I first drafted this blog after my first visit to Canggu, in fact it was my first ever visit to the island of Bali. I instantly knew why it is such a popular holiday destination; Bali is beautiful and caters to so many travel preferences.
I have since been to Canggu 3 times, not that I’m particularly a creature of habit, but because it ticks all my tropical beach travel boxes: its has a chilled out surfer vibe yet offers great options for good coffee, cafes, shopping, and nice restaurants – without all the crowds.
Although construction continues at a rapid pace, fingers crossed Canggu can retain that chilled out surfer vibe I love about it so much.
This is the destination where you can find awesome accommodation for all budget types. If you’re travelling as a group then the best way to get the Bali experience is by renting a villa. There are a huge amount of villas on offer – so best to decide where you wish to be located and then browse the options available in that area. New properties are being built constantly, so your best approach is to do your research online.
In terms of the number of nights, I find 4 nights to be the sweet spot. Just enough time to balance out villa pool time, eating and drinking my way around the neighbourhood, and indulging in a spa treatment.
For each of the 3 visits, we booked our stay at The Tamantis Villas and it couldn’t have been more perfect! The Tamantis is located a 2 minute walk from Berawa Beach, in a quiet residential area equal distance from both the Berawa high streets and the Batu Bolong high street.
The Tamantis has 3 bedrooms with private open-air ensuite bathrooms (your shower is in a little courtyard garden!), a good sized private swimming pool, open air kitchen and living space, and a pool table. The staff were super helpful: we had breakfast cooked for us each morning, a free car shuttle service once daily (within the Canggu area), and ice-cold face towels upon returning to the villa. The staff can also organise in-house massages at a very reasonable price ($15 SGD for a 1 hour Balinese massage!!). Needless to say we didn’t want to leave.
See / Do
Beach Clubs: One of the must-do’s when in Bali, is to hit up the beach clubs. There are plenty to choose from, but if you’re staying in Canggu I’d recommend avoiding the painfully slow traffic and choosing one of the many options in and around the neighbourhood. By day; take your swimmers, hat and a book, and enjoy a day of pool side lounging. By eve; arrive about an hour before sunset, giving you plenty of time to grab a good spot, order drinks, and settle in for the beautiful Canggu sunset show.
- The Lawn – located just off Batu Bolong, this beach club is a locals favourite. With views over Canggu Beach this is a prime location for sundowners. If there is a group of you, try to secure the pool side beanbags; you’ll likely be so relaxed reclining here, you’ll likely decide to stay on for some tasty shared plates. Although word of warning: if you prefer chilled beach vibes and not pumping beach club tracks, best avoid the Friday night sessions.
- La Brisa – located at Echo Beach Canggu, this beach club is a very cool place to visit. The decor is incredible with rustic driftwood huts, more palm trees than you’ve ever seen, lots of interesting corners to hang out in, and great service. You’ll probably want to book in advance so you can select bean-bag-beach-front seating, or poolside couches and sun loungers. Hang about for dinner, with a tasty Spanish inspired menu.
Get your shop on: Have a spot of shopping on Batu Bolong – actually called Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, or as I prefer to call it, Canggu’s High Street. There are plenty of women’s and men’s clothing boutiques the length of this high street, so you could easily spend a couple of hours strolling and browsing.
Hit the spa: If you enjoy a little pampering time, then you MUST visit the Spring Spa in Canggu. They provide top notch treatments in a beautiful and modern setting. Book a mani and pedi combo or settle in for an hour long Balinese massage. Either way, you’ll come out feeling zen and beautified.
Watch the sunset on Canggu Beach: Although the beach in Canggu has dark grey volcanic sand, it truly is beautiful at sunset. It is also a hive of activity at this time of night; the ocean full of surfers, the beach bars brimming with people at happy hour, and a band pumping out tunes at the entrance to the beach.
Check out the beach art: Where street-art meets the beach. At Nelayan Beach, Canggu, you find some very cool ‘beach art’; art murals painted on the old boat sheds lining the beach. This stretch of the beach is perfect for morning or pre-sunset walks, and also makes a short cut walk to get you from Tamantis Villas over to the Batu Bolong high street.
Become a yogi: There are quite a few options for yoga studios in the Canggu area. Prior to visiting I read a really helpful article from The Asia Collective which highlighted these three top choices: Desa Seni, The Practise Bali, Serenity Eco Guesthouse & Yoga.
Do a day trip: If you feel like you want to explore further afield, I would recommend hiring a driver for the day and making your way down to the Bukit Peninsular. Whether it is to check out the historic Uluwatu Temple or hang out at Sunday’s Beach Club, you’ll get to see some stunning coastline views and the whitest sandy beaches in Bali. Check out my South Bali blog for more details.
Canggu is cafe heaven! There are just so many choices available to find excellent coffee, and delicious brunch or lunch menus (regardless of whether you’re looking for comfort food, fresh and green options, or vegan). Here are some of my favourite haunts:
Nüde: a 10 minute walk from the villa, this cafe has a really great breakfast and lunch menu, with views over the nearby rice fields. For those visiting for lunch they have some really tasty options: Falafel wraps, healthy salads, and black bun burgers. They also serve up good coffee & healthy light snacks (including raw energy balls – tastier then they sound!).
Ruko Cafe: another short stroll from our villa, which provided excellent strong coffee to really kick start your day. The space is uber creative, trendy, air-conditioned and offers a wide variety of healthy lunch options. Servings include BIG plates of healthy greens, creative salad combinations, and delicious wraps; with plenty of vegetarian options available.
Milk & Madu: a very popular brunch location in Canggu and for a reason. Plenty of options including healthy smoothies, chia puddings and fruit bowls, to breakfast burritos, eggs benedict, and toasties. You’ll likely need to visit more than once.
Quince Cafe: this cafe has plenty of vegetarian friendly options and everything on the menu is pure YUM. This is the perfect go-to lunch spot; with fresh and green salads, colourful cold presses juices, and the tastiest falafel in Berawa! If you can, bag a seat inside in the air-conditioning. The interior space is a small but beautiful green space, with lots of indoor plants throughout the part cafe / part homeware-store space.
Crate Cafe: great coffee, delicious and extensive menu, and great value pricing at that. Oh and the open air space is just the essence of Canggu-hipster cool. They even have a scooter valet to help keep the extensive number of bikes in order out front. I just love everything about this cafe – so make sure you add this one to your visit list.
Drinks & Dinner
Old Man’s: located one block back from Canggu beach, this bar offers chilled out surfer vibes, and is the perfect spot for sundowners. A great place to hang out with friends over some ice cold Bintang Beers, and a great place to just take in the essence of Bingin life! Also, it has probably the best happy hour in all of Canggu (so come thirsty!).
Lacalita Bar y Cocina: offers tasty Mexican food with VERY good iced margaritas in a casual environment. So good were the Margs, that I cannot specifically remember what food we ordered. What I do remember though, was that is was super tasty, and great for a larger groups dining together. Located on Batu Bolong.
Fishbone Local: Amazing fresh local seafood, with an emphasis on sustainability. The menu is relatively simple with the focus being on the fish caught fresh that day. If you are craving some good quality fish, then make sure you stop by for a meal; the fish was cooked to perfection. Located on Batu Bolong.
MamaSan: If you’re looking for a nice night out, then this restaurant is one to put on the list. A modern pan-Asian restaurant, with small sharing plates menu, you will want to arrive hungry. Every dish is creative, modern, and utterly melt in your mouth delicious, and the restaurant also offers a really good selection of cocktails and wine to accompany. Recommend making a reservation in advance as its a popular place. You’ll have to organise a taxi to get you over to Seminyak.
Ulekan: serves up traditional Indonesian food in a beautiful restaurant setting. This was possibly my favourite restaurant of all, which is high praise given the quality and variety of options available. The quiet ambience of the restaurant, with its open windows and entrance way, allows the cool(er) night air to flow through. We were a larger group so were able to order a mixture of dishes to share. Highlights were the Gado Gado, charred barramundi fillet, the tempeh, and the seafood coconut curry. We also ordered a Nasi Goreng to share but to be honest it wasn’t my favourite and we should’ve just opted for the local rice instead. All in all, amazing Indonesian food in a relaxed & beautiful space. I will be making a return visit! Located just off Berawa high street.
The Slow: We didn’t have enough nights to hit up all the restaurants on our wish list (aint that always the way?!), but The Slow is certainly on my next visit dinner list. We did however manage to squeeze in a couple of night-cap cocktails, and they did not disappoint. Sit up at the bar, and enjoy this beautifully designed space.
As always, until next time Canggu xxxx