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Bali, Indonesia: A digital nomad’s guide to Canggu

By Jasmin Woolf 10 September 2020

Header image courtesy of Dojo Bali

So, you want to ditch the nine-to-five grind for Zoom meetings by the pool in a tropical island paradise? Good call. Be sure to have your iPhone at the ready to snap a pic of #todaysoffice! There’s a reason why “Silicon Bali”— otherwise known as Canggu (ᬘᬂᬕᬸ)—is one of the top travel destinations for digital nomads.

It can feel overwhelming when you’re still finding your steps as an online entrepreneur, especially if you aren’t familiar with the island. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together a quick guide to help provide a little inspiration and help you figure out the process.

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First of all, why Bali (ᬩᬮᬶ)? For starters, there is so much to do! Being in Bali feels like a never-ending adventure. Even if you’re not a sporty person, there are so many different activities that might strike your fancy. Have you ever wanted to learn how to surf, go white water rafting through the jungle, or meditate in a bamboo hut surrounded by rice paddies? Now’s your chance!

One of the other reasons digital nomads find Bali so appealing is its sheer natural beauty. The main island alone boasts an active volcano, numerous hidden waterfalls, lush rice terraces, and breathtaking cliff faces. If that’s not enough, it’s surrounded by several picturesque islands a short boat ride away. Trust me, photos don’t do this place justice!

The Balinese also have a fascinatingly rich spiritual heritage. Any visitor walking around will notice small food and flower offerings in front of shops, houses, hotels, temples, on the beach, and even on crossroads and bridges as part of a daily Balinese Hinduism ritual to show gratitude to the gods. The locals have a gentle, spiritual way of life which can be seen from the way they talk and act, and their religious practices are a big part of what makes the island so magical.

Where to stay and work

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Accommodation in Canggu can be simple and inexpensive, or wildly extravagant. There’s no shortage of cheap home-stays and hostels, which are a great option if you’re looking to save money and make friends with locals or like-minded wanderers. For those of you looking for more of a vacation-style vibe, luxurious boutique villas are plentiful and come in many sizes with different amenities. No matter if you’re travelling solo or in a group, you can easily find a place that’ll suit your needs and budget.

It’s a fact that internet speed is directly proportional to the happiness of digital nomads. Thankfully, Bali’s infrastructure has improved significantly over the years so you can find pretty reliable WiFi connection readily available in most hotels, villas, cafés, and restaurants. There’s also a wide network of co-working spaces throughout Canggu (and Bali) which provide state-of-the-art facilities and stable WiFi so you can work online without any issues. Whether your work requires creative output or focused productivity, finding the right environment is everything.

Outpost describes itself as “the co-working space Google would create if they opened in Bali,” and it’s not far off! Its office space is modern and designed for its members to be as efficient as possible. Need some privacy? No problem! Outpost Canggu offers private meeting rooms and booths for calls. It also has a vibrant community of digital nomads so you can socialise with like-minded people at one of their many events. Don’t forget about the perks—a pool, complimentary drinks, and free 15-minute massages on Thursdays! Sign us up!

If you love surfing but still want to get work done, Dojo is the perfect co-working space for you. Located a stone’s throw away from the beach, Dojo has a lot going for it—with six business-grade load-balanced fibre optic lines, air-conditioned meeting rooms, private booths, a pool, and an on-site café, co-working has never been so exotic! It also serves as a hub for Canggu’s young and aspiring and offers plenty of workshops, skill-sharing sessions, networking events, and more for you to get the most out of the co-working experience.

At the end of the day, Outpost and Dojo are but two of many co-working spaces in Bali. Many co-working spaces do offer day passes or flexible memberships so take the time to try different options to find the perfect one for you. Don’t just live to work—work to live!

Keep scrolling for the rest of the guide 👇

If paying for a membership isn’t for you, you can join the plethora of digital nomads working out of Instagram-worthy cafés. Many of these cafes are a great place to set up your laptop, plug your earphones in, and get into your workflow. 

Crate Café is an oldie but a goodie. With some of the best breakfast deals in town, early risers can get their breakfast fix on starting from 6 am and spend a few hours getting a headstart on work at this spacious venue. The Mocca has a gorgeous open-air design and a relaxed bohemian vibe. Not only does it serve great coffee and delicious food, but it also offers a casual indoor café area, a bright and airy patio, and a luscious garden so you can change up where you want to sit depending on your mood.

Milu By Nook is relatively new to the scene. Most people might know it as an extension of its well-known older sister, Nook. Nonetheless, Milu comes with the same great menu, which includes some of Nook’s signature dishes and a unique boho-chic style. One thing to note is that the venue does not have power outlets available so be sure to bring a power pack. For those hoping to sample local cuisine, do some research online to find a nearby warung (a modest, family-owned Indonesian business). The food is affordable and delicious. Sate Plecing Arjuna is a bit far out but it’s a firm local favourite!

There you have it—a condensed guide to living the digital nomad life in Canggu, Bali. Obviously, making a big life decision to fly overseas and work in a tropical land might seem terrifying, but it can be worth it! Whether you’re a nomad newbie or an experienced traveller, you can check out the first of a series where our very own writer prepares to start her own digital nomad journey.

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Jasmin Woolf

Contributor

Jasmin is a freelance writer and Hong Kong native. With a zealous love for great food, conscious consumption, and travel, she spends most of her time chasing (yet another) waterfall, attempting to find inner peace through yoga, and cooking up a storm. Follow Jasmin’s travel and foodie adventures on Instagram.

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