in your itinerary for experiencing Balinese culture with all the western comforts you need still close by.
‘Curated by Neha Bhise’