Bali is one of the most popular destinations right now. So when I booked my ticket, I was afraid that it might be one of those places that’s all hype and no substance. Of course, like with so many other women, the idea of visiting Bali was ingrained into my head a couple of years back when I first read Eat Pray Love. But Bali is more than just a millennial escape. From idyllic beaches to stunning rice fields, breathtaking sunsets, and captivating spiritual energy – the island has it all. No matter if you’re up for partying, spiritual awakening, a good surf or a beach holiday, you’ll most likely experience Bali very uniquely and have a different adventure on the island to anyone else.
How to get around
Basically, there are three different ways to get around. Hire a scooter for roughly €3 a day, use an app to order taxis or hire a private driver.
Driving your own scooter is the best way to get around when you’re staying in one place, as petrol is extremely cheap and driving the scooter is a lot of fun. On the flip side, traffic is insane and there are a lot of accidents with scooters every day. For navigation, you can download the Google Map of Bali, put in earphones and let the navigation guide you towards your destination.
When it comes to exploring Bali by car, you can either opt for a taxi or hire a driver. Taxis are pretty expensive and online services, such as GoJek and Grab, are handy but forbidden in almost all the big cities. Hiring a private driver is the best way to go about, especially when traveling in a larger group. If you want to find a driver, simply ask someone who’s been in Bali before – they will most likely have one they can recommend. I had two drivers on the island that I absolutely loved. They drove me from city to city, stopped at sights and explained culture, art, and life on Bali to me really well.
Bali Travel Guide: Where to explore & what to do
HEALTHY LIVING: Being active and taking care of your physical, spiritual and mental health is extremely accessible in Bali. You can either take part in a Balinese cooking class, engage in various workout classes, go to Yoga or hike up Mount Batur to watch the sunrise.
BEACH DAYS: If you like water sports you can go diving or snorkeling on Nusa Penida, swim in the clear blue beaches of the Bukit peninsula or go surfing in Canggu or Uluwatu. Seminyak and Canggu both offer amazing beach clubs for chilling, swimming and just generally enjoying your day in the sun.
SPA AND WELLNESS: Ubud is the perfect place to indulge in a spa day. You can find amazing cheap massages all over the island, though. A Balinese 60-minute massage usually cost me around 100k IDR. Many bigger day spas offer traditional Balinese flower baths and there are various tours that will take you to the healing baths, where you can engage in a sacred bathing ritual.
EXPLORE THE WATERFALLS AND RICE FIELDS: When you’re in Ubud you can either walk along the Campuhan ridge walk and marvel at the stunning rainforest, explore the many waterfalls or explore different coffee plantations and rice fields. The big ones are quite crowded and it’s best to go early in the morning. My driver, however, took me to smaller rice fields and waterfalls that were equally as beautiful and not ruined by Instagram-photo-tourists, yet.
MOUNT BATUR: If you’re relatively fit and like a challenge, hiking up Mount Batur to watch the sunrise is the ultimate thing to tick off your Bali bucket list. You meet at the assembly point at 3 in the morning and start hiking up the vulcano for about two hours to experience the most stunning sunrise. Be prepared and bring hiking shoes (or good sneakers) and a thick jumper because it gets cold up there.
VISIT A TEMPLE: Bali is predominantly Hindu and therefore has a vast array of beautiful temples spread across the island. I went to Tanah Lot and Uluwatu Temple and loved both. Make sure to adhere to the dress code, though, and go there in a Maxi dress/skirt or use a Sarong to cover your legs according to their tradition and culture.
DAY TRIPS FROM BALI: With numerous small islands spread around the ocean near Bali, the option of doing day trips from Bali is a great alternative when you feel like having a change of scenery. Nusa Penida is especially popular for day trips, with countless numbers of tourists driving around the small island to get the perfect Instagram shot. Its beauty is no doubt stunning and incomparable, however, you could also go to one of the Gilli islands for a bit of partying and beach fun.
What is the best time to visit Bali?
The best time to visit Bali is during the island’s dry season from May to October. However, this is also high season in Bali and means a lot of other tourists are coming to the island as well – especially in May, June, and July. From November to April you’ll have to deal with the occasional rainstorm and generally more humidity and clouds. However, with Bali being located close to the equator, it is still rather beautiful during that time (or so I’ve been told by my Balinese friends on the island).
Safety, especially for female solo travelers
Bali is relatively safe. Crime is very unusual on the island of Gods, apart from the typical risk of mild petty theft that you’ll encounter at almost any place crowded with tourists. The biggest thing you need to watch out for is road safety, especially when renting a motorbike (and always use a helmet!).
The locals in Bali are incredibly friendly and kind. They will always stop and make sure you are fine and offer help when needed. I not once felt uncomfortable in Bali and trusted almost anyone I met on the streets immediately. A lot of times, when I was walking around Ubud or Canggu at night, I felt safer there than in Austria. Of course, it’s always best to be wary and keep your belongings safe. However, I personally feel like Bali is the perfect destination for female solo travelers.
Bali Travel Guide: Good to know
PAY WITH CASH: The currency of Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah (1 IDR). Always make sure to carry a couple of 10 – 100k notes for daily expenses. Many places aren’t able to accept credit cards at all, and the ones that do will often charge you a hefty fee. It’s best to hit the ATM at the airport and get enough cash for at least a few days.
BRING A WATER BOTTLE: Bottled water is available everywhere in Bali. However, seeing that Indonesia is one of the biggest pollutants in the world when it comes to plastic, you might want to steer away from adding to the problem. Bali isn’t really developed when it comes to recycling and you’ll often see and smell plastic trash burning on the side of the road – so bringing a refillable water bottle and using that one is a good idea.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE OFFERINGS: … and be careful not to step on them when walking along the sidewalks. The small woven baskets made from coconut leaves and filled with flowers and other gifts to the gods are called “Chanang” and you can find them literally everywhere in Bali.
LANGUAGE: The main languages spoken in Bali are Indonesian, Balinese and English.
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