Travelling to Canggu requires a trip through the southern coast’s often chaotic roads, but you’ll know you’ve arrived once concrete gives way to a sea of electric-green rice fields that ripple almost all the way to the seashore. Here, you’ll find sleek wellness cafés and yoga studios alongside rustic surf shacks and local barbecue joints, all set amid fragrant Hindu shrines and walls adorned in colourful street art – making it an intoxicating neighbourhood of contrasts to hang out in.
While it doesn’t have beach views, this café and bar more than makes up for it with an enviable location among emerald rice fields, and is a popular pit stop for those zooming between Echo Beach and Seminyak. With a sapphire blue VW Combi Van as its centrepiece and lots of beanbag-sprinkled lawn space to spread out on, it’s easy to see why Cloud9 attracts Instagrammers in droves. Fuel up with virtuous superfood salads, açai bowls and fruit shakes.
One of the newly opened beach clubs in Canggu, La Brisa is more bohemian-cool than its sleeker Seminyak sisters. Surrounded by swaying palms and festooned with lanterns, the handwoven furniture and blue-and-white striped deck chairs here create a blissful castaway vibe. As well as regular DJ sets, the venue also hosts film festivals and live music. For food, enjoy locally sourced, sustainable seafood.
The neighbourhood is home to a number of edgy boutiques hawking locally designed fashion. One of the most interesting is this store-cum-gallery from Indonesian fashion designer Ican Harem. You’ll find Harem’s own repurposed denim and leather vintage threads – perhaps ripped up and covered in pop art or graffiti designs and safety pins – and a rotating list of other Indonesian labels.
Toosi Coffee & Roastery
Tiny and unassuming, this bolthole is quietly earning a reputation for serving some of the best artisanal coffee in Canggu. Décor is pared back, providing the perfect canvas to show off Toosi’s fire engine-red roasting machine. Chatty, friendly owner Ajus and his family source beans in the village of Plaga in Bali’s hilly north, where they have helped locals set up a sustainable coffee plantation and ensure the farmers get a better return on their coffee cherries. Perch on a stool on the small terrace that overlooks Pura Desa Lan Puseh, a beautiful Hindu temple, and enjoy your double ristretto, cold drip or good old flat white.
COMO Uma Canggu
This new beachside retreat features 119 elegant rooms and suites laced around a hectare of lush tropical gardens. There’s a beach club, a surf school and a spa, but as with most COMO establishments, the smart and stylish design is the real star. The rooms are bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows, pale blonde timber and lots of white, tastefully juxtaposed with Balinese-inspired touches such as vertical gardens, bold batik textiles and earthy, copper-hued tiles.
This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Silkwinds magazine.