Hey, I’m Johanna and a childhood friend of Karina who runs this blog. Last year I spent 3 months in total in Canggu, Bali. Karina asked me to share my tips from there.
So, let’s begin. Me and my boyfriend are somewhat of digital nomads so our stay in Canggu was both for working and leisure. Canggu is a perfect place for this and the most common people you come across in Canggu are digital nomads and yogis. There are tons of great coffee shops and restaurants to work from with free WiFi. To maintain you physic you can choose from pretty much any form of workout and you’ll find it in Canggu.
For housing we did what we usually do when traveling to some place for an extended period. We book a place through Airbnb for the first week.
Then talk to locals and scout ads for a better deal. We asked to see a place before booking it and where able to negotiate a better deal with the owner by paying cash. Since we where there in the end of high season (July – Aug) we paid around $1000/month for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with a pool, including cleaning twice a week.
This house was at a great location just off one of the main streets. As a comparison we booked a luxury villa, 3 bedroom, 3 bathrooms, 2 full-time staff on weekdays between 8am-4pm, big pool on a privatly guarded street for $3000 in March when it’s not high season. This was also by negotiating straight with the owner.
There are plenty of other cheaper options like staying in guest houses or shared places if you are on a tighter budget and don’t mind to share a space.
Motorbikes are pretty much a must. Everyone is on one as there barely are any sidewalks. It doesn’t even feel safe to be on foot as cars and bikes pass you with barely a millimeter to spare. Motorbikes are great, but there also are a lot of accidents. Me and my friends tipped over into a rice field with our bike on a road too tight for cars, but they were still there and it was either being hit or going down in the rice field hahhaaa… Luckily we where fine and unharmed.
Bike rentals are everywhere and you can find a few bikes lined up outside a store that says for rent. Just negotiate and when happy, off you go. If you rent longer, better deal. We paid 800.000IDR/month. If only for a week, you might end up paying around 50.000IDR/day. This is with no insurance and the bikes looks pretty beat up. You go to a fancier place you pay more and they add insurance.
When we wanted to explore the island we hired a private driver with a car. Very cheap and convenient. Better than organized tours. This way you can choose more freely and make your own schedule. A driver for a day with car about 400-500.000IDR.
No Uber in Bali, but they got similar options like GoJek and you can book a car, bike, food delivery and it’s super cheap. For taxi cars, use Bluebird, but look out for all the fake ones as they scam you.
Can’t beat the Balinese in their friendliness. They always try to accommodate you and your needs. We met great people and I think the people are one of the great things about Bali. Could easily communicate in English.
We love coffee and there is great specialty coffee places in Canggu. They consistently made perfect lattes and had varieties of milk which we appreciated since we prefer almond milk. You can also grab some food at all these places while at it.
Food here is amazing and you can be vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and healthy with no problem. Tons of restaurants to choose from.
My favorite tho is the pork kebabs from a street vendor. Cheap and so tasty!
Duatiga – Chill vibe and the food is Vietnamese inspired. Lot of people work and eat here.
Sprout – healthy and good.
The Bikini Restaurant – high end and this restaurant is actually in Seminyak, but worth a trip. We did the chefs tasting menu with wine pairing and it was superb!
Motion Cafe – If you are an athlete, bikini model, health freak this is your spot. They also have a great meal delivery service where you can pick what meal plan suits you and they deliver it fresh to you daily. We tried Paleo-meals for a couple weeks and it was very healthy hahahaaa…
Cafe Vita – great menu, cozy place and try their elixir tray where you choose 6 healthy shots from a 2 page list.
Milu By Nook – Balinese & Western food. Super tasty, cool design and beautiful view over a rice field.
Mades Banana Flour Bakery – an all gluten free bakery and too much good stuff to choose from! First place in the world that where everything is made with banana flour. Lot of restaurants and cafe’s serve their treats.
Seriously, there’s probably at least 10 more great spots to add here, but exploring and discovering them yourself is one of the fun parts when traveling.
Nirvana Strength – Can’t say enough good stuff about this gymnastic gym. The coaches, classes, staff, facilities and food. Basically our second home when in Canggu. They offer classes for strength, mobility, flexibility, prehab and OLY (olympic weightlifting). All different levels of people in their classes and the coaches are fantastic. Don’t forget to get a massage and cupping too while there as it will make you feel amazing. They have a pool, hot and cold plunge and a sauna. Their restaurant serves obviously healthy food. Love this place – go there!
Did a bit of crossfit too on my first trip to Canggu. Wonderlust is big great gym with a cafe/ restaurant and a lot of classes to choose from. As I said earlier, Canggu is a health mecca and it’s not hard to find ways to stay fit here!
We didn’t do tons of excursions since we also tried to keep a routine of working. I do recommend to pick your spots and then hire a driver for a day or two to take you around.
A couple of my favorites though.
Nusa Penida Island. WOW! Kelingking Beach probably being the most photographed spot on the island and you can see why. There’s a very steep and hard trek to get down to the beach and safety is not really a thing here…
Crystal Beach – I don’t think it was all that and would skip this one.
Diamond Beach – We got here by sunset and it was so nice with less people around. Again, a pretty hard trek down with only a rope to hold on to. Luckily we didn’t have to pass any people on the way down or up. Waves and currents can get crazy here and only a week after we were there we read about a tourist that died there by being swept out by the waves. You can see this beach from the treehouse we stayed at. Read below.
My favorite thing about this island was our stay at The Treehouse – Rumah Pohon. 3 simple tree-houses and the view was to die for! The funniest thing, that wasn’t so funny at 05.30 in the morning, was the visitors coming up the stairs to take pictures in sunrise. Our tree-house was the one with the best view and people just came up the stair and started their photoshoots.
Around 7.30 it calmed down and as I went outside to check I saw there was now a guard charging people to go up the stairs and take pictures. It is a bit annoying when you pay for your stay and then they still make money from it. Still worth the stay we think!
We also did a snorkeling trip when out there. Goal was to see a Manta Rey. Well, we did spot one, but there was like 15 other boats and people got crazy as the tour guys pointed where a Manta was spotted. Also when we did the snorkeling there was a lot of jellyfish and we all got burned several times, ouch! Maybe a tip is to ask before booking if jellyfishes have been reported at the moment. An other tip is to just go to Crystal Beach and rent snorkeling equipment there and swim out. The tours stop here, but you can also do it on your own.
A caution to add here are the roads on the island. They are terrible and we saw 3 accidents with motorbikes. We rented a driver to get us around and even in a car it was bumpy!
In mainland Bali I recommend a day or 2 to Pasut Beach. Only like an hour from Canggu. When we were there we where alone and the beach with black sand stretches on for ever. Also a great surfing spot, but a lot less crowded than Canggu.
We also did a day trip with a driver and visited spots like Kebun Raya Bali botanical garden, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple and Aling-Aling waterfalls. The waterfalls was my favorite stop and it was great watching the brave ones jump from the cliffs into the water. We where happy to just swim and cool down hahahaaa…
Other tips are to do a half day or a full day jewelery making class at Canggu Jewelery Classes – Me and my sister made silver bracelets in a half day course.
A supercool and good hair salon is Jet Black Ginger.
Amo – A spa for your every need, nails, hair, massages, sauna and hot/could pools overlooking a rice field, food & drinks.
That concludes my Canggu review. Can say that it’s a great place to visit for a shorter or a longer time! Hope you enjoyed my review.