Canggu, once a sleepy fishing village, is now one of Bali’s most desirable holiday destinations. This quick guide to Canggu will help build ideas for your next island getaway!
Nestled between beautiful green paddy fields, black sand beaches and all the excitement of nearby Seminyak and Legian, Canggu offers the best of both worlds, a laidback ambience in a still vibrant setting. In recent years, yogis, surfers and young bohemians have all flocked to this little town, transforming it into a cultural and spiritual hub for travellers from all over the world.
Whether you are looking for a cheap and cheerful backpacker’s hostel with a beach view, or a 5-star fully serviced private villa, you will be able to find your perfect lodging somewhere in Canggu. Here are a couple of options:
This funky hostel is one of Canggu’s newest, (opening in December this year) it offers all the best of modern hostel accommodation for a very affordable price. Clean, well appointed rooms, both private and dorms (mixed or female only dorms are available), a restaurant, a pool area with a water slide, Jacuzzi and bar, as well as a large social hub. In addition, the rooftop terrace has great views of the ocean and the surrounding rice-fields. The hostel is just a few minutes walk from the beach and has all the excitement of downtown Canggu.
This is definitely at the more expensive end of the spectrum, but it does have six massive bedrooms, so you can get the price down considerably by coming along with friends or family – the perfect location for an event. This is a custom designed estate that boasts manicured lawns, a media room, luxurious swimming pool and 5-star facilities throughout. The villa staff are on hand for your every need whilst you lap up tropical luxury.
What to do?
Surfing is at the heart of Canggu’s popularity, tourists congregated here to experience some of the best surf breaks in Bali. No matter if you are an experienced surfer or a complete newbie, you have no excuse not to get in the water. Canggu’s beaches are lined with surf clubs offering lessons for beginners and upwards. There are also a number of surf camps and tour operators that will take you to the more experienced, remote breaks throughout Bali.
There is no better way to unwind at the end of a long, hot day (or recover, the morning after a long hard night, depending on how you roll) than being on the receiving end of a traditional Balinese massage. A couple of favourites are the Maria Curau Spa and Goldust Beauty Lounge. The former of these has a peaceful view over the rice-fields and uses only vegan and cruelty free products (allowing you to feel beautiful both inside and out) whilst the latter has become Insta-famous for its 24k Gold Facial, which will leave you, at least temporarily, looking like you have just had an encounter with Goldfinger!
Where to go?
Whilst out and about in Canggu, you will find plenty of bars, shops, restaurants and healthy cafes to keep you entertained, but there are a couple of places that you just can’t miss out on.
Deus Ex Machina
The Deus Ex brand has become rather famous and their Canggu home is kind of a one-stop-shop for pretty much any need you could have really. Part cafe, part surf and bike shop, part restaurant, part hangout, part bar – oh they also have a half-pipe out the back for any skaters out there! This is great place to come for a Sunday session, but is legendary as the home of ‘Tacos and Tattuesdays’ – a night of tasty tacos and quick 20 minute tattoos!
Another staple of the Canggu scene, Old Man’s is a relaxed beach club just off Batu Bolong Beach. Their outdoor picnic area is a great place to hangout during the day, eating burgers and drinking beer, whilst staring out to sea. As evening comes around switch over to cocktails, and capitalise on the daily happy hour, before watching another beautiful Bali sunset. After dark, things get a little rowdier as the dance floor gets going, often accompanied by live music and/or a DJ.
On the last Saturday of each month, Old Man’s becomes the venue for Canggu’s biggest market. Specialising in vintage and designer clothing, accessories, beach and surf gear, this is the perfect place to pick up a few souvenirs as well as a bite or two of delicious street food.
Get to know the culture
Exploring the streets and dipping into shops and cafes is great way to gain an understanding of anywhere you visit and Canggu is certainly full of opportunities to do just that. But Balinese culture is so complex, that to get any kind of appreciation for it, you will have to go a little deeper. Now, you could book a spiritual retreat in Ubud or do a tour of all the island’s temples (well, maybe not all, seriously, there’s a lot of temples), but if you don’t have the time, or simply don’t want to travel too far from home, there are a couple of experiences that can be had in Canggu.
Hinduism plays an intrinsic role in the lives of almost all the Balinese, and if you want to understand anything about the people, you have to visit a temple. Fortunately, for anyone based in Canggu, Tanah Lot, one of the most important and visually striking of Bali’s temples, is right on the doorstep.
If you have seen any photographs of Bali then you will almost certainly have seen Tanah Lot – it’s the temple set out to sea, on a rocky outcrop, usually with an incredible sunset behind it. The temple is believed to be about 500 years old and is dedicated to the worship of the sea god Dewa Baruna. Unfortunately, it is not possible to climb up to the temple itself, the site is both too holy and too fragile, but the grounds surrounding it are very pleasant with plenty of viewing areas and you can get a blessing from one of the priests.
The site as whole gets very busy at sunset, so you if want to snag the best viewing spot, then make sure to get there early – find a nice clifftop bar, sit back with a couple of cold Bintangs and enjoy the scenery.
If you are there during the rainy season (and, preferably, low-tide) and feeling a little adventurous then try taking a 15 minute walk down the beach to one of Bali’s prettiest, secret waterfalls, Melasti. The water plunges straight off the cliffs and into the Indian Ocean, making for some supremely Instagram worthy shots, especially when seen at sunset. Just be careful getting there and back as the cliff paths can be a bit tricky.
Take a cooking class
You can’t really get to know a place, or its people, without knowing a bit about its cuisine. If you want to get beyond the ubiquitous nasi goreng then why not book a lesson in Balinese cooking? There are several places that run such courses, the Santai has some great reviews, but there are plenty of others that may be better suited to either your schedule or budget. Most of them follow the same basic pattern, an early morning trip to one of the traditional food markets to pick up ingredients and then a couple of hours in the kitchen with local chefs learning how to cook authentic Balinese dishes. The best is saved till last, when you get to feast on the amazing food you have just prepared.
This guide to Canggu guest post was contributed by Balli 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.