Hipster and kitsch – or superficial and tacky? What is Canggu in Bali really like?
I wanted to write this post because I had big preconceptions about Canggu before I arrived. So much so, that I almost didn’t come at all. I thought it might be superficial, with everyone Instagramming everything, and just a bit boring.
Man, how I was wrong. Yes there are a lot of people Instagramming everything – but it’s because everything is just so perfect, that of course people are snapping everything. I’ve never been anywhere, where the lifestyle is THIS good. It’s got all the best bits of the Western World, at a fraction of the price, on the sea and in the sun.
The longer I’m here, the more I love it. And I met a girl the other day who said, “I’ve been here for 6 months, that feeling just doesn’t go away”.
So here are 10 reasons why Canggu is so amazing:
1. The food.
Words cannot describe how incredible the food is here. As a vegetarian, I’ve never experienced so much delicious, healthy and cheap food in one area. From Shady Shack to Crate to Motion to Vida to Peleton to pretty much EVERYWHERE – my biggest problem is choosing where to go.
Not only does everything taste bloody delicious – but it’s also outrageous value. For example, a standard lunch costs 70k which is around £3.60. If you were to order the same meals in London, you’d be paying at least 3 or 4 times more.
This is like Uber on crack.
Go-Jek is an app which has pretty much anything you could ever want, available for delivery. Grocery shopping, takeaways, foot massages, facials, manicures…
To put into context, my housemate go-jekked a carton of soy milk for a cup of tea. When it’s 50p to deliver anything, it’s just too easy to take the lazy option.
3. The scooters.
The most common way to get around the town is by scooter.
When I first arrived, I was hesitant – but I practised around the rice paddies, and I actively avoided the famous “short cut” for a while. (This is the very narrow, bumpy path which connects two popular areas of town – but its so narrow that people are constantly falling off the path, and into the rice paddies every day.)
Now, I’ve got used to driving and am totally obsessed.
I’ve even welled up a few times, just from driving around (and I’m not even an emotional person!) Nothing beats the feeling of driving around with the views of rice paddies in the background, and the wind in your hair. One of my friends even told me that she sometimes takes detours, just so she can drive for longer!
(I will say that despite this, there are a lot of accidents so please be careful and get insurance! I’ve taken out a policy with True Traveller as it covers motorbike accidents, check it out here if you want one too)
4. The surf.
The fact that Canggu has all these things AND the sea is almost a joke. And the waves here are amazing as well!
After 4 months of (attempting to) surf in Morocco, the waves in Bali are on another level. I’ve found that in Canggu, they are generally much easier as they break slower. And there are other surf spots nearby – like Gangga or Kedungu – if you want to head to a quieter and less popular beach.
I’m a bit of an exercise addict, and love the feeling from endorphins after an intense workout. In England, I’m obsessed with Barrys Bootcamp – but now I think I have a new favourite. Say hello to CrossFit Wanderlust.
This gym is honestly SO good. Every class is so hard that I often ache for days after – but the trainers make it super fun at the same time. I was a bit nervous to go the first time (because it’s known to be so intense), but the trainers help everyone and there are always beginners in classes, so it’s really not intimidating.
The best part about it? It’s like getting the best trainers from the UK and US but at Bali prices. One-month of unlimited membership in Central London is £265; one-month of unlimited membership in Canggu is £78. Now this is actually quite expensive for things in Canggu, but it’s less than a quarter of the price in the UK!
6. The yoga.
I have to admit I’ve not done as much yoga as I originally planned, but that’s because I’ve become so addicted to surfing and CrossFit. However, there are so many beautiful yoga studios around. And as there’s so much competition, the standard of classes is really high out here.
So far, Serenity is my favourite studio but that’s because I absolutely love Sida’s power yoga class. Next on the list is The Practise, as people seem to bang on about it and I want to see what it’s all about.
7. The expat & digital nomad community.
One of the reasons I came to Canggu is because I’d heard it was a digital nomad hub – and it really is.
There is a popular co-working space in Canggu called Dojo, which has good internet, skype rooms, and even a pool. Because of this, a lot of digital nomads come here, which means it’s pretty easy to make friends with like-minded people.
Dojo organise weekly Friday drinks, monthly BBQs, and daily entrepreneurial talks – so there’s always stuff going on if you want to be sociable. I don’t personally work from the co-working space as I find it too busy – but I found my villa and met my housemates through the Dojo community, and I love all the talks.
8. It’s the perfect environment for work.
As there are so many people working for themselves in Canggu – either as entrepreneurs or freelancers – I find it such a good environment for working & focusing. Most people seem to be hustling in one way or other, which makes it really inspiring.
It’s even given me the confidence to finally launch my own eco-friendly brand. I’ve met with manufacturers and packaging suppliers, and have approved my samples. So now I’m just waiting for my 100 units to arrive – and I’ll be exporting them off round the world 🙂 (Watch this space!)
I’ve always wanted to set my own thing up, but haven’t been in the right environment until now. (I know it shouldn’t be all about the environment but it’s much easier to do it when you’re surrounded by inspiring entrepreneurs!)
Plus, there are no long and painful commutes and tube strikes when you’re en route to the office in Canggu!
9. The sunsets.
Canggu is known for its pretty epic sunsets, and one of the best places to watch them is in the beach bar, La Brisa.
La Brisa is located on Echo Beach, where you can watch the surfers shred the waves as the sun sets. It’s got a pretty boho-chic feel with wooden interior, a pool, and chilled house playlist.
Minimum spend is 100k (which is around £5) – so it’s the perfect place for a couple of late afternoon beers.
10. And finally – it’s just so cheap!
Pretty much everything here is so much cheaper than it would be in the Western world. This means that you can live here for a MUCH better quality of life.
To give some context:
- Double rooms in most villas are about 5-6m IDR (£250-300) per month (roughly ⅓ of rent in London).
- There are also some really nice and affordable guest houses, which have private rooms with shared pools for around 4m IDR (roughy £200) per month. I stayed in Krisna Homestay which is very central, and pretty lush – especially considering its so cheap.
- Phone data: 30 GB costs roughly £5, which lasts for so long. I often Facetime friends and family in the UK, watch movies online, and without worrying I’ll run out
- Scooter: a month of scooter rental is around £35, and petrol is even cheaper! It costs £1.50 to fill up from empty, and I usually fill up once a week.
So if you’re thinking of heading to Canggu, I would say DO IT! It really is as amazing as all the photos on Instagram make it out to be – and personally, I don’t think it’s possible to live such a high quality of life at such a low cost.