If you’re wondering where’s the best place in Canggu for sunset, you’ve come to the right place. Yep, this article will run through seven of the top spots to go to at the golden hour in south Bali’s favorite hipster enclave. It’s got a whole host of options to suit a whole of host different types of travelers, from secluded stretches of sand to edgy beach bars that gaze over the waves and the Indian Ocean.
We’d actually say this is essential reading for anyone making their way to Canggu. This part of the Isle of the Gods is all about living the high life. It’s where mornings of surf on the glassy waves of Old Man’s and Echo Beach combine with long lunches in organic-vegan cafes and artisan bakeries. Then, when the sun starts to dip low, Canggu really comes into its own. Skater bars meet cocktail joints meet reggae-inspired beer shacks on the shore – there’s loads to enjoy as twilight sets in.
So, without further ado, let’s take the plunge and scout the south coastline of Bali for the best place in Canggu for sunset. It promises to be a Bintang-soaked journey up cinnamon-hued sands, past palm groves, into emerald rice paddies, and down alleys purring with scooters. Woohoo! We love this place…
The left-hand waves of Echo Beach made this one of the first surf locations to be noticed by the crews out of the Bukit Peninsula when they came spot-hunting past Kuta on the south-west shoreline of Bali. Since then, the whole beachfront has risen to become one of the coolest hangouts in the Canggu area. We’d say it has a touch chicer vibe than Batu Bolong Beach and Berawa further along the shore. The crowd is a bit more monied and there are less backpackers.
The other great thing about Echo Beach, especially at sunset, is that it plays host to the eye-wateringly wonderful Batu Mejan Temple. When the lights starts to glow reddish pink on the horizon, the great carved doorways and Hindu pagodas of that can look truly spectacular, especially set to a foreground of sloshing Indian Ocean waves. It’s a photographer’s dream come true.
Echo Beach also comes with an overload of bars and eateries. Arguably the most famous of the lot is the simply named Echo Beach Bar. It’s half drinking hole, half acclaimed seafood kitchen. For the sunset, you’re going to want to get in early to grab one of the front-line tables by the sea. When the tide comes right in, you’ll feel the salt spray on your toes while you sip those cocktails!
We also love the all-new La Brisa Bali bar-restaurant. It’s hidden just behind Echo Beach Bar but has a more refined vibe. Inside, you’ll discover a palm-threaded garden where a rustic swimming pool is hemmed in by orchids. There are front-row seats right on the beach, but we almost prefer the hidden cabanas and their hammock lazers just behind. They have more of an Ubud feel.
If we had to pick one place that represents the whole vibe of Canggu, it would be Old Man’s Beach Bar. Some say this venue, now dominating the skyline above Batu Bolong Beach, was the original hipster hangout of the area. Whether it’s responsible for the rise of Canggu as we know it isn’t certain. What is certain is that it’s the arguably the best place in Canggu for sunset if you want to kick it with the local crews.
Unlike some of the colossal beach clubs of south Bali, Old Man’s retains a touch of its ramshackle, backpacker character. Instead of babbling fountains and uber-cool installation art, this one goes with paved terraces and colored umbrellas, graffiti-strewn walls and bar spaces decked out with palm thatch. The evening hour isn’t so much about gazing at the sun dropping low. It’s more about enjoying the drinks deals, getting loose, chatting, and chilling.
There’s a big lineup of regular events that takes place at Old Man’s throughout the week. Some nights have several hours of free-flowing drinks for a standard rate. Others host local and international bands or DJs. There’s also an occasional beer-pong contest for those who are maestros at dropping the ball in the cup (warning: The regular competitors are pretty darn awesome at it!).
Old Man’s sits plum in front of one of Canggu’s top surf spots. If the evening tide and swell matches up, you can rip those glassy left-right A frames and then paddle back in for a bucket of Bintang no problem. That’s the daily routine for many a Batu Bolong local, you know?
The Canggu rice terraces
There was a time when virtually all of Canggu was rice paddy. That was before the digital nomads and the hipsters took over, bringing with them all those enticing cafés and co-working spaces. These days, lots of what was once farm field is now given over to development. But there are still pockets of the old Bali greenery to see, and we think one spot in particular is a cracking option for that sunset viewing.
To get there you’ll need to head to the intersection of Jalan Sempol and Jalan Pantai Pererenan. It’s on the fringes of north-west Canggu, but still close to Echo Beach and the popular surf spots. We’d say that the best way to get there is by bike or with a scooter, but be careful because the roadways here become narrow and winding, and can get busy at rush hours (like sunset!).
The reward for navigating the backstreets will be a vision of authentic Balinese rice paddies. They cascade in neat terraces through pockets of bungalows and thatched-roof farms. There’s never the same booming crowds of sunset viewers that you get in the cocktail bars by the beaches of Canggu, either. As the light starts to dip, you can watch as the emerald crops glow shades of hazy yellow and pink, and you might even be able to make out the silhouette of the mighty Mountain Batur on the horizon to the north.
Milu By Nook
Whoever said that the best place in Canggu for sunset had to be on the beach? Not us. When there are places like Milu By Nook hiding in the backroads north of the coastline, it’s sometimes worth straying away from the sound of the crashing waves and the surf breaks to sample something a little different at the golden hour.
We’ll get to the food in a moment, but the real treat here is surely the view. Milu By Nook sits on a plinth just above a rolling stretch of verdant rice paddy. They undulate into the distance in a patchwork of lily ponds and water-logged dykes covered in grass. Anyone who’s watched the development of the area over the last 10 years will know that these sorts of wild swathes of paddyland have all but disappeared. It’s a rarer backdrop for sunset than you might think!
The other great thing about Milu By Nook is the grub. Yep, Nook is a pretty well-known name amid the resort towns of south Bali. They’re famed for creative fusion cooking that smashes Southeast Asian and Indonesian ingredients together with tasty European fare. The result? You’ll get to enjoy dishes like the lentil and quinoa burger, smashed-pumpkin bruschetta, and Buddha bowls dusted with desiccated coconut and lime juice. Mouth = watering.
Drinks wise, Milu By Nook offers a range of meticulously mixed cocktails. From classic Negronis to exotic Mojitos, you’ll be able to select from a whole medley of tipples while you gaze at the sunset on the paddies. There’s also a decent range of artisan beers flavored with typical Indo infusions like mango. The German contingent should also like the fact that Prost is sitting pretty in the fridge.
Pantai Batu Belig
Shh! Pantai Batu Belig is arguably the best place in Canggu for sunset if you’re local. It’s something of a secret to drop-in travelers who tend to prefer to stick to the tried-and-tested beachfronts up by Berawa or Old Man’s. The vibe matches that. You’ll spot dog walkers and sunbathers, enjoying a quieter run of south-Bali sand that has nowhere near the crowds of Kuta and Seminyak et al.
We will say this: It’s not the prettiest beach on the Isle of the Gods. The road swings down from the center of Canggu to the north and runs pretty much parallel for a couple of hundred meters. That means you’ll be able to hear the annoying purr of scooters, but the waves – which can be big, gnarly closeouts on Pantai Batu Belig – often manage to hide the din. The sand is also brownish-black, with few clusters of palms for shade.
Enough of that though. When the sunset approaches, more and more people gather at the speckling of beach bars that dot the length of the shoreline here. Our personal fav has to the be Batubelig Combi. It’s a ramshackle reggae-style bar that’s built around a reclaimed VW Combi. The whole thing is now scrawled with the Jamaican colors of green, yellow and red. What’s more, the beanbag seating and pub tables are painted to match.
For something a little more stylish, you can always move a touch further south-east to 707 Beachberm. It’s more your classic Bali beach bar with a stepped deck terrace and low-rise tables. The sunset’s great there, as it drops square to the right of the bar while the waves and whitewash roll in right below. Lovely stuff.
Perched above the verdant rice terraces just off Pantai Batu Mejan, AIRSIDE is a charming little hotspot for fusion Japanese food and easy-going vibes. It’s a relatively recent addition to the ever-growing line up of places to eat in the town, but it’s fair to say that it’s made a good first impression, mainly thanks to its regular acoustic music shows and creative menu of east-meets-west dishes…
Yep, come here and you’ll be chowing down on the likes of avocado and tempeh salads, Chinese-Italian pasta mashups that bring yellow noodles and woku sauce together, and risotto mixed with Indonesian prawns. Man, it’s tasty.
But enough about the grub. We’d also rate this as a potentially the best place in Canggu for sunset. Just check the design. The eatery is set on a bamboo-built structure that opens to offer 360-degree views. They encompass the rice paddies below, the mists of the Indian Ocean to the south, and the rising volcanos of north Bali to boot. Oh yea, and there are 25,000 IDR tap beers during the Monday and Tuesday happy hours to sweeten the deal even more!
Finn’s Beach Club
Last but most certainly not least, we come to Finn’s Beach Club. This one bills itself as Bali’s “Best Absolute Beachfront Venue”. It’s hard to argue with that. The whole place really is on the beach. In fact, we’d go one further and say that it positively dominates the beach. Ready for it? There are a whopping two swimming pools, three dry bars, two swim-up bars, a duo of restaurants (including one sushi kitchen) and more than 170 meters of shoreline frontage so you won’t have to worry about jostling for a view of the sunset. Wowza. See why it ain’t least when it comes to the best place in Canggu for sunset?
It doesn’t end there, either. Finn’s is known across the island for hosting some of the wildest nights in Bali. It’s NYE blowout features global DJ acts a la Ibiza. There are regular weekend shindigs that see pumping EDM shows, along with parties to match up with major sporting events, like the Melbourne Cup (bring your Sunday’s best, please) and the World Ironman competition.
The thing about Finn’s is that it can be tricky to get a space inside. We’d recommend pre-booking your sunbed. They start at 250,000 IDR ($17) for the most basic type by the poolside. But there are also deluxe beds for groups, which start at a rather pricy 800,000 IDR ($55) for arrivals prior to 3pm in the day. There are also minimum spends applied to all sunbeds and daybeds. Those don’t apply to walk-ins who just want to hit the bar and restaurant.
If you’re not one for the resort feel of Finn’s, it’s worth coming this way for the sunset to enjoy the surrounding beachfront anyway. It’s got whiter sand than many of the other parts of Canggu and swells for surfers who want to taste something a little more powerful than in Kuta. Board rentals are available on the beach if you’re tempted by an evening surf, though this one doesn’t work at high tide. What’s more, the area around Finn’s – known as Berawa Beach – is the easiest to get to from Seminyak.