A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Canggu, Bali
Once a sleepy coastal village in southern Bali, Canggu (pronounced ‘Chan-gu’) is now one of the hottest destinations on the island – a hub of surfers, backpackers and digital nomads, giving it its distinctively creative vibe that sets it apart from its more established neighbour Seminyak. Known for its trendy and Instagrammable bars and cafés, long sandy beaches and consistent surf, there’s a reason why Canggu has become the digital nomad capital of the world. If you’ve decided to work remotely as a digital nomad in Canggu, then read on for everything you need to know.
A digital nomad’s guide to… getting to and around Canggu
The journey to Canggu should take around one hour by car from Denpassar Airport. Try to arrange your transfer in advance, as there are plenty of taxi scams to be aware of (I should know, I got royally ripped off when I arrived first!).
Canggu is split into two main areas: Batu Bolong and Berawa and the best way to get around is by scooter, which you can rent for around 50k IDR (£3) a day. The areas are connected with the infamous ‘Canggu Shortcut’: a narrow, raised paved road through rice paddy fields that isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re new to scooter life, then hati-hati! (easy does it!) and wear a helmet at all times. If you don’t feel confident enough, you can use taxi services like Go-Jek and Grab (like Uber) to get around, but in some areas this isn’t allowed so scooters really are the easiest option.
A digital nomad’s guide to… where to work
There are plenty of lovely cafes for digital nomads to work in around Canggu with reliable WiFi, but if you’re sticking around for a while it’s worth signing up to a co-working space. It’s also a good way to meet people as most run events and group activities too. The two most popular are Dojo Bali and Outpost.
Just a minute’s walk from Echo Beach, Dojo Bali is a perfect place for digital nomads to work, with plenty of tropical vibes — and even has it’s own pool. If you need to make an important call, there are three sound-proofed and air conditioned booths and there are conference rooms too. If you get peckish there’s a cafe on-site, with healthy fare and smoothie bowls and good coffee to keep you going. They regularly host events with and for the community, including masterminds, workshops, community BBQs, skill sharing sessions, networking events and social meetups. Prices range from 800k INR (£42) per month for 30 hours’ access to 2,900,00 INR (£155) unlimited.
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Outpost has a similar set-up to Dojo, but on the Berawa side — so consider which area of Canggu you’d like to stay in. Outpost Canggu’s co-working space (designed in collaboration with award-winning architect Alexis Dornier) is a bright, modern space with a Balinese, beach-house vibe. The work area is open plan, with multiple rooms and skype booths that you can book, as well as a pool for an afternoon swim and cafe with barista coffee. You can even choose a co-work and co-live package if you want to sort your accommodation out too in one go and stay in their co-living space a three minute walk away. Their current offers include packages from two weeks to two months, from $395 (£287).
A digital nomad’s guide to… things to do in Canggu
If you’re heading to Bali, it’s likely that you’re looking for a good dose of sun, sand and sea. Good news is that Canggu is definitely not lacking in any of these. Beach life is the name of the game here and you can while away the days hopping from Berawa Beach, Nelayan Beach, Batu Bolong Beach, Echo Beach and Pererenan Beach. Warungs and beach bars line much of Echo Beach and Batu Bolong Beach, where you can make the most of the bean bags and a cool coconut. If you’re looking for something a little more upmarket, book a space at Finn’s Beach Club or The Lawn – lively spots with plenty of cocktails, live DJs and pool fun.
Canggu is a well-known surf spot and has waves for most levels. The waves off Batu Bolong and directly opposite Old Man’s Beach Club are best for beginners and you can organise lessons directly on the beach or just hire a board for a couple of hours (for around £3). Echo Beach and the waves off Finns Beach Club are better suited for experienced surfers.
If yoga is more your thing, then there’s plenty of classes and retreats to choose from too. The Practice yoga centre is one of the most popular spots, offering traditional tantric hatha yoga and world-class teachers. Pranava Yoga is another must-visit, with a picturesque rice paddy setting and yoga classes of all types and levels.
Ubud may be better known for its shopping and markets, but Canggu has more than enough independent boutiques and markets to satisfy shoppers. The buzzing Love Anchor is the best market in the area, where you can stock up on beach dresses and silver jewellery. For more handmade clothing, food and crafts from independent designers make sure to check out Samadi Sunday Market and Old Man’s Market on the last Saturday of the month.
A digital nomad’s guide to… where to eat
One thing’s for sure, you won’t be going hungry in Canggu. In recent years, the area has exploded with cafés and restaurants offering fare from all around the world and has garnered a well-deserved reputation for one of the best foodie hotspots around. There’s a whole host of amazing options for every time of day and for every craving, but here are some highlights to get you started:
For hipster brunching: Crate Café
You can’t miss brunch at the hipster, Australian-owned café-cum-gallery. The breakfast menu of eggs, pancakes and healthy smoothie bowls and juices is hard to beat and the rice paddy views are pretty great too. There’s even a live DJ! It can get very busy, so arrive early to nab a spot.
For vegan deliciousness: Peloton Supershop
Serving vegan fare all day long, Peloton Supershop doubles up as a bicycle store (you guessed it) and is nothing like your typical vegan outlet. Make sure to try the Tricken burger, Ms Jackson tacos or one of the oh-so-colourful smoothie bowls. You don’t have to be vegan to go here, the food is so delicious, you won’t even notice.
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For a bit of everything: Berawa’s Kitchen
If you can’t decide what to have for dinner, head down to Berawa Kitchen, with eight permanent food stalls from pizza and pasta at the Pizza Garden to delicious tacos at Senja. Perfect for laidback eats, alongside live music and a chilled-back atmosphere.
For cheap local eats: Warung Heboh
There’s a lot more to Indonesian food than nasi goreng and to get a taste of real local food, stop by one of the local warungs, like Warung Heboh. Tuck into a traditional buffet of tempe, tofu and different varieties of fish and marinated chicken; you can pile your plate high and still only pay a couple of pounds. Perfect for a quick, cheap and tasty dinner. What’s not to like?
For great coffee: The Hungry Bird
A favourite spot of mine on the Berawa side, The Hungry Bird Roastery serves great coffee, with beans sourced from all over Indonesia, and hearty brunches if you’re missing a good veggie brekkie or eggs benny.
A digital nomad’s guide to… where to drink (and party!)
For stylish sundowners: The Lawn
An upmarket beach club, The Lawn is the perfect spot for a sundowner. Enjoy signature cocktails like the Coconut Mojito or the Lawn & Stormy on the stunning cocktail deck overlooking the ocean. If you’re in the mood for a dance, you’ll love their weekly 50Fridays fiesta, when they cut their prices in half to ring in the weekend in style and party until the early hours.
For a Sunday session: Old Man’s
Old Man’s is arguably a Canggu institution, a beachfront ‘beer-garden’ style openair venue just off Batu bolong beach. Head here for laidback post-surf sunset beers or if you’re up for a bigger night, Sunday is the night. When the music stops, everyone heads to the beach below to party until the early hours.
For castaway-cool cocktails: La Brisa
The very concept of the beach club is written in the name – La Brisa – which means sea breeze. From the team behind Seminyak’s iconic venues La Plancha, La Favela and La Laguna, La Brisa is one of Canggu’s hottest new openings. Built on Echo Beach using reclaimed wood from more than 500 old fisherman boats, the sea-themed decor is boho chic at its best. Perfect for soaking up the scenery with a sundowner in hand and some delicious tapas.
A digital nomad’s guide to… where to stay
There are all types of places to stay here for every budget, from Airbnbs (a popular option) and backpacker hostels to fashionable boutique hotels. If you are staying for six months or longer, it’s worthwhile getting a villa — check the Canggu Community Facebook page for leads.
For an immersive experience: The Slow
Just 300m from Batu bolong beach, The Slow is one of the hottest places to stay in Canggu – epitomising tropical chic. Describing itself as an ‘immersive experience’, the eclectic space gravitates around the owners’ personal art collection, with sounds by LA’s Reverberation Radio to soundtrack your stay. You can stay in one of 12 luxe rooms, some of which come with their own plunge pools.
For a boutique hostel experience: The Farm Hostel
The Farm is a hostel, but not like you know it. The team set out to offer affordable accommodation that provided everything a traveller could want, or need, in a setting which is peaceful and true to the beauty of the Balinese lifestyle – and they certainly achieved it. Book in advance, as it gets booked up quickly!
For a home away from home: The Jungle House
A little home away from home, you’re bound to leave with life-long friends after staying here. With three dorm rooms with spacious bamboo bunks and jungle showers, plus a pretty tropical garden and bar to hang in, it’s ideal for solo travellers who prefer a smaller hostel experience.