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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Bali - Canggu and Seminyak: the most touristic area of Bali

Bali's west coast area consists in an uninterrupted strip of beaches that host the 3 most touristic centers of the island: Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu. Here you will find many hotels and guest houses, western brand shops such as Vans, Billabong, Ripcurl and many others, as well as trendy restaurants, clubs and some very famous beach clubs. In this area the seaside is not particularly beautiful: dark beaches and always rough sea.. it's perfect for surfing. This area is in fact the favorite of surfers from all over the world, as also the Uluwatu area: here you will find endless surf schools, since its waves are ideal to learn. Personally I consider this area too touristy and expensive, certainly not representative of Bali: it's the favorite area for surfers and expats. After extensive research we decided to stop in this part as little as possible and to exploit it mainly for its proximity to the Bali airport, in Denpasar. Especially if you land late, stopping in this area will avoid long taxi queues to reach your main destination.

For this reason we only stayed for two nights: the first, the one on the day of arrival (we landed at 8.30 pm so it was a very convenient choice) and the following one, in order to quickly explore the area without wasting too much time. Honestly, I think this was the best choice: one day is more than enough, but I don't even feel like telling you to skip it totally. In the end there are some interesting things, including some nice local markets, the Tanah Lot Temple and some very nice clubs. READ ALSO: Bali, Gili Islands and Lombok: complete 2-week itinerary and a 3-week alternative

If you have to choose between the three towns, which are one continuation of the other (there is no real separation between the three centres), I definitely recommend Seminyak or possibly Canggu, certainly not Kuta. Seminyak and Canggu are slightly less crowded and less touristy than Kuta, we appreciated them, also because they allowed us to enjoy a fairly slow and quiet day, in order to recover the jet leg and the fatigue of the journey.


In this first part of the trip we chose to base in Seminyak: specifically, we spent two nights at the DISINI Luxury Spa Villas. To know more about where to sleep when in Bali..


Keep in mind that, despite what you might expect from such a tourist area, the exchange rate Euro - IDR was the cheapest on the whole island. Throughout this area, Kuta-Seminyak-Canggu, you will find many exchange offices with no interest and excellent rates: if I could go back, I would change all the money I had brought here. If you need more info about local currency and how to manage money on your holiday..


Now let's see the itinerary for this first part of the trip: As you can see in the map below, we dedicated only one day to this part of Bali (①), the first actual day spent on the island.

Go and check also the next steps of our trip to Bali, Gili Islands and Lombok:

To find out what and where to eat along the various places.. READ ALSO:

The first thing to do in the morning is to get a motorbike: a few meters from where we were staying we found several rentals, we made it with the third one because the first two had offered us motorbike with an engine too powerful for what our driving license allows. Don't worry, this was the only time it happened, in the rest of the island they always immediately offered us motorbikes of max 125cc. For more information on motorbikes rental and how to move around Bali..

Seminyak is where we spent the most for a motornike rental: 100,000 IDR (just over €6) for a day, excluding petrol. This is certainly the most expensive area but it was also our first day, we still didn't quite know how things worked on the island: remember, always negotiate! Once we got our motorbike, we immediately headed towards the Tanah Lot Temple, a little further north on the coast than Canggu: from Seminyak it took us about 40 minutes, to cover just over 20km. Very important: PUT SUNSCREEN ON before leaving the house every morning or you will get sunburnt on your moped without realizing it.


Pura Luhur Tanah Lot

Pura Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia

The first stop of the day was a visit to the Tanah Lot temple which, in addition to being one of the most visited and photographed in Bali, is also one of the most important temples for the Balinese. The particularity of Pura Tanah Lot is that it is one of the 7 sea temples in Bali, perhaps one of the most evocative: it is said that from each of the sea temples in Bali the next one should be visible to form a chain along the coast. On the best days in fact, it is possible to see Pura Ulu Watu. To be able to access it, you will have to pay a ticket at the entrance to a large area (delimited by bars where you will find the kiosks to buy tickets) and also a fee for the parking.

Prices (updated at July 2022):

  • 60.000 IDR (more or less 4€) per person for the entrance

  • 3.000 IDR (more or less 0,20€) to park the motorbike

Pura Luhur Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia

Once in the parking on the right of the entrance, you will have to keep walkingand make your way through the narrow streets full of street vendors and markets. Don't worry about getting lost, just follow the signs or the flow of tourists. If you hope to reach the temple I am sorry but that it is not possible, even on low tide days: it is a privilege reserved only for the Balinese. In any case, the temple is splendid even if admired from the adjacent cliffs: the view is breathtaking. Precisely for this reason it is always crowded, especially at sunset as the sun setting behind the temple creates an unmissable picture. For this reason, the ideal is to visit Pura Tanah Lot in the morning, the earlier you arrive the better. When we arrived there were already a few people, but nothing too annoying.

Tempio di Bath Bolong, Bali, Indonesia

Don't stop at Pura Tanah Lot, keep moving because a few tens of meters to the right you will find the unmissable Batu Bolong temple, located on a splendid rock formation connected to the mainland by a natural bridge. It was originally built to protect Tanah Lot, and unlike the first one, you will be able to get quite closer. The memory I will always have of the temple of Tanah Lot is that of my disastrous fall due to a faint in front of the temple! It was very hot and humid, and I hadn't had breakfast yet.. luckily I had my mineral supplements in my bag, absolutely essential in this kind of trip.

If you need help packing for your trip to Bali..


Canggu

Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Canggu is a village on the west coast of Bali, located between the Tanah Lot temple and Seminyak and it's now one of the trendiest beach centers in Bali.

Black sand, perfect waves for surfing, lots of trendy clubs and cafés, spectacular sunsets but also incredible parties. In my opinion, Canggu is much more livable than Kuta: we only spent a few hours there (more than enough if you are not in Bali for nightlife and spending the days on crowded beaches among tourists) but it was still worth it. Going back from Tanah Lot, stopping in this area for lunch is ideal, so you can take a look at the narrow streets full of small shops and delicious cafes, but also splendid markets. Canggu also has tons of popular beach clubs, some of which are worth a visit in my opinion.

The main things to keep in mind if you plan to visit Canggu is that it is extremely touristy, full of digital nomads, backpackers and surfers; the prices are higher than the rest of the island, the sea is perfect only for surfers and the traffic is crazy. Here, however, you will also find many restaurants, cafes and craft boutiques, yoga and coworking centers.

Pros and cons of an area that I think you have to visit but maybe don't stop for long ! We booked our lunch at La Brisa - Bali at 3.00 pm, so we used the time before to take a stroll in Canggu: I suggest you explore the narrow streets walking randomly until you get at the sea. The center is small, among the various markets, shops and a peek at the beach it won't take you more than a couple of hours to take a nice tour.

Now, let's see what you absolutely must not miss in this area!

Love Anchor Market

Love Anchor Market, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Our mini-tour of Canggu (second stop on this first day in Bali) started with a stop at the marvelous Love Anchor Market. Located in the heart of Canggu, the Love Anchor Market is certainly one of the most iconic markets on the island.

Here you will find everything: from local handicrafts, jewellery, clothing and many handmade decorative objects.

Even if you don't want to buy anything, don't miss this market: it's wonderful even just for a stroll, the atmosphere is magical. The space is actually quite small and the vendors are all crammed together, but the products for sale and the wooden structure are very unique. We loved it like crazy, definitely one of the best spot in Canggu.

It is open every day of the week from 8:00 to 21:00: the best days to go are Saturday and Sunday, when you will find more stalls and new products. There is ample parking space in front of the market.

Canggu Market

On the same street where the entrance to La Brisa - Bali is located, proceeding towards the center of Canggu and with your back to the sea, you will find a splendid market on your right.

We found it by chance, a bit hidden: slip into the first stalls and you will find a space at least three times the size of the Love Anchor, full of colorful handicraft and local clothing stands. The environment is less glamorous than the Love Anchor, but the products on sale are much more interesting and the prices much lower. We had in mind to do the "big" shopping at the famous Ubud Market, so we underestimated this market a bit, with the idea of ​​buying later. Now I can tell you that here you will find many pieces that you will hardly find again, so if you like something, buy it, you won't find it for less. The secret is negotiating: I bought a pair of wonderful slippers for 100,000 IDR (just over €6) and the original price was 250,000 IDR. I wanted to buy a few more similar ones as a gift back home, and I was so convinced that I would have found them everywhere on the island that I didn't buy anymore and guess what.. I never saw them again and I regretted it so much! I recommend you do not miss this delightful market, a real hidden gem in Canggu, the ideal stop before going to La Brisa - Bali.

Penny Lane

Penny Lane is a cute restaurant located in Canggu and which we came across by chance during our exploratory walking tour of this little town: the location is splendid, and extremely exotic. We didn't stop, but if we were to go back, I would definitely give it a try. Remember that they do not take reservations except for groups of more than 10 people.

La Brisa Bali

La Brisa It's a wonderful restaurant and beach club in Canggu that I had stumbled across on instagram multiple times over the past two years and saved it as one of the few places I absolutely wanted to see in this area. For this reason, in order not to have any nasty surprises once I was finally here, I decided to reserve a table in advance. I booked about a month before online on their website (click here to book a table): it is very simple, you can choose the day, the time and you will immediately receive confirmation by email.

La Brisa, Bali, Indonesia

Once through the entrance, we walked along a path surrounded by splendid vegetation up to the reception: the is wonderful, it looked like being in the Jungle Book. La Brisa is absolutely not what you would expect by a beach club: surrounded by green, everything is made of wood and bamboo, the pool in the center is spectacular and they have a terrace overlooking the sea and the fantastic beach. We literally loved this place: even Enrico, who was rather skeptical, loved it. I recommend coming here for lunch or dinner, but you can also take advantage of the swimming pool: it is certainly a relaxing and extremely magical place. Don't miss it, and you'll thank me! Prices are higher than in the rest of the island, but everything is quite expensive in this area, and the menu is international and mainly based on fish, but excellent, as are the drinks!

Very much approved!

Opening times:

  • Monday - Friday 11:00 - 23:00

  • Saturday and Sunday 10:00 - 23:00

To find out what and where to eat this area READ ALSO:

Finns Vip Beach Club

Finns Vip Beach Club, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Finns Vip Beach Club is another place that I often came across following Bali's pages on Instagram but that we chose not to try, preferring quieter and more typical places. Surely you heard of it or you saw photos of the iconic beach club located in Canggu, absolutely scenic and impressive. Here they also have many parties in the evening, if you are interested I suggest you visit the website! If you're staying in this area of ​​Bali for longer, it's definitely a place to try. If you go to spend an afternoon by the pool and therefore take advantage of the beds, you should book in advance: the prices are high compared to the island average, but they also offer you bath towels and the cost of the various drinks will be deducted from the price of the cot. You can also enter for free and consume only, as well as have lunch, dinner or simply stop for a drink.


Seminyak

Seminyak is a tourist village and certainly not very representative of Bali: here too you will find many boutiques, brand or surf shops, restaurants, art galleries and night clubs. One of the things that you absolutely cannot miss in this area is the sunset on the beach: it is one of the best spots on the island to enjoy the golden hour. After witnessing the first of what would have been a long series of breathtaking sunsets on this island, we returned our motorbike and explored Seminyak walking until late in the evening. There are many beautiful shops, more or less typical, of clothing, art and crafts, as well as an infinite number of places to drink or eat, you will have so much choice. If you're looking for something typical, it's not that easy: the area is very Western and touristy. For dinner we managed to track down some street vendors and find noodles for a few cents. I can say that I was definitely satisfied with the choice we made not to stay too long in this area: it wasn't what we were looking for, but we really enjoy our short time here.

La Plancha

Tramonto a La Plancha, Bali, Indonesia

La Plancha is a colorful restaurant reminding me of a Spanish chiringuito (although much larger), located where the sea meets the jungle of Seminyak. It is another of the places that I had found during my pre-departure research, so I had cleverly booked in advance online on the website. The characteristic of this place is certainly the long series of colorful umbrellas that fill the beach. You cane have a drink while admiring the sun go down on the sea while listening to music. Between the colors of the sky and the sun and those of this somewhat hippie place, the atmosphere that is created is truly magical and relaxing. We loved it!

The menu is not extensive, and is typically western, but the prices are more affordable than in Finns, but still higher than the average for the island: however, we are talking about €15 for two people for two drinks and two dishes. Anyway, it was definitely worth it, so don't miss a sunset at La Plancha!

To find out what and where to eat in this area READ ALSO:


Here we are at the end of the first part of our 2-week trip to Bali, Gili and Lombok. As we have already said, we only lingered in this tourist area for a day, to then continue towards more real and less crowded areas. To recap how we divided up the day:

  1. Pura Tanah Lot

  2. Shopping at Canggu's markets, including the Love Anchor and nice walk around the town

  3. Late lunch at La Brisa

  4. Golden hour and sunset at La Plancha

  5. Exploration of Seminyak until late night

Soon all the next destinations of this trip:

To find out what and where to eat along the various places.. READ ALSO:



If you think this post is useful, please like it or a comment, while if you need more information don't hesitate to contact me!

Have a nice trip (:



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