Fella Villas Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

Is Canggu the new Seminyak? Fall in love with its chilled ways

Nikki ParkinsonTravel 8 Comments

{Editor’s note: if you’re planning your first trip to Bali, check out this post I wrote after our first trip in 2013. I’ve updated it after subsequent trips. If you’re looking for packing tips, then this post might help. This post is part 2 of our June/July 2018 trip to Bali, you can read Part 1 HERE.}

Over the past couple of years, one part of Bali kept coming up in conversation with friends – Canggu. It was usually mentioned in a sentence that went something like this: “Canggu is the new Seminyak”.

I was dubious. I LOVE Seminyak and I’ve loved all my holidays staying there. Did we need a new version? In our six nights in “the new Seminyak”, I got it.

Seminyak is fun, bustling (by bustling, I mean crazy BUSY). It’s home to some of my favourite restaurants, shops and beach clubs but the chill factor has disappeared. Areas I first visited five years ago, areas that were once surrounded by rice paddies, are now home to more villas, hotels, shops and restaurants. 

If you’re heading to Bali with a group, with the aim to party, then Seminyak is definitely your friend. Book a villa or hotel in the thick of the action but choose one that is a calm oasis to return to when you want to re-charge escape the busy.

Canggu is just to the north of Seminyak, not far as the crow flies, but up to an hour’s drive away from Seminyak if you’re caught in traffic and the one short-cut road between Seminyak and Canggu is blocked (as was the case for most of the week we were staying there).

Canggu stretches from Finn’s Beach Club in the south through to Echo Beach (faraway in time … you’re welcome for that ear worm) in the north. A couple of people have said that “true Canggu” is the northern bit, which is where we found ourselves on this stay – by accident and Instagram browsing, not by planning.

For me, Canggu felt like somewhere you could just settle in and enjoy the local surrounds, a bit like home. I’ll get to more about our AMAZING villa below but for us to really enjoy a short, much-needed holiday, we like having a base that allows us to do not much at all but to feel like we’re experiencing a destination a little like if we lived there. Does that make sense?

Living my best villa life | Fella Villas | Canggu

Living my best villa life | Fella Villas | Canggu

We did the same on our trip to Europe in 2017, making sure we built in a week on the Croatian island of Vis, just so we could stay put, hang at our villa or head out for the day to explore. I need this when I holiday. If I’m on the go the whole time, I feel like I need a holiday to recover. I know everyone’s different but that’s just how we roll.

I loved being able to schedule in some days or afternoons out but also some villa days. A villa day looked a little like this:

7am: Husband heads out for a surf (a five minute walk away and $5 to hire a board for an hour); I do a little yoga or a HIIT workout at the villa

9am: Eat the best Nasi Goreng for breakfast, cooked by our maid, Tia.

10am: Wander out for a coffee/shop browse – a few minutes’ walk to coffee and a 30-minute walk “loop” around our nearest shops and boutiques.

12noon: Head back at the villa for massages ($15 each for an hour).

1pm: G&Ts and snacks while dipping in and out of the pool and reading while reclining on one of the many daybeds.

4pm: Shower in our outdoor ensuite and change for the sunset by the beach and/or dinner out, a five minute walk to some fabulous local spots.

8pm: Home for another swim in the pool 

9pm: Head to our muslin-mosquito-netted bed

Just writing out that schedule has me feeling all zen like and rapidly working out just when we can get back there, for I fear it may not be long before the rice paddies and banana trees of Canggu disappear too. Our driver, Dewa, said more than once while driving the roads in the area: “so many villas now”. 

The first international hotel, the Intercontinental is currently being built. It looks like it’s going to be an amazing beachfront property – and I may want to stay there one day – but it may signal the arrival of more of the big names to the area. 

Where we stayed in Canggu

I think it was a very fortuitous late-night Instagram scrolling session that had me stumbling across Fella Villas. It was love at first like. I couldn’t stop liking the photos. I could imagine myself there in an instant. So, I booked. At any time when life was getting crazy in the lead up to our trip, I’d hop on and scroll through the account for this calming oasis. 

Fella Villas Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

This is a privately owned three double-bedroom/bathroom villa. It’s not in a complex. It’s hidden behind a high fence down a small lane off Jl. Jelayan, rice paddies and banana trees to the left. When you open the door to the lawn and courtyard, it is EXACTLY how it looks on airbnb and Instagram. Does anyone else ever fear their accommodation dreams may not match up with the reality? Well, the reality was very much on par with the dream at Fella Villas.

It felt very us.

Fella Villas Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

It was big enough that the four of us had plenty of room. PLENTY. But it was small enough that we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the space. Instead, it felt very welcoming. A big part of that welcome is the layout of the villa and its interior aesthetic but it’s the amazing Tia, who comes in each day to make you breakfast, clean the villa and wash your clothes who really makes you feel at home (well, the home you’d like to have – HAH)

Two of the bedrooms had outdoor ensuites; the third bedroom’s ensuite was indoors. The outdoor showering and toilet-ing thing is not normal for most of us but I got very used it. Loved it, in fact. The racks for hanging clothes were also located outside – letting nature do the steaming.

Fella Villas Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

Fella Villas Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

The beds themselves were super comfortable, with luxe white sheets. Closing the muslin mosquito canopy every night made them feel even more cosy.

The gardens, the indoor plants, cacti, furnishings and decor pieces make you feel like you’d stepped into someone’s Pinterest board. DREAMY. Think Scandi/boho luxe. I wanted to package it all up and bring transport into my own home.

Fella Villas Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

I loved rotating between the day beds throughout the day, chasing the sun or hiding from it. Wherever I sat or lay myself down, there was a very zen-like vista in front of me.

Fella Villas Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

Fella Villas Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

It’s not difficult to understand why this villa is booked out months in advance. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll want to go back. Best thing? It’s value for money for its location and what it offers. We paid less than what we would pay in peak season at one of our local beach destinations (and that’s without a maid or breakfast included!).

Nasi goreng by Tia | Fella Villas Canggu

Where we ate in Canggu

The Slow: modern takes on fresh ingredients, served up with style. Go for breakfast, lunch or dinner but don’t miss the sunset from the rooftop bar. You may just run into a famous local. Oh and you may just love the Cisco & The Sun glass straws and ceramics that you buy some and bring them home with you.

The Slow Rooftop bar | Is Canggu the new Seminyak

The Slow Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

The Slow | Canggu Is Canggu the new Seminyak

The Lawn: loved the Saturday afternoon vibe of this beach club, sitting up on the verandah waiting for the sunset away from the very busy pool. Great food and drinks too.

The Lawn, Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak?

Old Man’s: developed by an Aussie who wanted to bring the beer garden vibe to Bali, Old Man’s is a fave for many travellers. It’s right on the beach and the pub food offering is spot on and very good value. 

Old Man's Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak

Deus: we ended up feeding the boys here after my husband’s buy up in the shop and they gave a big thumbs up to the pizza and pasta ordered. Great value too.

The Loft: one of the many healthy food cafes in Canggu. If you’ve seen a smoothie bowl in a coconut shell on Instagram, it’s probably come from here.

The Loft Canggu | Is Canggu the new Seminyak

Lacalita Bar y Cocina: Mexican food just fits so well in Bali and this restaurant/bar did not disappoint. It was packed, so clearly it’s fave for many.

What we did away from our Canggu base

We dipped into Seminyak twice from our Canggu villa base. The first time was for the famous W Seminyak Sunday brunch, as an early birthday treat for my eldest son and a non-specific treat to me as I love The W the most of all the Seminyak beach clubs because of all the fabulous memories made there on each of my visits to Bali. It always feels like my spiritual home. Dressing to match the decor is not essential but kind of fun. HAH. The brunch buffet and the flowing Champagne/beer/cocktails situation was next-level and EXTRA, as all the young kids say. Fresh seafood, sushi, dumplings, pork buns, ice-cream bar … you name it, it was probably available to eat. And then you can hang out poolside on your own cabana. I may or may not have had a little snooze waiting for the sunset.

W Seminyak brunch

W Seminyak brunch | Nikki Parkinson Styling You in White Label Noba

W Seminyak Bali sunset Woo Bar

Our second trip into Seminyak was for a little shopping and early dinner at another fave, Motel Mexicola. Love the vibe at this brightly colour Mexican fave and loved sharing with my boys for the first time. Stay tuned, though, the people behind Motel Mexicola are opening a beach club, Tropicola Beach Club (August, 2018).

Motel Mexicola Seminyak

Quad bike riding: I sent the boys off on an adventure while I was doing a photoshoot at the villa one morning. Our driver, Dewa, sorted the tour which had them having a tonne of fun around Ubud. Details HERE of an extended version of what they did.

Quad bike riding Ubud _ Bali Smart Tours

Day trip to Nusa Penida: We also booked this through our driver, Dewa (details HERE). This stunning island is tucked behind Lembongan to the south-east. It’s a long day trip (10-12 hours), with an early pick up from your accommodation, travelling to Sanur to connect with a fast boat to the island (this trip takes about 40 minutes). On arrival at the island you meet a local driver (Dewa stays with you too) and he takes you around to the “Instagram” spots that the island has become famous for – and why it’s SO crowded at each spot. It’s also quite a big island, so it takes some time to reach each each spot. The roads are extremely bumpy in a lot of places and the cars are not four wheel drives. Your core stability will be tested! I loved all the spots, despite the crowds and somewhat lax safety barriers. What we LOVED was our afternoon snorkelling in waters off Crystal Bay. This was some of the best water quality we’ve experienced snorkelling. Having our own boat and being away from the crowds was so incredibly peaceful.

Kelingking Beach Nusa Penida

Broken Beach Nusa Penida

Crystal Bay Nusa Penida

Snorkelling Nusa Penida

Snorkelling Nusa Penida

Snorkelling Crystal Bay Nusa Penida

So, tell me, are you a Bali fan? Stayed in Canggu? Where did you stay? Favourite things to do in the area?

Why travel insurance is as important as your passport

For me, I don’t book a holiday without first taking out travel insurance. Often the time of booking flights and accommodation can be long before the time of travel and you can never be certain of what might happen between then and showing your passport at customs.

I then want to take off knowing that if someone in my family needs it, I’m backed up with help from my travel insurance company. For my last three international trips – to EuropeHawaii and to Bali – I’ve chosen and paid for Allianz travel insurance. I also take out Allianz travel insurance for any domestic travel or road trips we do.

Obtaining Allianz travel insurance is a simple and easy process. I select and purchase my cover online. I’ve found that the insurance cover is competitive in price for the inclusions I select.

For me, it’s about having peace of mind when we travel. I want to know that if anything goes wrong that my family is backed up through medical help or simply help with extra accommodation or replacement belongings should something be stolen.

When our son was sick six years ago while in New York, we weren’t concerned by the potential expense should we need hospital treatment. And when I book holidays in advance, I do so with the knowledge that if unexpected cancellations occur, I’m covered.^

In short, I don’t leave home – or book a holiday – without it.

Book with Allianz Travel Insurance online HEREEnter STYLINGYOU to receive up to 10% off Comprehensive Travel Insurance*

Allianz has more information HERE and HERE – please read if you’re travelling to Bali.   


*Discount based on standard premium rates and applies to International Comprehensive policies only. Please note some discounts may have already been applied to premiums when a product is purchased through a certain channel (for example, online) (Original Discount). In such a case, the greater of the discount offered under this voucher and the Original Discount will be applied. Discount applies to standard premiums only. No discount will be applied to other premium components such as pre-existing medical condition cover.

Allianz Travel Insurance is issued and managed by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFS Licence No. 245631, trading as Allianz Global Assistance, on behalf of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708. Any information or advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at allianz.com.au before buying this product.

^Terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions apply. Please see the Product Disclosure Statement for more information. Any information or advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. If you purchase a policy, Allianz Global Assistance receives a commission which is a percentage of your premium – ask them for more details before they provide you with any services on this product  

My 10-step packing guide for any destination

Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer | 10-step packing guide for any destination | Styling You | Nikki ParkinsonFor me, the holiday planning is all part of the excitement and anticipation of being on that escape. I love nothing more than going down the rabbit hole that is the internet looking for inspiration and ideas for what to do at the chosen destination but also for the types of clothes and accessories that will best suit that destination at the time that I’m travelling.

The formula I use for packing is one that can be adapted and applied to every destination and type of holiday. It’s not complicated. If you follow all the steps it’s quite liberating. I can’t ever imagine returning to my bad old days of throwing everything into a suitcase, sitting on said suitcase to get it closed, and hoping that I’d packed what I needed.

Want to get that formula? It’s all in my e-book.

Last year I released my e-book, How to plan and pack for your next holiday (confessions of a reformed over-packer) and I’m excited to let you know that it’s had a 2018 update and an expansion with some new chapters.

Buy my e-book HERE

Comments 8

  1. Dear Nikki the swimming suit u wearing in this page ( white and pastel) squares in the pool with white glasses, what brand is it ?!
    Thank you so much

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  2. What a glorious spot Bali is, we have just returned from our first ever visit, and it wont be our last. We stayed in Sanur, and look forward to visiting again, with a move to Canggu in the plans too! Holiday blues have settled in here now, eased with booking our Summer holiday. Thanks for sharing your tips and hot spots Nikki, your posts on Bali has inspired five years of me mybe nagging the huz. Worth the wait!

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  3. We went up to Canggu to shop at Bungalow Living. I could live happily in their coffee shop. Beautiful photos Nikki, but the ear worm is right in my head

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