Discover my secret finds in Canggu, Bali

Discover my secret finds in Canggu, Bali

To the north of Seminyak you will find the beach side town of Canggu. Known for its volcanic black sand surf beaches like Echo and Canggu and surrounded by beautiful terraced rice paddies. It is currently my preferred spot to stay in Bali as I enjoy the proximity of the high-end shops and restaurants in Seminyak whilst enjoying the more serene village feel of Canggu, the best of both worlds.  I love the café culture and bohemian vibe of this area, it reminds me of Seminyak 20 years ago.

Where do we stay

Since finding the Haven Suites Berawa Hotel last year I don’t want to stay anywhere else.  Although there are many beautiful villas in this area my husband and I like the extra amenities of a larger hotel. This all-suite hotel offers a very well appointed and comfortable room with an amazingly large bathroom and balcony terrace to enjoy the beach view.  There are several different room styles to choose from including a pool access room, and the duplex family suites if you are travelling with children is perfect, all rooms have a pretty good view of the ocean so don’t feel that you must book an ocean view room. The buffet breakfast and coffee are excellent, I am a lover of good coffee so this is important for me. I use to book this property as it includes the breakfast and free cancellation options which I find practical.  I can also recommend the restaurant for dinner especially after a long day out shopping or site seeing.  The large pool and sunbeds overlooking the beach for the sunset view are also perfect and each time I have stayed here not at all noisy nice and peaceful. The service at this hotel lived up to the Balinese level of excellence with staff going out of their way to make your stay wonderful. It’s quite difficult to find such a great hotel situated right on the beach so this one in my opinion is a fantastic find.

Good places to eat

Canggu may have not reached the level of gastronomy of the top restaurants of neighbouring areas Seminyak and Kerobokan however, for me Canggu restaurants are more about that authentic Balinese warmth and charm. There are many places to eat and drink especially in the main Canggu and Echo beach areas the following I feel deserve a special mention:

Ulekan – traditional Indonesian cuisine opened by “The good food brotherhood” they also have Milk & Madu and Watercress Café.  This open air lovely restaurant popular with locals of the area is truly a celebration of Indonesian cuisine, combining spices from the archipelago to serve you distinct island flavours.  Try their Gado Gado with some Sate followed by a couple of their curries and you will not be disappointed.  The flavours in their meals for me are some of the best on the island I really love this understated simple restaurant.

They are open for both lunch and dinner. We have never booked a table here it is busy however tables are served quite quickly so people move in and out we have never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table.

Warung Dandelion – Indonesian cuisine built around a traditional Jog lo (traditional Javanese house) in an outdoor garden setting. (wear mosquito repellent) I fell in love with this restaurant the staff were welcoming, there was a warm fun ambience and the garden setting along with the dim lighting made it feel quite a romantic dinner spot.  The Indonesian dishes were delicious, the old Indonesian black and white photos on the walls were beautiful and worth a look. Make sure you book a table in advance as this restaurant is very popular and if you don’t book you will be disappointed.

La Finca – an authentic rustic Spanish/Ibizan Mediterranean tapas and grill style restaurant in a lovely garden setting. This is a culinary delight if you enjoy eating meat I would recommend ordering the selection of aged and cured Spanish cold cuts as an entree and the House Sangrias are a must to accompany this meal.

Milk & Madu – this is one of my favourite spots for brunch they do amazing all-day breakfasts.  This open-aired restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a good vibe and friendly setting they also serve an excellent coffee. My favourites include their fluffy buttermilk pancakes and their muesli bowls with fresh fruit, yogurt and dates are a real winner.

Milu by NOOK – the NOOK restaurant in the Kerobokan area has always been one of my favourite lunch and coffee spots, a great place to meet friends. Milu another open-aired restaurant of theirs opened in Canggu which has the same shabby-chic interior with an Asian-Western fusion cuisine. Situated in a picturesque spot with views of the rice paddies I really enjoy their Nasi Campur for lunch and a healthy juice.

Gourmet Café – this French bakery & patisserie is owned by the Bali Catering Company, airconditioned with WIFI their Seminyak location has always been a favourite of mine so their new location in Canggu was a welcomed surprise.  This Western style café offers very good pastries, cakes and coffee and is a great spot if you just feel like a great sandwich for lunch which you can create yourself.

Pamper & Spoil Yourself

There is no shortage of great spas in Canggu these are a few that I have tried myself and can recommend.

Spring Canggu – this world class spa with its perfect white crisp minimalist décor has me head over heels with their Sip and Spa package that pairs Pimms with a massage.  This sanctuary offers everything from mani-pedis, facial, body and hair treatments so spoil yourself you will enjoy every minute.

Amo Spa Canggu – this has always been my go to place for mani-pedis in Seminyak and I was thrilled last year when I heard they had now opened a new salon in Canggu this is an all-time favourite for me with hundreds of different colours to choose from and an immaculate result.  Trust me I am particularly fussy about my nails and do not settle for anything less than excellent and Amo delivers just that. I also love to detox in their steam, sauna, ice plunge pools and Epsom salt baths.

Glo Day Spa & Salon – One of Bali’s original and loved spas consistently incredible treatments from head to toe.  I go here for expert waxing, hair styling and colouring and have never been disappointed. They also cater for men with barber and gents’ treatments.

Where I like to shop

To be honest I like to shop anywhere shopping for me is not so much about the buying but more about the discovery of something new and interesting. So here is the list of some of my favourite places in order of preference:

Bungalow Living – this is my all-time favourite spot for home-wares. I started following on Instagram a few years ago as I loved their posts and could not wait to visit when I was back in Canggu last year and trust me it did not disappoint. They have two locations across the road from one another with a coffee shop in one so great to stop for a short break from shopping. Don’t be surprised if you walk out of here with bags of treasures.   I love their hand-loomed tassel throws and their cotton crochet cushions and throws, don’t forget to ask about their international shipping if you happen to fall in love with some larger items like their hand-painted ginger jars.

Paradise Pictures – here you will find more than 120 posters and prints ranging from iconic scenes of Balinese culture, vintage surf pictures, and old maps of Indonesian islands.  You can buy the prints rolled into a tube or you can also have them framed. Prices range from Rp 4,000,000 for vintage Indonesian hand-painted water colour artworks to poster prints are from around Rp 550,000.  I can spend hours in this beautiful shop.

The Jungle Trader – is full of collectables from around the Indonesian archipelago everything you need to create that tropical vibe home.  I love their raffia lamp shades, handwoven baskets from Borneo, and Batik throws.  I could not walk out without a set of their brass crabs.

SuSwar – here you will find the most beautiful home-wares, accessories, and clothing. My favourite pieces are their vintage batik cushions that are truly unique and beautifully crafted.

Beyond Borders – this new flagship store is a mixture of elegance and relaxed Hampton's coastal style. Showcasing wooden furniture, lamps, and decorating pieces you will love. You may need to order a container for all of the furniture items you will want to ship back home.

Afends Canggu – this small shop has the best t-shirts in Bali made in a beautiful lite weight cotton fabric with understated vintage designs perfect for wearing in the humid Bali climate.  I also loved their Hawaiian fabric inspired beach style back packs. You can tell a lot of thought and care went into the design and manufacturing of their products.

Getting around Canggu

My husband hires a scooter when in Canggu, so it is easy for me I simply sit on the back.  I recommend hiring a scooter for this Canggu area as it is the easiest way of getting around and the streets are less hectic than other areas of Bali. Of course, be careful especially when it has been raining as the streets get easily swamped. Our hotel organises scooter rentals and you can expect to pay anywhere between Rp 40,000 – 70,000 per day for quite a new scooter, and we travel with our own helmets.

Uber exists however is limited as areas including Canggu are trying to restrict all those services, signs appear stating that they are prohibited.  This comes from the local Banja wanting to save the local taxi business.  I often use Uber to drive me back into Canggu however it is impossible to get one to drive you out of there.  Your hotel can organise a taxi to take you anywhere expect to wait a little as they will order one to come and pick you up.  We always get the hotel to recommend a good driver and often hire them for the day either for extended shopping days or longer drives to Ubud or Uluwahtu.

There are several local taxis stands scattered around however it is not easy to pick one up in the street, and you often will see people that seem to be stranded in Canggu desperately trying to hail a taxi so be organised and don’t get caught out.

Other activities of interest

It is never too late to learn to surf

The beaches in Canggu are very popular for surfers in Bali and a good place to learn how to surf.  The best is Canggu Beach (Batu Bulong) there are two beach breaks and you can arrange a surf lesson at one of the stalls on the parking lot.  It will cost around Rp 50,000 to rent a surfboard for 2 hours, and around Rp 350,000 for a 2-hour session with an instructor.

You have to love a Market

There are several weekend Markets in Canggu my favourite is the Love Anchor Canggu market where you can find clothes, jewellery, craft and food surrounded by live music. Located just near Monsieur Spoon, last time I was there they were open on Saturday and Sundays make sure you check their schedules on their Instagram site.

The Samadi Market only on Sundays is a farmers’ market near Echo Beach where you can find locally-grown organic products, home-wares, jewellery, and clothing.  The market was setup to support local producers and craftsmen.

On the last Saturday of the month you can find the Old Man’s Canggu market worth visiting. Located at the front of the Old Man’s Bar it opens early in the morning and runs well into the afternoon.  Expect to find some of the most creative expats and locals together showcasing their products, anything from silver jewellery, fresh produce to designer swimsuits.

Take a stroll along the beach

There are 5 different beaches in this area Canggu (Batu Bolong) where the Old Man’s bar and restaurant is situated, Echo (Batu Majan), Berewa (pronounced Brawa) where our hotel is located, Perenenan and Nelayan which are less busy. One of the easiest ways of getting from one Canggu area to the next is by walking along the beach so why not take your shoes off and go for a stroll.

Enjoy a yoga class

There are lots of new and established Yoga studios around Canggu my preferred is the Desa Seni - an open aired tropical garden studio well worth a visit, check out their website for class schedules or book yourself a private class.  Early in the morning when it is cooler is more enjoyable.

Visit a leisure club

Finns Recreation Club formally known as The Canggu Club is in the centre of Canggu and is a traditional leisure club which reminds me of being in Singapore more so than in Bali.  It is a popular location with expatriates and locals living in the area.  The club is a nice place to visit if you are travelling with your family as it has a large swimming pool, water-slide, fitness centre, tennis courts, bowling alley and restaurant.  You can purchase a day pass for Rp 300,000 adults and Rp 180,000 for children.

Take the shortcut

As Canggu develops it is losing a lot of its rice fields you can still find a few.  One of the best places to see rice fields is on the road that connects Batu Bolong with Berewa better know by those that live here and usually drive a motorbike as the shortcut.  This shortcut offers beautiful and unexpected views of rice fields like those you see on the road to Tanah Lot.  Be careful if you are on a scooter as I have heard of people that have fallen into the rice fields.

Enjoy the Skate and Surf ambience

There is a new skate park and bar opened in the Berawa area called Koncrete where both locals and foreigners show off their skateboarding talents whilst onlookers enjoy the live music over a drink or two.

One of my favourite places to grab a burger is Deus ex Machina in the heart of the Canggu area.  You can fully immerse yourself in their shop full of beautifully crafted surfboards and an amazing custom motorbike shop.  The walls are decorated with huge vintage prints of old time local surfers which I love.

 Most of all I hope you enjoy Canggu as much as I do.

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