Just 15 minutes north of Seminyak, Canggu is considered by many to be the coolest place to hang out in Bali. But despite its ‘it’ status, Canggu has managed to maintain its laid back vibe and village lifestyle (for now). A favourite among surfers, yogis and expats, until recently, there weren’t even any big resorts in Canggu, but that is rapidly changing. If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more authentic to stay in Bali, you might want to book a holiday in Canggu before it’s overtaken by big resorts and swanky beach clubs.
Here are 6 of the best places to stay:
Desa Seni - dubbed a 'village resort', it's the perfect place to unplug and retreat from the world. The resort contains more than a dozen individual traditional Javanese houses, which were shipped over in pieces and reconstructed on the property. You’re literally staying in an antique, and each room contains a dossier explaining where the different pieces of furniture and artworks came from.
The houses are built around a large central salt water pool, which guests laze around sipping out of coconuts.
Most of the produce for the restaurant is grown on the property and the food is as fresh as it gets. The tropical gardens are immaculately maintained, and are dotted with colourful lanterns and umbrellas and stepping stone pathways.
Desa Seni has two yoga studios, where you can take both public and private classes. There's also a day spa on site offering a wide range of treatments. (For the full article on Desa Seni, click here).
Right next door to Desa Seni is Villa Desa Roro, which has a very similar feel, but offers a whole lot more privacy. There are three separate villas which can easily accommodate a large family. The master suite is enormous, with a huge canopy bed, lounge area with big flat screen TV. The bathroom is also huge, with a freestanding bath, and the suite even has its own massage table!
The villa features four other bedrooms, two large and two small, each with their own bathrooms. The two smaller bedrooms are within their own villa with a common lounge area, while the bigger ones are in the main building which also houses the kitchen, dining and communal area.
The villas are built around a stunning central salt water pool, which in turn is surrounded by immaculate tropical gardens.
On the other side of Desa Seni is the Pineapple House, a cute little villa which has three rooms, each with their own indoor/outdoor bathroom. The rooms can be rented out separately, or you can book the whole place. The Pineapple House offers surf and yoga retreats, or you can stay on a BnB basis, and be treated to a delicious breakfast each morning. The whitewashed woodwork, tropical greenery and chill out areas give the whole place a really relaxed vibe.
The Pineapple House is particularly popular with solo female travellers, and offers guests the security of being looked after without being locked into a specific retreat schedule. Staff are on hand to organise pretty much anything guests could need, from hiring a scooter to getting a massage.
On the other side of Canggu, just five minutes walk from Echo Beach, are the Echo Beach Townhouses. The three villas stand side by side at the end of a laneway, which means they’re really quiet – something that’s very hard to find in Bali!
The villas are enormous, with three bedrooms across three levels. There’s also a rooftop balcony which gives great views over Canggu (and ocean glimpses).
The small tropical gardens and pools are immaculately kept and offer a relaxing place to hang out.
The villas have lots of other things to keep you entertained, including wifi, TV with DVDs and a pool table.
Guests also have the option of having breakfast made in their villa by the lovely staff (who make a pretty good banana pancake!). The Townhouses are also within walking distance of a couple of fantastic cafes – notably Canteen and the Shady Shack – but there are also some nice little local Warungs that are close by as well.
Hotel Tugu – one of the bigger hotels in Canggu (but still boutique, with only 21 rooms), the Tugu is a beautifully traditional hotel. Staying at the Tugu is kind of like being in a giant artwork. The Javanese/Chinese family which owns the hotel is one of the biggest antique collectors in South Asia, and the artworks around the property reflect the history and culture of both countries.
The rooms are large and decorated in traditional Indonesian style, with indoor/outdoor bathrooms featuring koi ponds, as well as small emerald green pools enclosed behind private stone walls.
The hotel also has a superb restaurant on site, and you can reserve private dining rooms. There’s also a small day spa offering a full range of indulgent treatments. The grounds of the Tugu are filled with tropical plants and ponds, and there’s a beautiful central pool.
The hotel is just steps from the beach, and has a gorgeous lawn area adjacent to the sand where they’ve recently built a decking to provide an outdoor dining experience. It’s a stunning place to watch Canggu’s epic sunsets.
The Chillhouse is located in a small, quiet village, and offers several different types of accommodation, including separate bungalows surrounded by amazingly lush gardens. It’s a great place for solo travellers to hang out, as there’s a communal restaurant where everyone has dinner together (although it can get pretty noisy at night if you're in one of the rooms next door!).
There are also two pools and some massage rooms on site. It’s simple, relaxed accommodation, with cute rooms decorated in bright colours.
The Chillhouse also offers guests heaps to do, with a yoga studio on site with classes every day. Daily surf lessons are also available for all levels of surfers at different local breaks, and for those more adventurous, there’s mountain bike tours offered at a nearby custom made course.
The best time to visit Bali is June, July and August when the weather is mostly fine. December and January are wet season, and the humidity is extremely high (as are the number of mosquitos!)
Like all developing countries, you'd be taking a big risk if you travelled without insurance. I use Australian based insurer Fast Cover. You can get a quote for a policy by clicking here.
Canggu is very spread out, so the best way to get around is by scooter. If you’re not confident riding a scooter, then taxis are available, although be aware, they are not permitted to operate in certain areas of Canggu because it’s tightly controlled by local transport operators.
Many of the local eateries in Canggu will deliver food to your accommodation – two of the best are Green Ginger and Banana Leaf.
Most nationalities (including Australians) can now get a free 30 day visa on arrival in Bali.