Ubud Or Canggu? Mountains Vs Beaches In Bali

Are both Ubud and Canggu worth visiting? This is a fairly common question here in this part of Southeast Asia and then it’s usually followed by people trying to work out if they should just visit one of these Balinese towns or the other.

Our guide to Ubud Vs Canggu will help you decide whether you want to visit both Canggu and Ubud or if you want to visit just one town and visit somewhere else on the island, instead.

What’s It Like In Canggu?


Canggu is home to Bali’s biggest nightlife destinations and beach clubs, including FINNS Beach Club, the world’s best beach club.

It has all the modern amenities you could need from yoga studios to martial arts gyms, to co-working spaces and amazing restaurants.

There are still a few serene rice fields dotted around the area and there are several beaches in Canggu including Echo Beach, Berawa Beach, and Batu Bolong Beach which are very popular with surfers.

In 2024, there’s no doubt that Canggu is the most popular destination in Bali with visitors having overtaken both Kuta and Seminyak with its all-around appeal.

What’s It Like In Ubud?

Curving street through Ubud town, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud, on the other hand, is a place to soak up Balinese culture, where you can wander rice terraces, visit trendy cafes, spend time at the sacred monkey forest sanctuary, or watch traditional dance performances in the shadow of Balinese Hindu temples.

Both Ubud and Canggu are home to yoga studios, but Ubud has many more (including the well-known Ubud Yoga House) and you can see people wandering around in yoga clothes on a regular basis.

Ubud’s inland location means that it’s cooler and less humid than the beach town and for some people, this is a major draw in the Ubud/Canggu debate.

However, there’s no doubt that just like in Canggu, development is taking place at a rapid pace in Ubud and it’s no longer the unspoiled market town of a decade or two ago.

Ubud Vs Canggu: Head-To-Head Comparisons

Indonesia, Bali, Surfing a wave

When we compare destinations, we like to break them down and compare them in several categories that we think are important to visitors.

This helps you make a better decision of which area(s) to visit in Bali based on what you want from a place rather than on an arbitrary declaration of “XYZ area is best”.

Which Is The Best For Accommodation?

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Canggu has a great mix of accomodation though it has fewer big brand names in the area than say Seminyak or Nusa Dua.

However, it’s easy enough to find anything from surf hostels to luxury villas in Canggu, it is, of course, a tourist town. These offerings nearly all have a swimming pool and are a short walk from the amazing beaches of the area.

Ubud also has a huge range of accomodation and some of the best of it is set in the stunning rice terraces just outside of town.

There’s nothing quite like waking up amidst terraced rice paddies to feel that you’re properly at home in Bali.

Interestingly, Ubud has both the cheapest and most expensive accommodation of the two areas and it’s easy to find something for every budget whereas in Canggu, the majority of accommodation is now targetted at the mid-market.

While this category is very close, we’re going to call it in favour of Ubud. It’s easier to manage the most major of living costs in Ubud and find exactly the kind of property you’re looking for. However, you won’t get an ocean view anywhere in Ubud.

Which Has The Best Nightlife?

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If the last category was close, this one isn’t. Canggu is, perhaps, the finest nightlife destination in Bali at the moment and only Seminyak, its neighbour, really comes close to offering the variety of pubs, clubs, bars, etc. as Canggu does.

Many visitors to Bali come with the sole intention of partying at FINNS Beach Club, for example, 1 in 8 tourists who pass through the airport, will come to FINNS.

Ubud has nothing similar and while some of the trendy cafes and bars do open late, like the Laughing Buddha Bar, for example, there’s no real clubbing or party scene.

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Of course, for some people, this will make Ubud worth visiting as they want to focus on Taksu Yoga, Balinese food and cultural attractions rather than well-mixed cocktails and the nearest beaches.

However, there’s no doubt that Canggu wins this category with its vibrant nightlife, hands down. Ubud is a great place but it’s not a place to spend each night partying into the wee hours.

Which Is The Best Shopping Destination?

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Canggu is also the better shopping destination and not just for surf gear, the area has become home to some of the best designer boutique shops in Bali and if you’re looking for an amazing dress or the perfect pair of heels, you’re more likely to find it in Canggu.

The one thing that Canggu is missing is a shopping mall, but there are malls in the other beach towns just a short drive from Canggu, unlike Ubud. Canggu also has art galleries and more.

On the other hand, if you love local handmade arts, you can’t go wrong in Ubud where the Ubud art market is one of the best sources of local souvenirs on the island.

Also, if you’re into the “hippy aesthetic” there’s probably no better place in Southeast Asia than Ubud for quenching your thirst for a kaftan.

Overall, though, Canggu is better than Ubud for shopping though both Canggu and Ubud provide some decent places to shop.

Which Has The Best Dining Scene?

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This is super tough both Canggu and Ubud have thriving fine dining restaurants, international restaurants, amazing local food, and a health-conscious food scene.

You can find vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options galore in both cities.

Canggu is home to some of the most popular restaurants in Bali including Monsoon, St. Tropez, Bondi, Crate Café, Luigi’s Hot Pizza, and more. From high-end local dishes to beach bars, there’s so much choice in Canggu.

Ubud is no slouch either with Arcadia, Kaukau, Kepitu and Ivy Cafe providing awesome dining options. They’ve got a huge variety of food too from Indian roti kitchens to holistic wellness cafes.

On this aspect, we think it’s too tight to call, both Ubud and Canggu are incredible places to eat and all the streets have somewhere to enjoy tasty meals and for any budget too.

Canngu Beach Vs Ubud’s Mountains

Scenic view of a surfer on the haves sea waves during sunset, Bloubergstrand, Cape Town

Canggu is a great beach town and there are several beaches in town including Batu Bolong Beach, Echo Beach and Berawa Beach (home of FINNS).

They’re mainly black sand beaches which means that they’re not always as pretty as the white sand beaches of Nusa Dua or Sanur.

However, where they excel is for the surfer scene as they offer many opportunities to learn to surf and take on challenging waves.

Anyone who has spent an afternoon at FINNS will tell you, the sunsets over Canggu’s beaches are amazing and even if you’re not into swimming, surfing or sunbathing, there’s something awesome about sipping a cocktail and watching the light break over the Indian Ocean.

On the other hand, Ubud has no beaches, it’s in the centre of the island in the foothills of the mountains running down the spine of Bali.

Its big attractions are its gorgeous natural views of rice paddies and rice fields, rainforest and jungle combined with an endless supply of temples and other cultural highlights.

In fact, Ubud and Canggu are so different in this respect that we have to conclude that this is a tie. They both have an undeniable natural beauty but they will mainly appeal to different people.

Which Is The Most Aesthetically Pleasing?

Woman at Tegalalang rice terrace in Bali

Canggu has some beautiful spots, and the beach front at sunset is stunning. Some of the local rice fields (which are still evident though diminishing as development continues) are breathtakingly beautiful.

There are also some very attractive buildings in town, such as FINNS, which was built specifically to be aesthetically pleasing.

However, the pace of development has hurt the visual appeal of Canggu to some extent and there are, as with any town, some roads that aren’t that attractive comparatively.

Ubud, on the other hand, has the best natural setting of any major town on the island. The fields and paddies go on forever around the town.

It’s home to some amazing temples, gardens, and palaces too and it’s extremely photogenic. The Camphuan Ridge Walk at sunset, for example, is strikingly attractive.

While this category is close, we think that Ubud edges it and is the prettier of the two towns.

Which Has The Most Things To Do?

SPLASH Splash Waterpark

It depends on how you count. If we counted every waterfall, temple and rice field as a separate entity, Ubud would win hands down as there are a huge number of these things in the area.

However, most people find themselves “all templed out” after a couple of temples, it’s hard to see how one rice field is different enough from the next to make it something new to do and the same goes for waterfalls which are awesome, but very few people want to see them all.

Canggu, on the other hand, on the raw count of things to do might have fewer options but in reality, it has far more variety.

There are temples, beaches, rice fields, gyms, a waterpark, a trampolining centre, a Junior Sports Academy, a bowling alley and much, much more.

Yes, there are people who would just prefer to spend their time in nature, but Canggu is definitely the town with the most things to do by any measure that matters.

Were Would Expats Be The Happiest?

We don’t have to speculate on this. While Canggu and Ubud have plenty of expats, there’s no doubt that Canggu is currently attracting far more expats than Ubud.

That’s not because expats don’t appreciate the natural beauty of Ubud. It’s not that they don’t value the cheap accommodation Ubud offers either.

It’s that Canggu on the South Coast is better placed for most people to find work or hobbies and other expats. It’s also a shorter distance to shopping malls and other creature comforts that make long-term life on the island more fun.

We know that there are plenty of expats in Ubud who love the vibe of the town and the way of life that it supports, but the majority of people who come to Bali, come for the beach and there’s no doubt that Canggu offers the best beach access of the two.

Which Area Is Best For Digital Nomads?

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Digital nomads in Bali are going to end up in either Canggu or Ubud at some point or another. They’re both considered to be top destinations for digital nomads and they seem to attract folks based on their unique offerings.

However, there are more coworking spaces in Canggu than there are in Ubud, by quite a way, and Canggu has several co-living spaces now that are integrated into coworking areas.

Canggu and Ubud both have cheap guest houses where you can get connected as a digital nomad and work in the peace of your own room.

For a lot of digital nomads, the choice of where to be a digital nomad will come down to whether you want the Tegallalang rice terraces, lush jungles, stunning waterfalls, and Ubud Palace or if you want DJ parties, good surf, beautiful beaches and the Tanah Lot Temple.

However, if we have to make a call on this one, we think Canggu boasts more digital nomad amenities than Ubud and thus, Canggu is the better option.

So, Ubud or Canggu? Which Is The Best Town To Visit?


So to sum up, we rated Ubud as best for accommodation and felt that it was the most aesthetically pleasing of the two areas though there wasn’t much in it, we rated Canggu as best for nightlife, shopping, things to do, for expats and for digital nomads.

We felt it was a tie between Ubud and Canggu for the dining scene and the general beach vs mountain vibe of the destinations.

So, overall we feel that Canggu is the better place to visit, though there’s a lot to recommend both towns and it’s no surprise that many tourists opt to visit Ubud and Canggu or even stay in both towns for long periods of time.


Is Ubud Or Canggu Better?

We don’t think Ubud or Canggu is “better”. We think they’re both wonderful places and they’re both worth visiting.

Ubud is full of natural and cultural charm and many consider it to be the spiritual heart of the island.

Canggu, on the other hand, is a brash and bold beach town with amazing nightlife and surfing that absolutely rocks.

You might prefer one over the other as we prefer Canggu, but there’s no doubt that they’re both great places for a holiday.

However, if you read our review above, when we took into account the most important factors when comparing Ubud to Canggu, Canggu just edged Ubud overall.

Should I Go To Canggu Or Ubud?

Yes! In fact we think you should go to Ubud AND Canggu rather than Ubud or Canggu. Of course, if you can only go to one – we’d love to see you here at FINNS Beach Club in Canggu.

Yes, we’re a bit biased but we think Canggu is the best part of the island, it’s why we’re based here.

However, we wouldn’t put anyone off choosing Ubud as a holiday destination it’s a lovely town with a very different vibe to Canggu. That’s why we think you should visit both.

Is Canggu Or Ubud More Expensive?

This is difficult. Ubud is home to some of the most expensive resorts on Earth. You can easily spend over $1,000 a night in Ubud just for a place to rest your head, it’s also got some incredible fine dining that is as expensive, if not more, than anything on the rest of the island.

Canggu, on the other hand, is more aimed at the midmarket and there are fewer outrageously expensive places to stay or eat.

But… Ubud also has some decent midmarket accomodation and far more hostel/guest house-style accomodation than Canggu too. So, you could spend much less in Ubud than in Canggu.

Overall, assuming a decent but not showy level of spending, you might find Canggu slightly more expensive than Ubud but only slightly.

Which Is The Nicest Part Of Bali?

We think the nicest part of Bali is Canggu, that’s why we built FINNS Beach Club here. However, we have to acknowledge that many would say it’s Nusa Dua which is home to the biggest name luxury resorts on the island.

Is It Better To Stay In Canggu or Seminyak?

We did a full head-to-head analysis of Canggu or Seminyak and came to the conclusion that we prefer Canggu but that there’s not a lot in it and given that they are right next door to each other (you can literally walk from Canggu to Seminyak), you can see both no matter which place you stay in.

How To Book A Holiday In Canggu Or Ubud Or Canggu And Ubud, Bali

Want to dive deep into Bali and book a holiday in Canggu/Ubud or both? Then, we recommend you contact the Bali Res Centre.

They’re Bali’s best specialist travel agent and they can help you get a great deal on hotels, resorts, flights, tours, etc.

Final Thoughts On Ubud Or Canggu

Choosing between Ubud and Canggu is no easy task and that’s why we always recommend that you visit both towns.

However, if you really do have to choose just one, then we say come to Canggu, the home of FINNS, the world’s best beach club, and enjoy a cocktail on a sun lounger with an epic view of the sunset over the Indian Ocean, it’s awesome. 

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