Canggu is the Bali we were hoping to find: Beautiful, laid-back, and just removed enough to be sprinkled with a handful of really cool spots.
Though it's home to a contingent of expats and has its share of surf shops, veg cafes, and beach bars, Canggu is nothing like the overrun tourist traps of Seminyak and Kuta to the south. Instead, the five-mile stretch of coastal villages that make up the district still maintain plenty of old school charm. It's a place where gray-sand beaches meet pastoral hills, and the smells of frangipani incense, diesel, and burning rice fields mingle together in the narrow streets. It's a place where toffee-colored cows laze at the edge of the road and farmers in traditional bamboo hats always pause to wave and smile as you pass. It's a place that's timeless and low-key — and it makes you always want to smile and wave right back.
Canggu is just twenty minutes north of the crazy party zones of Seminyak and Kuta, and an easy car ride from Denpasar airport. Take a Bluebird taxi or call an Uber — the ride shouldn’t take more than an hour. Once in Canggu, the best way to get around is definitely via motorbike or scooter; Rentals usually cost around $5/day and can usuallybe arranged through your hotel or villa.
good to know
Canggu isn’t really a town, but rather a collection of several village communities perched along 5 miles of gray sand beaches and connected via tiny backroads and passageways. There aren’t many hotels, but there are plenty of gorgeous villas. Though most of Canggu’s beaches are too wild for swimming, they are plenty of fun surf spots if you know what you’re doing and don’t mind occasional crowds; Old Man’s, Echo Beach, and Berawa are particular favorites. Much like elsewhere in Bali, there’s also plenty of yoga to be done: try Desa Seni or Samadi for an immersive, chilled-out experience.