Move over Seminyak – Canggu is officially the hippest hood in Bali. What was once a sleepy seaside village frequented by the occasional surfer has in the past few years grown into a vibrant hub of chic cafes, trendy boutiques, edgy art and vibrant nightlife. Here are just some of the reasons why you should pack your bags and head for the ‘Gu, STAT.
1. It has the coolest pools and beach clubs
Seminyak has long ruled as the beach club capital of Bali, but these days, Canggu is really giving the Yak a run for its money. Canggu’s beaches, covered in velvety black sand courtesy of the island’s majestic volcanoes, are seeing a real upsurge of new and trendy beach clubs. A fabulous added bonus? The clubs remain far less crowded than the tried and tested venues in Seminyak – for now.
La Brisa is undoubtedly the most beautiful beach club in Canggu and really, it’s one of the most photogenic spots on the whole island. Located right on Echo Beach, this modern day bohemia was created by the same team behind La Laguna, La Favela and La Plancha. The place is decorated with dreamy bohemian flair – don’t be surprised if you stumble upon an actual fashion photoshoot while visiting. La Brisa offers a full all-day menu and their fluffy pancakes are to die for.
The Lawn is another Instagrammable addition to Canggu’s beach side scene. Located on Pantai Batu Bolong and right across the street from Old Man’s restaurant, The Lawn’s oceanfront pool has been named one of the dreamiest pools in Bali by Vogue magazine. Beyond the pool, the venue is dotted with pretty-as-can-be parasols and the live bands playing during sunset will definitely get you into that tropical state of mind.
Some of Canggu’s newest pools are nestled further off the beach, but are well worth seeking out. Panama is a pretty whitewashed beach house serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, while Loop offers cool bamboo architecture and lush views of the surrounding tropics. Another existing new opening is Cassava, a very hip poolside hang serving healthy cuisine curated by Chef Emma Dowling.
2. The night life is off the hook
From happy hours to live music sets and from hidden speakeasies to skate bowl mosh pits, Canggu certainly knows how to throw a party. There is basically a different party happening every night of the week, so you should definitely dust off your dancing shoes when heading to the ‘Gu.
The biggest and most obvious parties are thrown by the biggest venues around. On Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, Deus Ex Machina and Old Man’s throw parties with live bands several nights a week and always pack a full house. After the music quiets down, the trendy crowds head off to Sand Bar over on Echo Beach. Another popular after hours spot is Drink Point up on Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong. If you don’t feel like going out, this bar-slash-bottle-shop also offers a home delivery service.
If you want to get down and dirty, Pretty Poison is the place to be. Located on Canggu’s infamous shortcut – a ridiculously narrow street running through rolling rice paddies – Pretty Poison is part skate bowl and part rowdy bar. This is a place to don your snapback and lace your Converse and cheer on as local talent shows off their moves in the bowl. Another fun option is Gimme Shelter, a no nonsense rock and roll dive where the cigarette smoke is thick, the beer is cold and the live music is full on.
Only for those in the know, Black Cat is definitely the coolest watering hole in Canggu right now. Located next to Pretty Poison on the infamous shortcut, Black Cat is a run of the mill mini mart on the surface. You can easily step in to pick up snacks and soft drinks and be none the wiser. Before you head out though, you should definitely try the fridge door with a scribbled note saying “broken” on it. Behind the door, you’ll discover not a smelly old fridge but a cool speakeasy lit up with mood lighting and serving ice cold drinks with a hip soundtrack playing in the background. If you want to party with Canggu’s in crowd, Black Cat is the place to be.
3. It’s starting to attract families, too
Canggu is still first and foremost a hipster’s domain, but as the young and the beautiful start settling down, the neighbourhood is also attracting more and more families. As a result, family friendly restaurants and other venues are popping up all over the ‘Gu. Finns Recreation Club is the most obvious example. This huge complex offers family friendly fun for hours with a water park, trampoline centre and bowling alley and they also host events for kids during holidays like Australia Day and Easter.
But Finns is by no means the only kid-friendly, well, kid on the block. The Garden is a kids’ club and preschool located next to Sprout restaurant. You can drop your kids off for the afternoon and enjoy a cuppa (or maybe a glass of wine) while the little ones enjoy guided activities like gardening, cooking and just good old fashioned play. Another great option is The Joglo, a cute restaurant adjoined by a kids’ playground. The Joglo also hosts weekly movie nights for the kids – a great way to spend a Friday night with the family.
The much beloved Milk & Madu suffered a devastating electrical fire earlier this year, but the Madu dream team has hustled and set up a fantastic pop up venue at The Goodwood Smokehouse, complete with their signature breakfasts and family friendly facilities. Hop over for some free arts and crafts every Wednesday to Sunday between 8am – 1pm. The original Milk & Madu is set to reopen in mid 2018
4. The restaurant scene is getting more and more vibrant
Gone are the days when Canggu’s food scene consisted of local warungs and a handful of beachfront venues serving a few basic western dishes. Though the restaurant scene still remains more casual than that in neighbouring Seminyak, Canggu is seriously ramping up its culinary offerings. It speaks volumes that some venues in the ‘Gu are getting so popular that booking a table in advance is basically mandatory – the perpetually packed Moana Fish Eatery and Dandelion, both located on trendy Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, are both prime examples.
A lot of Canggu’s hip new restaurants offer some serious eye candy with their dreamy decor and beautifully styled dishes. A case in point is The Loft. This trendy restaurant serves colourful plant based dishes and is home to one of the most photographed walls in the neighbourhood – a pink mural spelling out “you’ll see it when you believe it.”
Like The Loft, Fishbone Local is a new opening but already causing quite the stir among Canggu foodies. Just as the name suggests, Fishbone Local serves epic fish dishes prepared from sustainably sourced seafood and works closely with local fishermen and communities. The place is consistently packed night after night, but somewhat keeping with Canggu’s hipster vibe, they don’t accept bookings for groups under 10 guests. Just walk on up and keep your fingers crossed.
If you’d have to pinpoint the most pervasive trend of Canggu’s dining scene, it would definitely be healthy plant based dining. The Gu is dotted with cafes serving colourful smoothie bowls and these days, it seems easier to find vegan options than local warungs in the neighbourhood. One of the most iconic venues is Peloton Supershop, a plant based cafe and bicycle shop beloved by super star Instagrammer’s like Lauren Bullen, better known as Gypsea Lust. If you’re a real health buff, you’ll love Motion Cafe, which besides vegan goodness also offers paleo and gluten free options.
Though much of Canggu’s restaurant scene remains laid-back and casual, a few refined options have snuck in as well. Ji Restaurant serves Japanese fusion cuisine in an antique Chinese temple daiting back to 1706. For a more relaxed setting, Ji’s Terrace by the Sea offers a fabulous Sunday brunch with views of the surf breaks. Another refined option is Indigo. Housed in a beautifully designed building which cuts a striking silhouette along the surfer strip of Jalan Pantai Berawa, Indigo serves sophisticated Japanese cuisine (yes, another Canggu food trend) and offers a perfect alternative for those nights when a casual hipster coffee shop just won’t do.
5. So many great villas to choose from
From artful graffiti to pinch-me cute cafes, Canggu has grown into a real haven for design junkies. We are absolutely loving the great design visible in new villas popping up around the ‘Gu. The area is still far less densely built than neighbouring Seminyak so booking a villa in Canggu will likely mean a larger private garden and more privacy and space overall.
One of the most beautiful places to stay in Canggu right now is Villa Inti. This newly renovated villa features gorgeous interiors inspired by vibrant Indonesian culture and lush tropical lifestyle. The beautiful textiles, ornate carpets and luscious tropical gardens make the whole villa feel like a photoshoot waiting to happen.
Another one of our new favourites is Villa Breeze. Located just 300 metres from the beach, this luminous modern villa welcomes you in with an arched bamboo driveway, W style. Villa Breeze is built over two floors and features fresh modern interiors, with a large garden overlooking a curved swimming pool and the surrounding rice fields. Also close to the beach, Villa Mikayla is built like a cool open-plan loft and offers a trendy location to match. The villa sits just 200 metres from Jalan Pantai Berawa, a trendy strip lined with cool restaurants and leading down to Berawa surf beach.
Located a bit further inland, Villa Sungai Bali is the perfect choice for travellers looking for a chic boutique stay rather than a rowdy surfer shack. This award-winning property offers amazing personalised service and it’s also the perfect place for housing your brood, with everything from high chairs to baby cots to strollers and toys included in the daily rates.
Canggu is definitely relishing its moment in the tropical Bali sun. Seeing how the neighbourhood has changed and how it continues to evolve on a daily basis is almost dizzying. If you’re dreaming of a Bali getaway – and let’s be honest, when aren’t we – you should definitely take a little spin around Canggu before all this hip sizzle bubbles over. If you’d like some help planning your trip to Bali, talk to our villa specialists.