Bali had moved up to the #1 spot on my travel bucket list after seeing the most beautiful photos online for the past year. I fell completely in love and obsessed over this place – doing so much research and eventually deciding to plan a trip there for myself, by myself. Doing Bali solo was something I was nervous about at first but it was such an amazing experience!
there’s no public transport in Bali, so you’ll definitely want to pre-arrange pickup at the airport. I recommend using Klook, which is probably the cheapest and easiest way you can find. You can also get a local SIM card right then as well, but more on that later. I booked tours for a couple of days (very last minute, I might add) so that covered my private drivers for those days. The other days I just used Grab or Gojek. I had heard that these “online taxis” are banned in certain areas – Ubud especially so I was worried. However you’re still able to order them, you just may have to walk a bit (block or two) to meet them away from your requested location. Overall, I had no issues getting around. You can also use Grab and Gojek to order food- it’s basically their version of Uber. The roads are very narrow and theyre all two way streets, it made me super anxious because I feel like they all drive crazy! Especially the scooters which I was terrified to ride. Eventually I got on the back of the scooter and it was perfectly fine – elect for this as it’s always cheaper than calling a car.
You can WALK! Don’t eliminate this option. I only decided to walk the night before I left and I wish I had sooner. You see so much that way and happen on some really cool places that you would have missed driving by. Things are actually closer than you may think.
This was the first time I ever got a local sim, but I’d definitely recommend for Bali. If you don’t have an international plan already on your phone, just buy a sim with data for about $7 and you’ll have service during your trip. This is a tremendous help with trying to get around and not having to search for wi-fi. It was an absolute must as a solo traveler for my peace of mind.
the local currency is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) I always opt to change my money at my local bank before leaving home. NEVER change at the airport because you’ll get the worst exchange rates! There are several money exchanges once you arrive though. Cash is most definitely king here, so make sure you have some at all times. It’s hard to say how much you need because Bali can definitely be done on a budget, most things are super cheap, but you may find lots of things you’d like to buy. The brick & mortar shops accept cards.
Tip: Get as many small bills as possible because drivers and sellers will pretend they don’t have enough change to give you back. If you’re at a restaurant or somewhere with a register, ask if they can make change for you just to have some smaller bills.
I went the end of November and it was HOT! Hot and humid like New Orleans in August. It never rained once. I’d pack lots of cotton, flowy dresses, swimsuits and things made of light material that won’t stick. Make sure to bring sunscreen and lots of bug spray because the mosquitos are serious.
Ubud is pretty much a jungle – there are creatures and wildlife everywhere so you just have to accept that. Don’t give your hotel staff a hard time if you find a bug or something because honestly there’s not much they can do to prevent it. Just be aware of that fact before you go. Also there are stray dogs EVERYWHERE! They roam the streets all over, but they won’t bother you.
I started my Bali experience in Seminyak which I’d been told is the “party area.” I wasn’t looking for this experience so I didn’t get that. There are so many beach clubs and restaurants all in one area that you can visit. There’s lots of cute shops and boutiques. Just about everything is “Instagram worthy” if you’re looking to get those shots. It can be relaxing if that’s what you’re looking for or you can find the parties – the experience is definitely what YOU make it.
Ubud is probably what most people think of when thinking of Bali. It is absolutely gorgeous! If you’re looking for a mental or spiritual experience, this is the place for you. It’s so much nature, yoga classes galore, spas, everything you need for ultimate relaxation. I stayed in a villa with a private pool overlooking the jungle.
Tegallang Rice Terraces – there are several rice fields all over, but this is the one I went to.
Kaveri Spa at the Udaya – I literally can’t say enough about the staff here. Seriously! I had seen tons of flower bath photos, but the most gorgeous arrangements were always from Kaveri – they are artists. I contacted them for more info via Instagram message a few months prior and booked my appointment for the date of my birthday. You’re sent a link to pay a deposit and must do so at least a week before the date. I opted to pay in full online so as to not owe on arrival. The resort is gorgeous! I arrived right on time for my appointment and was brought into the room to change. The sweet lady who worked there took sooo many photos of me. She offered pose suggestions, moved all around to get the angles, even put flowers in my hair. She went above & beyond. After my bath, she asked if I’d like to hang out at the pool on property, and I did. A few minutes later she found me again saying they had something for me. I go upstairs to their cafe and they come out singing happy birthday and have a special plate and drink made. I thought this was the sweetest thing! If you EVER find yourself in Bali, please put this place at the top of your list.
The Edge – this is located in Uluwatu so it’s probably quite a distance from where ever you’ll be staying. It’s well worth it because the view here is stunning! It took about an hour to arrive and I had a booked time so I was so nervous I’d be late plus i wanted to get there before it was dark. I emailed them saying I was in traffic and they pushed my reservation back with no questions. On arrival, you check in and are carted to the main area. You can choose some place to sit and put your things. As soon as I got there, I wanted to take photos as the sun would set soon and Devi, who works there really took over. She was GREAT! We really had a whole photoshoot. She was showing me the best places and became creative director. Ha! The main draw here is the clear bottom cliff pool overlooking the Indian Ocean – views are unmatched. You get a food & beverage credit with your entrance fee.
Monkey Forest – this was a must for me as I love seeing wild animals in their natural habitat, but I was still nervous to go because I’d heard stories about the monkeys being super mischievous. Reading the rules on arrival didn’t do anything to calm me. Once I got inside though, it was all good. The monkeys are everywhere! Just living. I really saw nature in its purest form. It’s beautiful. The tiny babies were so adorable, one ran up to me and started playing with my dress – I really wanted to scoop him up but also didn’t want any problems with his mother. There are workers all over and they’re very good with the monkeys, I asked one to take a photo and that’s how you get the infamous “monkey selfie.”
Tirta Gangga also known as the koi feeding temple. You can pay to get some fish food at the entrance to feed them. There’s also a canoe rental inside if you’d like to pay to ride. The place is really pretty scenery, but it’s not much to actually do, so if you’re tight on time, you can probably skip it.
Tukad Cepung Waterfall – there are sooo many waterfalls all over Bali. A quick Instagram search can help you decide which one you’d like to visit. I would recommend warring swim shoes because it can be quite the hike to get to the actual falls and there are rocks at the bottom which can be quite painful to bare feet. Take it from me – who wore sandals and went barefoot in the water! It’s also pretty slippery so be careful.
Aloha Ubud – there are swings ALL over Bali, but after some research I opted for this one. This is another experience you can get a discount on via Klook. Yes there are dresses you can rent, but you’d be better off purchasing one from the sellers at the markets that you can keep for the same price – that’s what I did. I opted for the photographer – you get professional photos on all the swings and they airdrop to you at the end for 100K (about $7). Everyone they’re is super used to taking pictures so you can give them your phone as well for videos if you’d like. One guy went above and beyond – he did slo-mo, normal videos, even held a mirror to get reflective shots. There’s also the famous coffee & tea samplings here which was included in my entry fee (so you might as well do it.) They also offer the luwak coffee which in my opinion you can skip because I didn’t even like it. The Rosella tea though – the best!
Ubud Art Market – you wont be able to take a single step without a seller approaching you to take a look and buy from them. Here is where you need to be firm and learn to haggle. Nothing here has a set price. They’ll pretty much take what ever you offer – but don’t be ridiculous, they’re trying to make a living. My inside tip: if you see something you think you like, don’t buy it immediately because 9/10 you’ll find a version of it you like more 2 shops down. Most of them sell similar items so you’ll see the same things a lot. This is where you should shop for gifts for loved ones back home. I admittedly bought way too much for myself. They have very nice dresses, silks, two piece sets, the infamous “Bali (rattan) bags”, crop tops and so much more. I really love all the clothing items I bought and it’s such a different style than what you’d find back home.
Overall, Bali is a stunning place and there’s something for whatever type of vacation you’re looking for whether it’s a party, relaxation, or adventure. If Bali is on your bucket list, go! If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram.