The salty seawater kisses my face as I catch yet another wave – I’ve surfed in many places, but this place has a magical quality. Canggu, a coastal village situated on the south coast of the Indonesian island of Bali, is an up and coming resort with an array of black sand beaches. There are many things to do in Canggu: from having lunch at cool cafes and hip bars, to shopping in fancy boutiques, and staying in smart hotels, the possibilities to chill in this chic surf town are endless. However, the star of the show has to be the surf – so awesome that it attracts surfers from all over the world.
Canggu has a chilled-out vibe, it’s busy, but not crowded, there are tourists, but the place manages to maintain a rustic charm. The locals are so friendly that you can’t help but feel like you’re at home, and boy, I would love to call Canggu my home!
I spend every morning surfing, afternoons basking in the warmth of the sun, and evenings taking it easy – sipping cocktails at my luxurious hotel, who wouldn’t love it here?
A Luxurious Stay at the Hotel Tugu Bali
Hotel wise, Canggu has some wonderful places to stay, but the Hotel Tugu Bali has to be up there with the best.
The Tugu collection comprises a stunning selection of small, but perfectly formed boutique hotels. Founder Anhar Setjadibrata has a passion for fine Indonesian art and antiques, and this is evident as you wander around the hotel. Rooms are resplendent with cultural antiquities and the hotel pulses with history, telling the romantic and historic tales of times long passed.
There are a number of bespoke rooms to choose from, all are lovingly designed and showcase the art, soul, and romance of Indonesia. I opt to stay in the Dedari Suite and as I push open the enormous antique wooden door, I find myself shrouded in timeless sophistication. I slink down onto the huge canopy bed, the white curtains flowing around me – I can’t help but feel I am in the middle of a romance novel -perhaps any moment a dashing hero will arrive brandishing a bottle of chilled champagne a rose between his teeth? Alas, no such hero arrives, but I console myself with a refreshing dip in my own tropical plunge pool (the suite comes complete with a private spa area), retreating afterward to the comfy daybed. I could zone out here for hours, listening to the lull of the ocean.
But this is no time for hibernation – this is a hotel that deserves to be thoroughly enjoyed. I dine at the a la carte Tugu Bali Restaurant, situated in a majestic Balinese hall, where I’m ushered to a table overlooking the abundant greenery of the gardens. The menu is as exquisite as the surroundings, comprising of traditional Balinese dishes, Japanese and Chinese offerings, tasty seafood and appetising continental fare.
Guests can also dine at the Ji Terrace by the Sea, which provides stunning vistas of the ocean. Here modern cuisine meets traditional Asian fare, resulting in playful, contemporary dishes designed to tease. Afterward, head upstairs and enjoy a cocktail as the resident DJ accompanies the sunset with well-chosen tunes. Alternatively, there’s the Ji at Bale Sutra, once a family temple, the culture, and art remain, but now you can enjoy Japanese and Asian delicacies as you soak up the atmosphere.
Aside from my plush room and the appetising food and drink on offer, the hotel also has a spa. Here you can experience total relaxation – I opt for a massage and find the therapist to be both professional and highly-skilled (and I know a thing or two about massage – my mother is a professional masseuse). I leave feeling refreshed and thoroughly rested.
I’ve stayed at numerous hotels over the years, but the rooftop restaurant, sumptuous cuisine, awe-inspiring views, and wonderful facilities make Tugu Bali Hotel truly amazing. Throw in the weekly Balinese show, the inspiring excursions, and the first-rate customer service and you have a hotel that’s hard to beat!
Savouring Seafood at Moana
I could easily spend my entire vacation surfing or holed up at my hotel, but instead, I venture out to see what Canggu has to offer. I find myself at a seafood restaurant called Moana, and am greeted with a menu featuring such delights as Sugarcane juices, Poke bowls, Sashimi, Carpaccio, Tartare and BBQ fish with a Polynesian tang. What’s a girl to choose?
After much deliberation, I go for the grilled snapper, which turns out to be the best I’ve ever eaten! Dishes are delivered with a smile, and the friendly team can’t do enough for you.
Related read: Indonesian People
Lounging Around at La Brisa
As a beach-lover and fan of plush décor, great hospitality, and delicious food, I am drawn to a beach club enchantingly entitled La Brisa (which means sea breeze). This place has been recommended to me by fellow tourists, so I pay it a visit to find out what all the fuss is about.
Situated on the popular Echo beach, La Brisa has all the qualities I look for, modish, but full of character. For a start, it’s built from reclaimed wood, sourced from ancient fishing boats, and the seafood is freshly delivered each day (courtesy of the local Balinese fisherman).
Authentic comes as standard here, so if you want to experience a slice of Balinese culture and history then this is the place for you. I find the perfect spot and order a cocktail that I’ve never heard of it before, but who cares?
It tastes divine, exotic fruits parred with herb-infused spirit, what’s there not to like? The ambiance here sets it apart from other places, and to top it all off I witness one of the most majestic sunsets I’ve ever seen.
Related read: SE Asia Traveling Etiquette
Enjoy the Sun and Surf for Yourself in Cool Canggu
If you love a good beach holiday then Canggu will knock your socks off. Surf enthusiasts step this way, the waves here are made for you! It’s hip, it’s stylish and it’s just waiting for you to pay a visit. Surf’s up!