Canggu – Not just a surfer’s paradise

Canggu is hot. And I mean not just Fahrenheit or Celsius-wise. This beautiful, once sleepy beach town has rapidly become one of Bali’s top travel destinations. And rightly so. With its relaxed vibe, nice bars and beautiful beaches, Canggu is definitely worth the visit. Besides surfing, drinks and (very) good food, Canggu also offers you some amazing yoga. I’ve visited four different studios and practiced in three of them and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you!

Before you continue reading, it might be nice to know that I have Instagram stories about most of the places I’ve visited. This will give you an even better idea of what Canggu is all about. Just click on the Instagram icon on the right to be forwarded directly to my page. Enjoy!

About Canggu

Canggu started of as a sleepy surfer town, but was rapidly discovered by tourists and surfers from all over the world who helped turn it into the vibrant and cool place it is today. The massive increase in tourism has made Canggu’s traffic even more challenging, for its already small streets are now even more packed with (surfboard-covered) motorbikes and cars. It’s not surprising that the amount of motorbikes in the area has increased, for Canggu doesn’t really have a center. There is one main road (Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong) that leads you from the outer area all the way to the beach and basically divides east and west Canggu. Both the eastern and western part of town offer nice beaches, bars and cafes, so getting around and seeing it all definitely requires a motorbike. Or a regular bike if you’re up for it of course, but that will definitely turn your trip into a work out because of the temperature and height differences in Canggu.

Local cleansing ceremony at the beach
View from a beach bar close to Serenity

Canggu is also a very popular home away from home for the ever growing digital nomad-community. During our one week stay in Canggu we’ve met at least six people who decided to settle down in Canggu for a couple of months and run their businesses from there. As a result, Canggu now has many nice coffee shops with great WiFi (and coffee), where you can find these digital nomads working on their laptops in shorts and on flip flops. There are worse ways to work right?

West Canggu

In the western part of Canggu, where the before mentioned Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong splits, you can find to the famous Deus Ex Machina. This restaurant and bar (that also has branches in Sydney, Venice and Milan) offers great food, good music and cocktails and is hard to miss on your night out. Close to Deus Ex Machina, a little bit more up the road, you’ll find a great place for local food, Warung Bu Mi. This place has amazing food for only a fraction of what you would pay at other restaurants in the area. Highly recommended! If you follow Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong all the way down to the beach, you’ll pass Old Mans bar and restaurant, which is also a popular place to hang out, have a beer and enjoy both local and western food. If you prefer something a little more fancy, I definitely recommend JI Restaurant. This restaurant offers both Japanese and Indonesian food and is located in an old temple, which creates a very special atmosphere. For an extra special night out, I recommend you make a reservation at the rooftop of JI Restaurant around 6 pm, so you can enjoy a beautiful sunset accompanied by great food and an amazing (also non alcoholic) cocktail in your hand. Besides restaurants, the western part of Canggu is packed with (western) shops and boutiques. It also has a souvenir market, Love Anchor Market, where you can find some Balinese souvenirs.

Dinner setting at JI Restaurant

East Canggu

East of Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong and the river you can find very popular (and thus quite expensive) beach clubs like Finns and La Laguna. These places are famous for their pool parties and are definitely more fancy than your regular beach bar. Personally I prefer the less fancy and ambitious beach bars where you can simply enjoy a beer in ragged shorts and with messy hair, but if you feel like a taste of St. Tropez in Bali, these are the go to places. Also east of Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong and the river, you can find one of my favorite restaurants in Canggu, Milu by Nook. Tucked away in rice fields, this place offers amazing food, drinks and desert (try their cakes) in a very relaxed and almost enchanting (think the sound of cicadas and candle lit tables) setting. Fancy a healthy smoothie bowl and some strong coffee? Then I definitely recommend you go to Satu Satu. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to this place and it wasn’t just for the food or coffee. Their staff is among the friendliest I’ve ever met and I really hope you’ll have the same experience as I did!

The perfect smoothie bowl at Satu Satu

Yoga in Canggu

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Canggu beach life, you can find some pretty amazing places to practice yoga. As said, I’ve visited four, Samadi, True Love Unity, Serenity and The Practice. Due to the limited time I had in Canggu, I’ve practiced in all but Serenity.

Samadi

One of the more know places for yoga in Canggu is definitely Samadi. This beautiful and calm sanctuary in the western part of Canggu offers all types of yoga for all levels. They have at least six classes per day and nice introductory classes for beginners as well. They also offer Mysore classes every morning.  I tried a Bodymind Flow class with Celine and really enjoyed it. The instructions were clear, there was a nice atmosphere and enough personal attention. The mats and props were clean and the light shala offered a beautiful place to practice. Single classes cost 140.000 Rupiah and there are package deals available for 6 and 12 classes.

Samadi

Samadi also has a great organic cafe and a spa where you can enjoy both wellness and holistic treatments. Out of curiosity I booked a Chakra Reading with their local healer, which was both interesting and relaxing. I knew very little about chakra’s but did (and still do) believe in their existence and effect on our well being. After I’d lain down on a massage table -with all my clothes on, no worries- and closed my eyes, he started to put semi-precious stones on the various chakra’s in my body. He then went on reading my chakra’s by hovering his hands above my body. Probably knowing where my energy flow was blocked, he started to massage my feet, shoulders and thumb area. This actually hurt a bit, but apparently was necessary for my energy to flow again. Or so I assumed anyway. At the end of the session the healer shared some interesting findings (my throat and heart chakra were slightly blocked) that in fact resonated with me. He also told me what yoga poses I should work on to get my energy flowing through my heart and throat chakra’s again and gave me some proper -slightly Eat, Pray, Love like- life advice. All in all this was a very interesting and pleasant experience, that did not make me feel like a fool that got played by guru-like looking local. It felt genuine and respectful and I would recommend it to those who are curious to learn more about chakra’s. Just give it a try yourself. It’s not super expensive and who knows, this guru-like looking local might just tell you something you can work with. You can find Samadi at Jalan Padang Linjong No. 39, Canggu, Kuta Utara. For more information click here to visit their website.

Art at Samadi

The Practice

Located close to Deus Ex Machina on Pantai Batu Bolong, The Practice offers you a vibrant and ‘hip’ yoga shala with various types of yoga and six classes per day. Classes cost 140.000 Rupiah and like many studio’s, they offer interesting package deals if you want to try more classes. Their shala is a huge wooden dome on the first floor and is open on one side. This creates a very special and unique atmosphere that makes your practice extra special. If you’re joining an evening class like I did, make sure to cover yourself (head to toe, not kidding) with mosquito spray, for focusing on your breath will prove very hard when your body has ended up on the local mosquito-buffet.

Back to yoga. The class I joined -Moon Hatha- was packed with yogi’s of all levels, but I managed to find a comfortable spot in the middle of the shala. The teacher -Ellen Arthur- was skilled and she created a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. Mats and props are available and clean and if you’re looking to buy your own, they also have a nice shop located in the studio. I bought my boyfriend a beautiful custom made, leather yoga mat bag here (for his birthday), that really is one of a kind. They only have a few on sale every now and then, so if you’re looking for something special, be sure to ask the shop owner.If you’re looking for a yoga studio that offers many different types of classes in a serene and unique setting, be sure to pay The Practice a visit. I really enjoyed my class at The Practice and would definitely recommend it to any yogi visiting Canggu. You can find The Practice at Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.94, Canggu, Kuta Utara. For more information about this studio, click here to visit their website. 

Entering The Practice

True Love Unity

Though the name’s a little too much for my taste, the yoga offered at this studio is amazing. This relatively small studio has two shala’s, great accommodation and a beautiful pool. It’s located in the outer area of Canggu and feels more like a retreat location than a yoga studio. There’s a very serene feel to True Love Unity that offers a great opportunity to go deeper into your practice and into yoga in general. Classes -offered three times per day- are small which allows the teachers to really interact with their students and give it that personal touch. I joined a Power Flow class and a Vinyasa Flow class that were definitely challenging, yet left me feeling energized and relaxed. I would have loved to try more classes at True Love Unity, for this beautiful and welcoming place really worked it’s magic on me. Unfortunately they were fully booked, so we could only stay for one night. You can find True Love Unity at Gang Bulas, Kerobokan, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung. For more information visit their Facebook page, by clicking here.

View from the True Love Unity shala

Serenity

The last yoga studio I visited in Canggu is Serenity. This studio is located very close to the beach and has a real backpacker vibe going on. It is home to several shala’s, dorm rooms, private rooms, an organic restaurant and a lovely little spa. Though I haven’t joined a class at Serenity, I think it’s safe to say that this place definitely is worth the visit of any yogi (and any other traveler for that matter). Serenity offers ten classes per day, various types of yoga and their classes cost 110.000 Rupiah. Which is actually quite cheap compared to other yoga studios I’ve visited on Bali. Though I wish I could tell you more about their classes, I hope the above gives an idea of what Serenity is about. Next time I’m in Canggu I will definitely join a class, but until then, I hope you’ll share your experience with me and the other readers. You can find Serenity at Jl. Nelayan, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung. For more information, click here to visit their website.

Where to stay

Canggu obviously has some very nice places to stay along the beach. Though I actually haven’t seen that many (big) hotels, I’m sure they are there. But, as usual, I recommend you find your accommodation via AirBnB. We found a very nice place at the beginning of Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.1 (look for 1 bedroom Garden Studio with Pool) from which it was easy to travel in and around Canggu. We also stayed at True Love Unity which was very comfortable, clean and cosy. As mentioned above, this accommodation is part of True Love Unity yoga studio, so it’s very nice to book a few nights and treat yourself to a small retreat. If you’re looking for cheap accommodation and a backpacker vibe, I recommend booking yourself into a Serenity dorm or private room.

Conclusion

All in all, Canggu is a great place to visit and stay for a little while. It’s comfortable, beautiful and offers many opportunities to practice yoga. If you bring your mosquito spray you should be safe in any of Canggu’s studios and if you’re careful and calm, Canggu traffic is not going to get the better of you either. I hope you enjoyed reading my Canggu blog and that it may offer you some inspiration for your next trip! If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know, for I really enjoy hearing from you!

Take care!

Namaste.