Canggu is an emerging area that is filled with an amazing array of trendy cafes, bars and restaurants. Once a sleepy coastal town dotted with rice paddies, it is now becoming the hipster destination of choice, for very good reasons! I chose to say in Canggu because I didn’t want to stay in the notorious party area of Kuta, nor the high-end resort region of Seminyak, so Canggu was the perfect happy medium for us.
First thing’s first – Canggu is actually pronounced “Changu.” I don’t want you sounding like an amateur! The area is split into 2 main roads. The original and most populated road is called Batu Bolong. This is where the bulk of hotels, restaurants and bars are and is a great place to base yourself. The second main road is called Berawa, this is a more chilled area with cheaper hotels and resorts, but it still has lots of great places to eat and drink at. It’s quite annoying to get between Batu Bolong and Berawa. This area has grown dramatically and the infrastructure has yet to catch up with it. The easiest way to get between these 2 streets is referred to as the “Canggu Shortcut” which is an incredibly narrow, raised road between rice paddies that can barely fit more than the width of a car. Cars fall off this road frequently. We went through the shortcut only once and that was enough for me. It was a little terrifying!
Image from Canggu Guide
The beaches around Canggu aren’t the best for swimming – they have dark sand and rough waves, so don’t plan on spending your days frolicking in the shallows. However, if you’re a keen surfer (or want to learn how) this area is perfect! The strong surf along the west coast of Bali is the perfect place to learn and there are surf schools dotted along the beaches.
How to Get There
Jetstar flies daily to Bali from most capital cities in Australia. The flight is 6 hours from Sydney and arrives at Ngurah Rai International Airport, located 13 km south of the capital Denpasar. Upon arrival, you can either get on a shuttle provided by your resort/hotel, or get a taxi. There are a lot of unofficial taxi drivers in Bali and you will be hassled with offers the second you arrive. Politely thank them and decline, and make your way to the official taxi counter which is located outside the arrivals hall. Advise the attendant of where you want to go and how much you are expected to pay so you can ensure you won’t be ripped off. For a taxi to Canggu you’re looking at around 135,000 rupiah ($12/13AUD). The journey from the airport to Canggu is around 1 hour, depending on traffic.
Where to Stay
We stayed at Villa Kami which is located in the northern part of Canggu. It away from the hustle and bustle of the main roads and tourist hub, and was filled with rice paddies and local restaurants. I highly recommend staying in a villa if there is a group of you, or you want to seriously relax in total privacy.
If you’re looking for something a little more central, I highly recommend staying at Aston Canggu Beach Resort. It’s located on Batu Bolong (the main street in Canggu) and is right near the beach. Prices are from around $100/night for this 4 star hotel which I think is excellent value for the location!
Another property I was eyeing off is the nearby boutique hotel called The Slow. Filled with sleek minimalist design and indoor plants, plus an onsite art gallery, this place is seriously cool and starts from $220/night.
If you want to splurge, book yourself a few nights at Hotel Tugu. This 5 star hotel is worth every penny and despite the central location, your room feels like you’re in the middle of a tropical jungle. Prices starts from $400/night.
Where to Eat
Now, on to arguably the most important part of this guide – eating! I must admit whenever people asked me what I planned on doing in Bali I responded “..eating food?” I think Canggu’s main strength is its huge array and high standard of dining options. If you want to drink cheap cocktails and go clubbing, stay in Kuta. If you want to stay in a 5 star resort and laze by the pool all day, stay in Seminyak. But if you’re after stuffing yourself silly on an impressive range of local food, Canggu is where you want to be!
We tried a huge selection of vegan, vegetarian, upmarket and local food during our time in Canggu and there is something to suit everyone’s taste and budget.
Pelaton Supershop – No.46 Jln Raya Pantai Berawa
This has to be my favourite restaurant hands down of the Bali trip, and I honestly could have eaten every meal here! While Pelaton is proudly vegan, don’t let this put you off if you’re a keen meat eater. With jackfruit tacos that taste almost like pulled pork, a veganfied version of the traditional Indonesia dish Nasi Campur and impossibly crispy sweet potato fries, every dish packs a flavour punch. They also have a great selection of coffee, juices and teas and we couldn’t go past the matcha latte.
Betelnut Cafe – Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.60, Canggu
Betelnut’s menu is filled with an array of healthy and delicious foods and drinks. They have a nice mix of vegetarian, vegan and meat dishes on the menu so we ordered tofu rice paper rolls, a chicken curry and a vegetarian Nasi Campur (I became obsessed with this Indo dish on our trip!) The fresh juices and iced tea were also top notch.
The Savage Kitchen – Canggu Plaza, Jalan Raya Pantai Berawa
The Savage Kitchen describes itself as a “wild health driven food concept” which is delightfully strange and intriguing, so we had to check it out! They are open morning to night and offer a menu filled with ethically sourced, fresh and local food. They also have a great bar that offers a delicious menu of cocktails and a decent wine list.
Deus Ex Machina Temple of Enthusiasm – Batu Mejan No.4, Canggu
We couldn’t walk past Deus without popping in due to my motorcycle-obsessed boyfriend. But I actually rather enjoyed it! This huge space has a restaurant, a shop filled with fashion and art, a motorcycle workshop and a lovely outdoor area to enjoy a drink. They also make their own cold drip coffee which was a welcome relief on a stinking hot afternoon.
Paletas Wey – Pantai Batu Bolong No.89, Canggu
This freshly made ice cream store is a chain with numerous locations dotted around Bali. Every ice cream is made with seasonal ingredients and real fruit and the Strawberry Kiwi flavour I had was refreshing and delicious.
Little Flinders – Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.76, Canggu
If you’re missing Australian coffee, then head on down to Little Flinders for the perfect flat white coffee and avo on toast. They are serving up all the Melbourne-inspired classics in this cafe for those feeling a little homesick or in need of some healthy comfort food.
The Lawn – Jl. Pura Dalem, Canggu
I must admit we mainly went to The Lawn for drinks and sunset views, however I was super impressed by the food which is why this venue made it onto my eating list too. We ordered lemongrass and turmeric chicken skewers, gado-gado zucchini noodles and crispy pork rib (which were so tasty I gobbled them before I remembered to take a photo!)
We spent a good 4 days of eating in Canggu and there were still so many places left on my eating list. Next time I return to Bali I’d love to check out the following which have come highly recommended to me:
- The Shady Shack
- Ruko Cafe
- Nalu Bowls
- Roti Canai
- Crate Cafe
- Gaya Gelato
- Ithaka Warung
- Milk and Madu
- Green Ginger Noodle House
Where to Drink
Old Man’s – Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No. 117, Canggu
This beach front beer garden is by no means fancy, but is pumping every day from early afternoon and is an excellent place to enjoy happy hour as they have 2-for-1 drinks! I must admit the food menu didn’t appeal to me, so after we had gotten our fix of half price Bintangs and gin and tonics, we headed to The Lawn which is just across the road for food.
The Lawn – Jl. Pura Dalem, Canggu
I’ve mentioned The Lawn previously for food, and I am going to mention it again for drinks. The view of the beach is amazing and it’s the perfect place to watch the sun set over the water. I recommend getting there early to secure yourself a table, or make a booking so you don’t miss out on the view!
La Laguna – Jl. Pantai Kayu Putih, Berawa, Canggu
La Laguna is a gypsy-inspired beach club (it’s random, but it somehow works) that is worth a visit for the decorations alone. There are tarot card reading caravans dotted throughout the jungle setting and nearly every wooden surface is hand painted with intricate flowers and patterns. They have a great tapas menu, and a range of day beds to recline on whilst you enjoy a drink or 2.
La Brisa – Jl. Pantai Batu Mejan Gg. La Brisa Echo Beach, Canggu
Another great beachside bar to watch the sunset is the newly opened La Brisa. This sprawling complex has some serious pirate vibes and many beanbags, lounge chairs and even a pool to relax by. It’s set right above Echo Beach and offers uninterrupted views of the ocean.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my foodie guide to Canggu and want to book a trip there, pronto! Keep an eye out for my guide to Ubud coming soon.
Love Swah + 1 flew to Bali as a guest of Jetstar. All thoughts and opinions are my own.