Canggu, Bali – A Local Guide for Digital Nomads

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WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT CANGGU? 

The vibes flowing out of Canggu are on another level of chilled out. Canggu sits just north of Kuta and Seminyak (the epicenters of the tourist party scene) just a 45 min taxi ride (about $15) from the airport in Denpasar. The carefree surfer life is a reality here. Surfer dudes with fight club abs and mermaid-haired-beach-babes are everywhere. Any day is a good day to catch a wave, and the warm water means you won’t need a wetsuit! People come to Bali chasing the dream of an endless summer. A place where the waves and weather are perfect year round. Echo Beach, a black sand beach with EPIC waves, has become increasingly popular, while Batu Bolong just 5 minutes away offers a more relaxing vibe. Just picture yourself, cooling off in the pool at your villa while enjoying a spectacular view of rice paddies, or lounging on a beanbag beach chair, sipping on a Bintang, watching the waves carry surfers in.

WHAT DOES CANGGU OFFER DIGITAL NOMADS?

Let us break it down for you.

  • A laid back surf vibe

    Canggu is an attractive location for DN’s looking for laid back vibes with coastline access. Here you’ll find more surf and sand than the DN hub Ubud, with fewer tourists. While Canggu isn’t famous for yoga, there are plenty of classes to be had. If you feel like trading in your yoga mat for a surfboard, it is a great place to learn how to surf!

  • A dank coworking space

    Canggu is home to Dojo Bali, a Super Awesome coworking space that offers tons of community events, a super comfortable space to work in, and a pool. You’ll never want to leave, and you don’t have to.. It’s open 24/7. (Though I would suggest for your sanity, at least taking a walk to Echo Beach. It’s only 2 minutes down the road).

  • A variety of great food options

    Vegetarian, and gluten free options abound. There are ton of great western restaurants as well as Indonesian places. Food in Canggu is a bit on the touristy side, which affects the price, however you’ll still be able to get a great meal anywhere for around $5. If you stick to the smaller Warungs, however, you’ll probably be able to eat for $2. We highly recommend you try the fried chicken here.

  • Easy access to the rest of the island

    Renting a motorbike is simple enough for getting around, and will allow you to explore more of the island. There’s plenty to see within a 30 minute motorbike ride, and even more to see if you drive out further. Bali is rich with natural, and cultural wonders.

ACCOMMODATION // Short & Long Term

Whether you’re moving through Bali rather quickly, or you’re sticking around for a month or a few, there are plenty of options for all budgets.

 Quick Survey: How important is it for you to have a kitchen while traveling?

  1. I prefer to cook my own meals. A kitchen is a MUST

  2. I can deal with a kitchenette. As long as I can keep things cold, and boil some water I’m good.

  3. I never cook at home so a kitchen is not necessary

Now think about your survey answer as you consider your housing.

 

  • Hostels  (mostly aimed at backpackers and budget travelers)

    Here you’ll find social people looking for a good time. These places typically offer shared dorms for around $5-$10 per night or private rooms for about $25/night. Many places offer community events like parties and pub crawls. Some have a shared kitchen or at least a public refrigerator...be sure to write your name on any leftovers.

  • Homestays and Guesthouses

    Homestays and Guesthouses vary in their offerings, but most times you’ll have the opportunity to connect with your local host. Your host might be the type that loves to cook meals for everyone and be really involved, others keep to themselves yet remain available in case you need something. The homestay we stayed at in Canggu ran us about $17/night for a private room with its own entrance. They had great wifi, and a limited kitchen, but no pool.

  • Private studio unit in a villa.  

    Most villas have an outdoor shared kitchen,where they may offer breakfast or lunch options. Guests can usually do some simple cooking. You’ll also find that swimming pools are common but not everywhere, and bathrooms can be outdoors. (Don’t stress, you’ll still have your privacy, but you’ll also be breathing in the fresh Bali air while you enjoy your special time.) **Prices for villas vary greatly based on their offerings**

  • Luxury accommodations

    Luxury travel definitely isn't our style, but if you're looking to be pampered in Bali there are plenty of options for you too! Check out this blog post for a list of great luxury accommodations in Canggu.

Tips for Short Term Nomads  

  • Check out Booking.com, and Hostelworld.

  • Book only a few nights online before you get there, then just walk or ride around town to find a better suited place upon arrival.

  • There are plenty of options around, and you’ll get a better deal in person than you will online.

  • Check out the room and test the wifi.

 

Tips for Long Term Nomads  

  • Utilize the Bali facebook groups:

    • Canggu Housing

    • Find your home in Bali

    • Bali Canggu Housing & Accommodation.

  • AirBnB can be hit or miss.

  • Take a walk or ride around town to find a better suited place.

  • Check out the room and test the wifi on your smartphone.

  • Read Conni’s Guide to Canggu for a long term resident’s perspective.

 

 

Places We Stayed

When we first arrived in Canggu we stayed about 15 minutes away from the beach at a quiet villa with a small swimming pool and fresh cooked breakfast every morning (their homemade jams were the bomb!). It cost us about 330,000 IDR [US$25/night]. They arranged a motorbike rental for us 50,000 rupiah/ day [$3.75 US] Unfortunately their wifi connection was not strong enough for Adam to teach so we searched around for a more long term villa.

ABaliHouse

 

A few days of riding around looking for a villa, and some scouring through the Bali facebook groups, and we finally found a spot… WAY OUT in the rice paddies. Outside of the more touristy area of Canggu, and about 5-10 minutes from 3 beaches that had NO PEOPLE! Our long term villa out in the sticks, cost us 5 million Rupiah ($375 USD) for the month… We wrote off the poor wifi as typical Bali internet, and purchased a pocket wifi. ($30 for the device and another $30 for 40GB of data)

The Caz Villa

 

Staying near the beach ended up being exactly what the doctor ordered. (Hear about our stay in a Balinese Hospital). At 220,000 IDR [$17 USD] per night we found a quiet homestay with the friendliest hosts, great internet, and a fun community atmosphere, just a 5 minute walk to Batu Bolong Beach.

D’ Canggu Homestay

**Great News! You can support Local Nomads by booking your stay through the links provided in this article! After your stay we'll receive a small commission at no cost to you! Thanks!**

WORK & TIME ZONES

Bali is in the Indonesian Central Time Zone. (UTC + 8:00) Which means if you work the NY  9-5 (EST) you’ll be working between 9pm and 5am (except during daylight savings). If you’re telecommuting to Europe your hours will be somewhere around 4pm-12am (Based on London Time BST). And if your dropshipping business runs on Beijing Time, you’ve got yourself a regular work day then 9 am - 5 pm! Lucky You!

WIFI // COWORKING // SIM CARDS

 

If you’re looking for the illest of coworking scenes, look no further than Dojo Bali.

  • Just a 5 minute walk from Echo Beach, Dojo has got pretty much everything that makes me happy. They have killer wifi, private booths for rent, conference rooms, a swimming pool, kickass community events like Members BBQ’s, language groups, and masterminds. They even have smoothie bowl cafe attached, NALU Bowls, and if you’ve seen my personal Instagram at all, you know I’m in love with smoothie Bowls. You can check out Dojo for the day for 200,000 IDR [$15 USD] or get a monthly membership based on the number of hours you’ll work. Get unlimited monthly access for 2700000 IDR [~$200 USD]

 

For info on coworking in Ubud read about Chris the Freelancer’s Month in Bali.

 

SIM Cards are easily obtained at the airport or at a phone shop in Canggu.

  • Our Telkomsel SIM from the airport cost us 250,000 Rupiah for 1 week. And our pocket wifi (which only worked in Bali), cost us about $60 for the device and 40GB of data. (which we ended up selling it to another nomad before we left.) ..actually i’m still waiting for payment...does that count?

Wifi in Bali was our biggest issue, so definitely do a speedtest before committing to your long term housing. We had good luck with using the speedtest app on our phone. It was much easier than trying to lug our laptop. Fear not, there are also tons of cafes in Canggu and almost all of them have wifi. Even the Taco Casa has wifi!

CAFES

If you don’t see yourself working all the time at Dojo, there are plenty of cafe’s between Batu Bolong and Echo Beach to keep you busy, buzzed, and connected. (And most of them have smoothie bowls)

Ithaka Warung was by far one of our favorites in Batu Bolong. Here are some great breakfast and cafe recommendations from Blonde Seashell

If you're spending the day out in the sticks, surfing at Kedungu Beach, or visiting Tanah Lot...

head over to Lenon's Cafe. Attached to Lenon's Market, this warung has a great local vibe with fantastic coffee, smoothies, and Bintangs at convenience store prices. It's a great spot to get some work done, especially for smokers since it's outside. They're open late and if there's a soccer match on you can bet it will be on TV. If you get the chance to meet Lenon, I guarantee you''ll become great friends; tell him we say hi!

 

WHAT'S GOOD TO EAT?

There are definitely lots of Indonesian "warungs" around serving up typical dishes like nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (stir fried noodles), and gado-gado, a peanut-based dip mixed with fresh veggies, tofu and tempeh. Keep an eye out for Adam’s favorite, bakso (meatball soup) cart. The soup was so flavorful with wontons, a deep fried hard boiled egg and meatballs of questionable origin. Sticking to Indonesian dishes is a sure fire way to keep your wallet fatter for longer.  However, Canggu is heaven for anyone who’s been traveling Asia for a bit and is craving some Western food. I can’t blame you for craving smoothie bowls, or western comforts like pizza, roast beef sandwiches, or even tacos and burritos. Indonesian food tends to run about $1-3 while Western food will cost about $5-15 per meal.

 

 

A FEW OF OUR FAVES

Cabe Cafe | Go around sunset for a great view of Echo Beach, some delicious grilled fish or steak, and they’re complimentary salad and sides bar. The Mahi Mahi is amazing and only 50,000 IDR. Adam had the local clams 3 times.

Ithaka Warung | A great spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great vibe, great food, and good prices. Try the White Smoothie Bowl 

Jaya Fried Chicken (JFC) | Seriously the DANKEST fried chicken we’ve ever had. So flavorful! It’s a bit out of the way from Downtown Canggu, but worth the drive. Or settle for Chicken Run, on Raja Batu Bolong. Truthfully though, you can get amazing fried chicken from almost any roadside cart. Watch for Ayam Goreng.

The Pit Stop | Craving a Burger? Or a Roast Beef Sandwich? This is the place. Their french fries are fantastic too!

Taco Casa | Nachos Grande, Enchiladas, Burritos, Margaritas… Need I say more?

Beer E Pizza| As former New Yorkers, we judge pizza pretty harshly. So take it from us when we tell you, that the pizza here is fantastic. So are their build-your-own-salads.

Paletas | A fantastically refreshing Ice Pop stand right near Batu Bolong Beach! Cool yourself off from the Bali Heat with a Soursop Pop!

HOW DO I GET AROUND?

Traffic in Bali can be overwhelming, even more so if you’re a new motorbike driver. The roads are narrow and they wind in every direction. Cars park on these narrow streets forcing the traffic to squeeze around them. Nevertheless, if you want to do any exploring outside the main area of Canggu, a bike is necessary. You can use Uber and Grab in some areas, but they will not pick you up near the beach or right in town.

Motorbike Rental is around $4 USD. Drive on the Left.

 

MEDICAL CONCERNS

  • Water:  The tap water is not good for drinking, but you can probably brush your teeth with it.

  • Mosquito Transmitted Diseases: Malaria, Dengue Fever

    • The best way to prevent MTD’s is to carry bug spray with you ALWAYS. You can pick up a new bottle at any 7/11, Circle K, or Grocery Store. Have a loose fitting lightweight long sleeve layer, and a pair of long pants. (Leggings Do Not count, mosquitos can get through that shit)

    • There haven’t been too many reports of Dengue in the downtown Canggu area, but it is common in more rural or jungle areas. I know this because I got it. If you want to hear about our experience with Dengue Fever (Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever) and what 4 days in a Balinese Hospital is like listen to our podcast episode about it.

  • Bali Belly It’s definitely not unheard of to have a stomach ache from food. Just be smart about which street food you eat. And get some charcoal tablets from the local convenience store. Here are 10 ways to cure Bali Belly.

DO I NEED A VISA? 

There are 3 types of visas that apply to most travelers to Bali.

  • Visa Exempt: Free, 30 days entry, no extension

  • Visa on Arrival: $35 USD, 30 days entry, 1 time extension (30 days)

  • Visa Required: Apply before arriving in Bali (30-60 day visas)

 

Head to Bali.com for more details on visas in Bali.

NIGHTLIFE

Bali has got pretty much any kind of nightlife you might be looking for. There’s lots of live music, a great dj scene, bars on the beach or on a rooftop. While we’re not huge into the club scene, we did enjoy a few drinks and lots of laughs. New friends are easy to come by, and villas are great for guitar singalongs and drinking games.

Check out the scene at Old Man’s on Batu Bolong Beach, or Deus Ex Machina.

Head to GuGuideBali to get more info on what’s happening around town, or pick up a copy of The Beat at the local record shop!

COST BREAKDOWN

 

  • Visa : 30 day exemption is  Free, 30 day VOA $35 USD

  • Accommodation: $15-20 USD per night or about $300-500USD  per month. Prices can range in either direction depending on level of comfort, and vicinity to the beach.

  • Coworking Space: $15 USD for 24 hours. $200 USD per month

  • Food (per meal): Balinese/ Indonesian Food $3-5USD, Western food $5-15 USD

  • Motorbike Rental: $4 USD /day

  • Tire Repair: Approx. $2 USD 

  • Gas: Approx. $1.50 USD/ tank

 

Download the full PDF guide for even more valuable tips and recommendations at your fingertips, completely free!

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11 Responses

  1. Gil
    | Reply

    Hi! I enjoyed reading this!
    Dad

  2. Joseph Petrosky
    | Reply

    Bali really sounds like a great place to visit. I just added it to my “places to visit” list. You’re living the dream. Its always great to read about your adventures.

    • LocalNomads
      | Reply

      Hi Joe and Pearl! We’re so glad to hear from you! Bali is fantastic. You should definitely go! Also, if you haven’t already, you should check out our podcast. Our 3rd episode was about our time in Bali! Gabby and I are in Hanoi, Vietnam right now enjoying the sounds and smells while we work. Thanks for all your support, we hope you’re doing well!

  3. Lianne Bronzo
    | Reply

    Thanks for the tips! We spontaneously decided to go back to Bali after Australia. We want to stay put for a month since we already gallivanted around there and we’re just exhausted from moving all the time… now it’s a lifestyle! I heard about Canggu but I am not really into beaches (I know, I’m weird). So we might go to Ubud even though it is a bit touristy. Did you spend a lot of time there? Looking into long-term accommodation.

    We must listen to your podcast! Adam has been wanting to do one for so long, but I am more of a writer than a speaker. Maybe it’ll be a good challenge, though. If you ever want interviews, we’d love to talk about HelpX, CouchSurfing, housesitting, working holiday in Australia, etc. Let me know 🙂

    • LocalNomads
      | Reply

      Lianne! So good to hear from you. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you! Sounds like you two are living the dream. Bali is amazing and you’re going to have an awesome time no matter where you go. We never made it to Ubud though we’ve mostly heard great things. Of course it’s going to be touristy but there are always ways to get around that if you try.

      Taking it slow is our natural mode, we spent the better part of 6 months in Thailand, and now we’re picking up speed. We’re in Vietnam now, headed to Taipei in 3 weeks, and flying to Greece in July for some european explorations. It can definitely be exhausting. Let us know if your travel plans ever overlap with ours. We love meet ups.

      Would love to chat more about the podcast stuff. Send me an email through the contact form and we’ll go from there. 🙂 Thanks for reaching out!

      • Roseanna
        | Reply

        Articles like this make life so much simpler.

        • LocalNomads
          | Reply

          Roseanna, I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! Might I suggest downloading the full PDF guide? It’s easy to keep on your phone, that way you can have it at your fingertips even when you don’t have access to wifi!

    • Fanny
      | Reply

      A piece of eridution unlike any other!

      • LocalNomads
        | Reply

        Thanks, Fanny. I hope you enjoyed the article! Do you have any trips to Bali coming up? We’d love to hear about your plans!

  4. Roy Stevenson
    | Reply

    Hi Adam & Gabby, Thank you for your painstaking work putting this guidebook together. I have downloaded it and am using it to research places to stay in Bali, when Linda & I move there next year. As a professional, full time travel writer & publisher of six eBooks, I have to say that your eBook is extremely well written and very professionally presented indeed. In my opinion, you should be selling this on Amazon, and other sites.

    I’m going to promote your eBook on my social media sites; hope you get some hefty downloads!
    Keep up the good work, and safe travels!
    Roy Stevenson
    http://www.PitchTravelWrite.com
    http://www.Roy-Stevenson.com

    • LocalNomads
      | Reply

      Thanks so much, Roy! We truly appreciate your support. I’m so glad that we’ve finally connected after moving in the same circles for so long now. It means a lot to us to receive such high praise from a travel writer of your calibre!

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