cenngu bali surfer girl sunset

Your vacation in Bali will be what you make of it. Often people complain about the party culture in Kuta and Seminyak and fail to experience the beautiful nature, spirituality and local culture of the island.

Get out of the most touristy areas in Bali (Denpasar, Kuta and Seminyak) and head a little further north to the laid back, beachy town of Canggu (pronounced “chan-goo”) for chilled out vibes, gnarly waves and yummy food.

overlooking beach in bali

Bali is one of the world’s hot spots for surfing, and it’s evident in Canggu. You’ll see tan, shirtless surfer dudes roaming the streets and board racks attached to every motorbike speeding around town. Check out the beaches and you’ll see why.

Canggu is a small town on the south west coast of Bali and boasts three beautiful beaches: Echo, Batu Balong, and Berawa. Each beach has big crashing waves, and caters to every level of surfer. Echo Beach is for the gnarliest (read: most advanced) surfers, with the most difficult waves and where the locals surf. Batu Balong and Berawa beaches are easier catches for less experienced surfers.

batu bolong bali

Sunset prayer (at Batu Bolong) | Photo: Bruno Kvot on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Whether you’re a beginner or an old pro, you’ll fit right in at the Canggu beaches. Just head down to the beach of your choice and talk to a local at one of the many surf shacks that set up shop. You can arrange surf lessons, rent a board, check out stand-up paddle boarding or shop for swim suits and gear.

You can swim at the beaches, but the waves are strong and if you get in the way of a surfer, you’ll be in big trouble. Every beach has restaurants, bars, and shops and is the perfect spot to catch a sunset over the ocean.

cenngu bali surfer girl sunset

Canggu has an incredible food scene and with Indonesian prices, it’s easy to experience eating out often while fueling up for your next surf. Betelnut is a Canggu institution with amazing falafel plates, green smoothies, and decadent cheesecake. Try a massive breakfast smoothie bowl and single origin coffee from the Shady Shack or chow down on the local special, Nasi Goreng (a variation of fried rice with Indonesian spices), from one of the many street vendors.

Nasi goreng

Nasi goreng | Photo: Vee Satayamas on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

No matter your fitness level, you’ll inevitably take a beating from the crashing ocean waves while you’re surfing. Luckily there are plenty of spas in Canggu to indulge in to massage sore muscles, enjoy a sea salt scrub, or revive your dry hair. Therapy Spa and GOLDDUST Beauty Lounge offer the broadest range of high end services in town, but you’ll pay for it. If you’re looking for a more moderately priced massage, check out Canggu Day Spa or Casa Day Spa & Delivery. For even lower prices, feel free to try out any spa you pass on the street offering massages.

snorkeling

Forgot your swimsuit? No problem, Canggu has hundreds of shops supplying high quality, affordably priced swimsuits and other sea gear. Stroll up and down Batu Balong or the Echo Beach road for premium shopping. Also, check out the Sunday market at the end of Echo Beach road for some pop-up goodies.

And last but not least, Sunday and Wednesday nights at Old Man’s are an absolute must to have a few beers and take part in the ultimate dance party with your friends. If you’re not feeling the dance music, head over to Deus ex Machina for specialty cocktails (think citrus, cinnamon whisky smash), big bean bag chairs, and live music on the weekends.

Don’t let the noisy tourists of Bali deter you from experiencing the magic. Head to Canggu for a true beachy, Bali experience.