Travel Diary: the best place to do nothing is Canggu

Echo Beach Canggu Bali

At first, Echo beach disappoint me.

When I picture a perfect beach, I imagine calm waves crashing against soft white sands, colorful seashells waiting to be unearthed. Cobalt blue fishes, fiery red starfishes and other neon creatures swimming in the transparent sea.

Echo beach is nothing like that. Its sand’s dark, giving it a filthy feel. The waves are palm tree high and, to surfers’ disappointments, breaks like the waves hit each other. Never mind the fishes, the waves were too violent for any kind of living.

We had time to kill before the sun sets (and for the next 3 days). I intend to make the most of it.

Ironically, the reason we chose Canggu is productivity. Philip wanted to take surfing lessons and work at a coworking space. So, the first thing we do after unpacking is heading to the beach to ask shirtless locals about the lessons.

Echo Beach Canggu

Next. Snack. There were about 18-ish open-air shacks to choose from—so little, compared to other touristy places’ in Bali. We strolled along the beach for 7 minutes, passing all the shacks. Every one of them is similar—pale/rustic colored, facing the sea and offering the same price. We suspected the owners had a seat together, built this complex together and agreed on one price.

Philip bought soccer-ball-sized coconuts from one of the open-air shacks. I ordered spicy-salty grilled corn, extra spices, from a street cart. Then, we sank to two of the nearest beanbags.

Echo Beach dog Canggu Bali

The best part about this beach: nothing happened. There was no sound, no messages pinging, no deadlines approaching, nothing,  except for the occasional splashing waves.

The people were fantastic. No kids crying, no locals pushing you to let them braid your hair or buying their drinks, just a couple tourists in their bikinis sunbathing, reading books, sleeping, minding their own businesses. None of them stare at the newcomers like overdressed teenagers in overpriced cafes.


I got up from my purple beanbag, shaking the sand off my dress and told Philip, “I’m going near the waves.”

He shrugged an okay.

I walked slowly, noticing the way the I leave my footprint and the way the sand reflects sunlight. Glittery.

By the waves, I ended up playing my childhood game by myself. I walked back and forth, nearer, then farther, then nearer to the wave. My goal was soaking my feet ankle deep. If the water goes anywhere above that, it’ll soak my dress. Meaning, I’ll have nothing to wear for dinner. Unlike any other beaches in my lifetime so far, Canggu’s waves were far more inconsistent. Unpredictable. Fun.

While I was playing chase with the waves, I spotted a blonde girl in a white tank top going waist deep in the water, followed by her dark-haired boyfriend. They went deeper until they’re waist deep, hugged, kissed and played piggie-back while the waves splash their bodies.

What a cute couple. I wonder what my own boyfriend is doing. I skipped back to our beanbags, where he sat and did nothing.

Surprisingly, something about Philip changed. His serious scowl line, which I think was permanent from non-stop thinking, lessen. The determination in his eyes softened. His lips curved a little upwards as if suppressing a smile.

From experience, if I tell him you’re smiling, he’d wordlessly turn back to his usual grumpy state, like an embarrassed kid zipping up after being told you forgot to zip your pants, what, do you want to show your weewee to the world? 

Suddenly, a couple brown and white dogs ran towards us, making sands fly, hopping at the top of each other, then started mating. After we could make sense of what’s happening, we left our seats.

Anyway, the sunset wait was worth it.

Echo Beach Sunset Canggu Bali

The best sunset ever, and I’ve seen a lot of sunsets. It’s like Balinese gods spilled their watercolors in the Canggu sky. All the colors blended together. The main shades changed from rose pink, fresh orange, purple, white, etc every minute. It was the most magical thing I’ve ever seen.

Echo beach Sunset Canggu Bali 2

We tried taking pictures and videos of it. But the beauty of any of the result wasn’t even comparable to the real life version.

Canggu Deus Ex machina pizza

That night, after a tasty pizza-pasta dinner at the famous Deus-ex-Machina, Philip rode us back to our Airbnb house. Very slowly—since he’s new with driving motorbikes.

I’d be scared if I were him. The night was dark. The street lamps were not enough. The shortcut we took is only a small road, cutting paddy fields, narrowly passable by 2 cars from different directions.

Later, I found out the community had an Instagram account dedicated for this shortcut, most of their posts are about off track cars and motorcycles diving into the muddy paddy field. Hahaha.

Canggu Airbnb 1

Canggu Airbnb 2

At our Airbnb house, he confronted me, “What did you do near the waves? That was odd.”

Some may find his comment offensive. But, I know, from years of dating him, this meant he watched me playing at the beach, aside from watching dudes surfing. (Read: surfing: a subject he’s currently diving into. Usually, he forgot and probably doesn’t care to do anything else during studies. )

I shrugged, “I avoid getting my dress wet.” Speaking of waves, I told him about the kissing couple.

“Why would they do that?”

“It’s fun. Don’t you think?”


“It means they’re doing couple kinds of stuff,” I paused, composing a casual tone so I don’t sound like a jealous bitch, “What do we do?”

“I look at you.”

I blinked, “Any guy would look at me.”

“Do random guys spend an entire day staring at you?” he asked matter-of-factly.

“Well, no.”

“Nah!” he exclaimed in the victory.


However, before bed, he hugged me goodnight.

What an adorable weirdo.

Anyway, we ended the trip doing nothing, failing to be productive wonderfully. I managed to scribble some notes during Philip’s one-time surfing lesson. That’s it.

P.S. Philip found a restaurant by the green paddy field shortcut. Both meals we ordered were delicious.

Cloud 9 Canggu food burger
Canggu Cloud 9 paddy

Cloud 9 Canggu food

Cloud 9 Canggu

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