The Ultimate Guide to Canggu Bali

If you’re headed to Canggu, then this post is for you!  For a town that doesn’t have much to do, I can promise that you won’t be bored!  I spent 3 weeks in Canggu and every day was an adventure.  If you’re looking for the perfect beach town to chill out and enjoy great food, Canggu is your place.  Here’s everything you need to know to plan your upcoming trip to Canggu.

Before We Get Started

First off, it’s pronounced “CHAN-gu.”  There’s a silent “h” in there!  Most “ca-” words in Indonesia are pronounced “cha-.”  Don’t mess this up.

Secondly, Canggu is a small town in the southern part of Bali.  Just in case you didn’t know, Bali is an island and it’s actually much larger than you’d imagine.  You could easily spend your entire month-long Indonesian visa exploring all of the amazing things Bali has to offer.  But don’t get stuck too long because Bali is just 1 of nearly 18,000+ islands in Indonesia.  Yeah, there’s a lot to see and do!

A few more quick tips…

  • Thank you” is “tarima kasih” (pronounced ter-e-ma ka-see).
  • At the time of writing this post, $1 USD is equal to 13,300 Indonesia Rupiah (IDR).
  • Cheap food can be found at any place labeled “warung.”  Warungs serve meals in the 15,000-35,000 IDR price range ($1-3 USD).  Some warungs look like food carts with temporary seating, others look like normal restaurants.  I’ve typed everything you need to know about eating in Canggu in this post, “Best Places to Eat in Canggu“.
  • Regular restaurants are where you’ll find the fresh, amazing dishes you see posted on Instagram such as refreshing smoothie bowls and huge healthy salads.  These meals typically start at 50,000 IDR ($3.76 USD).

Traditional Indonesian dish “Gado Gado”

Why Canggu? My Experience…

Canggu is known for its laid back, chill, hippie-surfer-yogi vibe.  From what I was told, Canggu is amazing and everyone falls in love with it.  Hearing how laid back and chill this town was, I immediately imagined I’d be stepping into a scene from Eat Pray Love– zen, quiet, remote, peaceful.  WRONG!  This being my first city in Bali, I thought it was insanely crowded with motorbikes everywhere, tons of traffic, and confusing streets.  I hated it.  I originally planned to “live” here for a month working remotely and enjoying a peaceful yoga retreat, but as soon as I set foot in this town, I wanted to leave.

Fortunately, I didn’t leave right away.  I gave Canggu a chance.  Then I explored more of Bali.  And finally, I returned back to Canggu because it is one of my favorite places in the world.  Funny how things change…

So what happened?  How could someone go from hating a city to falling in love with it?

I had skewed expectations when I first arrived.  I wanted something peaceful and quite, a place to practice yoga everyday, reset my soul, and write.  With the bustling streets of Canggu, terrifying “shortcut” road I had to drive on everyday, overwhelming amount of cafes, and pumping nightlife, how could I possibly relax here?  There was too much to do!  Wasn’t this supposed to be a chill town?

After exploring Bali, I realized the streets of Canggu aren’t that crazy, the traffic isn’t that bad, and there really is nothing to do in Canggu except enjoy life.

You wake up and simply enjoy life.  That’s what makes Canggu perfect.

For those of you who work remotely, Canggu is a digital nomad’s dream come true.  There’s an awesome coworking space called the Dojo with amazing wifi, tons of dreamers, and a chill (yet productive) vibe.  There’s also plenty of cute cafes (my favorite being Bali Bowls & Smoothies) with reliable wifi and a welcoming atmosphere.  Enjoying a strong cup of coffee and a delicious smoothie bowl while working in paradise is my dream come true.  Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Best Time to Visit Canggu

The best time to visit Canggu depends on what you want to experience.  Regardless of the destination, I usually prefer the shoulder season for its moderate prices, good weather, and fewer crowds.

High Season:

July & August.  While the weather is best during these months (mild temperature, cool breeze, no rain), it’s also when everyone comes to Bali so expect accommodations to fill up quickly and prices to be significantly higher.  Other popular times include Easter weekend and Christmas/New Years.

Shoulder Season:

April, May, June & September.  This would be the best time to come to Bali.  The weather is still great (dry season in June-August) and prices are significantly cheaper.

Off Season:

October-March.  This is the rainy season in Bali and not much fun (in my opinion).  You might be able to have a dry October but I wouldn’t push your luck.

How to Get Here

The most popular route is to fly into Denpasar Airport (DPS), also know as Ngurah Rai International Airport.  From here, use the airport’s free wifi to request an Uber.  FYI, once you leave the airport (and the wifi), your ride will still continue as planned.  Just so you know, my Uber cost around 100,000 IDR ($7.50 USD) but note that rates change depending on availability, time of day, etc.

Uber, GrabGo Jek and Bluebird are popular transportation options in Bali allowing you to request a ride via an app on your cell phone.  Note that these services are forbidden in some areas so it may take a few attempts for a driver to agree.  Usually after a driver agrees to pick you up, you’ll receive a WhatsApp text message from the driver requesting more money and to be paid in cash.  This happens almost every time.  I’ve found that they originally request extremely high rates and you can negotiate for a fair price.

Note: Canggu is only 15km (9 miles) from the airport, but traffic can be crazy in this area.  Expect the trip to take about an hour.

Visa Information

A free 30 day visa is provided to most visitors upon arrival.  This visa cannot be extended.  The 30 days includes the day you arrive and the day you leave.  It’s 30 days, NOT 1 month.

If you think you will stay longer than 30 days, you can apply for a special visa on arrival for $35 USD.  This visa will grant you 30 days + the option to extend for an additional 30 days (60 days total).

The extension process will cost you another $35 and 3 trips to the immigration office.  The first visit must be completed at least 7 days prior to your visa expiration (I’d aim for 10-14 days before).  The second visit will be a few days later to provide a passport photo and fingerprints.  Finally, the third visit will be a few days later to pickup your passport with the visa extension in it.  Note that the immigration office will hold your passport during this time.  Expect the entire process to take between 5-10 business days.

What to do in Canggu?

Relax on the beach

Canggu has 3 beaches: Berawa, Batu Bolong & Echo.  Beaches in Canggu are best for surfing and sunbathing.  The current is too strong for swimming and the seafloor is rocky so don’t expect to play in the water.  Note that these beaches aren’t the typical white sand and turquoise water you might have in mind.  If you want to see those kinds of beaches, head to the Gili islands.  

Eat fresh, healthy food

This section deserved its own post because the food here is absolutely amazing and the options are never-ending!  If you eat vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, or anything health related, then Canggu is for you!  Check out the Best Places to Eat in Canggu here.

Surf

If you don’t know how to surf, this is the place to learn!  You can rent your own board, get a private/group surf lesson, or join a surf camp!  The waves here are generally mild enough for beginners so this is the perfect place to start your surfing career.

Practice yoga

There are dozens of yoga studios to choose from.  My two favorites are Serenity Eco Guesthouse (drop in class 110,000 IDR, $8.26 USD) & The Practice (drop in class 140,000 IDR, $10.56).  Both studios offer discounted class packages with rates as low as $5.50 per class.  Click the links to learn more about the studios and check out my review below.

Massive Yin Yoga Class on International Yoga Day

CrossFit

While I didn’t participate in any CrossFit classes while I was in Canggu, there are several boxes filled with tourists and expats getting their butts kicked.  Popular boxes include: S2S CrossFit & CrossFit Wanderlust.

Watch the sunset

Anywhere on the beach will produce a beautiful sunset, but if you’re looking for some serious swag, check out Finns Beach Club (free entrance after 6pm), The Lawn (next to Old Man’s) or La Laguna (a 10 minute drive out of Canggu, but amazing!).  You can also watch the sunset at any of the beach bars or simply on your own at the beach.  One of my favorite beach bars is Arboon (park at Finns and walk left).  It has a chill vibe, bean bag chairs and live music.

Go out

Party party party.  This town knows how to have fun!  I’ve got an entire section detailing where to go out below.

Other things to do

  • Get pampered at the spa (massages start at 100,000 IDR, $7.50 uSD)
  • Ride horses on the beach
  • Take a cooking class
  • Shop
  • Scooter to the nearby temple Tanah Lot

Where to Stay

Where you stay in Canggu depends on what you want to do.  There are 3 “areas” based on the beaches– Berawa, Batu Bolong & Echo.  Each area has a main street with cute cafes, shops, etc.  You can’t really go wrong in any of these areas, but take some time to think about what you want to do (e.g., partying, yoga, beaches, etc.).  While these streets look close to each other on the map, rivers run between the streets so getting to the next street requires you to walk/drive around the river which can take some time.

Where I Stayed

I stayed near Berawa beach the first time I visited Canggu and Batu Bolong beach the second time.  I personally liked Batu Bolong better (for my needs) because I wanted a location where I could quickly walk to Serenity & The Practice (yoga studios), enjoy some cute cafes on Batu Bolong, and be within walking distance to Old Mans (bar) because I refuse to drink and drive.

While I loved the Berawa area (the cafes are great and its close to Finns Beach Club), the walk to the yoga studio I wanted to visit was 25+ minutes and the walk to Old Mans was easily 45 minutes (on a dark beach).  I had a scooter, but even with that, the drive required me to use “the shortcut” which I didn’t like driving on at night.

Note: The shortcut is the name of a popular street in Canggu which connects Berawa area with Batu Bolong.  This road is used by everyone!  While it is a 2 way street, there’s just enough room for 1 car and 1 scooter.  It feels a little scary driving on the poorly paved bricks, potholes, and huge drop into the rice patty fields on both sides.  I personally did NOT want to have to drive this in the dark with traffic.  I’ve gotten better at driving so now I don’t mind, but at first, yikes!

If you’re unsure where to stay, leave a comment below and I’ll try to help you sort it out!

Hostel Recommendations

There are tons of hostels, guesthouses, and AirBnbs to choose from.  Not all of the hostels in Canggu are listed on Hostelworld, so check out Booking.com and Agoda for more options.

Location is key.  Figure out which street/area you want to be in, then work from there.  If you know you’re going to be partying on Batu Bolong then stay nearby.  Make sense?

I stayed at Berawa Beach Garden Hostel (booking.com) and it was super cheap (80,000 IDR per night, $6 USD) which included free breakfast, a warm shower, air conditioning, and a chill family vibe.  It was a quick 10 minute walk to Berawa beach and super close to my favorite cafe, Bali Bowls & Smoothies.  Berawa Beach Garden Hostel also had a pool!  The only down side was that it was too far of a walk (for me) to get to the yoga studios and nightlife.

During my second visit, I stayed at Yana Guesthouse (Hostelworld) and it was relatively cheap (100,000 IDR per night, $7.50 USD).  This was the PERFECT location for me.  It’s located next to a side street that connects to Jalan Nelayan (street name) where Serenity Yoga is, therefore making the walk less than 10 minutes..  It’s also right next to The Practice (another yoga studio) and a 5 minute walk from Old Mans (bar), The Lawn (awesome sunset spot), and some of my favorite cafes.  While it does not have free breakfast or a pool, I liked this place better.  There’s still air conditioning, hot water, and a chill vibe.

There are “party” hostels in Canggu, but I haven’t visited any of them.  If you have, leave a comment below and let us know how they are!

Getting ready at the hostel before a night out

Getting Around

Scooter

The best way to get around in Canggu is with a scooter.  Scooter rentals cost about 50,000-60,000 IDR ($4 USD) per day.  Almost everyone drives a scooter here.  The traffic can be a little scary at first, but it makes life so much easier to have a scooter.

Walk

Alternatively, you can walk.  Almost everything is within walking distance and the roads are filled with cute cafes, shops, and rice patty fields to keep you smiling during your entire trip.

Car Service App

Uber, GrabGo Jek and Bluebird are 4 taxi apps you can use to get around.  Keep in mind that some areas prohibit these apps and getting someone to pick you up might be insanely difficult.  I experienced this in Berawa and was stranded at Serenity Eco Guesthouse.

Taxi

Taxi rates are expensive!  In Canggu, expect to pay a minimum of 60,000 IDR ($4 USD) to go anywhere on Batu Bolong.  If you’re at Old Mans (Batu Bolong beach area) and want to go to Berawa beach area (which is only one street over), a taxi will charge you at least 100,000 IDR ($7 uSD).  I think that’s insane considering my accommodation costs less than that!

Yoga Studios

If you love yoga, Canggu is for you.  There are dozens of studios, however I have only taken classes at Serenity Eco Guesthouse and The Practice.

Serenity Eco Guesthouse

Serenity Eco Guesthouse offers 12 classes per day as well as several free community classes in 3 yoga spaces on-site.  The spaces are beautiful and open air.  Serenity provides all of the equipment you need for class as well as mosquito repellent in case those little buggers love your skin.  There is a HUGE variety of classes to choose from so check out the schedule here.  Drop in classes are 110,000 IDR ($8.26 USD) and class packages can be purchased via timeframe (e.g., 7 day unlimited) or # of classes (e.g., 20 classes).

Serenity offers accommodations on-site and has an amazing health-conscious restaurant (Alkaline) too.  Staying at Serenity allows you to walk to the “main street” Batu Bolong relatively quickly via a side street.  However note that the walk to Berawa is about 25 minutes and I wouldn’t even try walking to Echo.  Overall, it’s a great yoga studio and well placed accommodation option.

The Practice

The Practice is on the main road “Batu Bolong” in the heart of Canggu.  This studio is GORGEOUS!  I highly recommend taking at least one class here.  There are only 4-5 classes per day, but the space is AMAZING!  Drop in classes are 140,000 IDR ($10.56 USD) and class packages are very well priced.  There is an adorable clothing shop on-site and The Practice also offers community style events every week.  Check out the schedule here.

Food, The Real Reason You’re in Canggu

If you’re in Canggu, then you must be a foodie!  This place is HEAVEN for all things food!  Whether you’re vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, health conscious, or just want delicious food… there is a cafe here that is perfect for you!  I could go on and on about restaurant recommendations.  Actually, I started typing up all my favorites below and realized the list was WAY TOO LONG.  Check out the Best Places to Eat in Canggu here.

Going Out

Going out in Canggu is a must!  This town always has something fun and unique to do.  While you can go to any place on any night and still have an amazing time, the top spots are as follows:

Monday

  • Rest and relax.  Seriously, you’ll need it.

Tuesday

  • Deus Ex Machina’s Tacos + Tatts Tuesdays.  Buy a taco, get a free tattoo!  Okay, it’s not that simple.  Arrive early (5pm), get a taco, and get ready to run when it turns 6pm.  The first 10 people to push through the crowd and write their name on the chalkboard, get free tattoos.  Tattoo designs must be pre-drawn, cannot be resized, must be in black and white, and must take 20 minutes or less to complete.  If your tattoo does not meet the requirements, you lose your spot.

Wednesday

  • Prepare to party all night at Old Man’s and Sand Bar.  Start the night at Old Man’s, relax at a table, make a few friends, grab a few beers, and when the music starts, get your butt on the dance floor. Old Man’s closes around 1am and then everyone moves to Sand Bar to party until dawn.  You don’t want to miss this!

Thursday

  • Grab the girls and head to Deus Ex Machina for free wine tasting every Thursday from 7-8pm.  While the pour is light, you can go up to the bar as much as you’d like to “keep trying.”  Sip on your wine and relax listening to live music.
  • If you’re looking for a little rock and roll, head to Pretty Poison.  Expect a totally different kind of night, as you’ll be sitting alongside a skate rink while in the middle of rice patty fields.  Pretty Poison is the movie theater style building (you’ll see the old fashioned sign) at the end of the shortcut road.

Friday

  • Lace up your dancing shoes for another night at Old Man’s.  In my opinion, the music on Fridays can be hit or miss.  If Old Man’s isn’t playing your tunes, I’ve got another option for you…  head to Jungle (in Kerobokan, just a 15 minute drive from Canggu).  This really is the place to be if you want to dance the night away.  Think open air swanky nightclub playing EDM music in the middle of a rice paddy field.  It’s definitely a place not to be missed!

Saturday

  • Pretty Poison is at it again!
  • If you REALLY want to crank up the party, head to La Favela (in Seminyak).  It’s a little bit of a drive out of Canggu, but its truly a unique experience. Its a trendy daytime restaurant transformed into a huge club at night.

Sunday

  • The party starts at 6pm at Deus Ex Machina. Expect a live band, great tunes, and tons of fun!

Every Night Late Night

  • Sand Bar at Echo Beach!

Shopping & Markets

Name: Samadi

What to expect: Local organic produce, homemade treats, fresh kombucha, local artisan crafts (jewelry, clothing, dolls, etc.).  There is also a restaurant and yoga studio on site.

When: Every Sunday from 9am to 2pm

Address: Samadi Bali – 39 Jl. Padang Linjong, Canggu

Name: Love Anchor

What to expect: Touristy items like jewelry, clothing, handbags, knick knacks, etc.

When:Saturday + Sundays from 10am to 5pm

Address: Love Anchor Canggu, Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu

Where Next?

There are so many amazing cities to choose from in Bali!  Where are you headed to next?

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