On my first ever trip to Bali, after spending a few days in Ubud, I was torn between spending my last days on the island in Canggu, Sanur, or Uluwatu. I’d read a blog post a few months ago that raved about Canggu as an amazingly chilled out place to visit.
I decided that I wanted a chilled last few days, so I looked up some hostels in Canggu – hostels, of course, in the hope of meeting some like-minded new buddies. Online I found CangguSTAY, which was one of the top recommendations with solid reviews.
BOOKING THE ROOM
Despite the lack of pool at the hostel (not really a dealbreaker, since I prefer the beach), I was sold by the rave reviews. Not too pricey and relatively close to the ocean, I phoned up the spa to confirm that there were free beds in the dorm room and then emailed the owner – a very responsive Australian woman named Shirley – who promptly confirmed my 3-night booking and replied with helpful links about Canggu in general.
Shirley also gave me some information about renting bicycles, scooters, and taxis. Shirley's quick response immediately reassured me that I’d made the right decision to go to Canggu. Another scroll through Instagram's location tags of Canggu – full of roaring waves and sun-soaked rice paddies – and I was ready to roll.
From Ubud, I took a (non-airconditioned, very cramped) shuttle bus to the airport, where I dropped off my friend going back to the UK (cry), and then went on to Kuta. I wanted to spend as little time as possible in Kuta, since I’d heard it was chaotic and definitely not my cup of tea. I managed to spend a record 10 minutes only in Kuta – including getting off the bus and, desperate to pee, finding a toilet in a nearby Indian restaurant, borrowing the WiFi, then ordering a taxi via a mobile app – before I was zipping off to Canggu. It took about an hour and a half in the traffic. Got a good snooze in!
CangguSTAY is nestled right behind Canggu Day Spa and Rustica Pizza, a gluten-free Italian restaurant, along Jalan Raya Batu Bolong (street) at No. 8B. The hostel is around a 25-minute walk to the centre/beach. When the taxi first pulled up, around 7.30pm, it was quite dark. There’s no reception at the hostel – and it seemed a bit suspicious at first, since no one at the spa was answering my knocks.
Turned out there was a massage in-session. A waiter from the restaurant helped me get the masseuse’s attention and, after about half an hour of confusion, the masseuse gave me the key to Room 1 and pointed to the small building behind the spa. I was suspicious at first, but after opening the wrought iron gate and then the room door, I was genuinely happy with my decision to wait it all out.
ROOMS & FACILITIES
The dorm room was beautiful! Honestly, one of the cutest hostel dorms I’ve ever stayed in. (I've stayed in some pretty crappy rooms.) I couldn’t believe that the place was empty, apart from one other girl sharing the room - the lovely Regina from Uruguay. The eco-friendly roofing, pastel tiles and shabby-chic wood made the place feel like a beach cottage or bungalow, and everything was notably clean.
There were plenty of lockers and electronic outlets to plug in, and there was an extractor fan that sucked out all of the hot air in the room so that the ceiling fan didn’t just churn around hot air – a necessity, since there was no air-conditioning.
The toilet was separate from the shower – score! – both rooms with a mirror and sink – double score. The patterned pastel bathroom tiles were super cute as well. I’m not sure whether most people choose hostels based on interior design, but, well, I was impressed. The hot water worked perfectly and the shower was good quality – no crappy hostel showers around ‘ere!
What I loved most of all is the fact that, come sunrise, the entire place was flooded with natural light. The hostel is built in a good location; the energy of the place feels positive and happy. There were solid mosquito nets and wrought iron on all of the windows, which let the light in but protected against thieves and mozzies.
The kitchen part outside was basic and functional, also filled with light, with a large wooden table and bench full of interesting books and magazines, as well as the WiFi password and other important numbers – police, hospital, taxi services – scribbled on the wall.
There was a stove, a fridge, a kettle, a blender, and two water dispensers, as well as cutlery and crockery. Perfect for making your own smoothie bowls or having a bit of cereal in the morning
COSTS, SERVICES & EXTRAS
I paid 130,000IRH per night for the dorm room. It wasn’t the cheapest, but considering we had it to ourselves, and considering how well laid out and clean the rooms were, it was worth it. Everytime we left the room, we returned to find some magical fairy had made our beds and tidied up too. Very nice.
Also, taking a cheeky glance through the windows into the rooms next door, the single bedroom accommodatiosn looked really cosy as well. Perfect for someone planning to stay in Canggu for a while.
As of 2016, the longer you stay at the hostel, the cheaper it gets.
I do recommend hiring a bicycle or scooter, for the sake of saving time and energy since the hostel is fairly “far away” – 25 minutes walk – from the ocean and main area. Also, if you’re scared of dogs, there are multiple strays yapping on the street at night. Best get a bike to avoid them!
A bike shop across the street rented motorbikes and scooters for 50,000 per day, and bicycles for 25,000. The shop, owned by a sweet Balinese family, adjusted the bicycle seat and style to my needs and remained super relaxed even when the bike lock broke on my last day and I returned it late.
There are epic food joints within a ten minute walk down Batu Bolong. Turn left out of CangguSTAY and you’ll come across all of these amazing places
KOI Café – Amazing little café with delicious vegan options, as well as excellently cooked meat and healthy smoothies. So worth the money, really affordable, gorgeous interiors, lovely staff – and run by a lovely Japanese lady. Went into Koi about 4 times in 3 days. Oops!
Avocado Café – Right across from Warung Bu Mi. Avo and scrambled eggs, anyone?
Warung Dandelion – a fancy restaurant (with affordable prices) in an amazing garden setting, with bunny rabbits – YES, CUTE FLUFFY BUNNY RABBITS – bouncing around as you eat your food. Mix of Indonesian and Western food.
Warung Bu Mi – amazing place. So cheap! Choose what you want to eat from the warung-style glass counters. Generous and delicious. Five stars.
CangguSTAY is an incredibly reasonable hostel accommodation for its price, with relaxing vibes. Shirley was very chilled out about money – and even though I unfortunately missed meeting her – she was happy for me to pay on my last day and gave me the number of her friend to drive me to the airport on the morning of my flight. I 100% recommend CangguSTAY to anyone headed there for the first time, especially anyone planning to stay a while (their minimum booking is 2 days).
Thanks for the epic time in Canggu, CangguSTAY!
Check out CangguSTAY’s website at http://canggustay.com.
Contact Shirley at shirley(at)shirleybowman.com.au or call (+62) 087860316413 to arrange a room.
Mel left London to chase summer around the world, one country at a time. She loves the ocean, writing postcards, and solo exploration. Travel with her on Instagram.