by Asia Villas 2017-10-11

There’s an inimitable allure to this upmarket Balinese district: trendsetters throughout the world are adapting their holiday plans and heading for its beaches – enticed by the laid-back aura that this paradisiacal enclave exudes. 


We’ve read so much in recent months about the uber-cool hangouts and progressive attitudes that we figured it was right about time we ventured to see what all the fuss is about and - let us tell you - the hype is only half the story.


This effervescent, eclectic neighbourhood captures the best of new world delights all within a tiny tropical dreamland. It’s high-time you experienced this mystical setting yourself.  



The Dawn of Perfection


With Seminyak next door, Kuta just down the road and Uluwatu only a few kilometres away, it is almost incomprehensible that this tiny sanctuary of Bali had remained hidden for so long. While those hotbeds of revelry entered the main-stream long ago, it seemed that this little-known idyll had escaped the throngs, remaining a sanctuary for the blessed few to catch unridden waves and frequent the sleepy warungs (local cafes) that line streets.



But, as Bali continues to shoot up the ranks of most visited island destinations, the spread of the crowds to this picturesque, yet edgy, setting was an inevitable outcome - and it is all the richer for it.


With the likes of Deus Ex Machina setting up shop in the neighbourhood, one is immediately confronted with the striking personality of the community. A truly hipster vibe is projected from this motorcycle-shop-cum-fashion-brand that epitomises the stage in which the boutique is set.


Street art is now emblazoned on most walls and there is the opportunity for a flat-white with locally-sourced and roasted coffee beans on virtually every corner. The likes of Crate Café are the discrete stop-offs for many a travelling writer, while Montagu reflects the urbane charm of any city establishment. 


It is only on escape to the streets that one is hit by the fruity frangipani aromas and sultry climate to reflect - “oh wow, I’ve actually made it to Canggu.”


Make Time for Breakfast


While other towns on the island have succumbed to late night revelry, Canggu revolves around a distinctly cleaner way of living. ‘Rise early - eat well’ would be the mantra that encapsulates the lives of most who frequent the area, with turmeric lattes and chia-topped oats being the standard on most café menus.



For a satisfying plate at brunch time, the likes of Milk & Madu hit the spot with a meld of generously-filled burritos and raw desserts offering a variation from the leaner dishes of elsewhere. Set amidst the paddy fields, there is a wonderfully local atmosphere that perfectly complements the eating experience.


For an insight into the more tropical fare of the island, Café Organic is a favourite, as well as a perfect stop-off if anyone has indulged the night before (wo-and-behold those who’d dare admit in this bastion of puritan existence!). 


In truth, not everyone is so angelic and the team here have come up with a heady array of concoctions to blow away the cobwebs, their ginseng shots a quick-fire way of regressing to healthier living.


The Best of the Beach Scene


We mention the wholesome lifestyle, but do not be lulled into beliefs of abstinence. Despite first impressions, Canguu does offer its fair share of indulgence with many of the beach bars rivalling the lavish scenes of elsewhere.



A favourite is The Lawn: daybeds are strewn across the beach-front and offer the perfect space for settling in to myriad cocktails and unbridled people-watching. The most chill of ambiences stretches across the verdant landscape and the aromas of seafood tacos set appetites racing. 


This is not the traditional bedlam of some of the grander Balinese clubs, but is a more refined setting in which to discover the elegance of island-life in the company of the odd experimental cocktail.


Look the Part


If you’re heading into one of the trendiest hubs in the world, you better be sure to pack well. If you don’t, fear not. Canggu’s ebullience has drawn in the best of the boutiques thanks to its progressive outlook and edgy crowds.



Surfers and sport-enthusiasts delight in the offerings and the vibrancy of the shop-windows attracts those who share an eye for BoHo-chic. Yoli & Otis create an understated range of classic island-wear that is the perfect addition to any traveller’s closet; the charming simplicity of its offerings adding to the easy-going ambience of the area.


Beyond independent clothing boutiques lie innumerable haberdashery-style stop-offs that are as enchanting as they are inspiring. Wonderfully intricate jewellery boxes or hand-crafted soft-furnishings line the shelves of the stores and, even if a purchase isn’t on the mind, a few hours wondering the storefronts can be a beautifully hypnotic experience. 



* * *

While the culturally-rich Ubud and dazzlingly endearing Seminyak will remain in the heart of any devout Balinese visitor, the emergence of such neighbourhoods as Canggu are prime examples of the creative local communities looking to re-establish their stylish environments that capture the idyllic bliss of island life.



The understated charm of the district, coupled with its self-evident air of cool, has led to a paradisiacal hangout for anyone seeking the true meaning of island-perfection. 


With several top-end properties rented through the likes of Asia Villas, there has never been a better time to seek out this inspiring haven.