What To Do in Canggu, Bali

When I set out for the beach town of Canggu, just over an hour south of Ubud on Bali’s southeastern coast, I didn’t have a plan.

My whole goal was to go somewhere new with absolutely no plan at all and to say “yes” to any (reasonable) suggestion that came my way. So, when the first person that I met said, “you must learn to surf when in Canggu,” I gulped a little.

How to Travel Deeper
Surf lessons in Canggu
Here we go!

I have written on this very blog about how I don’t love beaches and how I dropped out of scuba-diving school, so I was, naturally, a little nervous that I would be sitting here writing yet another blog post about my dubious relationship with water.

But it turns out that I love being above water! I love the feeling of gliding over the waves. And it was even better with my surfing instructor Luki cheering me on.

Where to Learn to Surf in Canggu

Where to learn to surf in Canggu
Luki and me during a break from surf lessons.

Without one-on-one instruction, I would probably be sitting here typing about the two hours I spent choking on water. Instead, I’m typing away with arms that are still a bit sore from pushing my body into a successful standing position on top of the long and low waves in front of Charlie Brown Bali Surf School.

Luki dragged my board back to the safety of the beach, brought my board out to the waves, held the board for me when I jumped onto it, and pushed me into the waves at just the right moment.

Batu Bolong Beach, Canggu, Bali
Surfers at Batu Bolong Beach, just down the beach from where I learned to surf.
Canggu Bali
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I mean, I was a bit wobbly and I performed my fair share of nose dives, but that’s just part of surfing.

Surfing is really a lesson in resilience. Even when you catch a wave just right, you’re going to fall at the end. It’s all about accepting that nine times out of ten, you’re going to fail, but knowing that it’s all worth it for that one time in ten that you literally walk on water.

Charlie Brown Surf School in Canggu
The guys at Charlie Brown Surf School jamming before hitting the waves.

And there is nothing better than relaxing tired limbs while watching the sunset over waves that you feel like you know, and joining in on a little impromptu jam session!

I don’t remember what I paid for two hours of one-on-one surfing instruction at Charle Brown Bali Surf School on Batu Bolong Beach, but it was VERY reasonably priced. I do remember that it’s cash only.

Transportation in Canggu

The best way to get around Canggu is to rent a scooter. But, if you’re like me and you’re not quite ready to drive your own scooter, ride-sharing apps are available…but a bit of a challenge in this part of Bali.

There are signs posted all over Canggu banning ride-hailing apps like Grab and Go-Jek (the Asian equivalents to Uber and Lyft) and even Blue Bird Taxis.

Transportation in Canggu
It’s generally cheap to get around Bali, but a bit confusing.

The result is a confusing jumble of legal taxi “stands” in which men will find a scooter or car for you after a bit of haggling. Though scams abound, this system tends to work well most of the time. However, I simply prefer the ease of an app and the upfront rate (that tends to be cheaper anyway).

The man at the reception desk of my accommodations understood my plight and knew how to order me a scooter to a legal pickup point. (The night before, the bartender at the Sedasa drove me on the back of her own scooter when I couldn’t find a ride.)

Transportation in Canggu
My Go-Jek driver brought me a helmet and everything!

With the help of the front desk at my lodging, I met a Go-Jek driver at a legal pickup point, and in no time (and for less than $1 USD), I was standing in Seminyak, a beach town that is a big brother, of sorts, to the smaller Canggu.

Skip Seminyak and stay in Canggu
This will do. (Though unless you really like to shop, I would skip Seminyak and stay in Canggu)
The Rosé Social in Seminyak
The Rosé Social in Seminyak

Fueled up on vegetables and rosé, I took a stroll through Seminyak, ducking in and out of the endless shops that line the streets. I stopped at one of the many bars filled with Westerners drinking champagne and Bintang and decided that I missed the quiet, artsy vibe of Canggu.

Where to Watch the Sunset in Canggu

Watch sunset in Canggu at the Sand Bar
This is better!

Back at the beach, I found the Sand Bar setting up for a musical open-mic night. While the sun was setting, musicians from all over the world borrowed a guitar and played with the band. This was much more my jam.

Live music at the Sand Bar

Where to Stay in Canggu

I absolutely loved staying at the Sedasa Lodge. It’s a little off the beach, but I already mentioned how the bartender, Maha, gave me a ride when I needed one. They are more than willing to help with transportation and any other issues.

They also upgraded my room, which cost about $30 USD per night.

But the service goes further than that! When I left the Sedasa, I found the sweetest of surprises. Maha, the server who had driven me on her scooter, and another Sedasa staff member, Novi, were waiting to send me off with a bunch of sunflowers.

Sunflowers in Canggu, a gift from the Sedasa Lodge staff
A small gesture sometimes means so much.

There was no way for these two sweet women to know that sunflowers serve as a guiding sign for me. They were my late partner’s favorite flower. I was moved to tears. And I rode back to Ubud with a smile.

The Sedasa Lodge staff
Maha and Novi at Sedasa Lodge in Canggu.
Canggu Bali
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If you liked this post, you’ll love my other posts on Indonesia! And be sure to checkout this free guide to making friends while traveling:

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