Seven ways to make the most of your trip to the coolest new neighbourhood on the Indonesian island.
Bali's hotspot is on the move. Old-timer Kuta is now crickets and swanky resort town Seminyak is still chockers, with Canggu luring crowds. The influx of digital nomads and wellness seekers has resulted in this once-sleepy neighbourhood - north of Seminyak - morphing into a hodgepodge of rice fields, luxury boutiques, boujee bars and eateries, beach clubs and zen-filled retreats.
But unlike Kuta or Seminyak, Canggu requires extra planning with social lures scattered throughout. Don't know where to start? Just follow this list.
Needing Aussie fare? Head to the newcomer on the scene, Tickled Pink. The popular Melbourne eatery has brought its colourful Tropicana vibes to international shores - ahem, Canggu's rice fields - serving dishes morning, noon and night.
It's easy to stay on at this newly minted oasis away from Canggu's commotion. The menu includes weekend brunch favourites, such as smashed avo on sourdough, poke bowls and feel-good juices. Eat, then swim at its adjoining pool or nurse the full stomach on a pool lounge or cabana. tickledpinkallday.com/bali
Do multiple rounds at Canggu's favourite pizza eatery, Luigis Hot Pizza. The late-night joint mixes cheesy goodness with DJ spins. Go all in feasting on metre-long pizzas made with 24-hour risen dough and cooked in a Neapolitan-style wood-fired brick oven or house-made pasta, and revel in the lively atmosphere in the mess hall. When the DJ beats start to drop, burn off the carb overload on the dance floor.
Good times and good carbs can come cheap with Wednesday's "Club di Pasta" nights serving discounted pasta plates and wine. luigishotpizza.com
Wake up to birdsong, not car beeps at this dream-worthy secluded hideaway. Small Luxury Hotels of the World newcomer Desa Hay offers six boutique villas nestled within lush plantations along a quiet street of Canggu. Much attention to detail has been given to each villa's functionality. Each traditionally designed Balinese hut boasts contemporary fixtures in its spacious earthen-toned rooms right down to bedside international plugs and bespoke room playlists.
Besides modern comforts, enjoy the villa's complimentary mini-bar sans alcohol, private outdoor seating area, plunge pool, hanging egg chair or hammock and the avocado-shaped outdoor bathtub surrounded by verdant gardens. Indulge some more with morning yoga and free reign breakfast. Order as much local and international fare as you like, including pancakes with maple syrup, an ode to its Canadian owners.
Reinforcing that things are done differently around here is the personalised hospitality service. Don't expect to see a reception desk; the villas offer convenient concierge via WhatsApp, with staff ever attentive. slh.com
Self-proclaimed "Bali's best beach club", Finns has much to flaunt: four pools, nine bars and five restaurants. The legendary establishment is the place to be seen, splash in the pool cocktail in tow, frolic on a beachside cabana and soak up the good times that are happening left, right and centre. It's not only for big partygoers dancing to DJ spins or swim-up pool bar lurkers; it welcomes those with little ones to the family pool area.
But once the sun goes down, the mega pool party reaches new heights with a two-for-one cocktail happy hour at 7pm. Cheers to that. finnsbeachclub.com
Let me give you some advance warning: bring your mates, as many as you can, to Billy Ho. Renowned restauranteur Will Meyrick's sophisticated eatery at the south end of Canguu's main drag, Batu Bolong, is worth the gains.
The Asian establishment reopened in February after a COVID-19 hiatus and a lustrous makeover that now sees the restaurant fully enclosed. Also revamped is the menu, with various Asian dishes fusing authentic flavours with innovative flare. Tuck into dim sum delights, sushi, small plates and large plates. The beetroot skin scallop and prawn har gow dumplings are a must, as is the melt-in-your-mouth belacan octopus skewer drizzled with green shallot and peanut dressing, nuoc cham and pickled shallots. Really, expect a sensory overload with each dish beautifully presented with punchy flavours to match - and ask the knowledgeable staff for cocktail recommendations. billyho.co
Belly's full; now it's time to focus on the body in other ways.
Nowhere else is athleisure wear more commonplace than at the wellness retreat Samadi. Centrally located amid Canggu's bustle, the health hub offers extensive workshops, yoga classes and detox retreat programs. Get your hands dirty with clay therapy to reconnect with your male and female energies, or engage in group singing at a bliss-seeking Kirtan and Heart Songs Blue Lotus Tea Ceremony. You'll no doubt leave feeling lighter whichever session you opt for. samadibali.com
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On the outskirts of Canggu, tucked down a quiet street, is Bar Vera. This trendy 65-seat restaurant ushers in a new era of Parisian bistro-style dining in Bali. It lures sophisticated diners to its intimate, understated setting, a mix of sleek decor matched with earthy tones of terracotta, wood stone and concrete.
But what shouldn't be understated is its menu, weaving a classic and contemporary take on French favourites. Order the heavenly 7+ Wagyu bavette with palm sugar hollandaise and steak tartare with sambal and green mustard. Can't decide? Let the chef do it with the "feed me" menu. The drinks list is equally impressive, featuring European wines and creative cocktails. barverabali.com
Seminyak's favourite fiesta funhouse, Motel Mexicola, is coming to Canguu. The eclectic Mexican-inspired restaurant is bringing its colourful vibes and flavourful plates to Bali's hippest area and is due to open in July. motelmexicola.info