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First time to Canggu – Canggu survival guide

For those that have been to Bali before but never to Canggu, then you are in for a real surprise. Canggu is hot! It’s ‘going off’ in the slang of surfers, and it’s really the place to be seen and spend your next Bali holiday.

People are so used to staying in Seminyak or Ubud that the word Canggu actually seems quite foreign. No one really knows it; they’ve heard of it and know people who have been there but have never stayed there. But the secrets out; Canggu is unlike any other place in Bali.

It’s a mix of hippy, hipster 70’s vibe, Australian families wanting beach-style holidays, backpackers, surfers, ex-pats and yoga enthusiasts. That’s only a small cross-section. We could add in more like bohemian yuppies looking to discover themselves, the whole Eat Pray Love thing (except that Ubud has been done to death, so Canggu is the next best alternative), gym junkies, tattoo junkies and lastly, digital nomads. The place is actually quite insane if you think about it, but this eclectic mix of people seems to work, and it’s developing its own trendy subculture in Bali.

Forget Seminyak or Legian; Canggu is the new hotspot of Bali, and it’s only getting more popular. The quaint village-like atmosphere is ever-present and very much alive here in Canggu. Some might equate it to the Byron Bay of Australia or the Santorini or Greece. In any case, it’s now the hip destination and worth a visit.

Even better, you should probably rent a Canggu holiday Villa when you’re in Bali so you can really immerse yourself in this diverse, slick, groovy community. A week here will leave you with a new man bun, the tattoo you’ve always wanted & way more flexible from your many yoga classes.

So, if you’re a Canggu newbie, this should help you survive your first few days.

Canggu’s hippest Cafes.

In Canggu, it’s all about getting up early and embracing the day. This means that breakfast is high on the priority list. High-energy, healthy eating is what defines Canggu’s café culture. The food is as nutritious & healthy as can be: mangosteen & green tea, almonds, chia seeds and coconuts, turmeric lattes and detox juices are the stars of every menu.

Shady Shack

The owner who created the famous Betelnut started this popular café, and it’s one of the best vegan cafes/restaurants in Canggu. Servings are large, and prices are reasonable. The food is delicious. We love the Kale Storm smoothies or the great vegan bowls packed with fresh veggies. Yummie!! There are heaps of parking outside so you can whip up on your scooter for a quick brekkie or brunch after your morning swim at Echo Beach or your 9 a.m. Yin yoga class at The Practice.

canggu cafes for newbies - shady shack

Nalu Bowls

If you are into surfing or, for that matter, if you’re going for your morning walk on the stretch between Old Mans, Echo and Pererenan Beach, then head to Nalu Bowls just up the road from the entrance to Echo Beach (Jalan Batu Mejan). These are an institution in Canggu, and you can enjoy healthy coconut-filled bowls of delicious local fruits mixed with acai berries. It’s adjacent to one of the most popular co-working spaces on the island, so it’s naturally packed with digital nomads all working in Bali on their next big project. Wifi here is particularly good. You can use the wifi even if you are not part of the co-working space. Take it while you can!

Crate Café

Set among the rice fields in a large shed structure, Crate Café caters for anyone and everyone. Consistently good healthy food is the order of the day here, with a jam-packed, relaxed vibe. It’s just off the main road, Batu Bolong and may be a bit hard to find, but ask anyone, and they can point you in the right direction. Try the citrus-flavoured coffee to kick-start your morning. If you’re on a scooter, there’s ample parking.

best cafes in canggu - crate cafe

Deus Café

One of the first cafes in Canggu right at the intersection of Batu Bolong’s busy hub, this place is a must-visit. It’s a hipster paradise with Deus motorbikes for sale and surfboards and clothing. Spend the morning here and watch the manic-ordered chaos of Canggu unfold in front of you. For those with an appetite, try the Mahi Mahi burger, or if you want to keep vegan, go the Buddha Bowl with chickpeas, quinoa, broccoli and beetroot.

Warung Bu Mi

Warungs are local Indonesian restaurants serving authentic, tasty, fresh Indonesian and Balinese cuisine. For those of you who do not want to go down the path of eating local, forget it!! This place is unreal and serves the freshest, tastiest local food you will find in Canggu. It’s packed the whole day with ex-pats who know a good deal when they see it. You choose from an array of dishes on display, and the staff will serve it with extra chilli sauce if you like with rice. It’s more of a lunch/dinner venue, and the vibe, as you can imagine, is extremely casual.

great food in canggu - warung bumi

Grab some authentic Indonesian food at Warung Bu Mi

Vida Cafe

Located on Batu Bolong, this laid-back cafe is a great place to hang in an unpretentious atmosphere as you down your gluten-free cakes and sip on one of the best coffees in the area. You will feel like you are in someone’s Balinese home as the cafe is an extension of a typical Balinese house. Go there and see what we mean. It’s great!

vida cafe canggu bali

Milk & Madu / Pels / Milu By Nook

We are grouping these trendy cafes together as they basically serve the same thing, but each has its own unique vibe. Located 100 metres from each other in Berawa, they are all worthy to make it to this list due to their notoriety and popularity. Hint: go to Nook for dinner; it has a great romantic vibe. Perfect for couples! Also, take the kids to Milk and Madu as it’s super family-friendly, and it has its own playground – which means more alone time for the parents.

milu by nook in canggu bali

Milu by Nook in Canggu – great for lunch or dinner with fab views


Also read: 10 restaurants/cafes in Canggu to go with your mates!

12 things to do in Canggu for newbies.

Spend time on the beach.

Black volcanic sand is the main characteristic of all Canggu beaches. They run about 5 km from Berawa beach all the way to Seseh beach in the north. You can’t walk this, but there are beaches where you can spend the day soaking up the sun, going for a surf or simply renting a day bed and catching up on your holiday reading. Beached to note are Berawa Beach, Nelayan Beach, Batu Bolong Beach, Echo Beach, Pererenan Beach and Seseh Beach. The surf along this stretch of coastline is particularly good, especially at Echo. Take care swimming here as there are hidden rocks, and rips can get quite nasty. For beginner surfers, try Old Man’s Beach, as it’s a lot less dangerous here. Sunset time is also a good time to be at Canggu Beach, where bean bags seem to miraculously pop up for avid tourists wanting that Instagram-worthy Canggu sunset shot.

Learn to surf in Canggu

Beginners will love the surf at Old Man’s. You can hire boards & instructors as well.

Loads of family fun for the kids at Finns Recreation Club

If you’re coming to Bali with kids or teenagers, then a day at the Finns Recreation Club is a must. Conveniently located in the heart of Canggu, your kids will go crazy for the waterslides, trampolines or ten-pin bowling. Water slides are a real hit and a great way to let them burn off all that energy. There is also a gym, swimming pool and restaurants so there’s something for all ages. For a treat, why not go to the Finns VIP Club, where you can take the family or go with your mates and rent a day bed for the day by the pool or the ocean? For the admission price of about AUD$100 per person, you get food and drinks to the value of that included – plus the amazing vibe, views, food, and music…it’s so worth it.

Visit Finns Recreation Club

Yoga in Canggu

Why not go to The Practice or Samadi yoga for some Hatha, yin or Ashtanga yoga? After all, your holiday in Canggu would not be complete without some form of stretching. We particularly like The Practice as it’s got a great vibe and awesome teachers. You also have, as much as you like, incredibly delicious free ginger tea. This yoga studio is in Batu Bolong, so it’s fairly central. If you want to chill out, make sure you go to their 4 p.m. Yin Yoga class. It’s dreamlike.

Visit The Practice Yoga Studio

Sunday Markets at Love Anchor & Samadi

These markets go on the whole day, so you can still get in the surf or swim before you make your way to the Canggu markets. There are 2 main markets. The first is on Batu Bolong, and it’s called Love Anchor. This is a happening and buzzy vibe ( it does get crowded after 1 or 2 p.m.). It was so popular on Sunday that it’s open every day. Here, you can buy local sarongs, jewellery, handbags and general souvenirs to take back home. There are cafes and restaurants and Love Anchor in case you need a top-up. Samadi markets, held at the Samadi yoga studio, is a much more low-key and chilled-out event. Here, locals sell organically grown fruit and veggies, as well as some handmade products. Samadi itself has a great organic vegan café, so you can have a bite to eat as you explore the great Jalan Linjong area.

Love Anchor Markets in Canggu

Love Anchor Markets in Canggu’s Jalan Batu Bolong – open 7 days

Explore Berawa

Berawa is on the southern tip of Canggu and is one reason you must visit Canggu. The Berawa area is booming and has a huge concentration of restaurants, cafes, beach clubs and day spas.


Head to The Lawn for Sunset Drinks

Prepare to mix it here with the young and fashionable. Fake grass (aka lawn) is the newest big thing to hit the Canggu beachside bar scene. Directly opposite Old Man’s, The Lawn has a restaurant, bar and really cool music with uninterrupted ocean views. Have a cocktail here as you sit on the lawn and watch the fabulous sunset with your best mates or family. There is an infinity pool, so you can take the kids and let them play while you kick back and enjoy the fantastic vibe.

canngu for firsttimers - the lawn

Chill out at The Lawn in Canggu – it’s super popular

Rent a scooter & look around

For some of you, the idea of renting a scooter in Bali might seem like a crazy idea. But, if you are game-enough and have had some riding experience, go for it. At $5 per day, it’s a great way to venture out of Canggu and see the picturesque rice fields. A good idea is to check out other areas like Pererenan, Seseh beaches or maybe a day trip to the famous Tanah Lot temple. Make sure you take care and always remember that road rules in Bali are not the same as back home in Australia. Also, make sure you have an international driver’s licence. This is a must, and the police are on the lookout for tourists driving around without this – be warned – they stop all foreigners, especially on main roads like Sunset Road.

Chill out or party at Old Man’s

Mention the name Old Man’s, and everyone has their own story. It’s a Canggu institution and is one of the main reasons Canggu is so popular. Head down here after 4 p.m., and you will see why. It’s a beer garden on steroids. Everyone, and I do mean everyone (ex-pats, locals, families, singles, backpackers), comes here to watch the sunset over a couple of Bintangs, margaritas & cocktails.

Most people spend the day at their villa or in the surf, but one thing is for sure: come late arvo, and this place is pumping right into the evening. Again, if you have kids, it does serve food, and there are tables where you get great ocean views, so it can be a great family outing. The menu here is simple: cocktails, beer, burgers, Indonesian food and cheap eats. To add to the beach-style vibe, there are bean bags on the beach with a DJ, so you can be right on the sand and watch the sunset and the stars come out. This is holiday fun, like nowhere else on the island.

Enjoy the afternoon at Deus Ex Machina.

This is one of the coolest places to be in Canggu. With custom motorbikes, surfboards, and live music, this place is where you come to be seen and enjoy some really good food and coffee while you take everything in. Deus is at the epi-centre of Canggu cool, so do not miss this even if you pop in for a few minutes to browse the bikes and boards.

Spend the day at Echo Beach.

Echo Beach is an icon for surfers, partygoers and families. Come here to chill out during the day on the beach chairs, surf the waves at the river mouth or come for an all-you-eat buffet dinner at the restaurants on the beach. It’s a happening place that’s easy to get to as it’s a 5-minute scooter ride from Batu Bolong. On the street leading up to the beach entrance (Jalan Batu Mejan), there are many surf shops, cafes, pharmacies, day spas, and the famous Dojo co-working centre.

echo beach bali

If you are staying in Canggu, visiting Echo Beach is a must, especially to watch the sunset. To be realistic, the surf here is quite rough, so unless you’re an experienced surfer, hitting the waves here is not a good idea. Best come here for the local beach vibe, grabbing a tan or a few cold Bintangs as you melt into the beach chairs.

Get a tattoo

If you want to get that tattoo you always wanted, then there’s no better place to do this than Canggu. You will seamlessly blend in with the locals and ex-pats once you get that tattoo!

Also read  5 Amazing Tattoo Studios in Bali.


getting a tattoo in bali

Become a digital nomad.

Canggu is the perfect place to start that online business you’ve always dreamed of. Give up your day job back home and spend hours in co-working centres and cafes with amazing wifi dotted all over Canggu and kick start that business. Every cafe in Canggu is full of people on laptops doing some kind of internet start-up.

become a digital nomad in bali

Visit the Pererenan area.

Take the  Perernan shortcut and spend the day at Pererenan Beach and browse the shops and cafes that take you down to the beach. Pererenan is super up-and-coming, and there are loads of places to hang out with the kids and enjoy some lunch or dinner.  Why not even take it one step further and rent a Pererenan villa for a few days and explore the area?

If you want to experience Canggu’s eclectic vibe rather than coming there for a day trip, then the best way to do it is obviously to stay in a Canggu villa. There are, as you would imagine, many beachfront and rice field Canggu villas, as well as villas close to Batu Bolong. The best thing to do is take a look through the villas on this website, and you will get a much better idea about the fun times you could have by being in your own villa.

Let us help you find the perfect villa in Bali for your dream holiday.

Contact our reservation team today and we can make finding the right villa simple and easy.


About the author

Steven is a die-hard Bali island addict and committed surfie. When he's not writing or taking videos of the latest restaurants or cool places, he's at Echo Beach surfing or riding his scooter around Seminyak, Berawa or Canggu. Steve is part of the Bali Villa Escapes marketing team and has been living in and out of Bali for the last 15 years.