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Canggu is arguably becoming one of Bali’s most progressive and culturally fascinating areas. Your mum will liken it to “how she remembers Legian in the 80s”, and you will hopefully never liken it to “the new Seminyak”. Having really only found its name on the tourism map over the past few years, Canggu is maturing rapidly and is undergoing a very visible revolution, as a graffitied wall along “the shortcut” suggests. As construction continues and creatives gather to cultivate, there is a fascinating undercurrent of cool becoming increasingly prevalent as Canggu comes into its adolescence. canggu1

In a place where poking fun at one’s self and not taking life too seriously is all encompassed by the chilled hipster-vibe, local settlers, with the help of Canggu Chronicles, muse on what makes the Canggu society unique to its Ubud, Uluwatu or Sanur-based cousins.

YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN CANGGU WHEN…

  • the local yoga guru wears ripped skinny jeans, hoop earrings and rides a custom bike around town – worshipped by hoards of women who are now suddenly yoga enthusiasts
  • ‘smart casual’ style means yoga sweatpants and/or the new-hip breed of surfing lycra. Picture fluro leggings paired with 80s-style, high-cut one-piece swimsuits, an oversized mens singlet in place of a dress. Whilst the rest of Indonesia goes shopping in pyjamas, Canggu steps out in 80s aerobics wear
  • girls wear ankle boots to the beach. The logic escapes you (?)
  • you haven’t seen a shaved face man in a year (Canggu expat wives let out a great collective cheer when Dorsey’s Barber Shop opened at Deus)
  • a face without a nose-ring looks odd to you. Disturbingly so – where did this strange, nose-ring-less alien come from?
  • ordering a coffee from the uber-cool local coffee shack feels like it requires 10 tattoos, circle-framed sunglasses and a panama hat a as a pre-requisite
  • the line for the weekly “free tattoo” night at Deus Ex Machina starts at lunchtime
  • happy hour at Old Man’s made the beer garden hang cool again (oh-so very 80s!).. because, let’s face it, Bali is just so expensive and we all need 50% off – right!?! Bintangs for less than $2? we are SOLD!
  • security guards party harder than the patrons. After-party at Pyramid night club anyone? (wayyyyy out of town)
  • a $2 lunch at a local warung is considered to be an appropriate setting for a hot date
  • Bakers are the local celebrities and nobody seems to care that croissants = a fat ass. Who needs Master Chef when you have Monsieur Spoon up the road? Almond croissants worthy of that extra kilo or two.
  • you’re having breakfast at Hungry Bird and realise that everyone around you is Russian, including your own wife. What just happened?
  • even kids ask for gluten-free bread and dairy-free ice cream
  • a car laying tipped off the side of the road is just another morning. Because two lanes would just take up important rice field real estate
  • taking a “shortcut” means 20 minutes of honking and squeezing, waiting for the traffic congestion to dissolve.. but we’re positive it’s quicker!
  • toffee-colured buffalo work the local roads as traffic wardens. MOO-ve!
  • what was an income producing, green rice-field last week, is suddenly a construction site this week
  • people complain about local development, then hang out for the opening parties – huh?
  • you can go to a water park for $2 or for $20, in the very same town
  • it takes a ten minute drive to find a Circle K
  • all your shopping is done on the weekend at the “local” organic markets. Because market shopping is this fun new concept in Bali – it’s really taking off!
  • if you don’t know where to be each night of the week, you will be drinking alone (Sundays – live music @ Deus. Tuesdays – Tattoos & Tacos @ Deus. Thursdays – Hip Hop & RnB @ Le Pirate. Fridays – Happy Hour @ Old Man’s. Saturdays – Sunset Session @ Le Pirate.)

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A golden triangle in Bali’s South, Canggu officially consists of Berawa, Batu Bolong and Echo Beach, though it’s difficult-to-define borders often welcome Umalas and Pererenan into the mix. Already home to many Bali expats and a popular choice for the back-packer type, Canggu is captivating the attention of a new wave of visitors. Tantalising tourists with the offer of peaceful serenity, seducing surfers with its world famous breaks and enticing wedding planners with villa estates on lush sprawling beachside blocks: Canggu is the new place to go. When in Bali, it is worthy of at least.. we repeat AT LEAST one solid weekend.

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Leaving the airport, by-pass Kuta, Legian and Seminyak – Canggu is next along the Coast. If you hit Tanah Lot, you’ve gone too far. Print out this guide and caricatures – you’ll be sure to know when you have arrived.