From brunch-lovers to die-hard surfers, the small beachside town of Canggu has become a hotspot for young, hip travellers and expats. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of its neighbouring town Seminyak, Canggu offers a much more laidback pace to life. Here, you trade mega-resorts and showy restaurants for quaint, privately-owned villas and relaxed cafes. Canggu’s casual yet consistent nightlife is another draw card for the socialites, especially for those wanting to avoid the insanity of party hub Kuta. The town has only recently risen in popularity over the past few years, meaning it still retains some of its laidback local charm and is yet to be completely overrun by tourism.
In the nine days I spent in Canggu, we were taught how to surf by locals, braved the roads on our scooters, spent hours people-watching in cafes, drank from coconuts on the beach at every sunset. The atmosphere of Canggu is definitely what I loved the most about the place- everyone is so friendly and carefree, making it the perfect place for meeting locals and fellow travellers. Whilst Canggu was a perfect place to relax, it is a small town, so there isn’t a lot to do (other than the above!). If you are more of an adventure-seeker or a doer, I would probably recommend spending around four days here. I would also suggest hiring a scooter- this gives you so much freedom to explore the area and its surrounds without the hassle of having to hail a taxi every time you want to go somewhere!
Where to Stay
If you are looking for a place to stay in Canggu, I could not recommend The Chillhouse more. This incredible retreat is the only one of its kind in Bali, offering surfing, biking, yoga, organic food, and the perfect space to meet and build community with like-minded travellers. The accommodation consists of quaint little villas and bungalows, and includes breakfast and dinner in the price.
Honestly, the food alone will make you never want to leave this place. With unlimited food available at both mealtimes, you’ll always find a diverse range of delicious, healthy options to feast on. Alongside the breakfast buffet, every morning there are various specials on offer like banana buckwheat pancakes, eggs benedict with avocado and exotic smoothie jars. These breakfast specials made me excited to wake up in the morning (and normally resulted in my indulging in a second or third breakfast). Every night, you share buffet-style, family meals on long tables, which creates a great communal feeling to the place and makes it really easy to bond with your fellow travellers.
For the go-getters, The Chillhouse is a lively hub of activity. Here, they offer daily bike tours, surf lessons and yoga classes to suit all skill-levels. With plenty of communal spaces, co-working areas, and comfy couches scattered around the property, this place really does live up to its name as the perfect spot to CHILL. Unlike most the places I had been staying, hanging out in this environment actually sparked my creative motivation. Many people stay here for extended periods of time and use the Chillhouse as a space to work on various projects. For me, it was the perfect place to catch up on my blogging. Plus, at the end of the day, after all the hard work, you can book in for a well-deserved, onsite massage… Does it get much better? Six days here did not feel like enough.
A Private Villa
Canggu has recently become dominated by private villas popping up just about everywhere. Here, you can stay in a self-contained house, often with its own private pool, for very affordable prices. Your best bet for finding a suitable Villa is through AirBnB (which if haven’t already signed up you can get a free credit for!), and if you book in advance, you’ll probably score a better deal.
Renting out a room at a homestay is by far your cheapest option when it comes to accommodation. These homestays are run by locals and are a great way to experience a taste of authentic Balinese culture. Often, the price of the homestay even includes breakfast. You can look up and book homestays on Booking.com or you can wait till you arrive- you are sure to stumble across somewhere with availability. If you are booking online, be careful to read reviews of the homestay first. Although most the experiences I had at homestays in Bali were really positive, I did stay at one place that absolutely stunk, and was home to a family rats scurrying around in the roof. Every night I lay in bed listening to those furry pests, thoroughly regretting not doing my research a little better!
Where to Eat
Crate Café- A favourite among Canggu ex-pats, Crate Café is a super cool hang out spot for breakfast and lunch. You can see the Australian influence to the place as you’ll find favourites on the menu like avocado and vegemite on toast. Alongside a bunch of classic brunch options, you’ll also find an endless range of healthy smoothies, juices and acai bowls (a Bali favourite). And if you need your caffeine fix, the Iced Coffee is amazing!
Warung Cucu- If you are after cheap, genuine Indonesian cuisine, head to Warung Cucu. Located along the main Canggu strip, the restaurant may be quiet and understated, but the food is delicious and will set you back just a couple of dollars.
Desi Seni- We stumbled upon Desi Seni on our very first night in Bali. Desi Seni is an Eco-Village Resort which you can stay at, or you can just go eat at their restaurant like we did. The first meal I had in Bali was the Nasi Campur here and it remained one of the best meals I ate in Bali. The prices are pretty expensive here, so only go if you have a little more money to spend.
Café Avocado- For the health-food junkies among us, Café Avocado is your point of call. Serving up all kinds of fruit smoothies, raw treats, salads and healthy meals, Vegan’s flock to this place to fuel up on plant-based goodness.
Nalu Bowls- With the smoothie-bowl craze has been overtaking Bali, Nalu Bowls sets the bar high when it comes to serving up bowls of goodness. From a special acai-berry blends to bright pink dragon fruit concoctions, every bowl comes layered with crunchy granola, fruit and nuts and makes for the perfect breakfast on the go.
Where to Drink
The Lawn- The Lawn really is THE ultimate spot to have a drink and watch the sunset. Buy a fresh young coconut or cocktail from the Combi Van bar, then sit picnic-style amongst the bean bags and cushions, relax on one of the hammocks, or take position on the famous sunset swings and soak in the sunset magic.
Old Man’s- Going out in Canggu is a bit like clockwork- each night of the week, there is a certain “place” that everyone will go to. You’ve just got to learn the simple formula! At the top of the food chain is Old Man’s- this is definitely the most popular spot in town amongst locals and tourists alike. Located right along Canggu beach, the bar is a great spot for a drink at any time of the day or a bite to eat. Wednesday and Friday nights are the prime times to pay a visit to Old Man’s for a Bintang and a bit of a boogie.
Pretty Poison- Pretty Poison is a very hipster skate bowl and bar, and is the place to be on Saturday night in Canggu. Come hang out and watch a bunch of long-haired dudes show off their skater moves. If you are feeling a little wild, you can go to the Tattoo parlour inside and get a lifelong souvenir of your time in Bali. Bet your mum would be proud.
Deus Ex Machina- Famous bike shop and café by day, buzzing nightlife spot by night. Every Sunday, Deus Ex Machina explodes with live music, followed by a DJ and lively dancefloor. Once things slow down at Deus, people tend to progress down the Sandbar for a party by the beach.
If you are going to Bali, don’t leave Canggu off your list of destinations to visit!
PS. Thanks to the The Chillhouse for inviting me to stay as a guest. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own!