The best place we visited in Bali for surfing food and culture

There’s a reason so many people love Bali. Canggu is that reason. Canggu is truly the best place in Bali, and anyone who’s been there would agree. Canggu is simply the perfect combination of locals and tourists, it’s rural and beautiful while also having structure and comforts, and it has good energy but also chill vibes. 

There’s shopping but not too much shopping like Seminyak has. It’s not resort life like the Bukit Peninsula. It doesn’t lack creature comforts like wifi, grocery stores, and laundry like Medewi. Canggu simply is the best place for travelers and adventurers to visit in Bali.  

This blog is filled with all the things we wished we had known before getting to Bali.  Had we known how amazing Canggu, we would’ve spent our entire 1 month stay in Canggu instead of multiple different areas of Bali. Here is our complete guide to visiting Canggu and reasons you will love it:

The Vibe: Chill Locals and “Travelers”

One of our favorite things about Canggu was that, no matter if people were tourists or locals, everyone had time for a conversation. It’s brings a really cool sense of community despite the fact that most people in the area are just visiting. The joie du vivre of Canggu is nearly as cool to be around as it in France itself. 

Related Blog: Reasons We Love Hossegor, France

What we love about Canggu is that it’s touristy enough to be comfortable but it’s not overly touristy like Seminyak or Uluwatu where the locals are constantly bombarding you and trying sell you things. One Australian we met put it perfectly,

The locals aren’t needy here. They’re just genuine, kind people who will be happy to engage in a conversation.

Oh by the way, all the locals speak perfect English here, like most of Bali. 

In addition, we all know that there is a big difference between tourists and travelers and in Canggu, visitors are definitely the latter. Travelers seek rich experiences and culture, whereas tourists often have a much more I-just-want-to-relax-at-a-hotel kind of mindset. If that sounds like you, that’s cool too but if that’s the case, Canggu might not be the place for you. If you love being around other well-traveled, happy people, you will think Canggu is the best place ever!


 

Eating

The restaurants might actually be the single best part about Canggu. After all, some people come to Canggu purely for the food. There aren’t many places in the world where you can eat such good food for so cheap.   Compared to USA/AUS/UK prices, you pretty much pay 1/3 of what you would at home (if you are from those countries). It’s not Balinese food that you will be eating here, though there are warungs (traditional Balinese restaurants with super cheap food) on every block. There is a wide diversity of cuisines types all in very modern, hipster restaurants with amazing quality. There are dozens of amazing restaurants to eat at here, the challenge will be deciding which ones to go to and which ones to skip. Some of our favorite eateries were: 

things to do in Ubud Bali
Delicious pastries from Monsieur Spoon
Photo credit: BALI.com

Monsieur Spoon- while no one can truly master French pastries like the French, this is the next best thing. Their chocolate almond croissants are addicting but get there early before they sell out. Pastries aren’t that cheap here like most restaurants but still worth it. 

The Garden by Pizza House: There are few pizzas in the world that have beaten the taste of these pizza’s thin crust, flavorful cheese, and fresh toppings. These are about as good as pizza gets. The restaurant has a great ambiance especially in the evening and if you don’t feel like going out, they deliver pizzas to any accommodation in Canggu. Communicating your location may be difficult so just use WhatsApp to text an order. Remember how I was saying prices are cheap here? Pizzas run about 70-90k IDR per pizza.

Best Place to Visit in Bali: Canggu
Front Cafe in Canggu

Front Cafe: not only does is this Cafe super cute and enjoyable to sit at, but the coffee is delicious and the food here is extremely cheap for how good it is. Get a big, gourmet burger for only 65k. This cafe also is also a great place to get wifi if your accommodation doesn’t have any.

Best Place to Visit in Bali: Canggu
Scoop Gelato House in Canggu

Gelato House: This gelatetia certainly gave Raglan’s gelato a run for its money. The pistachio is so perfectly sweet and crunchy that in the midst of midday heat, we couldn’t resist the creamy, sweet, and tart flavors.

Related Blog: Why We Love Raglan

If you’re used to cooking your own food to save money while traveling, this is going to seem odd butin Canggu, it’s cheaper to eat out than to cook your own food because the restaurants are so cheap. I suggest you seize this opportunity because it’s a rare thing. If you still want to cook your own food, almost every AirBnb has its own kitchen.

Last of all, of you can’t afford to eat at restaurants all the time, you can save money by eating at warungs which are all the restaurants that line the streets with signs like Nasi Goreng or Gado Gado.  At a warung, you can get a plate for $2-$4. The food is still tasty, but nothing like these amazing restaurants/cafes. 

Transportation 

Driving from town to town in Bali is a nightmare. However, on the entire island, transportation is easiest in Canggu. We tried visiting Canggu with a car once and with a motorbike once. 

The absolute best way to travel is by motorbike. It’s an awesome experience too. We loved riding past the pretty rice fields, past temples, and down narrow roads and were glad we didn’t have to worry about hitting things like we did with a car. It’s a bit hard the to get used to but after the first day of driving one you’ll get the hang of it. 2 people can comfortably fit on one and they usually have surfboard racks. They are extremely cheap to rent too. You can rent by the day or for your whole stay and it’s only 100k per day or so. 

Canggu, Adventurous Warm Weather Winter Destinations
Riding motorbikes to the beach every day in Canggu, Bali

The only problem is if you have a family, you can’t all fit on a motorbike. If you are a good driver and feel comfortable, you can rent cars in Canggu and you can get around that way but it is not easy to drive a car here. 

If you want to visit to places outside of Canggu I highly recommend just hiring a driver to take you. Any roads outside Canggu are extended hectic and there is a ton of traffic. Drivers are about $50USD a day. Keep reading to see where I’d recommend you take day trips to.

Related: Best Women’s Wetsuits for Surfing

 

Accommodation 

We loved playing pool and swimming in our own pool at this beautiful house on AirBnb. This house was only 1300k a night (around $80-90 USD depending on conversion rates) and while it’s bit pricey for an AirBnb around here, we absolutely loved the open air living room, the pool, the billiards table and the spacious bedrooms for our big family.  If you don’t have a big group or family that you need accommodation for, this house is probably overkill.  You can definitely find cheaper AirBnbs if you want. 

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True Bali living in Canggu

There is so much cheap accommodation around here it’s impossible to choose.  Our second choice for accommodation would be long Jalan Pantai Perenan. You will be close to everything (eateries, the beach, and shopping) but you’ll also have a little bit more solitude.

Accommodation prices vary depending on the size and quality of accommodation but the average price is very similar to the AirBnb we stayed at, between $70-$120 though I’ve occasionally found accommodation in the $30-40 range.

 

Surfing

While Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Imposssibles, and Kermaas may be world renowned, they’re not easy waves.  While Canggu surely has a solid supply of waves that could challenge even the most experienced surfers, there is a huge supply of breaks that cater to intermediate surfers perfectly.  

Echo Beach – The peaks that line the shores of Echo beach are pepfect for intermediate to advanced surfers who want a somewhat fat but fast wave with both lefts and rights.

Old Mans and Batu Bolong – For longboarders or beginner surfers, both Old Man’s and Batu Bolong offer easy, soft waves.  This is actually a really good place to try surfing for your first time.  There are tons of foam board rentals along Batu Bolong.  In addition, I wouldn’t recommend intermediate surfers to go here because there are so many beginners with boards flying in the air that you’ll likely get frustrated quickly.

The only downside to surfing in Canggu is the crowds.  No matter what break you surf, there’s always going to be a huge lineup, but all of Bali is like that so might as well surf a good wave.

Related Blog: Guide To Surfing The World’s Longest Lefts

Nature

We loved that Canggu isn’t as overrun with pollution as some places in Bali. The trash is mostly controlled here but the smell of burning trash is still common.

Bali really is beautiful and we loved watching the sunrise each morning over the canopy and listening to the sounds of the jungle and the roosters and the crickets as well as riding motorbikes along rice fields. 

How Long to Spend Here

I’d recommend 1-2 weeks in Canggu but I could easily imagine staying here longer.  Like I’ve mentioned before there’s plenty of creature comforts while also being a little adventurous.


 

Day Trips

While Canggu may the best place in Bali, I still highly recommend hiring a driver (Drivers are about $50 a day) and seeing Ubud, the Bukit Peninsula, and Medewi. 

Ubud

Ubud does not have many activities but we enjoyed walking through the town that’s surrounded by lush jungle, though it is a little bit touristy.  Though we don’t have time on our visit, It would’ve been cool to partake in a yoga class to see what the hype is all about. 

Related: 15 Cool Things to do in Ubud

Bali Waterfalls

One of our favorite things in Bali besides Canggu was seeing the beautiful waterfalls.  I highly reocmnd taking a 1-2 night trip to explore the lush falls around the island. 

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Love how the pure white stream of water contrasts against the lush green walls

Bukit Peninsula

We thought the Bukit peninsula was going to be totally overrated.  Turns out it’s popular for a reason. While we didn’t make it to the east side of the peninsula, the west side left extremely glad we made the visit.  

The first thing you should know is that traffic from Canggu to Uluwatu is terrible from 8am-11am and again, drivers are insane. Go as early as possible or wait util the afternoon.  I would highly recommend spending 1 night on the Bukit peninsula to make the trip worth it.

Our first stop was Balangan Beach which is stunning to visit, but the surf is mediocre.  The drive in also includes a very bumpy road.  

Next we headed to Uluwatu temple.  The temple is really only cool for the monkeys.  If you’re interested in seeing an actual Hindu temple, it’s not worth the visit.


Afterward, we headed over to Uluwatu village where we surfed the world famous surf break.  We’ve surfed a lot of places around the world including Hawaii, France, Spain, Scotland, Costa Rica, and Canada, but Uluwatu might be the most beautiful place we’ve ever surfed.  Experienced surfers should definitely partake in paddling out in the cave and surfing the iconic break.

Padang Padang beach was our next visit.  This is another gorgeous beach that’s great for swimming and is extremely good for surfing.  On our way back to Canggu we hit terrible traffic again and it took us 3 hours to get back.  To avoid this traffic, we recommend spending the night on the Bukit peninsula, as I mentioned before, and driving out the next day around noon.

 

Medewi

If you come to Bali, you have to see Medewi (especially if you’re a surfer).  If you follow us on Instagram or have read our blog, Should I Go to Bali blog, you’dl now that we originally went to Bali with the intention to stay in Medewi for a whole month. T hat backfired on us when we realized just how third world and rural the village was.  Hence, how we ended up in Canggu and falling in love with it.  Nevertheless, I would absolutely recommend people to visit Medewi for 1-3 nights if you can or even just a day.  If you surf, you will be completely starstruck by the perfect streaming left hand point break.  Medewi is definitely the place to go if you want to experience a true cultural experience.

Travel Tips + Things We Wish We’d Known

  • Pack a travel adapter.  Why is this so important yet so easy to forget.  We love this adapter because it has an interchangeable outlet that works for every country in the world.


  • Use segmented compression sacks, they make packing SOOO much easier and we were so glad we had some on our long travel days to get to Bali.
  • Uluwatu Temple, the monkey forest in Ubud, and Tanah Lot are all kind of the same.  It’s worth seeing one of them but not all 3. In my personal opinion, I think just wandering the streets of Canggu which are filled with dozens of small temples, is a much cooler experience.
  • The mosquitos aren’t THAT bad in Bali but we still wish we had packed a little bit of repellent.  It really depends on the season and if you’re out at night.
  • Everyone speaks perfect English in Bali so no need to worry about a language barrier (unless of course, you don’t speak English).
  • Canggu is not rural or third world. Bali in general is not rural or third world, except for certain places like Medewi.  We were worried that it was going to be poor and dirty but Canggu is anything but that.
  • We get cheap flights to Bali by setting up price alerts on the Skyscanner app.

Got questions about visiting Canggu, Bali? Let us know in the comments!

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The best place we visited in Bali for surfing food and culture