Planning your first ever trip to Canggu and not sure where to begin? Fret not friends; we’ve got you covered with this first-timer’s guide specifically created to help with just that!
Read on for tips on how long to stay, what to eat see and do, and how not to break the bank while you’re doing it all.
A First-Timer’s Guide To Canggu
Canggu is a coastal village about 20 minutes north of Seminyak in western Bali.
If you’re looking for a younger, more laid back, and less crowded version of Seminyak, let me introduce you to a little beach community called Canggu. (Actually pronounced Chang-goo).
The main reason travelers come here is to relax and chill out. Whether that means surfing the waves, skateboarding the half pipe at Pretty Poison, sipping on bintangs at a beachfront lawn hangout, or practicing yoga next to a rice field. All forms of relaxation are welcome and encouraged.
This town is one of the hippest spots in Bali. It’s becoming increasingly more popular among people looking for an anti-Kuta experience. But don’t worry, even with its popularity on the rise there’s still that feeling of authenticity and localism in amongst the artsy cafes and tranquil rice paddies.
Canggu: please don’t ever change.
How Long To Stay
Umm… forever? Is that an option?
This area is very popular among expats. And I totally get why. If we hadn’t pre-booked our accommodation for the whole trip well in advance, I would have extended my time here significantly.
I wasn’t prepared to fall this in love with Canggu. Which is why we initially set out to explore it by means of a single day-trip. But it quickly became evident this was our favorite hood in Bali and we found ourselves coming back here again and again.
Even when staying far out of the way in the southern town of Uluwatu. Nope, not even 2 hours stuck in Bali rush hour traffic could keep us from returning.
Okay, in all seriousness though, I wouldn’t recommend staying any less than 2 nights. That’s the bare minimum. Stay longer if time permits!
Life in Canggu sort of revolves around the beach. The surf breaks here are popular amongst surfers from all stretches of the world. For those who don’t surf or aren’t the strongest of swimmers (ahem – me) you will likely spend more time next to the ocean than actually in it.
The three main beaches (Batu Bolong, Berawa, and Echo Beach) are all lined with warungs, bars, and restaurants. Not to mention pool clubs, like Finn’s, and a number of independent vendors offering lounge chairs, chilled coconuts, and grilled corn on the cob.
As the sun begins to set everyone flocks to the beach to grab themselves a seat on a bean bag chair or medallion blanket and take in nature’s impressive light show at places like The Lawn or The Naked Coconut.
As for the three main beaches themselves, they all kind of blend into one if you keep on walking along the shore.
Starting in the north and heading south towards Seminyak, you’ll reach the black volcanic sands of Echo Beach first.
Related Post: Black Sand & Big Surf – Echo Beach
Next is Batu Bolong Beach. Here you’ll find fences and huts dressed up with graffiti and murals. And maybe even a casual dead dog carcass or two (yes, really).
If you brave the heat and continue on, you’ll eventually arrive at Berewa Beach. The home of the most magical gypsy village: La Laguna. Trust me. This place is worth the journey. And the price tag.
We didn’t stay overnight (regrettably) but rather made 3 separate day-trips. Without a doubt, if we return to Bali, we would stay here a long time. A long loooong time.
I wish so much we spent at least one night at The Chillhouse, this dreamy tropical lifestyle retreat. Rooms start at about $77 CAD per night but include breakfast AND DINNER. Which looks next level delicious, by the way.
If you’re looking for something a bit more budget friendly, keep in mind that the further you get from the beach, the cheaper the accommodation gets.
Agoda is my go-to choice for booking hotels in Asia. There’s always plenty on offer no matter what your price range is. And it’s convenient to have an app on your phone that has all (or most) of your bookings stored in one central place. The Agoda taxi helper feature is a real lifesaver. It shows where you’re heading on a map, and gives the address and directions in both English and the local language.
If you’re traveling with a group of people (even if there’s just 4 of you) consider renting out a private villa. There are so many great digs to be found on Airbnb.
Sign up for Airbnb here and get $50 off your first stay 🙂
Nalu Bowls. Because smoothie bowls. Enough said.
Deus Ex Machina. Bike/surf shop cafe by day; beer filled hangout by night; taco and tattoo party on Tuesday evenings.
Roti Canai and Chaps. Roti Canai is a great little place for sweet and savory Malaysian roti and satay skewers. If you’re drinking upstairs in the western-themed bar, Chaps, they’ll happily bring your roti meal up for you. Chaps also has a little tattoo parlor room. Because what bar in Canggu doesn’t??
Old Mans. A favorite among locals, expats, and tourists alike. Depending on when you come by, the place may be bursting at the seams with folks watching sports on the overhead TVs or dancing to the beats the DJ is pumping out. Other times you can stop in for a boozy coconut and a bite and have the place almost to yourself. With exception of a few surfers who rolled in off the beach out front.
La Laguna. It’s definitely not the cheapest place to eat or drink. But gosh darnit if it isn’t the cutest! And I swear I’m not biased just because of my Gypsy heritage (winky face).
I’ve said it before: Bluebird taxis are the reputable ones. Unfortunately, they don’t drive around looking for passengers like they do in nearby Seminyak. See if someone will call one for you at your hotel or restaurant.
You can get around on foot if the places you’re frequenting are close to the beach. But the area is a bit spread out beyond that. And you certainly wouldn’t want to walk the dimly lit (or non lit, rather) streets come nightfall.
This is the one area in Bali I’d feel comfortable renting a scooter as my main means of getting around. That’s probably due to Canggu’s laid back chill vibe I keep referencing.
Sunrise yoga. Even though you didn’t come to Bali on a yoga retreat (many do, BTW), you might still want to take in a little early morning stretch session. Canggu’s rice fields provide the perfect backdrop for that.
Surf. If you don’t know how but want to learn, you can take surf lessons from one of the many surf schools around for about 350.000 rp ($35 CAD) for 2 hours. Just ask one of the many beach huts.
Relax at the beach. Sun tan. Splash in the waves. Go for a walk along the beach. But if you decide to walk from Echo Beach to Berawa, for the love of all that is good, BRING WATER. And sunscreen.
Get your skate on at Pretty Poison skate bar and club. PS. They have a pop-up tattoo parlor here. Because in Canggu, what goes together better than beers and tats. Amiright? Dues Ex Machina has a smaller scale skate area out back too.
Watch the sunset. That is, after all, what the beaches on Bali’s west coast are best for.
EAT. Stuff your face out at any of the delicious cafes and warungs. The issue won’t be finding a place to get a good meal. But, rather, trying to decide between all the options you have.
Get a tattoo. If it’s Tuesday, maybe you want a free one with your platter of tacos? Head to Deus Ex Machina. Didn’t make the short list? (Spots are limited). Head across the street to Chaps to get inked at the most random western decorated bar around.
Shop. While not as many stores as Seminyak, there’s really no shortage of surf shops and boho jewelry and clothing boutiques in Canggu. On Sundays, near Batu Bolong Beach you’ll find Love Anchors Bazaar. A cluster of little shops and stalls selling all sorts of goods.
Money Saving Tips
- Bring your own blanket or sarong to sit on if you don’t feel like paying for a lounger at the beach.
- Use your feet to get around as much as you can. When your legs get tired out, hail a cab, but make sure it’s a Bluebird taxi!
- Order beer in favor of cocktails when at all possible. Even better, order your beer from a local warung instead of a trendy bar.
- Head to Crate Cafe for a slightly cheaper smoothie bowl (50.000 rp) instead of Nalu Bowls (60.000 – 85.000).
Heading to Bali? Check out our Bali destination page for more related posts.
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