Long an under-the-radar destination for surfers, Bali’s Canggu beach district boasts some of the island’s most vibrant nightlife. Set on the west coast north of Seminyak and south of Tanah Lot, it draws party lovers, surfers, and yoginis with a vibrant blend of wave-pounded beaches, serene rice fields, and top-notch bars and restaurants.
Canggu offers shopping, eating, and drinking opportunities aplenty, but perhaps its biggest attraction are those stunning waves, especially when backed by a Balinese sunset. Among the best-known beaches in Canggu are Echo Beach, Old Man’s Beach, and Berawa Beach. The area is a common stop on Bali beach and surfing tours.
If you want to learn to surf in Canggu, you have a range of options: Rent a board at the beach and experiment, hire a teacher on spec, or join an organized surfing tour or class. Old Man’s Beach is popular with beginners (and offers more advanced breaks, too), while Echo Beach is good for those with at least intermediate skills. The most experienced surfers often frequent less busy beaches a little farther afield.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Canggu is a must for surfers (or the surf-curious) and photographers.
- The surf on Canggu beaches is too intense for younger children, with some rip currents.
- Canggu is no place to learn how to ride a motorbike. Tourists die here regularly.
How to Get There
Until recently Canggu was a very rural district—it still retains plenty of rice fields—and approach roads can be choked with traffic during July and August. Self-driving can seem a tempting option, especially as the informal local taxis charge exorbitant fares. Especially if you plan to drink alcohol, a private driver is much safer.
When to Get There
Either end of the dry season—from April to early May and from September to early October—is the best time to enjoy Canggu. Traffic is unpleasantly heavy from May to October, during the dry-season peak. This is also surfing season on Bali’s west coast, and lineups get very crowded in July and August. Stay close to the shoulder seasons for the best weather with the fewest crowds.
Canggu Beach Nightlife
Canggu is a large area, so pick a beach or subdistrict you’d like to focus on, and start there. Old Man’s Bar, Finn’s Beach Club, and the Deus ex Machina bike store–cum–gallery are universally known landmarks and good starting points for a bar crawl on foot. Or just head to the Batu Bolong strip, the epicenter of thumping nightlife in Canggu.