I recently spent a month in Indonesia, mostly on Bali, but with a week on the Gilli Islands. I had been desperate to go to Bali since I did my working holiday in Australia, but for one reason or another it just never happened. So on my recent tour round South East Asia I was determined I was going to make it there, even if I did have to twist my BFs arm. After 4 ish months of hopping from place to place, daily sunbathing, yoga, massages, and fresh coconuts wasn’t such a hard sell after all. I started doing my research on where to stay when we arrived in Bali, I already knew Kuta was not what I was after, loads of people liken it to Benidorm – not my cup of tea at all. And Seminyak was a bit on the pricey side, but next to it is Canggu a cool little surf town less than an hours drive from the airport. PERFECT! So perfect in fact that we stayed in Canggu twice, both at the beginning and at the end of the trip, it is totally my jam. So here are 5 reasons why Canggu is the best place to stay in Bali.
1. It’s way less crowded than the other tourist spots
Kuta, Seminyak and to a lesser extent Ubud aren’t exactly the peaceful tropical idyll you imagine when you think of Bali. They’re full of high-rise hotels, western chain restaurants and the traffic is crrrraaazy! Walking down the street you may as well be in London, inhaling all the bike exhaust fumes Canggu on the other hand is totally chill, possibly because there are no big chain hotels, it’s more a guest house, villa or boutique hotel kinda vibe dotted in and around the rice paddies. Bikes with surfboards sail through the winding streets, not a traffic jam in sight.
2. The tasty, tasty food
The food in Canggu is unbelievably good, including loads of vegan, veggie and healthy options. I’m not even vegan, but found myself eating that way a lot, everything about Bali just makes you feel super healthy. My fave eateries in Canggu are: Nalu bowls, Ex machina, Bottega Italiana, Lacalita Bar Y Cochina, Avocado Café, Le Petite Prince, Gypsy, Moana, Poke, Betel café. Seriously, I would go back to Canggu for the food alone.
3. It’s achingly hip
But not in an elitist way, just a daaaamn, this whole place is all the Instagram trends in real life kinda way. Lots of avocado toast, white marble, rose gold everywhere, acai bowls and Matcha lattes consumed in rice paddies. Canggu is the ultimate hipster beach town.
4. The chilled party vibe
This is a surf town, full of young, tanned, sun bleached hair kinda people. It’s a far cry from the neon lights and EDM of Kuta. Or the high-end cocktail lounges and 5 star hotels of neighbouring Seminyak. After a long day of surfing, sunbathing or temple hunting everyone heads to either Old Mans’ for a few Bintangs or the new beach club in town – the Lawn for cocktails & tapas. Twice a week there’s a big beach party at old Mans’ beach, you can bring your own booze or buy it there it’s all really chill. Dancing and singing to to Beyoncé with a group of mates from home on that beach is still one of my favourite memories from that trip.
5. The locals are the nicest people ever!
Every morning I walked out of my villa and people everywhere would smile, say, “hello, how are you?” “Have a beautiful day”, these people are happy AF! I don’t blame them to be honest, I’d be deliriously happy if I woke up in Canggu every morning.
I think Canggu really is the best place to stay in Bali, and just as a comparison we did stay in Ubud and Seminyak as well as visit Legian, Uluwatu, Denpasar, Sanur etc. and I still think Canggu is the best place to stay on Bali, it’s just ticks all those boxes of a tropical beach holiday and I can’t wait to go back some day.
Read next: The Ultimate Vietnam Itinerary