Canggu, is a city in Bali known for its nightlife, beaches, the surf and resorts. Ubud is pretty much boho central, Canggu is more for the party animals, most of the tourists are Australians on their annual holiday. Although during the day there are plentiful yoga studios, Vegan cafes and holistic centres and this is where I did my yoga teacher training. This was not my favourite place although it was wonderful having sea and sand on my doorstep.
However if you want laid-back tropical escape, Canggu is the place to be. During the day it has a boho vibe, café culture, and surfer style, and by night it has very stylish clubs near the seafront to dance the night away. Located twenty minutes north of Seminyak, Canggu spans from just north of Seminyak to south of Tanah Lot. Canggu is one of the most up-and-coming areas and features an eight-kilometer-long beach and sweeping rice fields.
Bali as a whole is a very safe country to visit, even solo travellers feel super safe here. Whilst there is crime, it is very minimal and you are more likely to get attacked in London than you are in Bali.
There is less Balinese culture in Canggu though, there are more tourists in Canggu than Ubud and it feels more like Ibiza or Ayia Napa (Cyprus). So if you want to be drenched in tropical jungles, surrounded by beautiful Balinese people, temples, monkeys and flower offerings then Ubud is better suited to you.
Things to do in Canggu
Surf School There are many beaches in Canggu with great surf spots for beginners, intermediate and professional surfers. There are plenty of excellent surf schools around, as well. Whether you are staying in a private villa near Berawa beach, Batu Bolong, Echo Beach or Pererenan, you won’t have to travel far to find some awesome, fully-licensed surf instructors to tweak up your surfing skills or teach you from scratch.
Canggu Surf School Bali @ The Chill House
Canggu Surf School is part of The Chill House, a favourite surfers hang-out that organizes surf, yoga and lifestyle retreats in Canggu. However, if you are staying in a private Canggu villa and you want to sign up for a surfing lesson only at this particular surf school, this is possible, too. Canggu Surf School offers 2 on 1 surfing lessons (2 guests, 1 instructor) and the instructors are ISA-licenced and certified lifesavers so you know you are in good hands with these guys. 1 single lesson costs Rp. 600,000 but they also offer packages of 3, 6 and 13 lessons. The beaches in Canggu and their surf brakes are really diverse and the surf instructors will take you to the perfect spot that matches your level of skill. You will be learning the right techniques in and out of the water and you will have lots of fun, guaranteed!
Bali Mermaid Surfing School
The one-on-one surf lessons with Jack are praised highly by fellow surf enthusiasts. Jack is a professional surf coach who pays attention to details and gets you standing up on your surfboard in no time. The price is Rp. 500,000 for a private lesson that includes at least 2 hours of actual practice in the water. You will be pick-up and dropped off at your villa or hotel and the price includes all the equipment needed for the lesson.
Bali Mermaid Surfing, Batu Bolong Beach, Canggu, Bali. Contact: +62 813 3867 1226. Lessons start at Rp 500,000
Want to go Mermaiding? This isn’t in Canggu but can be a wonderful day trip or long weekend to be a mermaid for a day. Island Mermaids also offers Mermaid retreats too!
You can also hire a scooter and go on a day trip to Ubud too.
Echo Beach is the worst beach in Canggu for swimming or wading. It has heavy surf, reef bottom, and a breakwater. Atop the breakwater there are several popular restaurants offering a great view of the expert surfers charging the reef break near the shore. This is the most upscale beach in Canggu and a great choice for sunset drinks or dinner.
Batu Balong Bay has a big parking lot with several good, cheap warungs (local style restaurants) serving a mix of Indonesian and western food. There is a big temple on the south end of the beach. The best secret in Batu Bolong is the temple behind the warungs. It is small, but filled with intricate details. You cannot enter, but you can see plenty walking around the outside.
Berawa Beach has surfing waves. The bottom is part sand, part flat rocks. Depending on how big the waves are, it can be ok for swimming and wading. There are not many bars and restaurants directly on the beach, but there is a moveable bar and a couple food vendors and someone renting lounge chairs and surf boards and boogie boards. You can walk to Berawa from other beaches or reach the beach on Jalan Pantai Berawa or Jalan Batu Belig. If you walk a hundred yards or so from the road in either direction you can have a pretty big stretch of beach to yourself most days.
Where to stay
The Farm Hostel is located at the end of a gang (cul-de-sac) that runs off the popular Batu Bolong, their only immediate neighbours are rice fields and banana trees, bamboo and a running stream. It’s a really peaceful place to stay.
Gypsy Moon Hostel is for the budget traveller needing a last minute place to stay. This glam hostel features a swimming pool nestled in a cozy tropical garden. Your sleeping options are a 6-bed mixed dorm or a 4-bed mixed dorm, each with its en-suite bathroom. For couples looking for added privacy on a budget there is also the Javanese woodhouse overlooking the pool. Gypsy Moon’s design is classic old Bali-meets-bohemian chic. Think: eclectic mix of vintage furniture, teakwood carvings, and hand-woven fabrics bathed in natural light.
Serenity Eco guesthouse Serenity Eco Guesthouse offers a tranquil retreat for everyone. Well known by the surfers and yogis, you can come experience the waves or join in one of our daily yoga classes held in our Yoga Shala’s. Serenity Eco Guesthouse is a smoke and alcohol free guesthouse – being an official Vipassana meditation group sitting center.
Eat and Drink
The Shady Shack– This was a favorite during my time in Canggu. Shady shack offer a wide range of Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten free options. Their Vegan chocolate is to die for and their smoothies are mouthwatering.
Give Cafe– This place is special because not only are they plant based, but every single purchase has a purpose. They give 100% of their profits to people and places that need it most. At the counter when you order your food, you receive a token to slot into one of three boxes supporting three charities. One is usually community based, another for animals and the third for the environment. Their food is delicious and at a reasonable price and you are giving back to local communities. How beautiful is this?
The Lawn– A favorite for many westerners. This place is hip and happening. Situated on and opening out onto the beach with lounging areas on the floor, cocktail bars, DJ, live bands and great food, this is where the cool kids hang out in the evenings.
Bali Buda-An organic food shop below and a cute little restaurant above. This place has been serving organic, MSG-free meals since 1994. They offer salads, soups, pasta, burgers, Indonesian dishes, sandwiches and desserts – all made using organic produce, meats & freshly-baked goods. They serve vegan, raw food & vegetarian dishes as well. Their chocolates and cakes are delicious!
In their health food shop they sell a wide range of local & imported organic foods, as well as natural household, skincare & alternative products. They also have a home delivery service as well.
La Laguna, this is a gorgeous Gypsy-Chic Tapas Bar and Restaurant North of Seminyak, go during sunset. Lovers of all things gypsy-chic, antique and vintage will adore the bohemian decor. The Gypsy Market at La Laguna every Sunday is also worth a visit too. This market is a showcase of organic products from their Organic farm and unique selection of artistic creations, handcrafted and homegrown items by local vendors, accompanied by activities and entertainment for the whole family.
Yoga Studios and Trainings
The Practice is probably the most well known yoga studio in Canggu. With its airy, circular bamboo structures what’s not to love? The Practice offer a variety of yoga classes including traditional Tantric Hatha Yoga, Kirtan with Ellen Arthur (This is a must do!) and teacher trainings. Samadi Bali offer everything from yoga classes, events, residencies, a sunday market and retreats. Jai Wellness do not have their own studio but offer incredibly unique Ayurvedic yoga teacher trainings in Canggu at Cosmos Oasis, Bali twice a year. This training is one of kind because of their holistic approach in which you are guided to incorporate Ayurveda into your yoga asana classes. You learn to create classes based on each dosha, the seasons, stages of life and time of day.
Read more in an article I wrote for Bad Yogi Magazine