woods bali cafe

Canggu vs Ubud, Which One Should You Visit First When in Bali

Updated 24 Oct 2023
go to ubud or canggu first

Hey there, wanderlusters and sun-seekers! So, you’ve decided to embark on a tropical adventure and find yourself in the enchanting paradise of Bali. But now, the big question is: where should you kickstart your Balinese odyssey? Will it be the hipster haven of Canggu, or the cultural gem of Ubud? Well, we’re here to help you decide on this friendly face-off!

Picture this: you’re lounging on a sun-kissed beach, sipping on a coconut, and feeling the salty breeze ruffle your hair. That’s Canggu, baby! It’s the cool kid on the Bali block, boasting surf vibes, bustling beach bars and a dash of Instagram-worthy cafes. If you’re all about catching the perfect wave and having a laid-back, bohemian time, Canggu might just be your tropical dream come true.

On the other hand, we have Ubud, the heart and soul of Bali’s cultural scene. It’s like stepping into a lush, green dreamland with terraced rice paddies, ancient temples, and artisan markets that will make your inner shopper scream with joy. If you’re into yoga, holistic wellness, and finding your inner zen, Ubud is where you’ll want to kick off your Balinese exploration.

But hey, we get it! Decision-making is tough, especially when paradise is at stake. So, whether you’re chasing the perfect wave, yearning for tranquillity among the rice fields, or planning to do both, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the soul of Canggu and the heart of Ubud, helping you decide which one should take the crown for your first stop in Bali.

If you’re planning to explore Bali without the hassle of driving yourself, it’s a great idea to consider hiring a driver. This can provide you with more convenience and allow you to fully enjoy the beauty of Bali. If you want to know more about the things to consider when hiring a driver in Bali, check out our article on Things to Consider When You Want to Hire a Driver in Bali.

So, grab your coconuts, slip on your flip-flops and join us as we embark on this friendly rivalry between Canggu and Ubud. Let the Bali face-off begin!

What Makes Canggu a Special Place for Tourists?

If you visited Bali in the mid-2000s, you might not even know about Canggu. But in the last few years, this place has blown up in popularity and become one of Bali’s hottest spots, especially on the western side. There are plenty of reasons why Canggu is now the go-to spot for tourists and visitors. Here are some of the few of the biggest reason Why is Canggu so Popular.

Surfing Paradise

Surfing in Canggu


Canggu’s coast is renowned for its incredible surf breaks, making it a haven for surfers of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete newbie, you can catch some fantastic waves. The vibe is relaxed, the waves are consistent, and you’ll find numerous surf schools and board rentals. Plus, it’s a great place to meet fellow surf enthusiasts, fostering a tight-knit community that’s passionate about riding the waves.

Bohemian & Laid-Back Atmosphere

Canggu exudes a laid-back and bohemian charm that sets it apart from the hustle and bustle of Bali’s busier tourist areas. The town is a delightful blend of rice fields, art and funky beach bars. You can spend your days strolling through the rice terraces, exploring local markets and unwinding in hip cafes that serve up some of the island’s tastiest dishes. This unique atmosphere makes Canggu perfect for those seeking a more alternative and creative side of Bali.

Foodie Paradise

Best Food In Pererenan

Canggu is a culinary delight. It’s home to a diverse array of eateries, from traditional warungs (local food stalls) serving up mouthwatering Indonesian dishes to trendy cafes and fine-dining restaurants with international cuisine. The town is known for its health-conscious food scene, offering plenty of vegetarian, vegan and organic options. Whether you’re into a colorful smoothie bowl, a hearty nasi goreng or a gourmet burger, Canggu has something for every palate.

Whenever you find yourself hanging out around Canggu, don’t forget to also check out Pererenan. Canggu has gotten crazy popular lately, so it’s bustling all the time. Pererenan, on the other hand, gives you a more relaxed vibe. Plus, you’ll find some awesome spots like Woods Bali – it’s all about that chill, natural and super Instagram-worthy atmosphere. And the food? Oh, it will treat your palate with some of the best food in town! We promise your visit will be one to remember!

In a nutshell, Canggu’s allure lies in its fantastic surf conditions, its carefree and bohemian vibe, and its culinary diversity. Whether you’re a surfer, a culture enthusiast, or a foodie, Canggu has something special to offer, making it a must-visit destination in Bali. Curious about how long to stay in Canggu, Bali? Check out our guide on How Many Days in Canggu to plan your perfect stay in this laid-back paradise.

Why is Ubud Worth Visiting For Tourists and Visitors Alike?

Ubud is a special place in Bali for a multitude of reasons, and here are three casual but detailed explanations for its uniqueness:

Cultural Oasis

ubud arts and culture

If you’re looking to dive deep into Bali’s rich culture, Ubud is the place to be. This town is like the cultural heart of Bali, with its vibrant art scene, traditional Balinese dance performances and countless temples. Ubud is home to the famed Ubud Palace and the nearby Saraswati Temple, where you can witness enchanting dance shows, including the classic Legong and Barong dances. Exploring the town’s narrow streets will lead you to galleries, craft shops, and museums that showcase the island’s artistry, including intricate wood carvings and mesmerizing paintings. The cultural immersion you experience here is unlike any other place on the island.

Lush Natural Beauty

Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Ubud is nestled in a lush, green paradise. The town is surrounded by terraced rice paddies, dense rainforests and cascading waterfalls. The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are a prime example of this stunning scenery. These terraces are not only a marvel of agricultural engineering but also a breathtaking spot for Instagram-worthy photos. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is another must-visit, where you can wander among ancient temple ruins, dense jungle, and playful monkeys. The natural beauty in Ubud is a constant reminder of Bali’s stunning landscapes.

Wellness and Yoga Hub

yoga studio bali

Ubud is also a haven for wellness enthusiasts and yoga lovers. It’s a place where you can rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. There’s an abundance of yoga studios, meditation centers, and holistic retreats to choose from. The tranquil environment and serene surroundings make it the ideal place for yoga and meditation practice. Additionally, Ubud offers a wide range of spas and wellness centers, where you can indulge in traditional Balinese massages and therapies. The emphasis on wellness and self-care makes Ubud a perfect destination for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.

In summary, Ubud’s charm lies in its vibrant cultural scene, lush natural beauty and its status as a wellness and yoga hub. It’s the place to immerse yourself in Balinese culture, surround yourself with stunning landscapes, and nurture your body and mind, all while enjoying the laid-back atmosphere that makes Bali so special.

Which One Should I Visit First between Canggu and Ubud?

When it comes to deciding where to kick off your Bali adventure, we’ve got the ultimate answer. While Ubud is all about culture and nature, we suggest hitting up Canggu first. Why? Well, Canggu has top-notch infrastructure that beats Ubud by miles. In peak season, crossing Ubud in a car can take hours of sitting in traffic and there is much less to do in the way of eating out or going out at night. Coming to Canggu means you’ll have easy access to entertainment such as night clubs, beach bars, endless culinary options and some fantastic places like Woods Bali. Trust us, it’ll amp up your Bali experience and make your stay way more enjoyable.

For more travel insights and tips for your Bali journey, check out our guide on Choosing Between Ubud, Seminyak, and Nusa Dua. It’ll help you find the perfect fit for your Bali adventure.

rifka arianti

rifka arianti

Journeying through life with a camera in hand, Rifka Setia Arianti is a passionate explorer of the world's diverse landscapes. Currently settled in Bali as a web designer, her lens captures the essence of her travels, weaving together a tapestry of stories that encapsulate her love for both photography and adventure.

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