Review of living in Canggu on a budget

We left Canggu (and Bali) a few days ago!

Whenever we leave a city, we like to take a few moments and write down what we thought and maybe post a few "best of" pictures.

Hopefully this will help someone someday figure out if this is a city they want to stay in, and at the very least will remind us what we thought at the time (and not through hindsight) if we are thinking about going back.

As you may have gathered by reading our other posts, we are not on vacation. We are on life (and yes, all of you who have read our other city reviews, I will always make that joke), so we didn't do all the touristy stuff. If you really want to go there and spend loads of money (that one too!), then I won't help you much here.

Note: In an attempt to quantify the qualitative, we have changed our review system for cities. We'll go back and tack on an extra bit to our previous reviews to make it kinda consistent (check them out here and here).

If you are unsure about what the new categories are referring to and you'd like a bit more clarification, then click here to see an in depth explanation of what we are on about. In fact, if this is your first time looking at one of our reviews in this new (fantastic) style, go ahead and check out the explanation even if you are pretty sure you've got a handle on it. It is here (and here [and here!]).

 
Affordability-

Eventually we found this warung in Canggu,
where the price of the food was only bested by the taste!

As with every city, it took a few days in Canggu to figure out where the deals were. If all you did was eat at the places closest to the beach (this is true everywhere) you would be spending waaaaaay too much money. And maybe that is fine if you are Scrooge McDuck or if the FBI is paying you to surf, but we are on a budget here!

After figuring out where to go (this is just a trial and error process... don't be afraid to look at a menu and prices and bail if you don't like what you see) we found it was pretty easy to eat on the cheap.

How cheap? Like 15,000 rupiah (1.11 USD) for breakfast (yep, we added breakfast to our routine in Canggu) and 20,000 to 50,000 rupiah (1.48 to 3.70 USD) for dinner. That's pretty solid!

Unfortunately, since you can't really walk anywhere, if you want to go most places you'll need a scooter or hire a taxi (read ahead on why this is in our Walkability section), which can eventually add up.

We didn't do this too much, preferring to stay at our place and work, but if you were to stay in Canggu for a month (and not the two weeks we did), I imagine you'd go crazy if you didn't get out and do something a few times a week.

Just promise me something... don't make the streets of Canggu the first place you ever ride a scooter! (Maybe read about riding a scooter in Bali here and here?)

We try not to shop, so we can't comment on that.

And we didn't have any emergency issues come up so don't know the cost of them either.


Conclusion: Canggu had some tasty food for a great price but no super cheap way to get to it.


SCORE - 3



Weather-

Monica enjoying the beautiful weather.

Can you keep a secret? Cause imma gonna throw some truth at you.
Ready?
The weather in pretty much all of Bali is great. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why so many people go there (at least, outside of the rainy season).

The only bad thing is that sometimes it rains. But, like, sometimes. And then you get to enjoy watching a family of five figure out how to fit in one rain jacket while riding a scooter... which is good.

If this section is short, it is cause Bali heard we were talking about its weather and just dropped the mic.

Conclusion: In Canggu, like the rest of Bali, the weather is pretty awesome.

SCORE - 4



Walkability-

The title of this picture is "Frustration."

This is where Canggu struggled.

If you wanted to get somewhere, you usually faced a choice between hiring a car or walking on the road.

And Canggu isn't one of those fun cities where you can find back roads and neighborhoods with very little traffic to walk through. Actually, it seems to go out of its way to be the opposite of that. It forces you back to a major road without a sidewalk (and meter deep gutters on either side) that can barely fit two cars side by side.

And that makes for a miserable walk.

This is the reason we changed our plans of hanging on the beach for an hour or two a day to working all day everyday; we just couldn't handle walking to it.

And on top of this, near the beach, almost all access has been gobbled up by developers and wealthy people who have made it really, really hard to find a back way to the beach. We could find exactly one way, and it was a pretty awful day figuring that out.

The only reason we are not giving Canggu a 1 in this section is because in many places we could see that they were working on the problem and were in the beginning stages of building sidewalks. It didn't help us much on this trip, but we appreciated that they appreciated the problem and maybe in the future this won't be such an issue.

Conclusion: If you are visiting Canggu, pack your scooter.

SCORE - 2



Free activities-

Canggu Beach. If we had gotten out of the way, maybe you
could have seen just how pretty it really is. But we didn't,
So you'll just have to take our word.

If you are thinking about going to Canggu, then you probably already know about the beach.

If you don't know about the beach, then I assume we are related to you and you read all of our blog posts simply because you love us! Thanks!

Anyway, for our families sake, the beach in Canggu is nice. Like super nice. Like one of the world's nice beaches.

And try as they might, it isn't completely monetized yet. You can still go and sit, look at the sunset, play in the water all for free. And if you have your own surf board and bring it, you can do that too!

Canggu does fun stuff to get you there too! Sexy people competitions, concerts and shows, Avatar themed costume parties, food and beverage expos, and very cheap special yoga events were all advertised while we were there. Most of these probably want all your money once you get in them, for beer and food and swag, but that is pretty normal and just requires a little bit of will power on your part to not buy all the stuff.

Everything else in the city is going to cost you some rupiah, but didn't you go to Canggu for the beach?

Conclusion: Did we mention the beach?

SCORE - 4



Accessibility-


Canggu has loads of nice homestays relatively close
to the airport. Ours had a pool with some cool art
spray-painted on the wall above it. Can you tell what it is?
Did you say, "two flamingos of different colors wearing
futuristic sunglasses"? Cause that's what it is.

Canggu is an easy hour car ride from the airport, and has loads of available guests houses of differing price ranges and amenities, nearly all of which offer reasonably good wifi.

Bali, being part of Indonesia, lets you stay a month for free and two months with a bit of cost (here is a post we did on how to extend it). There are countries that are better for visas, but Indonesia is pretty par for the course (here is an overview of different countries and their visa allowances/requirements).

Conclusion: If you need an accessible location in an easy to enter country, you can't do much better than Canggu.

SCORE - 5



Tourism factor-

While walking in a neighborhood, we met a man making these
fish crackers (and other cool stuff) in front of his house.
 He showed us what he was doing and how he does it, answered all
of our numerous questions and kept giving us samples. All of this
he did without any motivation to make a profit, he was just
having fun talking with people who were interested in what he did.
This sort of thing was typical of what we experienced throughout Bali.

Canggu, as almost everyone we talked to told us, is not as developed as Kuta right next door.

We, perhaps ignorantly, took that to mean there were less tourists (which is true) and that it would be more pleasant because of that (nope).

While there is a fraction of the people in Canggu as there are in other, more popular, parts of the greater Denpasar area, there are still more than the infrastructure of the area is equipped to handle.

It is currently in its "growing pains" stage, not quite providing all the comforts and conveniences of a truly touristy city but still chockablock with westerners driving a scooter for the first time.

The locals, as is typical of Bali, are awesome. It is unfortunate that we could see the first indications of the sort of resentment and exploitation of tourists so common to popular cities throughout the world.

The wifi coverage is great, something we have found throughout most of Bali, and the abundance of homestays keeps Canggu from having the worst score here.

Conclusion: As of 2017, Canggu isn't quite sure what to do with its changing status as a tourist destination.

SCORE - 2


Final Conclusion!!!!

Canggu is a good city for any digital nomads who feel that surfing is life.
For anyone else, we'd recommend either only staying in Canggu for a few days at the beginning/end of your trip because of its ease of access, or else skipping it altogether.


We wake up like this.

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