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Canggu Digital Nomad Life: The MEGA Guide (2023)

Canggu Digital Nomad Life: The MEGA Guide (2023)

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This guest post was written by Abigail Dalton, a digital nomad living in Canggu, Bali for over five months (see bio below).

If you’ve been dreaming of a tropical paradise that’s far enough to disconnect yet close enough for creature comforts, then Bali should be top on your list.

Specifically, the village of Canggu — arguably one of the best places in Bali for digital nomads. 

Not only is it full of sparkling emerald fields, stunning waterfalls, and mind-blowing scenery, but its digital nomad community is second to none.

In this Canggu digital nomad guide, I’ll share what Canggu is really like, and how you can make the beautiful island of Bali your next base for work and play.

My Canggu digital nomad experience

We lived in Canggu for over 5 months working and enjoying the laid-back island vibes. It’s easy to balance working and living in Canggu. 

When you’re there, work doesn’t feel like work.

Bali is one of the top destinations worldwide for digital nomads due to its relaxed visa requirements, cheap cost of living, delicious food, and endless tropical vibes. 

The Balinese culture is warm and welcoming, and being part of a buzzing community brings countless opportunities. 

There are endless co-working spaces in Bali, all with great wifi and a friendly community that encourages work-life balance.

Living in Canggu pros and cons

Pros

✔️ Climate
✔️ Food
✔️ Atmosphere
✔️ Health
✔️ Social 
✔️ Beach

There are many great things to living in Canggu as a digital nomad, but my favorites are the social aspect and health scene. 

The energy in Canggu makes you want to go out and meet people and change your lifestyle for the better. 

Many people visit Bali to rebalance and reconnect with themselves — to get healthier in both mind and body and to grow within. 

It has some serious spiritual vibes, which maybe isn’t for everyone, but is hard to ignore once you arrive. 

This atmosphere mingled in with a tropical climate, delicious food, and endless sandy beaches creates a happy and thriving community. 

It’s a superb place to be as a digital nomad looking to unlock creativity, find opportunities, grow a business, and create something incredible.

Cons

❌ Pollution
❌ Stray dogs
❌ Traffic

No city is perfect, and I’m not going to sugarcoat things for you. 

Throughout Bali (and Indonesia), there is an issue with pollution. You’ll probably notice garbage washing up on beaches and floating down rivers. 

The locals like to burn plastic on the side of the road too, so you get used to holding your breath fairly quickly. It’s sad to see. Fortunately, there is a huge initiative in Bali to keep the beaches clean.   

Indonesia as a whole also has a problem with stray dogs, but Canggu is particularly bad. 

Many animals were left on the beaches when the pandemic hit, and they remain waiting for their owners to come and collect them. 

If you want to help out, there are charitable organizations that look after injured and sick animals. You can volunteer or donate, both awesome ways to give back while living in Canggu. 

Lastly, traffic gets a bit ridiculous. Canggu was not built for the amount of tourism it receives, and the small roads and dirt tracks can’t handle the current amount of traffic. 

You’ll also notice a huge scooter culture. Everyone from children to dogs rides them. If you can ride one too, you’ll save time. But even scooters are no match for rush hour.

Is Canggu worth visiting?

Canggu is a must-visit village for travelers and remote workers looking for a thriving digital nomad community, beautiful beaches, and endless fun activities. It is popular for a reason. That said, travelers looking for a deep cultural experience might find this popularity to be a turn-off.

What type of nomads will like Canggu: The city provides an upbeat, social vibe that’s pretty chill. It’s loved by surfers and digital nomads. There is a huge health scene in Canggu with everyone trying to improve their lifestyle.

What type of nomads should avoid Canggu: If you want a quiet and laid-back vibe away from tourists, avoid Canggu. 

Living in Canggu for a month: How much does it cost?

First, let’s cover the “official” cost of living data from Numbeo. 

This data can be hit and miss depending on your lifestyle, so I’ll also share my own numbers. 

Prices are in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), and since exchange rates are constantly changing, it’s best to use Google to convert into your currency using today’s rates. 

Monthly Canggu cost of living (Numbeo)

Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center:7,222,222 IDR
Basic monthly utilities (heating, cooling, etc.):844,868 IDR
Internet: 411,428 IDR
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 25,000 IDR
Domestic beer (0.5 L): 32,153 IDR
Public transport ticket: 3,500 IDR
Gym membership: 892,857 IDR

How much does our life in Canggu cost?

As we all know, this cost is going to vary for everyone. 

It totally depends on the type of lifestyle you have, the number of activities you join, and how much socializing you do. 

However, for the absolute bare minimum (essentials only), you can live in Canggu as a digital nomad for $500 USD per month all in.

As for us, we lived in Bali on a budget, keeping our drinking to a minimum but enjoyed surfing and yoga instead. Our cost of living in Canggu was $730 a month. If you like to socialize then you will need about $1,000.

Rent: We stayed at the Frangipani House and Spa in Batu Bolong for $270 a month. 

This included utilities, a pool, and a communal kitchen. We had our own double room and ensuite which was cleaned every 3 days with fresh towels and soaps.

Internet/data: It cost me around 75,000 IDR for a pay-as-you-go monthly plan of data. That said, I connected to wifi whenever possible and didn’t download emails/images with data. I used it mostly for maps and Whatsapp. IT WON’T LAST OTHERWISE!

Food: Eating at local restaurants will only cost you a few bucks per meal. But to save money, we only ate out once a day and cooked at home the rest of the time. 

Food like fresh vegetables and fruit is cheap in Canggu. But western food like cereal, bread, and cheese are expensive. It’s best to shop at the local stalls rather than the bigger supermarkets. Our monthly food shop is about $75.

Transportation: Everyone in Bali (and especially Canggu) uses scooters to get around. It makes life much easier. The roads aren’t great for walking as some areas don’t have pavement. If you’re not keen to rent a scooter, then you can use a taxi. It costs around 650,000 IDR for a month

Health: You will require travel insurance, which you can get for $45.08 per month

Canggu has a huge health scene. You can join a yoga studio for around 2,800,000 IDR per month with single classes costing 140,000 IDR. (Gym memberships are around the same).  

During my time in Canggu, I had to go to the opticians to remove a piece of embedded sand. I paid 665,876 IDR for the appointment and two bottles of eye drops.

Entertainment: The Balinese massage is popular and seriously good and cost around 150,000 Rp per hour. 

Cocktails cost around 80,000 IDR to 150,000 IDR depending on where you go. Local beers you can grab for 35,000 IDR

Surfing lessons are great entertainment, costing around 250,000 IDR in Canggu for a lesson. A typical day trip runs you around $60.

This should give you a good idea of what to expect money-wise in Canggu, but for even more help, grab this free digital nomad budget cheat sheet.

Best time to visit Canggu, Bali

The dry season runs from April to October, and the wet season from November to March.

We were in Canggu towards the end of the dry season and well into the wet season. 

For us, it was one of the best times to visit as there are fewer tourists due to the rain. Tours are also more affordable, accommodation is cheaper, and the truth is, the rain really isn’t that bad!

If you’re looking to work remotely from Canggu, I recommend heading there at the same time. 

Early on in the wet season, rain only comes in the morning for short periods. It starts and stops suddenly. Afterward, the sky is blue and the air is fresh. 

Deeper into wet season, it rains for longer during the day. But you’re there to work, right? 

Rain is an excuse to focus on what you need to get done. 

If you arrive in Bali towards the end of the dry season, you’ll have a few weeks of lovely weather to enjoy before it’s back to work mode.

Best places to live in Canggu for digital nomads

Canggu is made up of a few different neighborhoods. The one we stayed in is known as Batu Bolong and is central to Canggu (although all the neighborhoods are central because Canggu is quite small). 

We enjoyed Batu Balong. It’s close to the beach and central to co-working spaces, boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and yoga studios. 

We were also tucked behind the main road and surrounded by beautiful rice paddies.

Even though Canggu’s traffic can make it feel like an urban jungle, there are still isolated spots that remain true to their rural roots. 

Like all the beaches in Canggu, Batu Bolong is sunset-facing and home to a long stretch of sand that attracts a mix of boho-casual travelers and surfers.

Other areas in Canggu popular for digital nomads include:

  • Berawa/Berawa Beach: Similar to but slightly more chilled than Batu Bolong. This popular neighborhood attracts digital nomads and surfers drawn to the waves. It offers co-working spaces, bars, cafes, and a great sunset view
  • Echo Beach North/Echo Beach: Another popular area similar to Batu Bolong, but with fewer cafes, restaurants, and co-working spaces.
  • Pererenan: This area is notably quieter than the others and a little further away from the buzz of central Canggu. The streets are more residential, and you’ll find fewer places to socialize (although there are some hidden gems). 
  • Kerobokan: An up-and-coming neighborhood just outside the main haunt of Canggu, mainly a result of tourism-fueled city expansion. 

For more help deciding which part of the island suits you best, check out this complete guide on the best places to live in Bali for digital nomads.

How to find digital nomad accommodation in Canggu

Canggu, like the rest of Bali, is full of cheap accommodation, and a lot of digital nomads who move to Bali live in co-living environments. 

The best way to search for these is via Facebook groups and online forums. Many co-working spaces also offer co-living accommodations in Canggu.

Another popular type of accommodation in Bali is guest houses. 

In Bali, a guest house is in between a hostel and a hotel. Typically, you get your own double room with a private ensuite, but the rest of the facilities are communal. This is what we stayed in. 

Canggu is big on guesthouses, and these can easily be found in search engines such as Agoda and Booking.com

That said, the best way to find somewhere to live is by word of mouth. 

It’s not a bad idea to arrive in a cheap hostel, then spend some time talking to people, searching on the ground, and testing places out before committing to anything long-term. 

A few suggested locations we had experience with:

For even more tips on finding accommodation as a digital nomad, check out this video:

Best places to work remotely from Canggu

While working as a digital nomad in Canggu, I split my time between our lovely guest house, a handful of cafes, and a few co-working spaces. 

In Canggu, it’s not hard to find a place to work. Everyone is doing the same thing. Most cafes are set up for digital nomads and have great wifi. Some even have dedicated work areas.

Best Canggu coworking spaces

There are, however, a few favorite spots that I want to recommend. These are definitely worth looking into for your move to Canggu.

TRIBAL BALI

I really enjoyed Tribal. It was quieter than the others below (at least during working hours) and had a calm atmosphere. That made it easy to get work done.

Price: Buy a drink and it’s free for the first 3 hours, then a 100,000 IDR purchase

Location: Jl.Pantai Pererenan, Gg. Tribal, Pererenan

DOJO BALI CO-WORKING

Dojo is one of the oldest co-working spaces in Canggu and is superb for networking and skill-building with workshops held throughout the day. 

It’s a little pricey and not exactly “new”, but it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Price: From $16 for a day pass to $203 for the full monthly membership

Location: Jl. Batu Mejan No.88, Canggu

TROPICAL NOMAD

Tropical is tucked away down “the shortcut” (you’ll learn what this means when you arrive). It’s my favorite for relaxed end-of-week work sessions because there’s a lot of socializing. It’s light and airy with lots of space.

Price: From $13 for a day pass to $210 for the full monthly membership

Location: Jl Subak Canggu No.2, Canggu

Best Canggu cafes for work

CRATE CAFE

I just really love the food here! The portions are huge, plus they do fantastic coffee. They have tables and a few comfy sofas. And while it’s spacious, it gets busy around lunchtime, so it’s best for a morning meeting.  

Price: Purchase anything from the menu and it’s free.

Location: Jl. Canggu Padang Linjong, Canggu

ZIN CAFE

Zin is superb. It’s light and airy with comfy cushions and a great vibe. It’s set over two levels and has a rooftop on the third — think open-plan coworking cafe and restaurant.

Price: Purchase a coffee from the menu and it’s free.

Location: Jl. Nelayan No.8, Canggu

CAFE COACH

Cafe Coach is a brilliant place to work from to get shiz done. It doesn’t get crowded and the atmosphere is lovely, warm and welcoming. 

Price: Purchase a coffee from the menu and it’s free

Location: Jl. Nelayan No.8, Canggu

Canggu digital nomad community

From the moment you arrive in Canggu, you’ll be engulfed in a huge digital nomad community. Everyone is on their laptops working out of cafes. It’s a great place to start working online and growing your business.

You meet people who are doing all sorts of work, from app developers to online teachers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. I loved all the opportunities to collaborate and expand my skills. 

Most of the co-working spaces offer networking events and skill training to help you meet like-minded people and level up your skills. 

There are tons of Facebook community groups to help digital nomads settle in and meet new people, including loads of social events.

Canggu nightlife

In my opinion, Canggu has a great party vibe. 

It’s where everyone goes to enjoy their new Bali life from a laid-back, open-air party scene to an intimate speakeasy. 

There are numerous bars, lounges, and clubs that attract a fun crowd and offer tasty cocktails.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Behind The Green Door: Best date-night speakeasy
  • The Black Sands Brewery: Craft beer and chilled vibes
  • The Lawn: Ocean-front lounging
  • Deus Ex Machina: Great for live music
  • The Shady Fox: Superb cocktails
  • La Brisa: Hip boozing scene
  • Penny Lane: I haven’t been but it’s the number one spot atm!

Best things to do in Canggu, Bali

There are so many fun Canggu activities to do that, once you’re here, you won’t need (or want) to leave. It has everything from beaches and surfing to boutique shops, markets, and craft stalls. 

There are gyms and yoga studios, meditation workshops and health stores, volunteer opportunities and delicious eateries — you name it. 

It’s super easy to arrange day trips to visit the rest of Bali — famous temples and waterfalls, rice paddies and jungle swings will be at your fingertips. 

Here is a list of the best things to do in Canggu, whether you’re visiting for a week or a year.

▶️ Surfing classes: Bali is renowned for its fantastic surf and Canggu is one of the top spots. It’s easy to grab a surf lesson on any of the beaches in Canggu, so why not?
▶️ Bali massages: Another thing Bali is famous for is its massages; you’ll find spas dotted around everywhere.
▶️ Day trip to Ubud: Ubud is another popular destination set within the jungle and rice paddies; it’s the place to go for a spiritual re-balance but there are some incredible temples to visit too.
▶️ Day trip to Uluwatu: Uluwatu is the best for hidden beaches and has world-class surfing. It’s less busy than Canggu, so you could well end up on a beach all to yourself.
▶️ Beach clean-up: Sometimes it’s good to give back to the community and environment. Jack and I volunteered with Berewa Beach Cleanup once a week.
▶️ Watch the sunset: Bali is famous for its sunsets and Canggu is one of the best places to watch it. Just rock up to any of the beaches, grab a fresh coconut, sit on the sand and enjoy the breathtaking colors filling the air.
▶️ Berawa beach: Berewa beach is best for sunbathing as it’s not as built up as Batu Bolong or Echo so you will have a little more privacy.
▶️ Live music nights: Head out in search of live music gigs; they are all over and you’ll find posters and social marketing to tell you where and when. They are fun and usually have drink deals.
▶️ Yoga classes: I love yoga and the yoga in Bali is the best. 
▶️ Thai Boxing classes: Jack was doing this at the MMA Bali gym and enjoyed the classes enough to recommend them!
▶️ Breakfast brunches: Hugely popular in Bali are breakfast brunches. The food is fresh and colorful and so appealing; most people opt for brunches which can be found anywhere.

How to get to Canggu, Indonesia

The most common way to get to Canggu is to fly into Denpensar Airport, which is the capital of Bali and an international airport. 

Most airlines fly directly to Bali, but you might have to connect via Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. 

If you flying in from far away, make sure to check out this video for tips on finding cheap flights.

If you’re already in Indonesia, you can reach Bali on a domestic flight, or sometimes via bus and ferry services from other islands. There is always the option of renting a car and driving to Canggu from other places in Bali.

From the airport, you can also take a taxi to Canggu. You can arrange an airport transfer on sites such as Viator which are good ways to ensure you don’t get hassled at the airport.

Getting around Canggu

The most common way of getting around Canggu is to rent a scooter. It’s preferred by most nomads as it makes travel easier, especially going along the smaller roads. 

Jack and I rented scooters during our whole time in Bali and didn’t have any issues. We actually did an epic 4-week scooter road trip around the island before we left for the island of Lombok.

Just note you must be covered by travel insurance (this usually means having a valid international or local driving license and wearing a helmet). You might get stopped by the police but as long as you have these you won’t have any issues or pay any fees. 

You can get travel insurance for as cheap as $42 a month. But depending on the activities you plan to do, you may want to check out this comparison of the best health insurance plans for digital nomads first. 

An international licenses can be a hassle to get after you leave home, so it’s best to plan ahead and get it before you leave. ,Usually you just need to fill out a form and pay a small fee.  

If driving scooters isn’t your cup of tea, you can also get scooter taxis, which are cheaper (and faster) than car taxis.

There’s not much as far as public transportation goes, especially deeper within the neighborhoods. You can catch buses to the main areas — say from Canggu to Seminyak — but from there, be prepared to walk or taxi. 

Taxis are cheap in Bali and it’s the best way to travel if you’re not renting. Download the Gojek or Grab apps (Indonesia’s versions of Uber). They’re reliable and trustworthy, and you know exactly how much you need to pay ahead of time.

Other handy tips for Canggu digital nomads

Essential words

Hello: Halo
How are you?: Apa kabar?
Thank you: Terima kasih
Goodbye: Selamat tinggal
Bathroom: Kamar mandi
How much?: Berapa harganya?
Yes: Ya
No: Tidak

Yummy foods

Nasi Campur: A scoop of nasi putih accompanied by small portions of several other dishes including meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs, and fried-shrimp krupuk.

Rendang Curry: A Minang dish originating from the Minangkabau region in West Sumatra, Indonesia. It’s a rich and tender coconut beef stew.

Gado Gado: An Indonesian salad of raw, slightly boiled, blanched or steamed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs, boiled potato, fried tofu and tempeh, and lontong. Served with a peanut sauce dressing.

Staying safe

Bali is very safe. The only thing you need to worry about is petty crime like pickpocketing, scams, dodgy money exchangers, credit card fraud, and highballers at the market.

This is all easily avoided if you travel smartly and use the 5 tips in this video:

Keep in mind, while there isn’t much violent crime, there is risk of natural disasters. 

Indonesia sits on a tectonic plate which is home to some active volcanoes. This can cause earthquakes, which can be scary, but modern technology helps scientists predict eruptions. This isn’t something that should put you off from visiting.

All in all, whether you’re becoming a digital nomad for the first time or you’re a veteran traveler, Bali is a safe place to set up shop.

Helpful apps

  • Grab (or Gojek). Taxi service
  • Foodpanda. Food delivery
  • Google Translate.
  • Google Maps.
  • The Bali Bible.
  • Duolingo.
  • Tokopedia. Indonesia’s amazon

Other Canggu tips

The Balinese culture is beautiful. Gentle, warm, and vibrant. You’ll notice daily offerings out on the pavements and outside homes — don’t step on these! Bali also holds several ceremonies throughout the year, so be respectful of local traditions during these times. 

You’re more than welcome to join in on the festivities.

Living in Canggu as an expat

It’s super easy to live in Canggu as an expat, at least up to a year. After that, it gets a little complicated. 

From my experience, your best bet is to get a business visa which is valid for 30 days and allows you to extend monthly for 5 more months. After 6 months, you can apply for a 2-month onshore visa, after this it’s monthly extensions for up to 4 months.

The initial visa cost 4,300,000 IDR per person and then it is an additional 850,000 IDR per month to extend. The onshore visa cost is 3,000,000 IDR for two months and 850,000 IDR for monthly extensions of up to four months.

You can also now get a Bali digital nomad visa, which is also worth looking into. 

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).

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