Visiting Canggu (Bali), Indonesia

Latest visit: March 2018

Tips for visiting Canggu:

  • You will need a scooter to get around here, unless you like walking A LOT (not always safe at night in the dark).
  • The beaches:
    • for a narrow sandy surf beach head to Batu Bolong Beach: black sand, a few chairs and restaurants/rentals around
    • Echo Beach is the wider, longer beach with multiple restaurants and beach resorts along the way. You can rent a board, get a lesson and surf here although the waves were quite strong. Check out the big statue on the beach, in the distance. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset! I almost stopped at La Brisa for a drink and fun vibes but decided to head back home to rest.
  • My friend’s friend owns Les Basics clothing shop and I’d recommend stopping in!
  • I stayed at My Villa Canggu because it was reasonably priced and still available (I booked it last minute through The room was quite basic but had a very high ceiling, no breakfast included and access to a pool in the back close to the other villas. A friend had also recommended Canggu Beach Inn but it was already sold out by the time I tried to reserve a night there. I was recommended Desa Sani, the Canggu Beach Inn and The Chillhouse.
  • Check out Deus Temple ex-machina, for men’s shopping (including custom motorbikes!), great food as well as nightlife! Old Man’s for Happy Hour, partying in the evening or just for a gelato or a cold beer by the water. I had an enjoyable dinner at Little Flinders and a wonderful breakfast at In The Raw.  Gypsy Kitchen & Bar looked healthy and tasty. I was also recommended Nalu Bowls, Betelnut Cafe, Canteen Cafe, Milk & Madu,  Lacalita Bar y cocina, le Loft Bali, Cafe Vida, La Laguna Bali, Peloton Supershop and Crate Café.
  • For yoga, I enjoyed a class in a beautiful and restful room at the Practice.  I also heard Desa Seni and The Chillhouse have good yoga sessions.
  • I didn’t have the chance to do the Crater Rim Bike tour by The Chillhouse but it’s apparently a must-do activity around here!

Impressions of Canggu:

I didn’t stay in Canggu long enough to get a real feel for the place. One thing I did notice is getting around here without a scooter can be tricky. Most streets don’t have sidewalks and the taxi system works by zones so it can be tricky to find one that will pick you up or drop you off.

I did enjoy being in the countryside, away from the busy streets of Seminyak. It was my first experience in a homestay (like a small hotel, closer to renting a room in an Airbnb really) and it was good. Compared to the courtyard in Seminyak, it was definitely a step-down but it was perfect for one night… or so I thought until the AC stopped working and there was a huge thunderstorm and my room got flooded by the rain because of the huge gap between the balcony door and the floor.

I walked from my homestay to Batu Bolong Beach because I was excited to jump in the water and cool down, maybe read my book… but this turned out to be the wrong place to do that. The beach is quite narrow at places, pretty dirty and not very appealing to lay your towel down and sunbathe. I considered renting a chair (from the multiple little rental shops along the beach), but then I saw how aggressive the waves were and decided I didn’t feel like getting knocked out by mother nature that day. I dipped my toes in, my knees, and my thighs and then I could feel the current pulling me out… so I decided it was better to head back (and I’m a good swimmer!). I sat on my towel and watched as a group of 10 tourists got knocked out and dragged by the waves… until they were able to get back up and get out of the water, covered in sand and algae.

It was so hot. I decided to walk back and grab a drink or something to cool down. A friend had recommended Old Man’s so I stopped there for a gelato, it was still early to grab a beer, although a lot of people were already drinking! I can see the appeal of this place: open space, close to the water, surfer vibes, no fuss.

From here I was lucky enough to find a cab that would drive me to Deus Temple ex-machina. Multiple friends had recommended I stop there for lunch or a drink and check out the interior design and concept. I was so impressed: mixing a clothing/lifestyle shop with a restaurant, a bar, and a custom bike shop? I wish I had had that idea!

I called an Uber ( I learned after that they are banned from Bali and operate secretly!) and he dropped me off in Echo Beach. This beach felt a little bit more touristy and actually cleaner. I walked to the statue and just hung out there for awhile, appreciating the beauty that surrounded me.

As I walked back towards the small restaurants and rental shops, I decided to rent a board and join the surfers. Bad idea! The current was still very strong here and I couldn’t (or didn’t dare) go past the whitewash. After an hour of getting wiped out by waves, and actually getting up a few times, I decided it was time for a drink! As I walked back with my board, I noticed 4 lifeguards run by me, and then saw them jump in to save 2 men that were being dragged out by the waves! Good call Sara.

I strolled by La Brisa and considered stopping there, but decided I was underdressed and salty sticky and needed more of a local warung instead. (Warung= small Balinese restaurant/bar that usually has cheaper local meals)

I meandered back to my homestay after enjoying my well-deserved Bintang and getting very hungry, I got caught in a thunderstorm. It started as a cute little rain, so at this point, I started walking faster towards my homestay and was hoping to find a taxi, but didn’t get lucky and ran into Little Flinders restaurant to find shelter, just as the cute mist turned into a monsoon… I enjoyed a meal here and waited for the rain to pass, but it didn’t. I did find a taxi that charged me a lot more than he should have, tried to bargain but it didn’t work, so I jumped in and decided I didn’t care, I just wanted my bed. I got to my room and it was flooded by the torrential rain. I had to use all the towels I had to create a barrier between the bottom of the door and the floor.

When I woke up the next morning, the sun was shining and I decided to try a hatha yoga class at The Practice. The studio was beautiful and the class was good (not excellent). The teacher scored points when she reminded us that our life is sacred, everything and everyone in it is scared (they all teach us something). I got caught in the rain again on my way out, and ran into In The Raw restaurant for shelter and a delicious breakfast!

That was the end of my adventure in Canggu.

Related posts: Visiting Seminyak (Bali), Visiting Ubud (Bali), Visiting the Outskirts of Ubud (Bali), Visiting Nusa Ceningan, Visiting Nusa Lembongan, Visiting Gili Trawangan and Visiting Sanur (Bali).