The Best of Canggu, Bali
Nestled in the northwest corner of Canggu, the once sleepy Batu Bolong has well and truly found its groove with restos and shops kicking open doors faster than they can register digits.
But, as with neighbouring Seminyak, alongside the rise of shining stars are numerous copy cats and crud. Cut through the chaff with our short guide to the best spots on the strip at which to sleep, eat and shop.
Wait… before you dip your toes into Batu Bolong’s myriad leisure pleasures make sure you begin with a wade through her emerald blues, or simply park your bot on a sun lounge for prime views of frolicking surfer studs. Ahh...
Bohemian rhapsody Hotel Tugu is a longtime LUXE fave and we still love this beachside romancer for its original, teaky, maximalist style replete with antique-studded hallways and villas laden with four posters, vintage art and collectibles. A scarlet-hued 300-y-o Chinese temple houses Sino-Japanese diner Ji, there are in/out eats at rustic Wantilan Agung, while the new rooftop wing opening in June adds a sushi bar and balmy terrace for those that want to rise above the fray. Plus their dance performances are hands-down best on the island.
Veering more LA than Island of the Gods, new-ish kid on the Batu Bolong block is The Slow. This stripped-back yet warm concrete n’ woody enclave has just 12 low-slung suites with lush garden vistas, each adorned with locally sourced textiles, furny and rotating art that would sit just as well in MoMa. It being owned by ex-Ksubi designer and style maven George Garrow and model wife Cisco Tschurtschenthaler, this is one mighty fine hipster ship complete with backing soundtrack by Reverberation Radio, raw bites, house pours and in room amenity kits stashing surf wax, condoms and coffee scrubs, but natch. Non-guests can pop along for eats, exhibits and retail from Garrow’s new fash/lifestyle collaboration, Non-Type.
Wake up and smell the cawfee. Batu Bolong’s main draw is the surf – this ain’t no party zone – so if you want to fit right in, be prepared to wake at dawn’s crack and make a day of it, saving your evenings for sundowners and much needed z's.
You can’t miss Crate Cafe, the shab-industrial box is bangin’ with java, juices and tunes, and while the coffee is darn good, you could be anywhere this side of Sydney. For a more leisurely brekky beeline instead to hippy-tropical Cafe Veda, which serves Melbourne-grade long blacks, smoothie bowls, juice shots and generous wholesome plates (and yes, avo toast is on the menu). They cater for vegans, gluten intolerants or just plain fussy eaters and while service can be slow at peak times, they’ll tell you so beforehand – so you can keep hunger at bay from the cabinet of choc or nut treats. Sit inside if you can.
Come evening time Hotel Tugu’s Wantilan Agung is the neighbourhood's best for high-end Balinese and Indonesian fare, and there’s nothing quite like fresh BBQ seafood, satay and cheap-as bevvies by the sea shore at the super-relaxed Echo Beach Club, a 5-min scoot away at… duh! Verdant honey The Lawn is the antidote to Bali’s big-name beach clubs with its easy lounging vibe, grown-up crowd, soulful tunes and flip-flop dress code. Food is second to the location, but for easy shared plates with primo sunset views, it’s unbeatable.
Grung-eous stalwart Temple of Enthusiasm – Deus Ex Machina was one of the first to open in Batu Bolong and while it gets cram-packed on high days and holidays, this workshop amid the (alas, fast disappearing) rice paddies is still the go-to for surf boards, on-trend threads and biker paraphernalia. Graze on mod Indo-Thai fare and sip frozen margaritas surrounded by the brand’s funky concept store and gallery.
Gals up your beach ante with gorgeous hand-printed swimwear (with yoga and surf tops to swap) and gypsy-beatnik jewels from the Dutch husband and wife design duo Twenty One Degrees. All merch in this schmick concrete box is made in collaboration with local and Indo artisans so you can shop with a conscience. Nearby Bali-by-way-of-Berlin stud Haze & Glory also shelve Twenty One’s trinkets alongside its distressed low-fi street-biker-chic wear.
Should your visage be looking more sun-torched than kissed, invest in some worthwhile face-saving at dreamy-gleamy emporium Gold Dust Beauty Lounge. Their divine 24-karat facial will leave you as resplendent as Cleopatra at a fraction of the cost back home. There’s also a fab collection of sophisty resort-wear and kaftans downstairs, so peek as you please.Headed to Bali this summer? Ensure you get to the island’s best bits with the LUXE Bali guide.
Mary Justice Thomasson-Croll
Texas born, longtime Asia dwelling, ex-broadcast journo turned style maven Mary Justice Thomasson-Croll (MJ to friends) has lived on The Island of the Gods for over 13 years, and is the original LUXE Bali editor. She’s balances updating LUXE with events management and designing a divine range of decor for export.
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