Canggu, or the ‘Gu as it is sometimes affectionately known, has, over the last few years, been transformed from a sleepy fishing village into one of the most desirable destinations in Bali. Although it is not too distant from Kuta and Legian, both of which have a reputation as busy party towns, Canggu has managed to retain a laidback and bohemian vibe. It’s currently a Mecca for surfers, digital nomads and anyone who thinks that spending a day a luxuriating in a spa, before unwinding over a few cocktails is a great way to spend their time.
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Where to stay in Canggu
Canggu may not be that big, but, you will want to look at some of the different neighbourhoods, before deciding which will suit you best. Personally, I would opt for staying either around Berawa and Echo beach or Perenenan, depending on the type of holiday I was in the mood for. The former of these are (obviously!) right on the beach and are also full of cafes and bars. The latter is Canggu’s quietest neighbourhood, surrounded by rice fields and full of temples and pretty quiet streets.
Accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets can be found in the ‘Gu. If you are planning a budget holiday, I would suggest having a look at some of the boutique hostels that have recently sprung up in the area – seriously some of these are so nice that if it weren’t for the amazing value, you wouldn’t believe you weren’t staying in a fancy resort! The Kosone Hostel is a good place to start – it’s modern, in a fantastic location, has great facilities and well appointed rooms, both communal and private.
If you want somewhere at the higher end of the market, you could try The Slow.
This is the very definition of a hipster hotel and is owned by the fashion designer George Gorrow and his model wife Cisco. The overall aesthetic is something along the lines of urban tropical, think corrugated roofs, natural tones and plenty of green plants – everything is beautiful designed and meticulously thought out. The hotel even has its own radio station and art gallery, not to mention one of the best restaurants on the island.
You also shouldn’t overlook the possibility of staying in a villa. This is true in Bali even if you are on a budget and especially if you are staying with a few friends. Some great properties (with private pools and staff) can be found for a fraction of the cost they would be in other countries.
Top things to do in Canggu
Although Canggu is not as well developed as its neighbour Seminyak (this is about a 20 minute drive away, if you want to go somewhere a little busier), it still has its fair share of boutique shops and blissful spas. If you are looking for something a little more active, there are a few activities to choose from.
Surfing in Canggu
Bali is world famous for its surfing and Canggu has some of the best breaks on the island. Whether you are an expert surfer or a total newbie, this is a great place to hit the waves. If you are after a few lessons, then just head down to the beach and you will find a multitude of surf schools lining the shore. In Da Surf, is a good choice though, in particular, they have a reputation for helping beginners and they give underprivileged Balinese children free access to surf gear, so you know they are good people.
Time at the Spa
Another thing Bali is famous for is its fantastic spas and Canggu has quite a few to choose from. One of the most famous is the Goldust Beauty Lounge. Instagram is full of pictures of people who are undergoing its signature Goldust facial – chuck in a massage and a mani / pedi and you will be good to go.
Yoga in Canggu
In keeping with its healthy reputation, Canggu is one of the best places in the south of Bali to come for a yoga retreat (or just a few lessons if you don’t want anything that intensive). My personal favourite is the Chillhouse, they teach several types of yoga and you can even throw in a couple of surf lessons if you want.
Where to eat
Canggu is well known for its great food scene. Although it is perhaps not as high end as Seminyak, Canggu’s health food and cafe game is second to none.
Ji Terrace By the Sea
This is without a doubt one of the best places in Bali to come and enjoy the sunset (and Bali has some pretty good sunset views!). This is a bohemian styled bar / restaurant with a panoramic view out over the sea and far down the coastline. They also serve some great pan-Asian dishes as well as delicious cocktails.
The Shady Shack
This is basically a giant beach hut, in the jungle – but in a stylish way! It also happens to have a great outdoor seating space, in its own tropical garden. This is one of the aforementioned health cafes, it has plenty of options for veggies, vegans and those with other dietary restrictions (such as gluten free). They are famous for their breakfast smoothie bowls as well as their savory bowls, which are themed after various different cuisines.
As delicious as it may be, one can take so much healthy food before craving a really good pastry or a big slice of cake and, when you have such a craving, Monsieur Spoon is the place to go! This is a family-run French bakery (so you know it will be good) that serves mouthwatering treats like lemon tart and iced eclairs.
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