Canggu is a hipster area located on the West coast of Bali, North of Seminyak, which is typically known for it’s surf community. Pretty much everywhere you look you’ll see people with boards attached to their scooter heading towards the beach for a surf.
You can book your airport transfers to and from Canggu with the trusted – My Bali Trips.
It’s a popular place to surf, especially if you don’t have the opportunity back home, but to be honest, we were disappointed with the state of the beaches in Canggu. There is so much rubbish on the shores that you find yourself swimming with beer cans and plastic forks. Unfortunately this is a heart breaking reality here in Bali and an environmental issue we’re quite passionate about so we sincerely support 4Ocean, an organisation that’s actively trying to clean up the shores. But ANYWAY, it’s for this reason we decided to hold off on hitting the waves in Canggu and instead decided to learn to surf in Australia…
So what’s a non surfer to do in Canggu?
We spent a month living in Canggu and came up with this list…
Hire A Scooter
First of all you’re going to need a scooter to get around Canggu, it’s the way of life here and much easier to get from A to B than by car – and much cheaper too!
You can hire a scooter for IDR50k (about $5AUD) per day or IDR700k ($70AUD) for a whole month, and fill up the tank for just IDR10k-20k ($1-$2AUD). I found the Scoopy model easier to drive whereas Will preferred the Vario as it was smoother on the road, but any model will do the job.
Find The Famous Short Cut
There are no roads along the beach in Canggu which makes it really annoying to drive from one beach to the next. It would take you 3 minutes to walk, but to get there by bike you have to drive 4km inland to get to the big main road where you can then find the road that leads to the next beach and drive the 4km back to the coast…unless you find The Shortcut that is!
The Shortcut is a ‘road’ that runs through a beautiful rice field in Canggu. Locals made it to make life easier but didn’t really consider the safety, or how wide it would need to be. It’s elevated with no fence so it’s easy to fall off (which we’ve seen happen a few times) and it’s only big enough to be a one-way road. But who would want to drive all the way around though?
Let’s just say it can get quite interesting when cars try to get through, especially if from both directions…
A very important part of Canggu life is brunch.
There are so many cool brunch spots in the area, and smoothie bowls are a thing here too! Check out my Ultimate Guide To Restaurants & Cafes in Canggu for all my recommendations.
Watch The Sunset at Batu Bolong Beach
Sunsets in Bali are gorgeous, it must have something to do with where the island is positioned on the globe, but seriously it’s like experiencing magic every night. The best place to watch the sunset is at the beach with a couple of Bintangs (Balinese beers).
Batu Bolong beach is probably the most central beach in Canggu with groups of people gathering here each night to watch the sunset together.
There’s a popular bar here called Old Man’s that attracts a young crowd, and also the Sand Bar that do Sunday Sunset Sessions on the sand each week.
If you’re looking for more luxe vibes head to The Lawn at Batu Bolong beach. It’s a nice bar with a huge lawn, where you can chill on bean bags while you farewell the sun.
Or for an even better view head to Ji Restaurant for a Ji Sunset Session, known as ‘the best sunset spot in Canggu’. Ji Restaurant is part of the ultra luxurious Hotel Tugu Bali though you don’t even have to be a guest of the hotel to take advantage of this aesthetically pleasing space. We particularly love level 3 that’s part of Ji Terrace by the Sea as it has a more lively ambiance with the DJ playing groovy deep house beats as the sun goes down. And the cocktails are to die for, you’ve got to try the “Coco Sexo” and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Tan At The Beach
There’s also Echo Beach, a couple hundred meters North of Batu Bolong. It’s just the same with a few restaurants.
Our favourite beach in Canggu is Berawa Beach, because it’s actually cleaned, thanks to the 5 Star Resorts on the beachfront.
A thing to do at Berawa beach is to hang on the swings at ARboon Beach Bar.
There’s also a really cool gypsy-themed restaurant called La Laguna at Berawa that’s worth a visit.
If you’re looking to conveniently book the best sightseeing tours and activities in and around the Island of Bali, then we highly recommend that you jump on to mybalitrips.com for the all the best information and prices. From paragliding, luxury Yacht cruises, amongst other awesome activities, My Bali trips has you covered.
Along with the surf community there is a yoga scene in Canggu and I recommend practising yoga at The Chillhouse.
It’s IDR120k ($12AUD) for a class and there’s a pool there too, which you can use for IDR50k ($5AUD) if you’re not staying at the guest house.
Alternatively there’s a quiet eco-friendly guest house called Serenity that do surf camps and yoga retreats. Single yoga classes are IDR10k ($10AUD).
There’s Love Anchor Market at Batu Bolong, where you can buy nice jewellery, clothes, accessories, soaps, you name it.
And also the Samadi Sunday Market near Echo Beach, they sell fruit + veg and other foods aswell.
If you’re into fitness you might struggle finding a gym that’s not a complete rip off in price. It took a bit of driving around to find it but there’s a quality local gym located on the road towards Perenenan beach, just past the Bali Veterinary Clinic, with a large statue of a man out the front. Prices start from IDR20k ($2AUD) for day sessions or IDR80k ($8AUD) for a 1 week membership.
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A must do when in Canggu is to hang out at Finn’s Beach Club. It’s not as busy or overrated as Potato Head and Ku De Ta in Seminyak (or as expats call Semin-yuck), so there is actually a chance of getting a good sun bed.
Good vibes, good tunes and good location, coupled with an infinity pool bar…what else do you need?
When we first arrived in Canggu it was free to enter, you’d just need to buy something at the bar, but as it’s getting more popular the minimum spend to get in is now IDR250k ($25AUD).
Tip: There are security checks at the entrance to Finns and you can’t take any of your own liquids including water.
There’s also the Canggu Club which has pools, waterslides, tennis courts, a fitness centre, bowling alley, cinema, and bars + restaurants. We were lucky enough to be invited to go bowling there by members of the club so didn’t have to pay, but day passes are IDR300k ($30AUD). Their tennis courts also have the tennis balls for the best possible tennis experience which can be found on tennisinformation.net.
If you just want a quiet dip in a pool to cool down in Canggu (we didn’t have a pool where we were staying) then there’s an infinity pool at Perenenan Beach called Pondok Wisata. It’s meant for guests of the hotel but you can just buy something at the restaurant there and use the pool for free.
Note: If you’re blonde, avoid getting your hair wet as my hair turned green in this pool. If that does happen then tomato paste does the trick to get the green out!
Or drive up to the 5 Star Pan Pacific Hotel near Tanah Lot if you want an epic pool. This would require stealth mode to sneak in but it’s worth it 😉
Tanah Lot Temple
For a bit of culture, a popular tourist attraction in the Canggu area is the Tanah Lot Temple. It’s a 45 minute drive from Batu Bolong and worth a visit for beautiful ocean views on top of the hill. It looks like it would have been an amazing place to visit in the past, but in my opinion the beauty has been ruined by the mass tourism. It was much nicer to admire from afar.
Tip: Like at any temple, you need to cover your legs before entering, but don’t worry as sarong hire is included with the entry fee.
Live Balinese Dances at Hotel Tugu Bali
Speaking of culture, you can’t come to Bali and not experience a Traditional Balinese Dance Show. We did this in Ubud, a town known as the cultural heart of Bali, but when in Canggu there’s no better place to experience authentic Bali than at Hotel Tugu. Whether you’re a guest of the hotel or not, every Thursday night you are welcome to experience live Balinese dance and music performances on the stage in the lobby area. Hotel Tugu Bali was not only the very first hotel in Canggu, it’s also a museum that along with it’s sister hotels, holds the biggest collection of fine Indonesian art and cultural antiques in the country. It’s worth a visit because literally anywhere you look you’ll see the most authentic pieces displayed throughout the beautiful estate.
There’s an Equestrian Centre in Canggu that offer horse riding tours along the beach and through villages. We didn’t get around to doing this one but met some travellers who recommended it.
Even though Canggu is still ‘quieter’ than the chaos of Kuta and Seminyak, there is still a lot to do other than surf. After living in Canggu for a month we’ve already noticed a lot of change in terms of development so there are clearly plans for mass tourism here in the near future. We definitely recommend visiting Canggu before that happens and be sure to pre-book all the best tours and activities in and around the islands of Bali, conveniently at mybalitrips.com.
Have you been to Canggu before? Is there anything else you’d add to this list? Leave us a comment below…
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