Until a few years ago, Canggu, a small village located in the south of the island of Bali, was surfer territory. A quiet place to escape from the crowded and touristy Kuta, away from the popular Ubud and where to relax after catching some of the best waves in Indonesia.
Today, the surfing atmosphere still remains, although in recent times has seen how their surfcamps (name given to hostels for lovers of this sport), located between Hindu temples and rice paddies, have been invaded by villas, cafes, stores, tattoo studios, graffiti and restaurants. All of them with an aspect that makes you doubt if you are really in Bali, in the neighborhood of Gracia or in the heart of Malasaña. Canggu has become the coolest town in Bali.
Three types of travelers can be found in Canggu: those who walk with a surfboard under their arm, those who do it with their Mac Book and those who move on their skateboard.
Which one do you identify with?
During the day, they all go to different places. The first ones will do it toward the coast, one of the most agitated of Bali and where surf schools abound. The second ones, on the other hand, will do it to sit in one of the many cafes that invade the town. All of them have Wifi and, in spite of being in a country as cheap as Indonesia, due to its well-taken care of decoration and its demand, the prices are rather European.
The best coffees of Canggu
Some of the most popular coffees are concentrated in Jalan Pantai Berawa. Of particular note is the Pomelo Café, whose courtyard is a haven of peace for the ears, as it is somewhat more hidden from the road than those of its neighbors. Here the coffee is served down to the smallest detail: with a pastry and accompanied by a typical Indonesian Frangipani flower that will remind you where you are, in case you had forgotten. Recommendation: the ‘french toast’ covered in honey with banana and berries.
Eleven Elephants, located just across the street from the previous one, is another must-try in the area. It offers a wide variety of handmade donuts that will be your great weakness: chocolate, sugar, with oreos…
Increasingly, many of them are defined as ‘french bakery’. This is the case of Monsieur Spoon, open since 2012 and located in Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong. In it besides finding some of the best French-style pastries in Bali, they also serve burgers.
On that same street are also located the Café Organic Canggu, where, as its name indicates, all the products they offer are organic; Betelnut Café, covered in wood and surrounded by the typical Balinese rice fields; Café Vida, whose patio full of vegetation makes it one of the ideal places to relax, while tasting their tacos or burgers.
If you want to spend some time in one of the best-decorated places in Canggu, we recommend a visit to Motion Café. Its walls, replete with flowers and butterflies are as visual as its tableware and the presentation of its own dishes. Although, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful that will make us travel between small planets is Le Pettit Prince Canggu, where they serve delicious crepes. Be warned that in the latter the Wifi does not work very well.
Nightlife in Canggu
However, despite Canggu’s great diversity, come nightfall surfers, skaters and digital nomads alike mingle with each other in the trendy venues. One of them is Deus Ex Machina, a bar-restaurant inside which are displayed some surfboards, photographs and a small collection of old design motorcycles. On one of its sides is the skate park, while in its central courtyard is located a small stage and the bar where the Bintang, the quintessential beer of Indonesia, is the queen of the night. Here there is no lack of good music, sometimes live, laughter and an atmosphere that attracts even young Balinese who come to flirt with Westerners.
Although if we talk about trendy locals, perhaps one of the busiest from well into the afternoon is the Finns Beach Club, opened in the summer of 2016 and located on theBerawa Beach. A place whose bar, restaurant and DJ lounge are located around its pool. The entrance before sunset costs about 100,000 Balinese rupiah (6.32 euros) and includes drinks and meals that have that amount on the menu. To get a bed or hammock you will have to pay a little more. The Finns Beach Club is open all day, but the best time to visit it is at dusk, when the sun slowly sets on the horizon while the water is full of surfers and the sky is tinged with warm colors. This place is also popular because during the night it has spotlights that give directly to the sea for those who want to practice the nocturnal surf or for those who want to enjoy the competitions that are celebrated there.
Situated in front of the beach of Batu Bolong, is the popular The Old’s Man, a new bar-restaurant with grilled meat whose name is due to one of the most well-known waves of this coast of Bali. Its atmosphere is usually surfer and at dusk it becomes a disco.
The always necessary dinner before going out to dance can be enjoyed at the Echo Beach House seafood restaurant, where you choose the fish or meat they have on display in their coolers and they cook it for you on the grill. It has an open salad bar and sea views. Another option is La Laguna which, as its name suggests, is located next to a lake on the coast and whose decoration will make you enter a circus full of magic where, if you have been traveling for a long time, you will be happy to know that they have croquettes as good as the ones you can find in Spain. If feeling at home is what it’s all about, then what’s yours is La Finca, a Spanish tapas bar where they don’t give up the Balinese ambience.
For couples, we don’t end this section without commenting on the we can offer you one of the most unique gastronomic experiences in Canggu. You can choose from a series of dining experiences that combine a glimpse into Indonesian culture and a very unique dining room. How about an aphrodisiac dinner in bed? Yes, we are going to prepare you a unique scenario where dinner will be served in an antique double bed right on the beach.
Where to Sleep in Canggu
Without a doubt our villa Famiona is a favorite, a luxury villa 5 minutes from Echo Beach with a private pool and garden and a capacity for two people.
If instead you are more, there is much variety of accommodations, here you can find exclusive bungalows, such as those of Anyar Sari Villa, The Apartment Umalas or United Colors of Bali; surfcamps, such as Lapoint Surf Camp, Storm Rider or Solid, surf and yoga House; hostels, such as Canggu Beach, The Hiddeout Hostel, Canggu Surfers House, The Farm Hostel or Point Break Canggu; or guesthouses, such as Farmers Yard or Terracotta.
For yoga lovers, Canggu is also a really interesting area. Many resorts offer free yoga sessions to their guests. From Routes we have devised a “spiritual” itinerary through Bali where we propose Canggu and Ubud as star destinations for the most mystical. We stayed at Kalapa Resort And Yoga Retreat
The vast majority of them have swimming pool, laundry service and motorcycle rental, very necessary to move around the town and get closer to the surrounding attractions such as Tanah Lot or Uluwatu. Getting around Canggu by motorcycle is very easy, although it may not seem so due to its chaotic traffic. We recommend that you get lost in its rice fields and small streets full of charm.
Excursions from Canggu
Visit to the Tempor of Tabah Lot
Tanah Lot means “Land in the sea”. In the Balinese language. The temple sits on a large rock offshore, a rock that has been sculpted over the years by sea. The temple is known to date back to the 16th century and its creator was Dang Hyang Nirartha. During his travels along the southern coast he noticed the beauty of this place and spent long periods of time in Tana Lot. It is said that the fishermen brought him food and gifts. Nirartha asked the fishermen to build a rock shrine here at this point because he felt it had to be a sacred place to worship the sea gods of Bali.
The Tanah Lot temple was built and has been part of Balinese mythology for centuries. It is one of the seven ¨Temples of sea¨ that surround the coast of Bali. Each one of these temples is strategically located and among all they form a kind of chain along the south-western coast. The temple is a mixture of Balinese Mythology and influence of the Hindu religion.
At the base of the rocky island it is believed that poisonous sea serpents protect the temple from evil spirits and intruders. You already know careful with not falling into the water! Pura Tanah Lot is located about 20 minutes (10Km) from our Villas in Canggu. It is a very nice excursion that can be combined with a visit for example to the Jatilwih Rice terraces to make a full day of sightseeing.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
The Jatiluwih Rice Terracesare listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site and are part of the Subak Irrigation System. The large expanses of terraces are staggered along an entire mountain, from its highest point to the feet that meet the ocean. The traditional Subak irrigation system is a method that has been preserved for centuries and passed down from generation to generation. Apart from its agricultural development, this scenic landscape has also established itself as a tourist destination.
It is also interesting to approach the Gunungsari orchards. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy the fresh air, appreciate the panoramic views, and relax. Whether for agriculture, nature, or heritage, Jatiluwih remains a site that must be preserved and must remain sustainable for future generations.
Taman Ayun Temple
This temple was built in 1,634 by the king of Mengwi as his family temple. The temple’s surroundings or courtyards are completed by beautifully manicured gardens, which can be accessed by a small bridge. The gardens are surrounded by man-made waterways.
In the temples of Bali, natural elements are always present and Taman Ayun is a good example.
Activities in Canggu
In addition to excursions to the surroundings of Canggu you can stay in the city, not only the great variety of cafes and stores, there is an infinity of leisure offers that go from surf schools, golf courses and equestrian centers such as the neighboring (with respect to the Famiona Villas) Trakuan Equestrian Center
A horseback ride watching the sunset along the same beaches of Canggu or a tour of the rice paddies overlooking the beaches. Always accompanied by the professionals of the center. Bali Equestrian Center offers horseback riding in Canggu. The beach tour will take you along the seashore at Berawa beach early in the morning or at sunset.
Another tour will take you through a village through rice paddies and small villages. It can be the icing on the cake of your Bali trip. Another way to travel and see. Moreover, it is an activity suitable for all ages.
Golf is another alternative activity you can practice in Canggu, touring the 18 holes of the Nirwana Golf Course is like taking a tour through Bali but in miniature. The golf course takes you through terraced rice paddies, along the Indian Ocean coastline past the iconic Tanah Lot Bali temple as well.
In addition to that, golfers can enjoy the challenges of the Greg Norman-designed golf course. Nirwana’s is considered the best golf course in Indonesia
The third group of travelers is made up of skateboarders, who are quietly catching on. “The first time I came to Canggu, all this didn’t exist,” Santi, an Asturian surfer who has been summering in this part of Bali for three years now, explains to me. He does so while pointing to Konkrete, a new space for skate lovers. At its entrance there is a mini skate park where there is always someone doing pirouettes and inside the building, which resembles an old factory, they offer coffee and a Western menu.
Another must for skate lovers is Pretty Poison, opened in the summer of 2015 and whose ship offers numerous events throughout the summer season: DJs, competitions and good atmosphere. It is one of the trendy locals for skaters, who enjoy its skate park overlooking some of the rice paddies that still survive in the area.
Surfing, surfing and more surfing for everyone
Bali the surfer’s paradise, Canggu, one of the best destinations to practice it.
Whether you are an expert or have never been on a surfboard, the beaches of Canggu have something for you.
Experienced surfers will have a lot of fun at Echo Beach, Berawa or Pererenan Beach.
If you are a beginner, but want to live this experience, we will introduce you to good instructors at Echo Beach who offer surf lessons ranging from a single one-day lesson, to week-long courses.