If you visit Bali, chances are you will end up in Canggu. Recently, it has become the name to drop among visitors: think stylish hotels, uber-luxe villas, nouveau-warung, pilates studios, and an epidemic of hipster barber shops where beard grooming is an art form. But as all the action is well dissipated, with places scattered among ricefields and behind wild beaches, the Canggu area retains a delightfully (neo)rustic feel – there’s no urban sprawl at all.
The best travel tips for visiting CangguEcho Beach and Batu Bolong are the real hubs. As ever, across southern Bali, traffic can be trying. There’s virtually no public transport and even once-quiet backroads like Jalan Betubelig from Kerobokan can now be traffic-clogged.
Never take the Tanah Lot highway in the afternoon, which is a total roadblock. Locals and resident ex-pats tend to use a bumpy network of little lanes and dirt pathways that are not plotted on maps, but even these can get bumper-to-bumper with mopeds as sunset approaches.
A new road currently under construction will hopefully alleviate some of the snarls. Inevitably, change is happening lightning-fast in Canggu and what was once a surfer bolthole is now developing at a terrifying pace. Get here soon.
Best things to do in CangguBeach. Surf. Sunbathe. Repeat. The best things to do in Canggu are all very much about the sun, sand, and surf.
#1 Surf some reef breaksThe coastline at Canggu is one of the best places to surf in Bali. The Canggu area is a laid-back surf paradise, and there are reef breaks at Batu Bolong, Echo Beach and Pererenan. If looking to hone surf skills you’ll find dozens of surf schools in the area.
#2 Soak up the beachside buzzCanggu has evolved from off-radar boho bolthole to one of Bali’s hottest hubs for the hip and free-spirited. Beach clubs here are of a rustic nature compared with the sleek vibes found up at Seminyak: kick back with an ice-cold drink amid fairy lights and palms, and look out to surfers slicing through waves.
The three main beaches are Berawa, Batu Bolong and Echo Beach, and then the typically lesser populated Neyelan and Pererenan. It’s worth remembering that what makes a beach brilliant for surfers can often make it treacherous for swimmers. All can be dangerous for swimming. Head to a beachfront hotel or club pool for a leisurely dip.
#3 Find your ZenWhether looking to deepen your practice or try yoga for the first time, this is a truly idyllic destination in which to attend yoga classes. Numerous yoga schools run in the Canggu area.
Canggu’s Desa Seni Resort runs up to five drop-in sessions a day, as well as longer retreats and yoga teacher training.
#4 Take in the sunset from Pura Tanah Lot TempleThe Hindu temple Pura Tanah Lot is situated on a large offshore rock. The temple is believed to have been built in the 16th century and is dedicated to the sea gods. It is known for stunning sunset views and traditional Balinese architecture, and one of the seven temples that form a ring in southwest Bali.
#5 Tuck into excellent foodCanggu has an ever-growing food scene. There are countless cafes, restaurants and bars to choose from, spanning a wide array of cultures - and budgets. Excellent vegan food can be found at The Shady Shack, while Warung Bu Mi serves up delicious local dishes. Cinta Cafe is one for beautifully presented dishes in a stylish setting.
Many of Canggu’s restaurants focus on sustainability, protecting the local environment and supporting local producers and farmers.
Best areas to stay in CangguThere is a wide selection of hotels in Canggu, most notable a proliferation of surf camp guesthouses. However, none right on the beach.
Batu Bolong BeachThere are a clutch of high-end and expensive resorts back from the sand at Batu Bolong as well as a number of midrange guesthouses.
Canggu BeachBack from the Canggu Beach shoreline, there are fewer places to stay but more budget options.
Best restaurants and barsCanggu has a swathe of budget-friendly dining spots along the main streets as well as some of the most creative cuisine on the island. New places to eat pop up all the time and even the beach shacks are now selling decent grub.
- Betelnut Café Popular travellers’ hangout split between a small a/c interior and an airy upper deck. Either way, you’re here for a healthy menu: whole coconuts, fresh juices, salads, wraps and a great selection of burgers – fresh fish, veggie, and beetroot patties.
- Desa Seni Fresh and organic are watchwords in this quirky eco-resort restaurant; many vegetables are grown on-site, while seafood in coconut milk and lemongrass are delicious. Also offers salads and pasta in the same relaxing setting.
How to get aroundAlthough bicycles are arguably the best way to get around Canggu, they are not for the faint-hearted. Such is the traffic that a car is more hassle than it’s worth within the resort area. Note that road closures for religious events are common, adding to the congestion. The same goes for heavy rain.
By Kura-Kura BusPublic bemos have been replaced by the efficient Kura-Kura Bus, a public shutter bus stopping at fix places in and around Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Nusa dua, Jimbaran and Canggu.
By taxiThe most reliable taxis are the light-blue Blue Bird-owned Bali Taxi which you can order online or via their app. Gojek, GoCar, GoRide and Grab app-taxis also operate in this part of Bali.
By car, bike or motorbikeFor motorcycle taxis, download the Gojek Bali app to order online. The nearest driver will respond with a price, which you can accept or reject. They are equipped with helmets and rain gear. Countless tour agents offer car, motorbike and bicycle rentals. Where it is legal to park beside the road, attendants charge a small fee to wave you in and out and look after your vehicle for you.
There’s no shortage of international and domestic flights to Bali’s only airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport – officially referred to as Denpasar (DPS) – 3km south of Kuta.
How many days do you need in Canggu?From beach fans and surfers, you could spend seven days at Canggu without getting bored. There are numerous curls of golden sand and decent year-round waves which can then be topped off with excellent nightlife and some good food.
If you’re looking for something more cultural or less fly-and-flop, you’ll only need around three days in Canggu before venturing off elsewhere in Bali.
Best time to visit CangguThe best time to visit Canggu is during the dry season in Bali, which runs from April to October. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and warm, with low humidity and minimal rainfall.
The best time to visit is April and May as it avoids both the monsoon season (October to March) and peak tourist seasons (mid-June to mid-September; plus the Christmas–New Year period). Prices for accommodations and activities can spike during this time.
The best time of year for surfing in the Canggu area is April to October.
It's worth noting that Bali's weather can be unpredictable and even during the dry season, you may experience some rainfall. However, these showers are usually brief and don't last long, so they're unlikely to impact your plans too much.
Find out more about the best time to visit Bali.
How to get hereReaching Canggu is simple as there are no shortage of international and domestic flights to Bali’s only airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport – officially referred to as Denpasar (DPS) – 18km south of Canggu.
Flying to BaliThere are no nonstop flights from the UK or Ireland to Bali. Singapore Airlines and Emirates offer some of the fastest London–Denpasar flights; all require a brief transfer but can get you to Bali in as little as 17 hours.
There’s a big choice of flights to Bali from North America, although none are direct. Flights from the west coast go via Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur, with connections to Bali in around 24 hours. From the east coast, airlines go via Tokyo (14 hours) or Bangkok (20 hours).
Scores of flights head to Bali from Australia with Quantas, Virgin Australia and Malindo Air, and low-cost carriers such as Jetstar and Garuda. Air New Zealand has (seasonal, May to October) direct flights to Bali from Auckland (9 hours).
Getting to Bali by boatHuge public inter-island ferries connect Bali with nearby islands, including Lombok and Java. They run frequently and regularly, day and night. However, they aren't particularly concerned with safety standards.
Many private small, expensive fast boats connect the Balinese mainland with the Gili Islands, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Bangsal in Lombok. There are also smaller, slower boat services to Nusa Lembongan from Bali and from mainland Lombok to all three Gili Islands. A regular ferry runs from Padang Bai on Bali to Nusa Penida.
Plan your trip to Bali with the Rough Guide to Bali and Lombok.