Most of the people associate Canggu to the hipster Bali district for surf and parties. Pronounced “Changgoo”, or shorten as the surf cool kids say “The Gu”, it’s an area in South Bali, between Seminyak and Tanah Lot. The Australian influence is evident here – followed by Scandinavian, French, Chinese, Japanese etc. – but even with all this foreign touch it is still Bali. With a wider eye, stepping over all the new-age/organic/fusion coffees, temples and shrines are everywhere as a reminder of the real Indonesian cultural essence.
Tugu Hotel, for instance, is a must heritage destination where to find the finest blend of local history and tropical luxury in Bali. Meaning ‘monument’, Tugu is a Nostalgia Hotel. Its founder, Anhar Setjadibrata, owns the biggest collection of fine Indonesian art and cultural antiquities. The story behind his antiquary empire goes back to the 70s when Anhar was still a young medical Javanese student. The political situation of that time forced him to suspend his doctorate so he had to accept a job as a medical representative for a pharmaceutical company. He began collecting antiques at the early age of 25 as his job gave him the opportunity to come across all the rural villages around the region. He discovered a deep passion for handcrafted beautiful objects, things that locals were discarding as considered old-fashioned. Through the years, his vast collection of antiques still continues to grow.
The out-of-the-ordinary Tugu ambience is indeed saturated of romance and you can feel legends of the ancient kingdoms of Indonesia whispering behind every corner. At Tugu there is only one NON-Indonesian antique piece; it’s 311 years old and it comes from Japan. Housed in an original Kang XI period temple from 1706 on the 1st floor the Ji Restaurant serves Japanese fusion delicacies. Newly renovated and extended through the 2nd and 3rd floors, Ji Terrace by THE SEA, offers a 180 degrees undisturbed view over the Indian Ocean – that’s he perfect spot to watch the fearless surfers of “The Gu” at sunset time.