There’s something about surf towns. Even just wandering around aimlessly, the whole vibe always feels so easygoing and relaxed. While surf, yoga, and swimming take up most visitors’ days, there are quite a few amazing places in Canggu to wind down and hang out.
Canggu is definitely one of Bali’s trendier spots with organic cafes, boutique stores and the like lining most of the main roads. However, Canggu, just a short drive north of the overwhelmingly touristic spots of Seminyak and Kuta, is still relatively quiet and relaxed. It is a perfect mix of fun and chill. My only regret was not giving myself enough time to nurse the hangovers before blindly convincing myself that I could totally learn how to surf on my own.
Anyway, here are the five awesome spots that I spent most of my time in Canggu in.
Nestled on a side road a short walk from Canggu’s main strip, Copenhagen Cafe is one of Canggu’s newest spots. It opened in February 2018, making it much lesser-known than the other famous coffee spots in Canggu. It won’t be unknown for long, though. With an amazing and affordable mix-and-match brunch menu, you can get a dragonfruit smoothie bowl, breakfast sandwich, and a cinnamon roll all for about $4 USD. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, because you’ll definitely find at least three things to choose from on their menu.
The vibe is much more relaxed than the overcrowded cafes in central Canggu, making it a more ideal place to read, work, or catch up with friends. The small cafe is also no less picturesque or aesthetic than any of the known “Instagram” spots. Stop by for some of the best Danishes or cinnamon rolls you’ll find on this side of the world.
There’s a reason why Canggu is known for its beachside clubs. There is no better place to catch a sunset and feel like you’re living the life. But what happens when the sun goes down and you don’t want to pay $5 for a bottle of beer?
Pretty Poison happens. Walking into Pretty Poison completely sober and exhausted at 11 PM, I felt rejuvenated just from the energy of everyone else. Everyone here is genuinely having a good time. Sometimes, those beachside clubs get annoying because it feels like everyone is just flexing for Instagram and not genuinely living in the moment. At Pretty Poison, there is no doubt that everyone is living their best damn lives.
With a big skate bowl outside, the show runs all night as the skater dudes and dudettes try to draw cheers from the crowds. There are wipeouts and wows galore. The interior is grungey and minimalistic, a stark change from the try-hard feng shui of the more “exclusive” spots like La Brisa. A big projector shows skate highlights nonstop as the DJ spins some of the best damn (censored) hip-hop bangers from every era. I had a lot of real, actual fun here which is more than I can say for a lot of the more glamorous spots in Bali.
The big open space cafe of Crate is more than just a place to grab food and coffee. It is a fantastic hangout spot. The wait times get a little long as the crowds come in to try their legendary smoothie bowls and brekkie plates, so come early and don’t come too hungry. I got my food within a few minutes but my friend didn’t get his until almost an hour later.
Within Crate, you’ll also find an art gallery, a small but trendy store, and of course, as much coffee as you can drink. If you and your friends can snag a seat, it is a great place to hang out, eat, or laze the day away. Crate is one of Bali’s most renowned establishments but there’s no discrimination here. Whether you’re an A-list celebrity or pop in hungover and half-dressed, Crate is the hangout.
Love Anchor Bazaar
I have been to a lot of street markets in Asia and they get old. Walking through the short but sweet Love Anchor Bazaar was pleasantly surprising. Within five seconds, I bought a new hat before almost immediately copping a new button up to match. To think I was on a budget. Wooden buildings with shops up to three stories high line the sides while stalls populate the area in between. It’s hard not to find something that catches your eye.
Canggu’s shops and boutiques are unique and trendy, which often means that they are above the price range for most budget travelers and backpackers. To me, Love Anchor Bazaar was the perfect middle ground where you could find unique well-made things for a price that doesn’t make you do a double-take.
The Lawn is one of Bali’s most popular beachside clubs. Walking in, you just feel like you are being welcomed into paradise. The calming ocean in the background with the sun setting majestically makes for a perfect setting. The infinity pool and pool-side bar make for the perfect spot for sunset viewing. If you want to venture onto the beach, it is literally right there.
Live music makes for a very relaxed vibe during the late afternoon and early evening before the coconut mojitos inevitably start kicking in and the dance floor gets crowded and the chill tunes make way for nightclub classics as the clubgoers get antsy to move.
Not the worst sunset, ever, right?