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A Helpful Guide to Enjoying Life in Canggu, Bali

A Helpful Guide to Enjoying Life in Canggu, Bali

  • Whether you are looking to surf, meditate, eat incredible Indonesian food, work, party, or explore, Canggu is unlike anywhere else in Bali. Here's everything you need to know.
canggu bali helpful guide

By @claudiebesant

Canggu is unlike anywhere else in Bali; it’s the perfect balance of calm and chaos. Everywhere you go there is a buzz of excitement, but it’s not hard to find spots of tranquillity either. Whether you are looking to surf, shop, exercise, meditate, eat incredible food, work, party, relax, or simply scoot around and explore, Canggu has it all.

Before living in Canggu for a month, I’d never been to Asia or even caught a connecting flight before so I was extremely nervous when flying out. However, after the initial culture shock, I quickly fell in love with Bali and I can’t wait to come back in the future. I stayed in a budget bungalow villa in Dalung (about 10 minutes from Canggu centre) with sixteen gals and one guy, the majority Australian, and studied Bahasa Indonesian with them at Cinta Bahasa over the course of the month.


Read More: Books to Read Before Travelling to Southeast Asia.



Helpful Bahasa Indonesia Phrases

Learning the language made it so much easier to communicate with locals and enhanced my experience of Bali in so many ways. I really recommend learning Indonesian if you plan on staying in Bali for a while, but if you’re only here for a short time then here are some helpful phrases to know:

“Terimah kasih” (teh-ree-ma ka-see) or “makasih” (ma-ka-see) – Thank You or Thanks.

“Sama-sama” (saa-maa) – You’re Welcome.“Permisi” (per-mee-see) – Excuse Me.“Ya” – Yes.“Tidak” (tee-dak) – No. You can also say “Tidak apa-apa” – It’s Okay (slightly politer way of saying no).

“Apa kabar?” (ap-aa ka-baar) – How Are You?

Make sure to roll your ‘r’.“Baik” (bike) – Good.

“Bisa minta…” (bee-saa meen-taa) – Can I Ask For… A useful phrase when ordering at a restaurant and sounds politer than

“Saya mau” (saa-yaa mow) – I Want…

“Ini/Itu” (ee-nee/ee-too) – This/That. Helpful for when you are at warungs (Indonesian roadside café).

“Enak” (eh-nak) – Delicious.

“Saya suka…” (saa-yaa soo-kaa) –

I Like…“Saya dari Ingriss/Australia” (saa-yaa da-ree…) – I Am From England/Australia. You will be surprised how often you get asked this – show your love for the language by replying in Indonesian.

* Sign up to a free trial of Skillshare to take basic and more advanced Indonesian language lessons.

Great Places to Eat in Canggu

Although you will be overwhelmed with your choice of smoothie bowls when visiting Canggu, there is no better way of truly experiencing the amazing Indonesian cuisine and interacting with local people than by eating at a warung.

If you’ve never been to a warung before, they are easily identifiable by a glass counter displaying an array of delicious Indonesian dishes. Just select the dishes you want from behind the glass (using the phrases above) and pay after you eat.

Warung Bintang in Berawa is a favourite of mine; the owners are so friendly and helped me practice my Bahasa Indonesian, their gado-gado (peanut sauce) is incredible, and the portion sizes are huge for what you pay (about 20,000 IDR, or £1.00, for a vegetable dish).

Warung Dandelion – Despite the name, Dandelion is far more like a restaurant than a traditional warung, but they still offer some of the best Indonesian cuisine in Canggu. There is a great variety of dishes for seafood lovers and veggies, the tuna pepe and lemon and herb tempeh beloved by all diners.

As well as mouth-watering food, Dandelion’s magical atmosphere will make you never want to leave; bunnies hop around your feet, tropical plants surround you, and books cover the walls. This is not somewhere you’ll want to miss while in Canggu.

cangu restaurants bali - Warung Dandelion

Secret Spot – Secret Spot is most definitely not a secret around Canggu, and for good reason. Whether you’re vegan or not, it will be hard to choose just one dish from the menu. Nothing is done half-heartedly here, even something as simple as a lemonade is garnished with fresh passionfruit.

Their pesto ravioli is a forever favourite with customers and you won’t hesitate ordering their delicious Secret Waffles. If you’re looking for somewhere calm and cosy for a solo coffee and laptop sesh or an intimate lunch date, then you won’t find anywhere better than Secret Spot.

Sista Canggu – The perfect escape from the busy roads of Canggu and a spectacular view of lush rice fields, Sista is the ideal place for relaxing, sipping some bubble tea, and indulging on dumplings. Their Shanghai-inspired menu is full of delicious dishes and they always have a special offer to keep you interested, such as Tipsy Sundays, where if you buy one cocktail you get a set of dumplings free.

Their dumplings are raved about all over Canggu and it only takes one visit to Sista to see why – try their mushroom and kimchi dumplings, you won’t regret it.

cangu bali landscape Sista

Rojo’s Breakfast – Quaint, homely, and adorable, Rojo’s may be small but it’s the ultimate breakfast spot in Canggu. Whether you’re longing for a mango smoothie, breakfast burrito, dragonfruit pancakes, or a simple eggs on toast, Rojo’s is the place to satisfy your cravings and give you a much needed boost of energy for the rest of your day. There is also a book-swap shelf for the bookworms and it’s only a quick walk to Berawa Beach for those looking to catch some waves after breakfast.

Give Café – The name gives it away, but Give Café is different from other café spots in Canggu; they donate 100% of their profits to local charities, such as Mission Pawsible, Pusbadi Bali, and Merah Putih Hijau, at the end of each month. Customers are given a wooden coin with each purchase, which they can slot into the donation box section (either People, Environment, or Animals) of their choice to determine which charity profits are donated to that month.

Give’s motto embodies the ethos of the café: ‘when you have more than you need, build a longer table – not a higher fence’. And they also serve multi-coloured Unicorn Pancakes – this is a must for your bucket list.

cangu bali cafes - give cafe

Recommended Tour: This Award-Winning Bali Instagram Tour.



Things to Do in Canggu

There are so many things to get up to in Canggu, that you’ll never be bored.

Yoga and Fitness

You’ll be spoilt for choice with the amount of yoga studios in Canggu:

Odyssey MVMT has a reputation for being one of the best and offers a variety of yoga and fitness classes to keep you in shape, but make sure you book in advance as the classes fill up fast.

Samadi Bali yoga takes place in a beautiful wooden outdoor studio with water trickling underneath it, making the atmosphere one of utter peace and tranquillity (however, don’t forget to wear your mosquito repellent).

Villa Lotus 8 Yoga overlooks fields of rice paddies and offers a range of different classes, from ashtanga, to vinyasa, to power yoga, incorporating both fitness and mindful practices.

Massages and Beauty

Exploring Bali can be exhausting, therefore setting aside some time for a bit of self-care is important.

AU Nails – If your nails are looking a bit worse for wear then AU Nails will give them all the polishing and shining they need, and for a good price too. They also have an adorable dog called Zoe who will give you lots of cuddles while you wait.

If you’re looking for a massage to get rid of those knots you’ve developed from hunching over your scooter, then Chillax and Lotus are just two of many great options to help you relax after a long day in the sun.

AMO Spa does it all; from nails to facials to massages, waxing, and even IV therapy. They also cut, colour, style, and treat your hair, but make sure you bring a photo along of what you want so things don’t get lost in translation.

Markets and Shopping

As well as a yoga studio, Samadi Bali has a market that takes place every Sunday from 9am ‘till 2pm which supports local organic farmers and artisans. The plethora of fruit and vegetable, pastries, breads, cakes, dips, and more are all chemical free, healthy and fresh. You can also find natural remedies and tea, beautiful jewellery, sustainable clothes, and stalls fighting for change, such as Eco Bali Life and Bali Street Mums Project.

If you’re looking for somewhere to grab souvenirs or barter for some stunning jewellery then look no further than Love Anchor Market. Open every day from 9am to 9pm, with more stalls on the weekend, you will be overwhelmed with the choice of bags, coconut bowls, bintang t-shirts, bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, paintings, dreamcatchers, magnets, and more.

There are also a variety of great shops in Canggu, including Indigo Luna, popular for great quality yoga items and swimwear, Ucandco, a local business selling a great range of clothing and accessories, some printed with their slogan ‘Spread Love, Zero Hate’, and Paperclip People, a wonderland of eco-friendly stationery for those who need no convincing that there is always a reason to buy yet another notebook.

cangu bali town stationery shop

Bars and Clubs

The nightlife in Canggu is incomparable to anything you have ever experienced back home.

Pretty Poison is the place to be on a Thursday or Saturday night, but make sure to get there early if you want a good view of the empty Californian-style pool turned skatepark. 9pm is when the party really starts, the music gets louder and more skaters turn up to show off their skills. There is a bar offering various alcoholic concoctions, as well as the classic Bintang, but beware of the tattoo lounge opposite the bar, a dangerous destination for those who’ve had a couple too many.

If you’re looking for an escape from the crowds of Pretty Poison, then the Black Cat Mini Mart is just next door. Unlike a normal mini mart, however, this place offers more than just a drink or a snack for the ride home. Look for the fridge with a scribbled ‘Broken’ note taped to it at the back of the store, yank it open, and you will reveal a secret bar with affordable drinks and a chill atmosphere.

Old Man’s is another popular club and hipster hangout, offering beer pong, fun events, and cool music. Don’t stress when the lights turn on and people begin stumbling out, the party continues at Sandbar just down the road on Batu Bolong Beach. Here you can sing-a-long to Justin Bieber as you struggle to dance on the sand, contemplate getting a tattoo, and buy yourself another Bintang before looking wistfully out at the ocean.

Luigi’s and Deus Ex Machina are also great party spots, Deus even offering a free tatt with your tacos on Tuesday if you manage to get your name on the board in time – get there early and prepare for things to get a bit heated.

Canggu Beaches and Surfing

Although I’m not a surfer myself, Canggu is known for being the best place to surf in Bali so it won’t be hard to find people offering lessons if you want to learn. Canggu Beach, Berawa Beach, Batu Bolong Beach, and Nelayan Beach are your options and each one offers something different, so why not visit a couple and find which one suits your vibe.

If you’re not a surfer like me, then the beach clubs might be where you feel more comfortable; Finns Beach Club is the most popular in Canggu, so much so that they have a Finns VIP Beach Club right next door that offers a five-star experience but it’s members only. There is also La Brisa, The Lawn, and Echo Beach Club for a more relaxed, friendly, and chilled atmosphere.

Recommended: Canggu 2-Hour Beginner’s Surf Lesson.

cangu bali beaches


Day Trips from Canggu

Get ready for some exciting day trips from Canggu, from stunning nature to temples, and hiking there’s something for everyone.

Ubud

Only an hour car ride away from Canggu, there are endless amounts of things to do and see in Ubud. If you’re looking to explore then Campuhan Ridge Walk, Tegallang Rice Terraces, and Tegenungan Waterfall are must-sees. If you want something more relaxing, then why not book in for a heavenly massage and flower bath at Cantika Zest and sign up for a class at the famous Yoga Barn.

If you’re on the hunt for a bit of culture then Agung Rai Museum of Art and the Ganesha Bookshop will satisfy your artistic and intellectual desires. Monkey Forest Road is also great if you are looking to do a bit of shopping, especially for silver jewellery, but beware of Monkey Forest, the monkeys like to hangout across the road and they are definitely not shy, so hold on tight to your purchases!

Recommended Tour: Best of Ubud: Waterfall, Rice Terraces & Monkey Forest.

Hike Mountain Batur

For those looking for adventure and the most incredible view in Bali, you won’t find anywhere better than the sunrise on Mountain Batur. In order to reach the top by sunrise though you will need to start hiking at about 2 AM and make sure to bring lots of water, a raincoat, snacks, good trainers, and a strong will. Beginners may want to take this at their own pace, the rocks, sand, and sharp incline make for a difficult journey, but it will all be worth it for that phenomenal view at the top. Watch out for the monkeys here too, they will steal any snacks or shiny items they can get their little hands on.

Recommended Tour: Bali Mount Batur Sunrise Hike and Natural Hotspring.

cangu bali nature Mount Batur

Uluwatu

The place to go for those who love surfing or want to see the famous Single Fin Beach Bar, which overlooks Uluwatu’s notorious surf break. Spanning two floors with three bars, a swimming pool, live music, and a terrace perfect for watching the sunset, you can see why Single Fin is an unmissable destination. If this doesn’t float your boat, or you’re worried it might sink your bank account, then there are plenty of temples, resorts, and spas to visit instead.

Recommended Tour: Bali Sunset: Uluwatu Temple, Kecak Dance, and Jimbaran Bay.

Nusa Penida

A quick car and boat trip is all it takes to reach the stunning beaches of Nusa Penida. Crystal Bay Beach, Atuh Beach, Broken Beach, Kelingking ‘T-Rex’ Beach, and Suwehan Beach are just some of the amazing beaches and spectacular views this island has to experience. Make sure to hire a driver for the day to take you around the island though as the roads can be difficult to navigate and very rocky for the keen but inexperienced scooter rider.

Recommended Tour: The Best of Nusa Penida by Fast Boat.

Tanah Lot Temple

If you don’t feel like going somewhere for the whole day, then Tanah Lot is a great place to spend the evening and watch the sunset while sipping a Bintang. Arrive before sunset, when the tide is low, so you can walk across the waters to the temple, but keep an eye out for the sea snakes slithering between the rocks. When the tide is high and the sun begins to set, find yourself a nice spot and watch the sky transform to a beautiful golden pink behind the floating temple.

Recommended Tour: Guided Sunset Tour to Tanah Lot Temple.

cangu bali sights temples

Kuta

A great place for afternoon shopping, Kuta has busy street markets and giant modern malls to suit every shoppers needs. The Beachwalk Shopping Centre is a grand mall featuring mostly Western brands such as Zara, Topshop, Bath and Body Works, Brandy Melville, and many others. If you are looking for a taste of home and bit of familiarity, then you will definitely find it here.

Recommended Tour: Take a Beginner’s Surf Class at Kuta or Try a Balinese Cooking Class with Market Tour.

Seminyak

Only half an hour from Canggu, Seminyak is a great place to visit for a (slightly more crowded) change of scene. Whether you are looking to hang out at Potato Head Beach Club, catch some waves, shop, grab a coffee, practice your yoga and mindfulness, scuba dive, visit some new cafes such as Nook and KYND, or explore the art galleries, you won’t run out of things to do in Seminyak.


Read More: 5 Indonesian Writers you Should be Reading.



Canggu Helpful Tips

Money

More places are now accepting card but it is always best to have cash on you, especially if you are eating at warungs and shopping at the markets. Try and break up your larger notes as taxi and GoJek drivers might not always have the exact change, so it’s best to pay the correct amount.

If you are from the UK like me then it can be difficult to work out the price for things in pounds – luckily I was with a group of Australians and found a useful tactic: if something is 300,000 IDR, this would be about 30 AUD, the pound is roughly half of the Australian dollar, therefore it would be £15. So just knock off four zeros, half it, and there you have it.

Travel

Good luck trying to walk anywhere in Canggu, pavements are non-existent and there are some pretty large holes next to the road that are a major hazard to anyone as clumsy as me. Do yourself a favour and download the Grab or GoJek apps if you don’t want to risk your life renting a scooter.

I used GoJek the majority of the time I was in Canggu to get to where I needed to go – the cars are cheap if there are a group of you, but it’s much faster to hop on the back of a scooter (make sure they give you a helmet before you do though).

Depending on the time of day and where you want to go, a price for a scooter should be between 9,000 and 30,000 IDR (or roughly 50p and £1.64) and for a car between 20,000 and 60,000 IDR (or roughly £1.10 and £3.28). However, not everywhere has or allows GoJek and Grab, so you may have to walk to a different street in Canggu to get picked up or arrange a different mode of transport if you are going somewhere like Ubud.

Canggu Bali scooter

SIM Cards

If you want to order your GoJeks without Wifi when you are out and about, then you are going to need a SIM card. You can grab a SIM on arrival at the airport but they will be significantly more expensive than the kiosks selling them in town. Make sure you specify the amount of data you want and the length of time you want it for (I got an 11GB SIM for 45,000 IDR and it lasted for a month). They are usually really easy to set up and mine seemed to work fine, even better than the Wifi sometimes.

Toilets and Water

You can very rarely flush toilet paper in Canggu, so instead you will find a hose-like device next to the toilet – just press the trigger and be prepared for a bit of a splash. It’s a bit weird to use at first and slightly uncomfortable after, but you soon dry off in the heat and actually end up feeling cleaner. Trust me, by the end of the trip you’ll miss it.

Avoid drinking or brushing your teeth with the water, as well as any drinks with ice in and salads washed in the tap water. Instead, bring a reusable bottle or buy a large bottle of water and refill it when you have the opportunity e.g. in restaurants or at your accommodation. This is the best way to avoid Bali Belly, but if I’m honest, you’ll probably get it slightly at some point – just make sure to pack some Imodium and keep hydrated.

Religion and Respectful Behaviour

The majority religion in Bali is Hinduism, with Islam as a minority. The first thing many people notice when arriving in Bali is the beautiful, vivid Hindu offerings placed outside shops, temples, hotels, and other public places. I was lucky enough to be taught how to make canang sari (an offering of praise and prayer to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa) and take part in an upacara ceremony for the goddess Saraswati on The Day of Knowledge.

The offerings are heavily symbolic, made from bamboo and fresh flowers, so please be careful not to trample them on the street. Also, don’t be surprised if your driver has to go a different route one day because a road is closed for a ceremony; these ceremonies are an important part of a Balinese person’s life and they will often take part in dozens each year.

Although locals are often very tolerant of tourists, dressing modestly is important, especially when visiting temples or mosques – you must have your shoulders and knees covered, so make sure to wear a scarf and sarong or rent them at the entrance.

canggu bali lifestyle temple

Overall, Bali is an incredibly beautiful, spiritual, and cultural place filled with passionate and kind people, so please show your respect and generosity when travelling around this amazing island.

Whether you want to relax on a Canggu beach, enjoy Indonesian food, work, party, or explore, Canggu is unlike anywhere else in Bali. Here's everything you need to enjoy life in this dynamic area wether you're a digital nomad, looking for a yoga retreat, want to try surfing or just travelling through.  #bali #southeastasia #travelguide #digitalnomad #adventuretravel #balidaytrips #traveldestinations #naturetravel #budgettravel #foodie #yogaretreat
View Comments (2)
  • What a helpful and insightful article! Thank you so much for helping me plan my forthcoming Bali holiday – you have helped me streamline my trip and have saved me lots of time. 🙂

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