It’s official – Canggu is the coolest area in Bali. This seaside community has shed its provincial skin and has in recent years emerged as a thriving hub of surfers, expats, digital nomads and style savvy travellers. From hipster chic vibes to a thriving surf scene and endless creative flair, Canggu is the place to be for all that’s hip and happening in Bali.
Gone are the days when Canggu – or the Gu for short – was a relaxed getaway exclusive to surfers and long-time Bali expats in the know. Nowadays, people from all walks of life are flocking to Canggu and it’s easy to see why. The area has maintained its laidback surfer vibe but has upped the ante with edgy cafes, fabulous villas and new cosmopolitan flair.
Aptly dubbed the Brooklyn of Bali, modern day Canggu offers a vibrant mix of surfer culture, hipster aesthetics, trendy dining, young creatives and laidback local life. The sprawling expanse of Canggu is dotted with skate bowls, beach clubs and live music venues, with street art, surf breaks and rice fields framing the views. Canggu goers have also developed a real penchant for all things health and fitness and you’ll find studios offering yoga classes, CrossFit and more. All of this is framed by glorious black sand beaches and out-of-this-world tropical sunsets.
Though Canggu is sometimes described as “the new Seminyak”, there are still some major differences between the two areas. Canggu is more laidback and cool, whereas Seminyak has more of a sophisticated air to it. Another major point of difference: unlike densely built Seminyak, Canggu still has its rice fields, many of which are part of the protected green belt. With the rapid development taking place all over Canggu, it remains to be seen how long those rice fields will still be a part of the scenery.
Planning Your Trip to Canggu
Canggu has fast emerged as one of the most popular destinations in Bali with something exciting happening throughout the year. The area is well spread out so planning your trip strategically is important. Our Canggu travel guide aims to give you the essential information, list the most popular things to do in Canggu, provide more information on locations you want to visit, and finish with some inspiration from our travel writers. For more information on events and festivals taking place throughout the year, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
Bali is pleasant all year round! May through September has the best weather (drier, less humid) and is the best time for many activities including diving and surfing. November though March is rainy season – though rainfall is never excessive so you can do most activities except volcano treks.
The temperature ranges from 24 degrees to 31 degrees all year round.
Rainfall ranges from 0cm to 140cm during the wet season.
Things to See & Do in Canggu
Canggu is a great destination for travellers looking to stay active while on holiday – but it’s also a paradise for those who prefer lounging by the pool with a cold drink in hand. The area is going through rapid changes with new and exciting events and venues popping up constantly. Here is a sampling of the best things to see and do in Canggu.
It’s easy to pamper yourself in the Gu, with trendy spas and salons dotted across the neighbourhood (many of the most popular options are centred around the busy strip of Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong). You can opt for a modern spa offering signature treatments (24-carat gold facials, anyone?) or settle for a down to earth local establishment offering traditional massages and other treatments. If you’re really looking to indulge, you can also enjoy massages and other spa treatments in the privacy of your own villa.
As trendy hipsters have taken over Canggu, shopping in the area has gotten a lot more appealing. There are cute boutiques lining Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong and Jalan Pantai Berawa selling apparel, surf gear, jewellery and swimwear, both from edgy local brands and international labels. Canggu is also a great place for picking up island style homewares. You’ll find several shops offering beautiful bohemian home interiors around the area.
Tours & Activities
Canggu first became famous thanks to its surf breaks and it’s still attracting surfers to this day. The most famous surf breaks can be found along Echo Beach, Batu Bolong and Berawa. There are many surf camps and surf school in the area, offering everything from a few hours’ lessons to immersive, week long programs. If you already know your way around the waves, you can also rent a board directly at the beach. There are plenty of surf shops in Canggu where you can pick up a board and other surf gear – though the beaches in Canggu are best suited for those with at least some previous surfing experience.
Even if you’re not a surfer, it’s easy to stay in shape in Canggu. The area is attracting more and more fitness buffs and nomadic yogis which has resulted in a real renaissance of gyms and yoga studios in the area. These equally well-styled and equipped studios offer everything from soothing yoga to intense CrossFit sessions.
A unique way to experience Canggu is to enjoy a scenic horseback ride on the beach. A horseback ride through Canggu and neighbouring Pererenan takes you through quintessentially Balinese rice fields and along the scenic coastline. This is a very romantic activity for couples and also makes for a fun day out with the family. If you’ve booked through Ministry of Villas, our concierge team can organise this experience for you.
Eating & Drinking in Canggu
Canggu’s restaurant scene has evolved light years in the past couple of years and as the area continues to be trending, the dining scene is a constant state of flux. New restaurants and coffee shops seem to be opening (and closing) on an almost daily basis. It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago, the only thing on the menu was nasi (rice) and a few simple Western dishes.
These days, restaurants and cafes in Canggu tend to be very hipster chic. The venues charm with their photogenic décor and at least much attention is paid to how good the food will look on your Instagram feed as how much it will please your tastebuds. By now, smoothie bowls are a local staple and sourcing your daily avocado smash or a perfectly brewed flat white will be child’s play. The dining scene in Canggu tends to be on the casual side rather than fine dining, though there are also a few great options for a special night out.
Canggu has also garnered a reputation as something of a heaven for vegans. Nowadays, you can’t swing a coconut without hitting a café focusing on plant based goodness. Next to Instagram friendly venues and plant based cuisine, Canggu has seriously upped its game in the international dining arena. Thai, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Polynesian and more – you’ll find all of these cuisines represented in the Gu. On the flip side, it’s getting more and more challenging to find good old fashioned local food in the area, as humble local warungs are rapidly disappearing from trendy areas like Batu Bolong. For more details about local Indonesian food, take a look at our comprehensive Bali guide.
Canggu is a great destination for night owls. The area is brimming with in vogue watering holes and you’ll find great live bands playing most nights of the week. Thankfully, the scene is not as rowdy as that which you’ll find in Kuta – at least not yet. Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong offers a great selection of bars and restaurants, with well-established heavy hitters neighboured by trendy newcomers. The shoreline is now dotted with swanky beach clubs and humble beach bars, perfect for cocktails and cold beers while gazing out at the sunset. For a quintessentially Canggu night out, head out for some moshing at a local skate bowl.
Canggu is sprawled over a generous plot of land, with multiple pockets to explore. Central Canggu focuses around the lively strip of Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong which leads down to the popular Batu Bolong surf beach. The closer you are to the beach, the more restaurants, boutiques, bars and spas you’ll find. The next beach over is the iconic Echo Beach. Central Canggu connects to neighbouring Berawa through the infamous Canggu shortcut.
Berawa is another popular neighbourhood in the greater Canggu area, sandwiched between central Canggu and neighbouring Batubelig. Berawa is a trendy locale frequented by surfers, with a popular cluster of beach clubs and restaurants huddled along the beach. Berawa spills further out inland and houses many of Canggu’s most popular restaurants which are dotted across the area.
Jalan Raya Canggu is the main road piercing Canggu, running from neighbouring Kerobokan all the way to Pererenan. How close to the action you’ll be roughly depends on which side of this main artery your accommodation falls. If you’re staying closer to the beach, you’ll likely be only a few minutes away from restaurants and the beach. If, on the other hand, you’re staying more inland from Jalan Raya Canggu, you’ll be surrounded by local village life and reaching the beach will be a 10-15-minute drive.
Canggu & Surrounds
Just up the coast from bustling Canggu, Pererenan offers a more serene setting, though this area too is steadily picking up steam. Pererenan is still coloured by emerald green rice paddies and the beach remains far less crowded than its Canggu neighbours. Cool new coffee shops have started popping up across the neighbourhood but the vibe is still that of the “real” Bali. The next area up the coast is Seseh which is characterised by rice paddies, local village life and luxury villas built over the black sand beach.
Heading down the coast, Batubelig is a relaxed neighbourhood sandwiched between Canggu and Seminyak – the latter is known as the dining and shopping mecca of Bali. Seminyak and Canggu are also neighboured by Kerobokan and Umalas, two low key neighbourhoods characterised by rice fields and amazing hidden gem villas.
Ministry of Villas has over 100 hand-picked villas in Canggu. Canggu is getting more and more popular so prices are starting to hike up but for now, most villas in Canggu still represent great value for money. Canggu offers a great variety of villas, ranging from absolute beachfront estates to designer gems tucked in the heart of action and serene tropical escapes hidden away from the crowds.
Prices range from around USD $100 per night for a one-bedroom villa to over USD $2,000 per night for a six-bedroom beachfront villa. All of our villas come with professionally trained staff. Many villas offer personalised services including: butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, drivers and other services you won’t find in a hotel.
Ngurah Rai International Airport is the only airport in Bali, located in Tuban in South Bali. The airport serves over 20 million passengers a year with direct flights to Bali offered from international destinations including Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Dubai. Airlines offering direct flights to Bali include Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Air Asia, Jet Star and more. There are early plans of building a second airport in North Bali.
You can also fly into the international airports on neighbouring islands of Java and Lombok which are connected to Bali by boat and ferry transfers. Ferries from Java arrive in Gilimanuk (about three hours from Canggu) while the boats and ferries from Lombok land in Sanur, Benoa, Serangan, Padang Bai and Amed. It takes about one hour to reach Canggu from Benoa and Sanur.
Nationalities from over 160 countries are eligible for visa free entry into Indonesia. This means your passport will be stamped on arrival at the airport, allowing you to stay in the country for 30 days. For stays longer than 30 days, you will need to obtain a visa which will require further arrangements. Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your date of arrival in Indonesia.
Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival at the airport and escort you to your villa. This service is included for most villas when booking more than four nights. We can also organise VIP airport transfers which allow you to skip to queue at the immigration desk and access the lounge while waiting for your luggage.
If you haven’t arranged your airport transfers beforehand, you can also get a taxi once you have landed at the airport. There is an official taxi stand at the arrivals hall, next to the information desk. This taxi stand offers fixed-priced and metered fares throughout Bali. The prices change frequently without prior notice so finding accurate, up to date information online before arriving in Bali is challenging. There are also countless freelance taxi drivers floating about the arrivals hall, offering transport services at varying rates. To avoid any excessive head scratching (and paying a ridiculously high price), we highly recommend organising your airport transfers prior to arrival.
There are plenty of options for getting around Canggu, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers.
Hiring a private car and driver is a hassle free way of getting around Canggu. Having your own personal driver for a day or for the duration of your stay allows you to explore the vast area of Canggu with ease and also saves you from the head scratching associated with trying to get a taxi in Canggu – more on that below. Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. This little luxury is remarkably affordable and we can also help you arrange an itinerary, instructing your driver in advance.
By far the most popular way of getting around Canggu is to hop on a scooter. Canggu is well spread out so you usually need some sort of wheels to get around. A scooter will get you from A to B in no time but as always, remember to put safety first. A lot of young travellers in Canggu opt to drive sans helmet which of course is very ill advised. You should also carry a valid international licence. Driving without a license and/or a helmet will result in a fine if you’re pulled over by the police. Scooter rentals usually start at around IDR 50,000 per day (USD $4).
Canggu is a sprawling area, so making your way around on foot is often not a feasible option. That being said, there are certain hubs which allow you to explore your surroundings on foot. If you’re staying along the main street of Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, you can probably reach restaurants and the beach on foot. But even this main street is three kilometres long, so if you’re staying at the wrong end (i.e. away from the beach), you will find yourself facing quite the hike. Other walkable areas include the areas surrounding Nelayan Beach and Berawa Beach.
Getting a taxi in Canggu can be a tricky business. Unlike in neighbouring Seminyak, you won’t see a fleet of trusty Blue Bird taxis cruising down the street. The local banjars (village communities) in Canggu have an iron grip on transport services in the area and traditional taxis (including Blue Bird) and ride haling apps (Go-Jek and Grab) are banned in most areas. This means you can be dropped off in Canggu by a taxi but it will be difficult or even impossible to get a normal taxi or an online taxi back. The local alternative to taxis are transport services offered by local drivers. If you do take them up on an offer, always make sure to agree on the price before getting in.
The Balinese are among the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet. This is all the more reason to return the favour and be respectful towards the local culture. Like anywhere else in the world, common sense and basic human decency goes a long way. For more detailed information about local culture, language and safety in Bali, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
SHOPPING & BARGAINING
Modern day Canggu is dotted with trendy boutiques and shops offering fashion, homeware and surf gear with fixed prices. At traditional markets and more low key local shops, you will need to do some bargaining. This can be an enjoyable part of shopping in Bali… or it can be frustrating! To ensure a smooth exchange first decide what the item is worth to you, then ask the seller for their price – your first offer can be from one-third to two-thirds of that price. They are likely to respond with a counteroffer, which you can either accept or negotiate further. If you don’t like the price and you walk away there is a good chance the vendor will call out to you with a better (usually final) price. Keep in mind, if an agreement is reached, you’re committed – you should buy if your offer is accepted.
In late 2018, the governor of Bali banned single use plastic on the island, meaning shops, boutiques and supermarkets no longer give out plastic bags. When out and about, it’s best to carry a reusable bag with you.
Most restaurants and villas include a service component already so tipping is not expected, but if service is good, an additional cash tip is appreciated.
Indonesia’s country code is +62. Data speeds of 3G and faster is the norm across Bali. Local prepaid SIM cards are sold everywhere; any modern mobile phone will work. As of 2018, all prepaid SIM cards need to be registered which you can usually do with a copy of your passport directly at the shop where you purchase your SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards come loaded with pulsa (credit) or mobile data which you can later easily top up at other outlets. Most if not all minimarts and local phone shops can top off your SIM card when needed. Most villas provide broadband Internet and free Wi-Fi is common in cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls.
Health & Safety
It’s important to note that compared to many places in the world, Bali is fairly safe. There have been some high-profile cases of visitors being injured or killed on Bali, but in many cases these tragedies have been inflamed by media sensationalism.
Many of Bali’s beaches are subject to heavy surf and strong currents and Canggu is no exception. In general, Canggu’s beaches are better suited for surfing than swimming and there are no life guards on duty in Canggu. Be careful when swimming over coral and never walk on it. It can be very sharp and coral cuts are easily infected. In addition, you are damaging a fragile environment. Lastly, water pollution is a problem in busy neighbourhoods. Avoid swimming near open streams flowing into the sea as they are often contaminated by run-off from built-up areas.
Violent crime is uncommon in Bali, however bag-snatching from motorbikes and petty theft does occur. Take extra care with your phone if riding pillion on a motorbike as phones regularly get snatched from unsuspecting tourists using a navigation app. Otherwise, take the same precautions you would in any urban area and secure your money before leaving an ATM (and don’t forget your card!), don’t leave valuables on a beach while swimming, and use in-villa safes to store your valuables.
Tap water in Bali is not safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available and cheap, however Ministry of Villas encourages visitors to keep a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic consumption.
Travel insurance is absolutely essential for every traveller. A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveller’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Most policies are built to be comprehensive to protect travellers from a variety of events that may cause financial loss before or during their trip. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ which can include scuba diving, renting a local motorcycle and even trekking.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at World Nomads and you can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
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Canggu is one of the most vibrant areas in Bali, with cool new restaurants, buzzed about beach clubs and trendy boutiques opening up on what seems like a daily basis. Our team is always on the lookout for what’s hip and happening in the Gu. Check out our latest blog posts written by experienced Ministry of Villas travel writers.