Canggu & Tabanan
Canggu and Tabanan, just north of the popular resort of Seminyak is a more rural area of Bali is a breath of fresh air that boasts some of the best surf breaks in Bali, as well as the famous and iconic Tanah Lot Temple.
Step aside, Seminyak. More a state of mind than a place, Canggu is the stretch of land between Kerobokan and Echo Beach, packed with an ever-more alluring collection of businesses, especially casual cafes.
It was only a matter of time before Canggu was discovered. Neighbouring Seminyak can be hectic and crowded. Also close by, Uluwatu, set high on the cliffs, has walls of waves pro-surfers go wild for. Sanur has long been a favourite for grey nomads and Ubud, a 90-minute drive inland, is the island's New Age capital. But Canggu has edge.
There is a perfect marriage which makes Canggu irresistible - a sort of yin-yang combination of Tulum's yoga and green-juice bars, the arty aesthetic and galleries of Paraty, Costa Rica's surf scene and the party friskiness of Mykonos.
Three main strips have emerged, all running down to the beaches: two along meandering Jl Pantai Berawa and one on Jl Pantai Batu Bolong. You can spend all day eating, drinking and shopping your way around Canggu!
Tabanan, best-known for its nature, especially its UNESCO recognized tea plantations. Tabanan occupies about 15% of Balinese land. It is still a newly recognised destination for travellers and has only recently become home to several large luxury resorts. As Tabanan is known for its natural landscape, popular activities revolve around nature or Balinese culture.
If it’s natural beauty you’re after, Tabanan has no shortage of breathtaking vistas of terraced rice paddies, black sand beaches, and looming mountains. There is a real sense of authentic Bali here, as the rampant development of Bali’s southern coasts further to the east has not yet marred the countryside of Tabanan. Whether you’re in for some surfing, hiking up thickly forested trails, cruising around in a 4-wheel drive or simply relaxing in a luxury villa, Tabanan offers a scenic escape.
The most famous attraction in Tabanan is Pura Tanah Lot, one of the most important Balinese sea temples. The temple itself sits on a rock off the shore, which makes it only accessible at low tide, and as it faces west the photo opportunities at sunset are divine… that is if you can manage to get a shot in that is free of the multitudes of tourists that descend on the site every afternoon. Keep in mind too that non-Hindu visitors are not allowed inside the actual temple.
The area north of Seminyak is becoming an increasingly popular surf area, due to its excellent breaks and laid-back vibes.
Echo Beach has both reef and surf breaks, and the waves can be quite powerful. and the spots must be considered as being best suited for intermediate surfers. Having said that, you can get some great long right or left waves on a good day. The beach can be popular though and the reefs can get easily crowded on a good day, and as the take-off spot is relatively small, you might have a lot of competition getting a wave. If you prefer less competition, you can always surf the beach break, which is always less crowded. Waves here can give you great rides and can be powerful, but they are not as long as at the reef spots. After a surf at Echo Beach, there are plenty of small warungs and bars to enjoy a cold Bintang and a cool sunset.
Berawa Beach is a mostly long beach break, interrupted with a couple of small reefs that provides a moderately challenging surf. The waves are generally less powerful than at Echo Beach and it is less crowded making it easier to get some waves. There is a small cosy pop-up bar at the end of the road where you can enjoy a coconut or beer after the surf. Or if you fancy something a little more beach club style, head to Finns Beach Club.
Batu Balong Beach (Old Man’s) is considered an easier surf than Berawa and Echo, and is nice for longboards; however it can get quite busy. After a surf, you can go to Old Man’s for a beer. Also, every Wednesday they host huge parties.
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