Canggu is a place that most surfers will know about, with its larger than Kuta swells, sandy beach and not much else. Canggu however is becoming better known in tourist and expat circles and living in Seminyak I can feel the way things are moving. Located 20 minutes north of Seminyak along the coast Canggu has rice fields that come right down to the beach. One of the special sights I like watching the water trickle down from the last paddy wall onto the beach, completing its long journey from the mountains to the sea. It's quite unique. A friend of mine from the US who has lived in Bali for 14 years moved out to Canggu 5 years ago and told me back then there were not many villas. As the amount of villas increased he told me, "I knew I was no longer the only one out there, but at least I could look over the wall of my bathroom and see just sawah (rice fields). It would seem like I was the only one there. Then one day someone built a villa right in the middle."
What is the attraction of Canggu? Well apart from the surfing, its quiet, it was cheap, very local and offers lovely views of rice fields as opposed to cement in Seminyak. Holiday villas and long term rentals have sprung up as the market has moved away from hotels. People want to rent a luxury villa in the rice fields and be close to the beach, rather than rent a box in a 4-storey hotel. For people living in Bali Canggu offers a pleasant place to go home to that is within reach of Kuta. Its right on the edge, another 20 minutes would be too far for most people.
I know a lady from Holland who commutes from Canggu to Mambal everyday to work. She looked around and the Canggu environment suites her as she can come to Seminyak for shopping and partying, then go home to the quiet of the beach. Recently another person emailed me asking for my recommendation for a place to live. Over here for a few months he wanted a place by the surf, that is affordable and can get good internet access. Blueline can service Canggu, so he looked around and found a place that suits him.
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The most recent bit of news regarding Canggu's development I read about in the Bali Update. The Canggu Club, still being built, is an exclusive club serving expats and you can expect that place to get a ton of people within the next 5 years.
The one negative about Canggu for me would the drive. Its pretty for the first few miles heading out of Canggu, but traffic in Kerobokan during rush hours is hell. I see some smart person starting a high speed ferry service from Canggu to Legian sometime in the future and that being the local 'bus service' for expats working downtown.