The No B.S. Guide to all things
C A N G G U
I spent the last three months living in Bali, and of two of those months, I was lucky enough to call Canggu home. I've partnered with the guys behind CoWorkSurf to make this honest, and truthful guide based on my experience living in this hip, surf paradise.
I called the CoWorkSurf Villa home for those two months and if you are thinking about heading to Canggu, you can too. Joe and Nick have created a Coliving + Coworking space for digital nomads, artists, travelers, and remote workers alike. I had the lovely job of decorating the house, so you're in for a real treat. Check out their instagram @coworksurf and shoot em a message if you've got any questions. Tell em I sent ya.
So, WELCOME TO BALI.
The simple fact that you’ve got this guide in front of you right now means good things… REALLY good things.
So first things first,
Canggu is a surfers town on the South West Coast of Bali. It is known for its consistent surf, beach bars, hip cafes, and epic sunsets. Surrounded by rice fields it’s got a little of everything.
CANGGU is essentially broken up into two “sides”.
There is a paved road that is intended to be a walking path,
but rarely will you ever see anyone actually walking across it.
Instead, you will see motorbikes, car, and even vans
shimmying their way across this small one lane road
that is elevated a few meters above the rice fields on both sides of it.
This road is referred to as
Knowing where this is will save you a lot of time.
When typing in directions on Google maps from say
“OLD MANS” to “FINNS”
choose the “walking” route and you’ll find out where this beloved shortcut is that we speak of.
A lot of times people will say on the other side – this is just the other side of Canggu that is connected by this paved (not so walking friendly) walking path.
THE SURF BREAKS:
There are four main surf spots in Canggu
Old Mans: This is the spot everyone loves. It’s the spot where you’ll see familiar faces, kooks, and locals all in one place. The waves are great for beginners, but fun for all levels.
Echo: North of Old Mans you’ll find the next spot, Echo. Here you’ll find a fast left over a shallow, rocky reef. Not recommended for total beginners.
Pererenan: It has a slower, mellow right and also a fast left. There is a sandy break that a beginner can handle, but be careful of the current that can pull you over to the left that has a rocky reef and fast wave.
Berawa: The south break of Canggu, located on “the other side” of the shortcut, this is a spot that is good for intermediate surfers with waves ranging from mellow and small, to short barrels.
Canggu is a hipsters paradise with endless cafes offering some of the healthiest, nourishing, and instagram worthy food you’ll ever lay your eyes on.
Coffee connoisseurs & smoothie bowl specialists will not be let down.
Vegans and Vegetarians you’ve found nirvana.
Paleo? No problemo.
Drunkie that needs a munchies? Canggu got you, too.
Here’s some of our favorites:
Crate Café: The hip hangout brekky spot. Menu includes smoothie bowls, chia pots, salads, eggs, specialty toasts, vegan pastries and the best iced latte you will ever have in your life. Menu is vegan/vegetarian friendly but has eggs, dairy, and meat options as well. An open, sleek, and modern café, that lives up to the hype. The seating is large shared tables to it’s a great place to meet people & make friends. Cash only.
Sizzle Wraps: CoWorkSurfs personal favorite! A local place that will make some of the best Mexican food that you’ll have in Bali, and likely of your life, fresh in front of your eyes. This place is seriously amazing. The prices are right, the portions are large, and the quality and freshness can’t be beat. Seriously, just talking about this place is making us want to stop writing this guide and drive ourselves over there right now to order a Crunchwrap. They also cater to vegans, offering everything on the menu as a vegan version, if requested. Cash Only.
The Shady Shack: A cute little vegetarian café that’ll leave your body feeling amazing after your meal. They have mostly outdoor seating under palm roofs and little huts or on their bungalow porch. Open for early morning breakfast, till late night dinners. They have an expansive menu offering everything from Smoothie Bowls, to wraps, to veggie bowls, to pasta dishes, burgers. Their fresh garden rolls are absolutely divine and their dessert case inside offering mostly raw, vegan (guilt free!) pies, cakes, chocolate bars, bliss balls, and cookies is not to be missed. Cash only.
Kynd Community: Ok, this one is over in Seminyak but well worth the visit, even if you aren’t an aspiring instagrammer. You might recognize this place all over your instagram feed with the pink wall that says “Welcome to Paradise”. If you have no idea what we are talking about, just go visit and you’ll be able to enjoy your meal watching a full on instagram photoshoot happen in front of this wall. Every.Single.Time.
Anyways, we’ve gotta admit, they make a killer (or maybe that’s the wrong word for a place called “Kynd Community”…) smoothie bowl personalized with a message for you. Their freakshakes are out of this world. Time to indulge. Ps. It’s all vegan, you we promise you won’t know.
Motion Café: This is a cute little café offering lots of health conscious meals, with a paleo focused menu. They’ve got something for everyone!
Café Vida: Another cute café offering organic coffee and menu items. An expansive menu and hip hangout spot. There is fun floor seating in the back.
The Loft: Just didn’t get enough selfies in front of Kynds Pink Wall? Well, we’ve got another pink instagram wall for you. A brand new addition to Canggu, this place is quickly becoming one of the hot spots. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with interesting menu items like a Matcha burger.
Peloton Supershop: Kynds sister restaurant. Their dinner menu is simple, but amazing. We’ve tried nearly everything on their menu and it has never disappointed. They have some kickass burgers and some of the best waffle fries, EVER.
Warung Jaba: The best, cheapest, and biggest coconuts on the block. Enough said. Cash Only.
Oma Jamu: Our favorite all vegan Warung!! Warungs are the local places all over Bali with classic Indonesian style dishes prepared in advance, where you choose which you’d like on your plate! Warungs are great for a fast and cheap meal. Oma Jamu never disappoints. Cash Only.
Old Mans: This is the spot. Any night of the week, it’s happening. But Wednesdays and Sundays are especially fun. Just trust us on this one, this is the place.
Deus ex Machina: Known as the Temple of Enthusiasm, and you’ll figure out why. It’s one of the most popular spots in Canggu focused less on just drinking but offering more of an experience. They have a café with a full menu including breakfast, as well as art gallery, surf + skate shop, motorcycle garage, and live music on the weekends. It’s got an edgy vibe to it!
La Brisa: A beautiful Beach club with a great view, good crown, good atmosphere, good prices, and good drinks. The ambiance of this place is dreamy, and very photogenic. Chill, charming, and laid back.
The Lawn: The best spot for sunset. They have an infinity pool right on the beach and live sunset sessions every night. Located right between Old mans and Echo beach it’s the perfect location. Definitely the spot for laid back, chill, day drinking!
THE OTHER STUFF:
Samadi Yoga Studio: If you are looking for some flow in your life, Samadi is a beautiful studio located just down the road with the Canggu Arch. If you get a monthly pass, it comes out to be the best priced studio in Canggu. It’s got wooden floors elevated over a koi pond that surrounds the studio. The studio is surrounded with glass walls and a lush green jungle outside. It’s truly a beautiful experience. They offer all classes from beginners to advance with a focus on Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Hatha yoga styles. Thursdays they offer ecstatic dance. If you don’t know what that is, go check it out one Thursday, it’ll open your heart and leave you feeling alive! The studio also has a lovely café serving smoothie bowls, large salads, and traditional Indian style dishes,
Sunday Farmers Market: Every Sunday at Samadi Yoga studio there is an all-organic farmers market. All the produce is local and organic. In addition, there are vendors selling local clothing, crafts, jewelry, bikinis, and beauty supplies. A perfect way to spend Sunday mornings or afternoons.
The Local Fruit Stand: Our favorite place to buy local and very cheap fruits is right down the street from our villa. Type in “Toko Azka Karya Buah” to maps and it should pop up! It’s right down the road on the left on the way into town. It’s about ¼ the price of Pepito, the grocery store.
The Shopping: The main street of Canggu is Batu Bolong. Here you’ll find tons of cute boutiques, and a lot of the cafes we mentioned earlier in this guide.
The Massages: You’ll find tons of massage places that offer quality full body massages for about $10 an hour. Such a nice way to recover from those long surf seshs.
The Retreats: Bali is a destination location for all kinds of retreats! Chances are there will not only be one, but a whole list of retreats going on during your stay! You can read about my experience at one during my stay in Bali, Here.
THE DAY TRIPS:
Ubud: Central Bali, Ubud is tucked away in the jungle, known for it’s spiritual community, markets, the famous rice field, and the beloved monkey forest sanctuary. Just about an hours drive away, it’s a wonderful place to visit for a day or weekend. An easy scooter ride if you’re confident in your driving and navigation skills.
If you are looking for a spiritual experience – Ubud is the place to find it. They have some of the best yoga studios offering all kinds of classes, workshops, and events. Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive are the two most popular. Ubud is also the hub for most retreats hosted in Bali! There are healers, tarot readers, and psychics ready to guide you through whatever it is you are seeking clarity on.
The markets are daily, and here you’ll find tons of things made in Bali. Just remember to haggle with the sellers! They will start with very high prices in hopes of people that don’t know what they’re doing paying them. Bargaining is totally acceptable, and expected. A good rule of thumb is counter their price with an offer a quarter of what they initially said and go from there. If they say 100k offer them 25k and meet somewhere around 40 – 50k. Type in Ubud Market on maps, and you’ll find the spot!
Tegallalang Rice fields are the most visited rice fields in Bali and you’ll understand why once you visit them. Unlike most of the other rice fields in Bali that are on mainly flat land, these are stacked paddies that you walk down into. Lined with coconut palm trees and thin dirt paths, it’s quite the experience. If you are a morning person, go early between 7am – 9am to catch the morning mist floating through them. It is magical.
The monkey forest cannot be missed! Entrance is 50k and worth every single penny. The monkeys are free to leave the sanctuary as they please, but they all stay because they are constantly getting attention from the tourist. It’s so entertaining watching the monkeys interact with not only themselves but also with the humans. They sell bananas inside and once in your hand the monkeys will climb up on you pretending to be your best friends. Don’t forget to bring a camera. You can read all about my experience, Here.
Uluwatu: The southern tip of Bali you’ll find a beautiful surfers paradise with cliffs overlooking crystal clear blue waters, and endless surf breaks. About an hours drive from Canggu. But, if you’re going to take this one on a scooter, it’s a bit more draining. You’ll be making your way through heavy traffic through town. It’s totally do-able on a scooter, but just be warned, it’s not as peaceful of a drive as the one into Ubud. Uluwatu is less crowded than Canggu and has some world class surfing. There are tons of homestays along the cliffs, and many of the beaches require a walk down stairs to the white sands. The perfect getaway from the daily life in Canggu. Sundays at Single Fin are always a good time.
THE WEEKEND TRIPS:
These are islands that you can ferry over to from Bali. Boats leave daily from Sanur.
Lombongan: The closest island to Bali. Has a little of everything in close proximity. Mellow + laid back.
Nusa Penida: Untouched, cliffs and coastal views. Go here for an adventure. Swim w/ Manta Rays.
Lombok: The island to get away from the crowds of Bali, amazing surfing, incredible hiking + waterfalls.
Gilis Islands: 3 small islands off the costa of Lombok. Known for wild nights out and crystal clear water.
You now have the basics of what took me two months to learn on my own living in Canggu. I hope that your time in Bali is nothing short of magical. Remember to tag #soshewas in your posts on instagram so I can follow along on your adventures.
PS. JUST TAKE OUR ADVICE, AND STAY FAR AWAY FROM KUTA.