Canggu is a relatively new expat haven in Bali compared to nearby hotspots like Seminyak and Kuta. It’s surrounded by pretty rice paddies and has rich, volcanic, black-sand beaches. It was first colonised by surfers who discovered the incredible waves which challenge even the most advanced riders and is now dotted with expat villas amongst the rice fields. It has also developed a trendy coffee shop culture where digital nomads hang out.
For a quiet lifestyle, with dramatic views and plenty of amenities, Canggu is a great place to consider for a cool retirement destination.
Here are a few of the enticing activities you can do in the area:
1. Visit Echo Beach
The real name for ‘Echo Beach’ which has only recently been named by the surfers who frequent it, is ‘Pantai Batu Mejan’ which refers to the Balinese temple there. The day my partner Andre and I went, it was very dramatic as there were huge king tides going on, with waves crashing right up onto the cliff top and under the tables in the cafes. It was a great photo opportunity and I couldn’t believe that there were actually a few intrepid surfers out there even in those rough seas.
Even if you’re not a surfer, this is a chilled hangout for expansive sea views and panoramic sunsets. There is a row of seafood cafes where the aroma of grilled fish wafts along the cliff-top to greet you.
Down a few steps you’ll find the black sand beach, which is truly photogenic, but not really ideal for sunbathing or swimming. At the far end of the beach is Sandbar which is a relaxing place to sink into a bean bag or perch on the rocks out front to enjoy the ocean breezes.
2. Chill in the Coffee Shops
Whether you want interior design chic or a quiet place to contemplate, Canggu has an incredible range of places to get your caffeine fix. Try district (previously c’ugh house) if you want open rice paddy vistas and a quiet place to work, they have a co-working space upstairs with a good internet connection. As the sun goes down, this place gets even more magical. They do a delicious selection of healthy treats too.
There are lots of places where you can dine in the middle of the rice paddies, even sitting on a bean bag. There are themed cafes galore from vintage nautical to Zen or even Hawaiian. The hippy vibe is pretty strong in Canggu, but there is also high-end, retro-inspired design and a lot of really unique interiors.
If you’re after healthy food, Canggu is the place to be, you could try a different type of smoothie every day of the year. The aroma of freshly baked bread and cakes is a massive temptation too with your caffe latte.
And if you’re a tea lover, try the Matcha Cafe which takes the uses of green tea to a whole new level. Green tea desserts and all kinds of innovative creations to try!
Three More for the Young at Heart
Canggu is a popular place with families and the next three activities are great if you have children or the grandchildren are coming out for a holiday to visit you.
3. Try Horse Riding
Royal Sport Horse Bali is a lovely place to learn to ride for all ages and their horses are happy and well-cared for. You can go for rides on the beach or through the rice paddies or tour a Balinese village. They put on kids camps and birthday parties and there’s a great restaurant there too.
4. Spend a Day at the Finns Recreation Club
Finns Club has something for everyone. It is a huge centre, with a water park, multiple pools, trampolining, a gym and spa, a bowling alley, a tennis club and a kids club. There is also a business centre. It has several different bars and restaurants so you’re totally spoilt for choice. You can even get a Sunday roast if you are missing home cooking.
There are a wide range of different membership options, from a simple day pass to a 10-year family membership and you can tailor your membership for the facilities you will use.
5. Relax at Finns Beach Club
On a long stretch of gorgeous white sand beach, Finns Beach Club, (not to be confused with the Recreation Club above which is inland), is actually two clubs: The Finns Beach Club and the VIP Beach Club. The former is more family orientated and is dominated by its 30-metre infinity pool and the expansive bamboo structure from which you can relax and watch the spectacular sunsets during the nightly happy hour. You can rent daybeds and chill all day and party all night. There is a restaurant and sushi bar and three other bars, a resident DJ and plenty of live music to enjoy.
Next door, the more exclusive and more grown up VIP Club has a beach-side champagne bar, picnicking on the manicured lawns, luxury changing rooms, a rooftop bar and high-class dining as well as another world-class beachside pool.
For both clubs, you’ll pay an entry fee which gives you access to a day bed and other inclusions depending on which club and which level of entry you choose. All in all, a really fun place to visit.