If you are visiting Bali and looking for an alternative place to stay then you should consider Canggu. With its Bohemian vibe, surf beaches, and Café culture, Canggu has become and increasingly popular destination for holiday makers and expatriates. In fact many people refer to Canggu as ‘Ubud by the Sea.’ It’s a good description, plus there are lots of things to do in Canggu.
Btw, I am reviewing one of my favourite travel apps (and it is an Indonesian company): Traveloka. Often their hotel booking deals in Indonesia are the cheapest. Learn more about the App here.
There are a few reasons why Canggu has become so popular. Firstly you can definitely find few Yoga studios easily in Canggu. Secondly there are plenty of options for vegetarian/vegan food in the area and thirdly there are so many digital nomads here. Since I wrote a ‘best hotels in Canggu for every budget,’ I realized I should share some more information about the area. So here are few things to do in Canggu. Let’s start.
1. Learn how to surf at Batu Bolong Beach
Canggu is one of the most popular places in Bali for surfers and it’s a good place to learn how to surf. The best place to learn to surf is Canggu Beach. There are two breaks in front of the beach and the bottom is sandy, so you won’t hurt yourself when you fall off the board.
You can arrange a surf lesson at one of the stalls on the parking lot. You’ll see two places where you can rent your surfboard and also book a surf lesson. It is Rp 50,000 to rent a surfboard for two hours and around Rp 400,000 for a session with an instructor (around 2 hours). Besides Batu Bolong/Canggu beach, you can also surf at Old Man’s surf spot, and also Echo beach.btw, a number of hotels around Canggu cater to surfers. A few options include Premier Surf Camp, Koa D’Surfer and Big Brother Surf Inn.
2. Relax in a Holiday Villa
There’s no better way to end a holiday, or treat yourself, that with a stay at a holiday villa. And Canggu is a great place to do this! As soon as you get off the main roads of Canggu you enter a maze of small roads with beautiful villas hidden behind high walls. You can get some great deals for under $100 a night, which I’ve already written about here. My favourite villa is Lautan Kupu Kupu, which starts from around $90 a night, pictured above.
3. Visit the famous Tanah Lot
I bet you heard about Tanah Lot, right? Guess what? Tanah Lot, one of the busiest tourist attractions in Bali is located 30 minutes from Canggu. A lot of people said that the best time to enjoy Tanah Lot is close to sunset time, I agree on that. Some say, should watch Kecak dance too, however I am not recommending it as I don’t think it was good enough.
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Romantic Dinner by the beach @tuguhotels Bali. Beautiful setting with the candles, the sound of the waves crashing against the beach a starry night sky and great food. What are your 'essential ingredients' to a romantic dinner? #Romantic #Dinner #TuguHotels #Bali #Beach #Canggu #TuguBali #Travel
4. Enjoy Sunset at one of the Beaches
There are five main beaches around Canggu; Canggu (Batu Bolong) Beach, Echo (Batu Mejan) Beach, Berawa Beach, Perenenan or even Nelayan beach. All of the beaches can make a good spot for sunset. Two of my favorites are Canggu and Echo beach.
If you visit Canggu Beach you’ll have a great view of the sunset with surfers on the waves. There’s the busy Old’s Man Bar by the car park where you can get drinks and food after sunset and lots of small stalls in the car park where you can get BBQ sweet corn with spicy sauce.
Echo Beach has more of a lively beach atmosphere. You can find plenty of cafes (try Le Pirate) or with beanbags on the beach, with chill out music floating out from the speakers. This atmosphere gives Echo Beach a nice sunset ambiance. There’s also a nice restaurant (named Echo Beach House) overlooking the water by the car park where you can eat freshly grilled seafood and have a drink. If you want to visit a less busy beach I recommend Perenenan Beach.
5. Café / Restaurant / Warung Hopping
Canggu has a lot of different cafes and restaurants with options for every budget and taste. A few of the most popular places include Warung Dandelion, where you can feel like Alice in Wonderland, with rabbits in the garden, to Monsieur Spoon, a very popular French bakery, to Warung Bu Mi, for budget travellers looking for Indonesian food. Each of these places is located on Pantai Batu Bolong Street. Of course that is only a sample. There are a lot more restaurants and cafes around Echo Beach and Berawa Beach.
6. Join the Sunday Market
There are a few Sunday Markets in Canggu where you can get clothes, food, and jewelry. The Love Anchor Canggu is one of the favorites. The market is located in a little open-air shopping center next to Monsieur Spoon. You can find live music, clothes, craft, food and drink here. I found nice ring here. Make sure the schedule by looking at their Instagram: loveanchorcanggu.
In addition to the Love Anchor Canggu Market there is the Samadi Bali Market. This is a favorite of a lot of people who live in Canggu (and also the neighborhoods of Seminyak, Umalas, and Kerobokan). Samadi Bali reminds me of the Organic Market of Milas Restaurant in Yogyakarta. In Samadi Sunday Organic Market, you can find organic fruits, vegetables, hand-made accessories, clothes and plenty of healthy and slow cooked food. The market starts at 9 am and ends at 2 pm.
7. Cultural Evening, Tugu Hotel Bali
Tugu Hotel Bali that is located a few meters away from Canggu Beach. Every Thursday night, starting at 7:30 pm, they hold a cultural evening. The Tugu cultural performance is a chance to see several traditional Balinese dances and listen to traditional Gamelan music.
When I joined the Cultural evening and dining I saw three dances (Rejang, Topeng Arsawijaya and Baris Gede dance). The nice thing about the Tugu Hotel Cultural Evening is that the event is open for everyone. If you come you’ll have the chance to watch a great performance and eat some tasty food, which you can order from the restaurant.
8. Do some Yoga
Doing Yoga in Canggu is a nice compliment or alternative to Yoga in Ubud. There are lots of new and established Yoga studios around Canggu. Some of these studios offer a package / Yoga retreat program where you can stay and do Yoga with them. Some of the Yoga studios and healthy café/restaurants also offer a free Yoga session once a week, which is a great chance to see if you want to join their class or not.
9. Get a Fruit / Smoothie Bowl
There are so many options! From the famous Nalu Bowls, the crazy busy Betelnut cafe, and also places like Roti Canai, Crate (a lot of people said you should at least try to grab a breakfast at least once in Crate), Peloton, and Machinery Coffee, all provide fruit bowl. Price ranges between USD 2.5 – USD 6.5 per bowl.
10. Visit the Co-Working Space
If you plan to stay for a while in Canggu then I’d recommend visiting one of the co-working spaces in Canggu. There are two co-working places to choose from; Salty Volt and Dojo Bali. The price for a day at Salty Volt is USD 5, while the minimum for Dojo Bali is Rp 800,000 for 25 hours. Visiting a co-working space is a good way to meet up with interesting people and start making connections around Canggu. I’d definitely recommend visiting one of the two co-working spaces if you do most of your work online.
11. Into skateboarding? Try Pretty Poison or Deus
There are two popular places for the surf and skating crowd in Canggu, Pretty Poison and Deus ex Machina. Pretty Poison is a bar (or a skate bar) that opens every day at 4 pm. Sometimes they have a live band and it’s a great place to hang out with locals (sorry, locals here means foreigners that stay long term in Canggu, but you can find some real locals here too).
An alternative to Pretty Poison is Deus ex Machina in Batu Mejan Street. Deus is kind of like a shopping complex. Deus ex Machina has a surf and clothes store, art space, restaurant, custom bike shop and barber shop! It is one of my favorite places in Canggu.
12. Visit Finns Recreation Club
The Finns Recreation Club is located in the center of Canggu. It is a traditional leisure club. It’s popular with a lot of expatriates and locals living in and around Canggu. The club is also a nice place to visit if you are here with family. The Finns Recreation Club has a large swimming pool, waterslide, fitness center, tennis courts, restaurant, bar, bowling alley and other activities. You can get a day pass to Finns Recreation Club for Rp 500,000 for adults and Rp 380,000 for children (3-12 yo).
13. Enjoy the murals
One of the things that I really like about Canggu is the bohemian culture. As you explore Canggu you can find plenty of murals on the walls and in the cafes and restaurants. The mural at the Old’s man bar is one of my favorites. You can also find murals towards Berawa and on the way to Old’s Man Surf spot. Some of the murals are quite funky, others are a bit more difficult to understand.
14. Find the shortcut
In the rush to development Canggu has lost a lot of its rice fields, but you can still find a few. One of the best places to see what Canggu used to look like is the shortcut. Everybody who lives in Canggu (and drives a motorbike) usually loves the shortcut. The road connects Batu Bolong with Berawa and offers beautiful, and unexpected, views of rice fields.
The view of the rice fields is similar to what you see if you go to Tanah Lot from Canggu. There are some cafes, like Cloud 9, where you can sit and relax while looking out over the rice fields (and the busy road). Please be careful when you pass this shortcut. I often see and hear of people who fall into the rice fields.
15. Canggu Market
The last place to visit on the list is Canggu traditional market or Pasar Canggu. The market is located in Raya Batu Bolong Street, before the police station if you are going toward the beach. A visit to the market is a chance to see local life. The market is most active in the early morning. You can find fresh fruits from local farmers and other produce at the market.
I like Canggu. The area is changing fast, but it still has a nice relaxed vibe and it’s a relaxing place to live and work (or just take a vacation). If you’re visiting Bali you should definitely come here, even if it is just on a day trip. I hope that this article inspires you to visit the area and gave you some ideas of things to do in Canggu.
Booked Your Accommodation in Canggu? Here are the best 3 hotels in Canggu for Every Budget:
It covers all of the best sites on the island and should give you plenty of inspiration for your holiday.
Have you ever been to Canggu? What are the things to do in Canggu you would recommend to first-time visitors? Share your thoughts in the comments below.