The Time I ... Spent a Month Living in Canggu

I’ve visited Bali numerous times over the years, mainly staying in Kuta or Seminyak, but when I kept hearing about the area named ‘Canggu’, I decided it was time for me to check this place out for myself. I enjoyed it so much I ended up staying for an entire month! If you love to surf (or love to perve on hot surfer bodies), enjoy eating quality healthy food, lazing on relaxed beaches, chilled vibes with just the right amount of partying, then Canggu is the place for you. Read on to find out my top tips for having the best time in ‘The Gu’!

My typical day in Canggu:

6am: The early bird get the worm, or the keen surfer gets the wave. If you can get up at this time of the day (which I struggle to do!) then get down for a surf to start the day!

9am(ish): Breakfast time! Best place in town is definitely Crate. This is no secret, you will find it is always busy and it can be hard to get a seat. The solution; grab a seat at someone else’s table! At Crate strangers quickly become friends as you chat over a delicious breakfast. The menu is extensive, and honestly, you cannot go wrong! Other breakfast winners are Canteen and Cafe Organic.

11am: Time for some sunshine! If you have a pool where you are staying, then lucky you! Enjoy! If not, there are many other options. Head down to Old Mans or Echo Beach and hire a lounge chair for the day for just 100 000 IDR! Finn’s Beach Club cost 250 000 IDR for a day lounge and towel but you don’t actually need to hire a day lounge to go here. You can use the pool and sit by the pool edge for free. If you want to, you can grab a bite to eat (the nacho’s are massive and divine), or sip on a cocktail.  Rama Village is a little secret swimming spot that I discovered for an absolute bargain! For 15 000 IDR you can use the pool, the pool lounges and you get a towel! This place is the best kept secret in Canggu!

3pm(ish): Hit the surf or have a nap. Seriously, it’s a hard life in Canggu! I found the waves were easier to surf in the afternoon and I was able to get out with a longboard and enjoy some waves with other learners. Most days however, after getting too much sun and not enough water, I would return to my accommodation for an afternoon nap or siesta if you’re Spanish!

6pm: Catch the sunset. Canggu has some beautiful sunsets! I personally preferred getting down to Echo Beach for the sunset. If the tide was low, the reflection off the rock pools is nothing short of breath taking.

7pm: Dinner time! There are a couple of places I would recommend for a great feed. Having a grill and salad buffet at one of the candlelit beachfront restaurants at Echo Beach is a must! For under 100 000 IDR you can get grilled chicken, beef, fish, prawns or vegetables and an all you can eat salad buffet. For a dirt cheap nice meal head to a local warung! I would recommend either Warung Bu Mi or Warung Varuna for the low cost of around 30 000 IDR you can fill your plate from a selection of traditional Indonesian dishes. If you are up for something a little more expensive and western, the calzone at La Barraca or the fish and chips at Old Man’s are also top notch.

9pm: Beer-o-clock and time to boogy! In Canggu on most nights there is a party at one of the main bars. Sunday night go to Deus for some live music and late night DJ, Monday night take a break because it is going to be the only night off, Tuesday night it’s Deus again for Taco and Tattoo Tuesday, Wednesday night is the infamous Beer Bong night at Old Man’s then onto Gimme Shelter, Thursday night head to Pretty Poison for some heavy beats and skate boarder perving or to Gimme Shelter, Friday night is back at Old Man’s for either some live music or old school tunes, and Saturday night is another skater night at Pretty Poison or Gimme Shelter.

1am: If, AND ONLY IF, you are very drunk and wish to continue to party, then follow the other drunkards who haven’t picked up yet to Sand Bar. I never stayed until close but i can tell you they pump out tunes well into the early hours of the morning.

SLEEP - SURF- EAT - DRINK - PLAY (if your lucky) - REPEAT!

How I got there:

From Denpasar International Airport it takes approximately 45 minutes to get to Canggu. 30 minutes if traffic is good and you have a fast driver! Up to an hour if traffic is slow. You will need to organise a driver from your hotel or get a taxi to Canggu as Uber, GoJek and GrabTaxi’s are not allowed in the Canggu area. Do not pay any more than 250, 000 IDR.

How I got around:

I cannot tell you how handy it was having my own scooter to get around. Canggu is not as busy as Kuta and Seminyak and as a novice at riding a scooter I felt quite confident and safe riding around the area. Canggu has three main roads each running up from one of the main beaches - Berawa, Old Man’s and Echo. I hired a scooter for a month for 1.3 million IDR, but I met people who managed to hire for half of that price. 1 litre of fuel costs 10,000 IDR and it takes about 2 litres to fill the tank.

Where I stayed:

There are many options for accommodation in Canggu. I tried a variety of places in various price ranges and these are my conclusions:

Hostels: I spent 2 nights at the Surf Hostel Canggu. It cost 140, 000 IDR per night, it’s cheap, but you get what you pay for. The rooms smell a little funky, there were bed bugs and it just felt dirty. On the plus side they do have a cool common area, with two swimming pools, a television and a very chilled vibe. I also visited the Lay Day Hostel as I had friends staying there. The rooms were clean, the mattresses brand new and it is very social (aka do not stay here if you want peace and quiet). The price is however nearly double that of Surf Hostel at 300, 000 IDR per night.

Homestay: I spent an entire afternoon checking out homestays along Batu Bolong (the central street in Canggu) and was very satisfied with my choice of Leo Homestay which is located behind 69 Slam. The cost is 200,000 IDR per night, but this becomes cheaper the longer you stay. They have weekly and monthly prices. I felt very safe and comfortable here and would highly recommend staying in their back rooms with a view of rice terraces. The only down side was there was no hot water or TV but who needs those things when you are in stinking hot Bali right!? Also the family who owned this homestay took good care of me when I got really sick. I ended up having a doctor come out and put me on a drip in my room!

Hotels: I stayed at four different hotels during my time in Canggu; The Bima Sakti, KOA Surf Hotel, Lemak Bali Residence and Rama Village. Bima Sakti is in the best location (walking distance to Deus) and cost 400,000 IDR per night. The pool was always in the shade and the beds were really small but was a decent place to stay. KOA Surf Hotel is on the Berawa side of Canggu, so it is a little further away from the main area. They have a roof top pool and bar area which were awesome and the rooms were clean and cozy, cost was also 400, 000 IDR per night. Lemak Bali Residence was the nicest of the hotels I stayed at. The room was huge! This hotel has limited rooms which means the pool is never crowded. The gardens were pretty and I enjoyed just relaxing by the pool here. It is located about a 10 minute ride up Batu Bolong from the beach and cost 500, 000 IDR per night. Lastly, but probably my favourite, was Rama Village. The staff here were so friendly, the large pool has scenic views of some rice terraces and the rooms were clean and spacious. Booking online cost 500, 000 IDR per night, but if you are able to book in person you can get 400, 000 IDR excluding breakfast.

Villas: If you are travelling with a group of people, I highly recommend investigating the possibility of staying at a private Villa. This can actually work out cheaper than staying in a hotel if you find a good deal. I stayed with three friends at a Villa on the Berawa side of Canggu. We had our own pool, kitchen, living area, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms for the cost of 800,000 IDR per night. The cleaner came every day and we had the option to have food cooked for us at the Villa if we wanted. Check out airbnb for deals.

Final thoughts:

Visit Canggu but do it soon! This area is getting busier and busier and I have no doubt it will be just as populated as Seminyak within the next few years. In the two times I have returned since my month long stint there, it has already changed dramatically. Crate is now 2 stories! The Lawn where I used to hang out for free is now a restaurant. I fear Canggu will lose the charm that I loved so much about it, but if you are lucky you may get to experience it before it is ruined. Now I’m off to discover new area’s of Bali!

Until Next Time