Over the past couple of years the area of Canggu is Bali has grown to become seriously very popular. In fact some people are now saying that Canggu is more popular than Seminyak. While this is still a long way off, it’s not hard to see how the area is flourishing and becoming one of the most popular destinations for families friendly villas in Canggu, back packers, hipsters, couples, surfers, honeymooners basically any one that’s looking for a more chilled out area is going to love Canggu.
To reinforce the point here and to give Canggu a bit of a plug, we thought that we would let you know our favourite reasons why we feel that Canggu is now so popular. You might have your own after visiting the place but these should pretty much cover off everything. Essentially you are going to love the place, it really has a little bit of everything for everyone looking for that magical Bali experience. Do yourself a favour and try staying here for a couple of days or weeks or however long you want. Put simply Canggu rocks!
# 1: If you have previously stayed in Seminyak, Kuta or Legian you will know that these places are notoriously bad when it comes to traffic. Going from 1 place to another can be a serious nightmare as you try to negotiate the congestion along Jalan Legian. For example, just imaging your staying in the Double Six area and want to go for dinner in Petitienget which is literally about 3-4 km away. Well, it might as well be 100km’s away especially if your planning your trip anywhere between 5-8 pm. The 1 road to get there is jammed packed full of other tourists all trying to do the same thing. This happens all over this southern part of Bali and it’s not restricted to Legian. You can be travelling from Canggu to Seminyak and hit the traffic around Batu Bolong. It’s a real nightmare and getting anywhere can take hours. I’m not kidding you when I say this; it’s complete gridlock. If you think I’m exaggerating here just do your research and see what other people are saying. It’s a nightmare.
This is one main reason why Canggu is so popular. There is no where near the amount of traffic on the roads. Sure, there are the usual scooters, cars and trucks but getting around it quite easy and if your staying in a hotel or luxury private villa in Canggu, getting to the main area (Jl Pantai Batu Bolong) for lunch or dinner is in fact really easy and you can be there in no time at all. Those insane traffic jams and basically non existent so long as you remain in the Canggu, Seseh and Pererenan. As soon as you get out of this little pocket of tranquillity you are going to hit the traffic. Our advice is to remain in the Canggu area for the duration of your holiday and if your planning on touring the island then you better get up early and hit the roads before 7am.
# 2: Canggu has a lot of really good restaurants, cafes and local warungs that are open the whole day. There is really no need to venture into Seminyak unless you really have to. Canggu’s restaurant strip is jam packed with lots of hip little cafes serving up tasty and healthy western style and local dishes. All of them have a really relaxed ‘beachy’ vibe and are good value for money – hence the popularity. Seminyak restaurant prices have not reached Canggu yet. Most places serve really decent food for the burgeoning ‘hip / in crowd’ that want value for money. Check out places like: Monsieur Spoon, Crate, Avocado, Warung Bumi and Betelnut just to name a few. There are dozens more but these seem to be the most popular. A word of warning here, this area does get crowded, especially on the weekend near the Deus Café area as hordes of people flock here for exactly the same thing; to escape Seminyak and see another alternative hip side of Bali. Everyone has heard of Canggu and they are all coming for lunch or dinner or to have a big night out at Deus or Old Mans down the road on Batu Bolong beach.
#3: Canggu has some ridiculously good surf. Echo Beach is a hot spot for surfers and both the left hander known as restaurants (right at outside the front of the beach side cafes) and the right at the river mouth as really good. Surfers from all over the world flock here in huge numbers to catch waves that they would not normally get back home. This is both a good and a bad thing as it can get particularly crowded here most days. Word of warning for this surfers reading this article – DON’T drop in on the locals, even the younger kids. They have older brothers and you might end up in trouble. The local surfers here are fierce and you do not want to mess with them. Needless to say if your patient and follow the rules you should get the wave of your life. Ideally you should be here before 10 am before the wind picks up and it starts getting messy.
#4: Some people would say that the vibe is far more relaxed and chilled out in Canggu and there are a few reasons for this:
a) you can drive around on your scooter with out a helmet – there doesn’t seem to be the police presence that Seminyak or Legian has. In fact it’s rare to see them (I know this is dangerous but it just add to the more relaxed attitude).
b) you can actually see rice fields. Yes, that’s true. There are gorgeous rice field views everywhere. You will not get this in Seminyak! Canggu has not had the rampant over development that’s so common in Bali but I have to say unfortunately, ‘watch this space’. There are already signs of new hotels being built. Remember this is Indonesia and if a place becomes popular, sure as night follows day, hotels and villas will start dominating this beautiful landscape.
c) there are no fast food outlets here. No Maccas or KFC which is brilliant but Circle K is starting to creep in.
d) 90% of the scooters zipping around have surfboard side racks with guys and girls in board shorts and bikinis which add to the holiday fun atmosphere. You will notice this as soon as you enter the area. Canggu is all about the surf, sea and showing off your tanned bodies.
# 5: The main type of Canggu accommodation is still predominantly villa’s which means that Canggu has missed out on the mass influx of tourist from Java looking for cheap hotels which can be found all over Bali such as the Harris chain. The main type of tourist you will find in Canggu is the Australian family staying in a villa near the beach. This means there are no huge tourist busses clogging up the roads causing chaos. Also there are none of the affiliated staff (which can run into the hundreds) coming and going due to this. Low rise villas in Canggu mean that hotels are lees likely to be there and this maintains the rural charm and integrity of this little pocket of Balinese tropical paradise.
To sum it up, Canggu is how Bali was 10-15 years ago and my advise is to see it while it’s still in this pristine way. Like most parts of Bali this will not last. That’s inevitable and a certainty. Popularity breeds tourism and with it comes the dollars and then the developers and then it’s all gone