Why Canggu is the next Ubud
First, it was Seminyak and Kuta, then Ubud, and now Canggu is set to be the next up-and-coming hotspot in Bali. Boasting two wide sandy beaches, a sweet surf break and some of the best modern, organic and vegan cuisine I’ve ever eaten, Canggu has it all! And best of all, it’s still relatively undiscovered compared to the rest of Bali.
Canggu is unlike much of Bali’s well-known destinations because it still has that lazy-small-town vibe, mixed with just enough action to keep you entertained. We visited Canggu for the weekend with our 2-year-old and met up with another couple in their late-twenties. In our experience, it’s a great destination for solo-travelers, couples, groups, and families with kids – there truly is something for everyone in Canggu.
How to get around
Canggu is a maze of rustic little streets that lead to the two main beaches, Echo Beach and Batu Bolong Beach. A narrow river divides the region into two key food and entertainment areas, which means a long round trip out to the main road and back again. To reduce your journey, keep an eye out for the shortcuts through the rice fields or ask a local.
The roads are pretty quiet in most parts of Canggu, and hiring a scooter only costs around $3.50USD a day, so it’s the most affordable and convenient way to get around. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, Canggu is flat and chilled out, so it’s the perfect place to learn.
If you’re coming with young kids, and don’t fancy the motorbike option, you can easily find accommodation right near Echo or Batu Bolong beach, and simply walk everywhere you need – the beach, the market and restaurants are right at your doorstep. There are lots of condos that are perfect for kids, quiet and spacious.
Where to stay in Canggu
We found a huge selection of stunning rooms and apartments on Airbnb, the affordable ones ranging from $15 to $40USD a night. Unfortunately, we had issues with our first Airbnb host cancelling on us last minute (which almost never happens!), so we were upgraded by Airbnb to a lush 2-bedroom apartment with a gorgeous pool, just a stone’s throw from the beach.
Note: Like many places in Bali, Canggu has a confusing system with street numbers, so ask your host for specific directions and landmarks to guide your driver there, instead of relying on Google maps.
Eating out Canggu style
This is my favourite recommendation when it comes to Canggu, because there is a seriously mouth-gasmic selection of incredible treats on offer, for every inclination, palette and dietary requirement. Since we were only there for the weekend and had a baby in tow (we’ll come back for a month next time!) we could only sample a few places, but – no matter how long your visit here – you will be spoiled for choice, all at amazingly affordable prices.
The main dining hotspots are on Jalan Batu Bolong (the beach end) and over the other side of town is Jalan Raya Samat.
Brunch is huge in Canggu… a typical morning for the ‘Canggu locals’ (a mix of expat digital nomads, long-stay tourists and chilled out surfers) involves a beach walk, swim or a surf, a scooter ride across the rice paddies. This is followed by the obligatory long, lazy smoothie bowl or big breakfast and a steaming latte.
Our favourite food spots around Jalan Batu Bolong were:
- The Shady Shack – so good we went two days in a row. An amazing array of raw desserts, delicious smoothie bowls, and coconut milk lattes. Their lunches are insane too!
- Crate Cafe – an awesome little morning coffee spot with an industrial Brooklyn vibe, cheap, and packed with expat locals.
- Monseiur Spoon – the freshest, melt-in-your-mouth croissants you’ll have in Bali (and dare I say anywhere outside France!), delicious smoothie bowls, and decent coffee.
- Milk and Madu – This is a little place on the other side of town (near Jalan Raya Samat, and an excellent place to bring your kids because there is a garden eating area that’s completely fenced and includes complimentary children’s toys. You can eat in peace while they play in a safe area! Win-win! The buttermilk chicken burgers here are to die for, there are a bunch of vegetarian and vegan options, and the coffee is on point.
Other eateries worth mentioning:
- Ruko Cafe
- Peloton Supershop
- Betelnut Cafe
- Satu Cafe
- Earth Cafe and Market
But seriously, just check out the options on TripAdvisor, there are so many 4.5* options you could eat somewhere different every day for 4 weeks and never get bored.
Relaxing and seeing the sights
While you’re in Canggu you’ll find yourself at the beach every day. In fact, the beach has a mysterious, almost magnetic quality and seems to pull most of Canggu down towards the waves, as the sun starts to dip in the sky.
Spending late afternoon and evening on the beach is particularly special, when people gather to watch the sunset and listen to the live reggae bands playing in the bars on the beachfront. Children play in the shallows, couples amble along the beach with dogs and tweens take selfies. It’s a classic island vibe, making memories of an evening – or many – that will stay with you long after.
The Lawn – overlooking the place where the Batu Bolong and Echo Beaches meet – is a local favourite for tourists. It’s an ideal location to chill with a drink in hand on bean bags and lounge chairs and let the ocean breeze cool your face after a day spent on the motorbike. There’s an entry fee, and since we had a lively toddler, we preferred to go for a twilight swim in the 25-degree water.
You can grab a 60-minute full body massage at any of the spas in town for around $10-15USD, wander along the boutique homewares and clothing stores (most are ethically-sourced, which is awesome!). Then, simply spend the rest of the day on scooters, exploring the backstreets and shortcuts through the rice fields and hopping from one fantastic eating spot to the next.
If you want to venture a little further, go for a ride 30 minutes south to bustling Kuta (a fun way to truly appreciate how quiet Canggu is) or up north to another major attraction – a stunning temple out on a tiny rocky island, called Tanah Lot. It’s very touristy, so go as early as you can – around 7am, when the gates open. There’s a 20,000IDR fee for entry.
Tossing up whether to visit Canggu? I promise you won’t regret it!
Canggu is out of this world – a chilled out island paradise boasting incredible cuisine, that’s still very much undiscovered. It should definitely have a top spot on your Bali bucket list.
Have you visited Canggu? Are you inspired with this post to check it out? Hit up a comment below!