I am a total beach girl, which is why I immediately fell in love with the surfer, beach-side town of Canggu, Bali.
Canggu reminds me a lot of Southern California—smoothies bowls and surfers galore—just with more motorbikes and less expensive.
There’s a huge community of foreign expats and travelers living amongst the local Balinese people. Everyone I crossed paths with here was super friendly, laidback, and willing to share their story about what brought them to this town.
The few days I spent in Canggu were less focused on “touristy” things, and more about unwinding, eating bomb, healthy food, and spending my days on the beach with new friends.
I kept my vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free diet strong in Canggu, as the options to find appetizing food that met these restrictions were literally endless.
Here’s my recommendations for must-try food in Canggu, Bali:
Bali Bowls was so nice, I went here twice. The layout of this place matches the beachy town seamlessly. Patio seating in the front of the restaurant, open-style deck upstairs that overlooks the town, and the cutest furniture and décor.
I went with the “Banana-cado Bowl” with banana, avocado, oats, peanut butter, dates, goji berry, chia seeds, granola, and oat milk—vegan/GF. Never had avocado in a smoothie bowl but it was surprisingly delicious, and who doesn’t love avocados?!
Second time I went for a FREE stretching/meditation class and had a FREE Piccolo Latte (you can leave them a review on TripAdvisor to get your FREE coffee).
Price: 86k IDR ($6 USD)
VEGAN NUTELLA—could not even tell the difference from the real stuff—smothered on top of “Matcha Protein Pancakes” with bananas and toasted coconut flakes; perfect fix after my morning 5k on the beach. This was the cheapest, yet BEST sweet treat I had in Canggu.
Matcha Café was all outdoor, pillow-lined benches and seating arrangements that faced the street, and tropical-plant paintings covering the walls.
Fun fact: no tax or service charge here!
Price: 65k IDR ($4 USD)
It’s not often that you come across Mexican food in Southeast Asia, but seeing as all the other food in Bali had been delectable, I had to give Lola’s Cantina Mexicana a try.
Again…cutest décor, totally had a cantina vibe; so much that I forgot I was in Asia for a second. Make sure to put on the sombrero and snap a pic in front of the “Feed me tacos and tell me I’m pretty” neon sign!
Seeing as it was Tuesday it was only right that I ordered tacos. Went with the “Jackfruit Carnitas” and “Mushroom Asada” tacos with guac and vegan sour cream. The Mushroom Asada literally tasted like Carne Asada I’ve had back in the states, and the Jackfruit Carnitas had the perfect blend of texture and flavor.
Best part about this place—their salsas. They start you off with chips like traditional Mexican restaurants, allowing you the chance to taste test all four: Jalapeño, Chipotle, Pina Picante, and Fuego (Chipotle and Pina Picante were my fave!)
Price: 86k IDR ($6 USD)
SWEET POTATO FRIES…my first time having them in eight months! I was in heaven, along with trying my first vegan burger. “Beet the Bean” Burger made from a beat and bean patty with smashed avocado, rainbow greens, spiralized carrots, flax seeds, rucola, and pickles, served on GF toast.
Again, another amazing atmosphere at Café Organic, and I opted to sit outside amongst the pillow-lined benches to gaze upon the town as I grazed upon my scrumptious lunch.
Price: 80k IDR ($5 USD)
More of a modern-style design, Neighbourhood Food recently opened up, so a few hostel-mates and I decided to give it a try.
My friend ordered the “Snickers Smoothie” and said it was pretty damn amazing—it looked like it too!
I got the “Harvest Bowl” with roasted pumpkin (one of my faves), fresh greens, pickled radish, purple kraut, turmeric cashew cream, harissa, toasted seeds, soft herbs, and GF sourdough toast. The pumpkin (obviously), turmeric cashew cream, and GF sourdough is what made this dish!
Price: 90k IDR ($6 USD)
Silk Road Café is a quiet little restaurant a few businesses down from my hostel. I liked the high-top bar that faced the street (perfect for people-watching) so I decided to go here for dessert one night.
Whole foods restaurant with tons of healthy eats on their menu and a modern jungle chic interior. The dessert I went with was a vegan/GF “Salted Caramel Cheesecake”. The texture was so melt-in-your-mouth delightful, and the shaved coconut and fresh fruit it came with was the perfect touch.
Price: 64k IDR ($4 USD)
Canggu is a place that can allow you to take it easy and unwind, or amp it up and party all night. I kept it easy during my trip, but there’s plenty of adventurous and social things to do in this beach town.
Here’s my recommendations for things to do in Canggu, Bali:
Beach town + surfers = majority of my time was spent at the beach in Canggu.
Canggu is noted for its black-sand beaches, and it was truly astonishing to see this for the first time, cascading with the crushing white waves and surprisingly cool ocean water (cool for Southeast Asia).
There are plenty of bars to rent beach chairs/bean bags along the beaches, but I just laid out on my tapestry the entire time. Love laying on the sand, plus its free!
I made it a priority to catch the sunset at the beach every night…and it did not once disappoint. Nothing compares to the way the pink-orange skies shed their hues on the turquoise water.
And once the sun goes down, mini firework shows light up the sky put on by the various beach clubs along the coast. Some night surfing even goes down on Canggu Beach with giant lighting poles that illuminate the ocean.
Beach recommendations: Canggu Beach, Batu Balong Beach, Berawa Beach, Petitenget Beach (insta-worthy wooden beach swings!)
Bali is notorious for its flawless waves, making it the perfect place to “shred the gnar”. In fact, there are many surf schools along the coast, up and down the beaches, where local Balinese people will give you lessons.
I met tons of people who took lessons and were up and surfing throughout the rest of their time in Bali. I personally did not take any—partly because I was being lazy and just wanted to chill at the beach, partly because of fear that I wouldn’t get up on the board (isn’t it funny how our mind does that silly fear thing).
I don’t regret not taking lessons, as I enjoyed watching the many surfers catch their waves while I laid on the beach, but I definitely recommend it for others, and will have another shot at it next time I’m on the island (another good reason to go back!).
There’s tons of yoga studios advertised all over Canggu, as it is as popular as it is in Ubud and the rest of the island. But I decided to take a FREE class that I saw on a table-flyer when I was eating at Bali Bowls one morning.
The free class is hosted by a Russian woman named Lena every Friday at 7am. I was a little nervous showing up to this class for my first time, but the group of women were super welcoming. After the class they invited me to join them for coffee and we shared a cultural exchange—me asking them questions about Russia and them asking me questions about America.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing little things like this are what make travel so fun; and getting to know people from a different culture opens you up so much. Grateful for the good vibes this group of ladies and this morning yoga sesh brought me.
Follow Lena on Instagram if you’re ever in the Canggu area and looking for yoga/stretching classes: @lenka.smolnikova
I didn’t go out at night while I was in Canggu—partly exhausted from beachin’ all day, partly because I don’t drink—but there are a few places worth mentioning for all you night owls (as recommended by fellow hostel-mates and travelers I met in Canggu).
The first is Pretty Poision. This venue is pretty much THE place to go in Canggu. It’s a backyard inspired arts bar with a skate dome inside and live music—apparently Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are the days to go.
The second is Finn’s Beach Club. Huge beachfront venues with numerous pools, bars, and dance floors. It’s located near the main entrance to Canggu beach, and this place was packed and poppin’ every time I walked past it, day and night.
The third is Potato Head Beach Club. Another beachfront venue, further south in Seminyak. Infinity pools overlooking the ocean, and live DJs perform on Saturday nights making it the place for a weekend, late-night party.
The Escape Hostel offers an incredible value for its low booking price ($8 USD per night!).
The rooms have capsule-style bunks with a fold down desk and curtains for privacy. There are also huge lockers that can fit several suitcases in them, and plenty of toilets and showers in the main bathroom.
The common area on the third floor is what takes the cake for this hostel. A hammock, macramé swing, and several outdoor lounge spots make it the perfect place to chill out.
The pool table and ping-pong table make an ideal place to mingle with fellow hostel mates, and we spent every night playing games and dancing to the house music played on the hostel’s impressive sound system.
And the pool… infinity style that overlooks the whole town of Canggu and the ocean…plus you get the live music from the café next door. Freaking VIBES.
The hostel provides a complimentary breakfast of pancakes, toast, and fruit with Nutella, peanut butter, jelly—the works. Coffee, tea, and FREE water are also available all day. Plus, the night I arrived they had a “Pizza Party” and made FREE pizza for all the hostel guests.
The staff was super friendly, smiling all day, and engaging in conversations. I met some pretty awesome travelers there that I ended up continuing my travels with throughout Bali.
Probably one of my best hostel experiences thus far, thanks Escape Hostel!
Price: 221k IDR for 2 nights ($16 USD)
Book a bunk at The Escape Hostel with HostelWorld !