Canggu: A Review of the Hypest Bali Village

Alexis
Modified on January 21, 2024

Canggu is a very popular yet polarising destination in Bali. Here is a review to help you decide whether or not you should stop in Canggu.

Where is Canggu located in Bali?

The location of Canggu is what we could call the North of South Bali. Canggu is a town north of Seminyak, itself north of Kuta, the most touristy town in Bali.

It takes an average of 20-30 minutes to reach Seminyak or Kuta from Canggu, and the same to get to the heart of Denpasar. 1h30 is needed to reach Uluwatu, and about 45 minutes to go to Sanur.

The history of Canggu's popularity

Canggu is a former sparsely populated village in the west of Bali, where the land was not worth much. Until the 2010s, very few people knew Canggu, except for a few surfers who ventured to Echo Beach.

The rice fields were numerous at that time, and not all the streets were even paved. Going to Echo Beach for a surf session from Kuta was then a little expedition in itself.

Many expatriate villas, who wanted more greenery to escape real estate pressure and urbanisation in Seminyak, were built in the area over time. Canggu quickly became a joyful mix of expats and locals.

With the construction of better roads, social networks, and the beauty of the place, Canggu's popularity has only increased and began to attract many tourists. Since 2015, Canggu became the green response to the urbanisation of Seminyak and Kuta.

What does Canggu look like today?

Today, Canggu looks like both a tourist destination and a more classic living place in Bali, and that's what makes it charming.

The roads closest to the beaches have not resisted much to real estate pressure and are mostly occupied by restaurants, shops of all kinds, hotels, and other villas or homestays. The waterfront is now mostly occupied by some beach clubs.

Good news for rice field lovers, you can still find them in Canggu, even if they are sometimes a bit hidden by buildings or simply a bit further out "inland".

What are the main attractions of Canggu?

If Canggu is so popular, it is primarily because this small piece of land concentrates incredible charm, a unique melting pot, and many trendy hotspots. Here are the main attractions that make Canggu Canggu.

Canggu Beaches: perfect for surfers

Canggu's beaches are what attract the most people, especially surfers. There are surf spots for all levels in a very small area. Berawa in the south is a good spot for intermediate surfers, Batu Bolong is ideal for beginners, and Echo Beach Sand Bar and Pererenan are perfect for more experienced surfers.

The beaches are also the place for sunset, meetings, parties, and are therefore a must-visit when you are in Canggu.

Canggu beach

Canggu's beach clubs: all the new trendy spots are now here

Canggu has gone from a peaceful place to an extremely vibrant one in a few years only. I was living in Canggu during the extreme rise in popularity and one outside of Bali wouldn't believe how fast the change occurred! Bars and other beach clubs sprung up like mushrooms, and the least we can say is that they have not lacked inspiration.

Even if you're not a partygoer, it must be acknowledged that the lively places in Canggu have a certain charm: popular beach clubs such as La Brisa, Finns, Atlas or Sand Bar, for example, allow you to relax by the sea in an idyllic setting, which naturally fuelled the popularity of the village.

If you're looking for party, along with sea, surf, skate and rock'n'roll (or more likely electro / hip hop) Canggu is likely the place where you'll find it in Bali these days, especially if you are young. But hey, age is just a number they say.

Restaurants around Canggu are clearly worldclass

One of the attractions of Canggu is also its range of restaurants. In one word: it's nuts for such a small territory.

It's simple, there's everything.

You can eat local, have burgers, vegetarian / vegan, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, French, among others. Quality is very often high, which is not necessarily always the case for non-Indonesian restaurants outside Canggu.

In my opinion, there are simply very few places in the world that can rival Canggu if you're a foodie. It can easily compete with major metropolis in term of food offers, despite being a (very) small village.

Many villas and guest houses are available around Canggu

Canggu's popularity is also explained by a particularly enticing accommodation offer.

Many villas are available for rent in the city, whether it's daily, weekly, or monthly. Several small guest houses and other hotels are also scattered around, making it relatively easy to find a roof over your head near Canggu, even close to the sea.

Booking.com

The iconic Canggu's shortcut can be considered as an attraction

Granted, few people come to Bali just for Canggu's shortcut, this iconic road that used to be both dangerous and beautiful between two rice fields (it's now more urbanised but it's still iconic!).

Canggu's shortcut definitely is part of the experience, and it is often weirdly missed by those who have moved away from the village.

canggu shortcut
Canggu shortcut before its recent urbanisation

Who frequents Canggu?

To find out if Canggu is for you, it can be interesting to look at who is usually present in Canggu so that you can know the people you will be around the most.

Canggu: a haven for Bali expats

Canggu became popular thanks to the expats who settled there. While some preferred to move further when Canggu gained popularity among tourists / nomads, many of them are still in the vicinity.

So, you can meet many Bali expats in Canggu, whether they are business owners or managers of certain businesses on the island.

Digital nomads: plenty are based in Canggu

Canggu is also one of the favorite places for digital nomads in Bali, and by far the place where you will find the most. Many coworking spaces and cafes have adapted to their needs and are working hard to attract them.

Similarly, influencers like Instagrammers, YouTubers, and other bloggers are numerous in Canggu.

Locals: less and less in Canggu

Locals were once the only inhabitants of Canggu, but the area, especially around the beaches has been completely reconfigured with the arrival of tourism and the surge in property prices in Canggu.

Locals are therefore fewer and fewer in Canggu. Many of them now live in more remote villages in Canggu country side, or even on the outskirts of Denpasar near Dalung.

Young tourists, surfers, and partygoers: one of the rising demographic in Canggu

Over the years, Canggu has become a touristic destination like any other in Bali.

People now come mainly to Canggu to surf, party, and make new connections. Tourists who go there are often quite young, hedonistic, and eager for water sports.

What audience can Canggu appeal to?

Is Canggu made for you? If you are in one of these cases, it is highly likely that it is.

Digital nomads: a fervent love for Canggu

Digital nomads are rarely disappointed by Canggu. For a simple reason: Canggu is perfectly suited to this lifestyle.

The internet connection is fast, many restaurants and bars allow you to work on their premises, there is food of all types to keep you energised during your workday, and, as a bonus, the sea is never far away.

With the numerous coworking space, Canggu is also a good place to meet people who are also digital nomads, attend workshops, network or simply travel together.

Sociable individuals: never bored in Canggu

The most sociable people are generally the ones who love Canggu and its atmosphere.

Canggu is a real melting pot, bringing together expats, tourists, artists, nomads, surfers, partygoers, and many others.

Those who want to meet people with unconventional life paths are definitely in the right place. The nightlife and activities available during the day make it an ideal place to make connections.

Foodies: one of the best places in the world to eat everything

Food enthusiasts are in paradise in Canggu. The restaurants are extremely diverse and generally affordable. Even though Canggu is small, there is always a restaurant opening that allows you to try something you haven't tasted before.

Who might dislike Canggu?

Canggu is not for everyone. Its atmosphere can be disturbing for some, and its activities may not be appealing. If you fall into one of the cases below, maybe it's better to avoid Canggu.

Those seeking tranquility: better to avoid Canggu

Canggu can be both calm and tumultuous, depending on where you stay. Typically, the beachfront is lively, even at night. Inland, nothing should disturb your tranquility.

However, Canggu is also a quite congested area, which can quickly teem with people during rush hours. Canggu's beaches, for example, are very crowded at sunset, as are some restaurants. Surfing is also a popular activity in Canggu, and the spots are often crowded, even at 6 in the morning.

If you're a true agoraphobe, you have two options: either avoid Canggu (and the entire South, by the way!) or wake up early and enjoy the early morning Canggu, which, except for surfing, remains calmer and very pleasant.

If you are allergic to traffic jams: steer clear of Canggu

Let's be honest, Canggu is probably one of the worst places in all of Bali in terms of traffic jams. The roads have not kept up with the village's popularity explosion, and they are crowded most of the time.

If you add to that the fact that Canggu is not centrally located, you will quickly feel trapped in the village if you planned to travel a lot. It's a golden prison, for sure, but it's still a prison!

Those seeking an authentic Bali experience will dislike Canggu

If you're looking to experience authentic Bali, you have little chance of finding it in Canggu.

Canggu has many advantages, but authenticity is no longer its strong point, especially near the beaches. Westernized restaurants, beach clubs, and other hotels are not exactly part of traditional Balinese culture.

The problem is certainly not unique to Canggu and is quite common in the southern part of the island, but it is very pronounced in Canggu due to the number of expatriates, nomads, and other long-term tourists living with needs, budgets, and a culture that has little to do with the local one.

Clearly, even the very touristy Kuta and Seminyak are ultimately much more Indonesian than Canggu, which is almost a country apart!

Avoid Canggu if you're on a tight budget

Canggu is not the cheapest destination on the island, far from it. Accommodation, in particular, can be quite expensive, simply due to supply and demand.

Temptations are also everywhere. If you have a specific and tight budget, it could be very challenging to stick to it if you stay too long in Canggu. Restaurants, bars, and even shopping, it's a guarantee, you will give in at some point!

If you want to be on a budget in Canggu, try to stay further away from the beach and eat in local warungs that are also more inland.

Conclusion

Canggu is a place that has become essential in Bali, appealing to many people. The young, those considering expatriation, and nomads often find an ideal compromise there.

Those seeking an authentic Bali will probably not be seduced, even if their stomach may argue otherwise.

In short, Canggu is like Bali, a land of contrasts. It's up to you to see what you want to see and experience what you want to experience there.

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