WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN CANGGU, BALI
Bali – Indonesia
Written by Chris Andre
Canggu is surfers’ haven that resembles Kuta 30 years past when the land was still green and small establishments founded by expats reserved their individual charms.
For globe-trotters, Bali is amazing not only because it’s got amazing beaches and beautiful people. It is the local culture that makes it unique and inimitable anywhere else in the world. While Kuta and Seminyak used to be very much exotic and traditional in cultural nuances, Canggu now is probably one that is close to getting washed away by modernization. But at the time being, Canggu has become the epitome of harmonious merge between Balinese and western culture. It’s quietly charming and idyllically inviting—not rare for visiting tourists thinking of moving here.
Where is Canggu?
Canggu is quite a large area in the north of Seminyak. It stretches from Berawa Beach to Batu Bolong Beach and Echo Beach. It’s generally comprised of local houses and villas and a number of small-scaled establishments. Canggu also lies in the middle of the route to Tanah Lot from Kerobokan.
How to get there?
Canggu is accessible from Seminyak, Kerobokan and Denpasar. You can stroll along the Seminyak Beach and end up at Berawa Beach. Taxi is also an option to go to Canggu, although the narrow lanes and bad rush-hour traffic might allow “ojek,” or motor taxis, to scuttle through the jam much faster.
What to find in Canggu?
Canggu is great for those who like to enjoy a real island life. The three beaches covered in Canggu, each offers a different scene and feel.
- Berawa Beach :
Situated along the meandering road passing the Batu Belig Road where Naughty Nuri’s Seminyak is, Berawa Beach is not exactly a beautiful beach. The area, though, is so quaint, with Jalan Pantai Berawa dotted with hole-in-the-wall eateries. Those who love cakes and cookies should pay Butter a visit. This tiny pastry shop sells home-made cakes and provides free biscuits for visitors’ pets. In the motorbike parking area, there’s a tiny note that reads: “For every stolen bike, a fairy dies.” If you’re hankering for Vietnamese pho, Vietopia hardly disappoints. Also worth visiting is Canggu Plaza that rounds up a number of great cafes and restaurants. It’s within walking distance to Canggu Club, an amazing clubhouse with expats as the members mostly. Better yet, stay at Desa Seni here, a health-conscious accommodation that can arrange a few days of “detox” holiday.
- Batu Bolong Beach :
Locals believe that Canggu is such a spiritual location. This is due to the presence of the Batu Bolong Temple in the area. Going to Batu Bolong Beach is a visual reminder of what Kuta looked like 30 years ago. You’ll see cows grazing and stray dogs everywhere, but then you’ll arrive at the beach and see the locals gathering around meatball and pork satay hawkers. There’s the Old Man’s bar and restaurant by the beach—great for cool beer and laze around during sunsets—and the majestic Tugu Hotel, a notable landmark in the area. This Tugu Hotel displays numerous historical antiques that even contain portraits of past Balinese kings.
- Echo Beach :
At the entrance of Echo Beach is the Deux Ex Machina garage-slash-restaurant-slash-gallery. It’s a must-visit where you can see up close and personal the hybrid between Bali and Australia in motor modification, surfing, fashion and more. Every Sunday, the Echo Beach—which is 10 minutes walk from Batu Bolong Beach—hosts seafood barbecue by the beach that’s certainly not to be missed. Here you’ll find a chain of restaurants grilling the freshest catch of the day and a few retail outlets selling Havaianas sandals and bikinis and surfboards. Surprisingly, the seafood barbecue is held right next to the Batu Bolong Temple and close to the spectacular Sea Sentosa residential and rental apartments. Visitors to the Batu Bolong Temple must wear a sarong and appropriate clothing.
Where to Stay?
For sure, Tugu Hotel is one truly exotic accommodation that smart visitors shouldn’t miss out in Canggu. It’s got history, traditional architecture and an unbeatable location. If you intend to make Canggu a respite before heading straight to Tanah Lot, then Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali is where you want to spend for the night. It boasts not only a beach view but also a gorgeous view of the Tanah Lot. Plataran Hotel is also nice although slightly far from the beach. Alternatively, Canggu offers a lot of villas with varying facilities and prices.
When to Visit?
Every year, Canggu routinely holds surfing contests that will bring in top surfers from around the world. During these contests, Canggu will be slightly more packed but completely exciting to visit. Think of delicious grilled prawns while watching pro-surfers gliding through giant waves from afar. On a separate note, Canggu might serve as a sweet escape from the overcrowded Kuta and Seminyak during holiday seasons. It’s only 20 to 30 minutes by car from Kuta, anyway.
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