A guide to exploring Canggu, Bali

 In Asia, Indonesia

Welcome to the hippy, quirky, Shoreditch-like surf town of Bali: Canggu.

When people ask me where the best place to stay in Bali is, last year I would have said, ‘start in Seminyak.’

It would appear though that over the last year, the whole world has been recommending this west coast beach town. Upon arrival in Seminyak this year, I felt instantly suffocated. I didn’t like it at all.

Cars bumper to bumper, mopeds sandwiched between them, pedestrians weaving through the latter and the sound of money-hungry taxi horns filling every other second of your visit. Although there is still plenty of beauty to witness in Seminyak, I feel it’s getting rather overshadowed now.

The infrastrucure in Bali can’t quite keep up with the rate of tourism and it really shows.

As a result, the lime light seems to have now shifted over to Canggu, or ‘the gu’ as locals call it, the younger sibling of Seminyak located just north of Seminyak on the west coast.

See my travel tips and hacks you must know before visiting Bali here

A guide to exploring Canggu, Bali | Where's Mollie? A Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog-21

It took me a day or two to work out which road was the main road in Canggu – a reflection of the development yet to exist.

Signs of urban development are most definitely already in place though, with the likes of boutique shops e.g. Wanderlust setting up home and displaying £65 bikinis. Down the road finishing touches were being made to Hotel Aston – a grand, swanky, undeniably western establishment. Both examples far from the cheap Asian prices you are probably drawn to this island for.

By day in Canggu, surfers take to the waves and onlookers to the black sand beach. By evening seafood is heated at Echo Beach with cocktails raised after at Old Man’s.

Wake up and repeat.

Canggu is a pretty cool town to hang out in if you’re young or looking for a fun, laid back taste of life. Expect lots of your eco, veggie and organic cafes and restaurants. They are undeniably good.

If you’re heading to Bali soon, then Canggu is definitely an awesome place to check out and my time was definitely more than occupied there. Bear in mind that this was written in April 2017 after visiting in January 2017. Things in Bali change quickly, so I would always recommend reading the most up-to-date guide for Bali you can find before you go.

See my guide to budgeting for Bali here

Getting to Canggu…

From Denpasar airport, Canggu is about a 45-minute drive and it’s approximately 20km. You are pretty much guaranteed to be met by eager taxi drivers fighting for your custom as you come through arrivals. Although you may feel flattered at this point, if you’re looking for a bargain, download the Uber app using the airport’s free WIFI and order a car via them. A taxi will only cost around 200-300,000IDR {£11-17}, but for all you backpackers out there… you can get it a lot cheaper with Uber.

A guide to exploring Canggu, Bali | Where's Mollie? A Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog-14

Where to stay…

If you’re looking for a hostel or budget stay…

  • Echo Beach Hostel
  • Canggu Surf Hostel

Search hostels in Canggu here

If you’re looking for a centrally located guesthouse, I recommend…

  • Putu homestay
  • Coconut guesthouse
  • Yana guesthouse

If you’re looking for a villa without the price tag {you can get the most incredible + unique stays in Bali}…

  • Airbnb

Search Airbnb properties in Canggu here / Get £30 off your first AirBnb booking here

If you’re looking for a hotel…

  • I stayed at Echo Beach which was the perfect location and walking distance from everything in Canggu, without the massive price tag. See pictures below.
  • I also stayed at Hotel Tugu in Canggu which was a once in a lifetime experience of not only accommodation but authentic Bali. I’m not one to usually splash out on hotels, but this hotel was worth every penny, trust me.

See my review of Hotel Tugu Canggu here.

A guide to exploring Canggu, Bali | Where's Mollie? A Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog-14

 

My top things to do in Canggu…

  • Check out the black sandy beach.
  • Dine at one of the many incredible raw food eateries and Balinese Warungs that line the streets and ocean fronts.
  • Take a surf lesson.

There’s a surf school/surf hire at the front of Old Mans or there’s Mojo surf.

  • Rent a bed and relax in the sunshine on Batu Bolong beach.

Be sure to grab a BBQ’d sweetcorn on your way down from the street food stand.

  • Have a treatment at Hotel Tugu

It is heaven on earth…

  • Head to Hotel Tugu and book on to one of their authentic Balinese evenings.

See my full review of Hotel Tugu and my amazing dinner experience with their traditional Balinese dance show

  • Get pampered for pennies at one of the high street Balinese spas.
  • Take a yoga class at The Practice.
  • Explore Seminyak and the bars on the waterfront as you head south.

See my guide to Seminyak here

  • Grab a taxi to Ubud or Uluwatu for the day; both are about an hour’s drive.

See my guide to exploring Ubud here

  • Learn to surf at Mojo Surf Camp.
  • Rent a scooter and explore for the day.

BE CAREFUL! The main roads get pretty crazy and unruly in Bali. Try and stick to the quieter, less busy routes and ALWAYS wear a helmet.

See scooter prices and how to budget for travelling Bali in my blog post here

A guide to exploring Canggu, Bali | Where's Mollie? A Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

My top places to keep active in Canggu…

  • Radiantly Alive Yoga
  • C2 Crossfit
  • Balifit {apparently closed now due to a dispute between the owners which sucks cause it was awesome}
  • The Practice
  • San Tosha Youa {training}
  • Eco Serenity

As well as…

  • Walks along the beach
  • Surfing among the waves!

My favourite places to eat in Canggu…

The food in Bali is my favourite in the entire world, HANDS DOWN, straight up, without a shadow of a doubt.

They have the most gorgeous selection of tropical fruits, raw produce, superfood specialities and remedies. You won’t walk far without a ‘raw cafe’ coming into view and this means you can eat the yummiest food in the entire world and feel incredible for it afterwards. What’s even better is the prices. Sure, a lot of the ‘raw cafes’ have western owners, but prices are still cheap compared to the likes of Australia and London, and with it you get their incredible knowledge and cooking skills.

In between these dreamy cafes you will find an abundance of Warungs {snack huts}, where you can indulge in the finest Indonesian cuisine too. A combination of Nasi Gorengs and Dragonfruit Acai Bowls is what I call HEAVEN.

Some of my favourite spots:

  • Betelnut Cafe {particularly the beetroot and feta patties}
  • The Avocado Cafe
  • Crate Cafe
  • Cafe Organic
  • Nalu Bowls
  • In the Raw

A guide to exploring Canggu, Bali | Where's Mollie? A Travel and Adventure Lifestyle BlogA guide to exploring Canggu, Bali | Where's Mollie? A Travel and Adventure Lifestyle BlogA guide to exploring Canggu, Bali | Where's Mollie? A Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

Canggu by evening…

By the time the evening rolls around, you are absolutely SPOILT with the most gorgeous sunset views on the island, if not some of the best in the world. The moment you get a glimpse of the rainbow coloured skies glowing through your hotel room you’ll be running down to the beach without a second thought. It’s truly breathtaking. There are a fair few beach front cafes and restaurants that have taken advantage of this sensation and so you won’t be stuck for choice and can toast the sunsets with a cocktail.

Here are a few evening options:

  • The Lawn
  • Echo Beach Dinner
  • Echo Beach Club
  • Mandira BBQ
  • Old Mans {Dirty Ol’ Wednesdays party!}
  • Head south of Canggu towards Seminyak to one of these amazing sea front dreamlands: La Laguna, Finns Beach Club, W Hotel
  • Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple

It’s seriously over crowded these days, but for good reason. If you don’t mind the crowds it’s half an hour north of Canggu!

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I hope this has helped you plan your Bali adventure… you’re going to LOVE it!

Other posts you may like that will help you plan your trip to Bali:

WONDERING WHAT TO PACK?

SEE MY BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS HERE

Need to book accommodation? Here’s £30 off your first AirBnb booking – my budget travel godsend!

Or search for the best hostels or hotels here

Have you been to Bali?

What did you think? Where did you visit? I’d love to know! ?

Thank YOU guys for reading <3

Love as always + happy adventuring,

Mollie x

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