The diverse island of Bali, Indonesia boasts an incredible array of idyllic towns – some feature stylish beachfront mega-resorts, while others remain quiet, secluded villages. The small, west coast town of Canggu, located on the southern tip of Bali just north of resort-ridden Seminyak Beach, falls somewhere in between. In Canggu, boutique hotels are situated among rice paddy fields, there are a plethora of traditional and Western dining options and activities range from Bali spa massages to surfing. Adventurers, couples, hippies, health enthusiasts, foodies and families can all find things to do in Canggu, Bali.
Top 10 Things To Do in Canggu
Our list of what to do in Canggu includes a range of fun activities that will surely enhance every Bali vacation. Top Tip: Below you will find a Canggu, Bali map of sights/restaurants highlighting featured Canggu attractions.
#1 Chill Out on Echo Beach, Bali
One of the absolute best Canggu, Bali things to do is spend time on the beach! There are three main beaches in Canggu – Echo Beach, Batu Bolong and Berawa Beach – with many smaller, non-commercialized beaches taking up the space between them. While Batu Bolong and Berawa Beach both have long stretches of white sand, we preferred chilling out on Echo Beach Canggu, a short black-sand beach on the northern end of town. Often less crowded than the two beaches to the south, Echo Beach exudes a laid-back vibe that fell right in line with our holiday mentality.
At the top of the beach is a row of ramshackle warungs (family-owned shops) selling cold drinks and inexpensive, local meals. Most of the beach shacks also rent chairs and umbrellas, as well as surf boards. We highly recommend settling into a beach bean bag or lounger under the shade of a colorful umbrella and soaking up the seaside atmosphere.
Top Tip: Unfortunately, Canggu beaches aren’t suitable for swimming (rocks lurking beneath surface and thundering waves don’t make for a good combination), but wading in knee-deep to splash about for a bit was a sufficient way to cool down. When we got too hot, we headed back to our hotel for a swim in the pool (more about where to stay in Canggu at the end of the post!).
#2 Squish Sand Between Your Toes on a Beach Walk
We love the feel of sand beneath our feet, so walking on the beach was naturally one of our favorite Canggu activities (and budget travelers will appreciate that beach walking is one of the best free things to do in Bali!). The coastline stretches both north and south from Canggu – and we walked in both directions basking in the sunshine and gazing at the vividly contrasting colors of the sea, sky and sand.
Before heading out on a long Canggu beach walk, you need to keep a few things in mind. Avoid mid-day walks if you can – as the sun will be strong and sand will be hot. Wear sunscreen and a hat. Pay attention to the tides; high tide can almost take out the entire beach, making a walk more of a task than a peaceful stroll. Be mindful of recent rainfall; there are several streams that enter the sea along the beach and recent rain will swell the streams causing them to be swift, deep and (most likely) carrying rubbish. Use your best judgement and don’t cross if it looks unsafe.
North: Canggu – Pura Gede Luhur Batu Ngaus Walk
Pura Gede Luhur Batu Ngaus Temple sits on a rocky peninsula that juts into the sea about two miles north of Canggu. The small temple sees few visitors (far fewer than the nearby popular Tanah Lot Temple) and makes a great destination for a northern beach walk. If you are looking for a little solitude, making the trek along the shore to the temple is one of the best things to do in Canggu; we encountered few people along the way and only two other tourists entered the temple during our visit.
The beach stroll includes five water crossings and passes by private villas, grazing cows, and exclusive resorts. Just be sure to wear – or bring – something to cover your shoulders and knees so that you can enter the temple when you arrive.
South: Canggu – Seminyak Walk
The Canggu-Seminyak route to the south sees more foot traffic than the coastline north of Canggu, but most of the people we passed were Seminyak visitors heading north to Canggu (in fact, we heard visiting Canggu is one of the top things to do in Seminyak…which is one of the reasons we chose to stay in Canggu!). Wooden structures – warungs, boathouses, temples, restaurants, hotels – line most of the flat, vacant beaches from Canggu to Seminyak.
Although the seascape garners most of the attention, we let our eyes wander from the water to take in the street art decorating the boathouses along Nelayan Beach (south of Batu Bolong Beach) where Balinese outrigger canoes, jukung boats, sit fading in the sun. If you are looking for a place to eat or drink, two popular spots are just north of Seminyak: La Laguna (a trendy restaurant with a gypsy vibe) and Finns (a well-known beachfront Canggu club and restaurant).
Top Tip: The broad beaches of powdery sand are ideal for walking but keep an eye on your path as we found numerous pieces of broken glass. Plastic and other trash are also prevalent on the beach, so we carried a bag with us to collect glass and plastics to do our part to help keep the beach clean.
#3 Unwind with a Bali Massage
You can’t go far in Canggu without spotting a spa offering a full range of services – from massages to pedicures to hair removal. Much to my delight, getting a massage is one of the cheap things to do in Bali, as hour-long massages cost less than $10 USD (150,000 IDR or less) – and I indulged in more than one during our time in Canggu. Steeped in tradition, a Bali massage incorporates acupressure, skin rolling and the use of essential oils. I highly recommend putting a massage on your Canggu to-do list!
Top Tip: Looking for a special Bali spa treatment? Take a look at these Bali Spa Tours.
#4 Watch the Sun Sink into the Horizon
Of all the Canggu things to do, watching the sunset is a must! Some of the most beautiful sunsets we witnessed in Bali were from the beaches in Canggu. Just about anywhere along the coast will provide a stunning vantage point at sundown but we gravitated toward the beachfront establishments where we could sip a cold Bintang beer to watch the event.
Top Tip: The two most fashionable spots for sunset in Canggu are The Lawn and La Brisa. We, however, most enjoyed sundowner from the local warungs where we could score happy hour deals on ice cold beers (O Three Beach Bar on Echo Beach offered bucket discounts when we asked and the corner BBQ restaurant next to Echo Beach Bar and Grill has a happy hour special of 3 small Bintangs for 50,000 IDR).
#5 Center Yourself at a Yoga Class
As a fitness hot-spot, one of the top things to do in Canggu is take a yoga class. We found a long lineup of classes being offered – from Hatha yoga for beginners to Ashtanga classes for advanced yoga students. The sessions, which are often led by newly certified (or still in training) teachers, are held in quaint studios, on the beach at dawn and on rooftops at sunset.
Top Tip: Yoga classes in Canggu cost $5-10 USD per class, but many studios offer multi-class discounts. You can find a list of Canggu yoga studios here.
#6 Visit One of the Famous Temples in Bali: Tanah Lot
The ancient Hindu temple, Pura Tanah Lot, is one of the seven coastal temples and an important pilgrimage temple in Bali. Built on a jagged outcrop in the 16th century, the name of the temple translates to Land in the Sea. Because of its picturesque placement, the temple is also a hot tourist destination. Its popularity – especially at sunset – has made visiting the temple somewhat of a racket and hordes of tourists are common. Visitors are funneled through a market and required to pay a fee to enter the temple.
Top Tip: Located just four miles north of Canggu, Tanah Lot is considered one of the top Canggu attractions. However, even if you are staying in Canggu, you will need transportation (rental scooter or hired driver) to visit the temple, as it is not advisable to go on foot. For a full-day experience, book a day tour of Bali that includes art villages, cultural experiences, a coffee farm and arrives at Tanah Lot at sunset.
#7 Take a Day Trip to Top-Rated Bali Beautiful Places
The beauty of Bali isn’t exclusive to the coast. In fact, some of the most beautiful places in Bali are inland and found in the off-the-beaten-path villages. Visitors can hire a guide (and usually negotiate for a reasonable price) who will lead the way to the top places to visit in Canggu, Bali and the area. These top-rated tours feature the best things to do around Canggu:
- Traditional Village Sightseeing Trip (with lunch): This popular Bali tour packs it all in! A guide leads the way to small villages, sacred temples, a luwak coffee plantation, terraced rice fields, the Monkey Forest, a local market, the king’s palace and a waterfall. Read Rave Reviews!
- Mount Batur Sunrise Trek (with breakfast): If you are looking for unique things to do in Bali, a pre-dawn hike to the top of a volcano might fit the bill! Mount Batur sunrise hikes begin in the wee hours of the morning (some hotel pick-ups as early as 1:30am) and reach the summit before sunrise. Find Out More!
- Other popular day trips from Canggu: Cooking Classes, Snorkeling Cruises and Bicycle Tours.
Top Tip: For more things to do near Canggu and the best adventures in Bali, check out the top tours and Canggu, Bali activities on Viator!
#8 Explore Canggu Backroads in Search of Rice Paddies
Balinese rice fields are a spectacular sight – especially for foreigners who have never seen terraced rice paddies. Perfectly straight rows of sprouting green rice plants sit in muddy, flooded fields while workers, donning traditional coconut leaf hats, tend to the crop. Rice is a staple in Bali – a way of life – and fields are found throughout Bali, even in Canggu. Perhaps not as impressive as the terraced rice fields on sloping hills near Ubud, the paddies in Canggu are beautifully tucked between homestays and restaurants and found along main roads leading to Canggu beaches.
The Canggu rice fields are easily reached on foot, bicycle or scooter. The largest fields we found were near the intersection of Echo Beach Road and Subak Canggu. During our visit, we found an abandoned shell of a building a short walk north on Subak Canggu; climb the stairs to the second floor (at your own risk) for an aerial view of the rice paddies.
Top Tip: If you are wondering What is Canggu in Bali really like for local residents?, then exploring the less-traveled backroads is a great way to find out! We found most people to be friendly – but it is important to remember you are treading through neighborhoods, not tourist sights.
#9 Learn to Surf on Batu Bolong, Canggu
Bali is a legendary surf destination with some of the most epic surf breaks in the world. Riding a wave is one of the top things to do in Canggu, Indonesia, however, isn’t easy for beginners. Surfers with little experience should head to Batu Bolong Beach where there is a reef-protected lagoon that creates a consistent break with not-too-big swells – making conditions ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers.
Novice surfers can hire experienced coaches to give surf lessons, both basic and slightly advanced. First-timer surf lessons begin on the beach, where coaches teach footwork on the board before venturing into the water where the lesson continues.
Top Tip: When surfing conditions are ideal, Batu Bolong Beach in Canggu is packed with tourists getting their first surf lesson or a refresher course on the board. Those who don’t need any tips can simply rent a board and paddle out to the break. Not interested in learning how to surf? No worries – watching the surfers (especially the experienced surfers!) can provide hours of entertainment.
#10 Devour Delicious Food in Canggu
The restaurant scene in Canggu overwhelmed us. We were astounded by the ample choices of where to go in Canggu to eat. Unlike other destinations in Southeast Asia, we were pleasantly surprised to find numerous restaurants in Canggu serving Western food that was both affordable and incredibly delicious. We love eating local cuisine, but couldn’t resist consuming some of our favorite comfort foods as well. If you are looking for the best places to go in Canggu for a good meal, here are our top recommendations:
- Old Man’s – A Canggu classic, Old Man’s is a sprawling restaurant/bar that features theme nights, good tunes and beach vibes. What to Eat: The burgers are stellar, but the Mahi Mahi Sandwich was the best fish sandwich I ate in Bali.
- PokePoke – Offering a variety of poke (and other) bowls, PokePoke is a small, shabby chic spot complete with a indoor swing. What to Eat: Aloha Bali bowl and Thai Dynamite bowl.
- The Green Spot – Lucky for us, The Green Spot is located at Ecosfera, the hotel where we were staying. The breakfast (included for guests) was the best included breakfast we have ever had – and we would go for the breakfast even if we weren’t staying there. What to Eat: For breakfast we recommend the Avocado Salsa with Poached Egg and the Breakfast burger. For dinner, go with the Polynesian Tuna.
- Pizza Fabbrica – Dedicated to excelling at Italian cuisine, Pizza Fabbrica surpassed our expectations in both atmosphere and quality. What to Eat: Pizze Bianche Nonna (White Pizza with Potatoes and Italian Sausage) and Capricciosa.
- Warung Smile – Serving traditional Balinese fare, our experience at Warung Smile was exceptional – from the warm greeting to the well-prepared meals. What to Eat: Whole Fish and Nasi Goreng – some of the best we’ve had in Bali!
- Echo Beach Club – Located right on the beach, Echo Beach Club is well-known for their beachside BBQ and all-you-can-eat sides. What to Eat: Seafood Platter and Beef Skewer.
Map of Canggu Sights and Restaurants
More Tips for Your Trip to Canggu, Bali
Now that we’ve filled you in with all the details on top Canggu, Bali activities and attractions, we have a few more tips for your trip!
During our visit to Canggu, Bali, we stayed at the Ecosfera Hotel. We loved Ecosfera for the affordable price, large rooms, refreshing pool, on-site spa and the delicious included breakfast. The location was also fantastic – just a short walk to the beach and near necessities (grocery, pharmacy, laundry). We highly recommend staying at Ecosfera, but if it is fully booked during your trip, there are many wonderful places to stay in Canggu! Start your search for the perfect Canggu accommodations for your trip on Booking.com – like we do!
Getting Around Canggu, Bali
It’s often proclaimed that a vehicle (scooter or taxi) is necessary in Canggu, but we didn’t find that to be true. Everything on our list of what to see in Canggu (besides the Day Trips) are easily accessed on foot. Just be aware of traffic, walk along the edge (single file when traffic passes) and carry a light at night. If you are hesitant about riding a scooter and reluctant to pay for expensive taxis, be assured that all of the best things to do in Canggu, Bali can be reached on foot.
Before You Go
- Don’t forget to pack beach essentials!! Flip flops, a wide-brimmed travel hat, good sunscreen and mosquito repellent are necessary for your trip to Bali!
- Bring a refillable water bottle for your trip to Canggu. Although it may not be recommended to drink the tap water at your hotel, many restaurants and other establishments allow you to refill water bottles from their clean water source for a small fee – rather than buying new plastic water bottle from the store and contributing to the growing plastics problem on Bali!
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos (that can later be beautifully compiled into a travel photo book). We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!)
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
We Want To Know: What would you add to our list of things to do in Canggu? Do you have any specific advice on what to do in Canggu, Bali? Give us your best tips in the comments below!
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