I decided to embark on a solo trip to Bali after seeing travel brochures for a paradise looking like island and I was sold! I also found it’s a pretty safe place to travel alone and the locals are very friendly. So here’s my fantastical blog on what I did there for a week with all of my golden tricks and tips!
What originally started as a month long trip around Asia had to unfortunately get cut down to two weeks max as I picked up a new job contract. So I had already planned to fly to Singapore and use it as my base, which is very common when travelling around Asia! Singapore airport is not only the most popular place for connecting flights but long running top rated! Check out my Singapore in a weekend blog post here. I booked a return flight to Bali with Scoot and I read reviews that it was a great budget airline to use.
Unfortunately, I had quite a terrible experience with my flights out to Bali from Singapore as the pilot announced an hour into the flight that we were delayed for half an hour because they originally couldn’t turn the engine on! That was resolved after they restarted it but now we had to turn around and land back into Singapore because a new fault has cropped up! This meant we had to fly around for three hours to burn enough fuel to land and then we didn’t get onto a replacement flight and actually into Bali until 6 hours later! By this time all my plans to check out the local neighbourhood, sample the local cuisine and sit down to plan my trip there with everything unpacked had gone out the window! I also got charged a fee for an after hours pick up from the hotel, which I was not aware of and I had already given the taxi driver a big tip anyway! Thankfully my flights back all ran quite smoothly and I left plenty of time to catch my flight home to the UK straight from Singapore (lots of time to hit the duty free – hard!)
I had pre organised an AirBnB well in advanced at the Spa & villa Moksha Ubud. It’s a beautiful villa with a communal pool, garden and spa hut out back where you can pick and choose from a range of spa treatments and even book a week package where you can get a select few wonderful treatments each day! The place is run by the friendly duo Mega and Ali with dedicated security at night and a great team that made me feel safe and right at home. They do not rent out scooters but you’re only less than a 5 min walk from the main road where there’s a plethora of travel shops and stalls where you can hire scooters, book transport and a variety of trips.
For the first day I farmiliarised myself with my local surroundings so I took a walk along the whole length of the main road and scouted out where the most popular places were to eat by the locals. I then ventured to the monkey forest where they had an event on and all of the women were there dressed in their traditional prayer garments and listening to the show and testimonials. Having visited a monkey forest in Manchester before, the proximity to the cheeky furry creatures was not new. However, their fearlessness of teasing visitors and nicking personal belongings astounded me! I made sure all of my things were tightly packed away in my drawstring bag, but even an unfortunate shop keeper from the string of stalls in there had their stationary stolen by a cheeky monkey!
All of the architecture just took my breath away, the temple arches were decadently adorned and everywhere exudes history with the mossy weathered cobbles and bricks. I really disliked how touristy Ubud was as the streets were heaving with visitors and this attracted a lot of hawkers, which unfortunately made every step along the road a constant battle to reject taxi rides! A great way I met new people, locals and other solo female travelers (which there were a lot of in Ubud!) was by using the Couchsurfing app. Speaking the local Maly language encourages shopkeepers at the local markets to haggle in your favor and is a great shopping experience!
Other great apps and links:
- Flytographer.com – capture all those memories by hiring a photographer
- Booking.com – book from over 400,000 home-stays and hotels around you like any other a hotel
- AirBnB – Search some great hidden gems to stay in
- Apple Activity tracker – it comes with my Apple iWatch and I could track all the steps that I did each day exploring
Through making friends with other fellow female travelers using networking apps, and just going out for a meal at busy restaurants to get chatting with others around me I managed to arrange a day trip and share a taxi with mutual new friends and visited; The Monkey Temple – they have occasional parties here after hours, so get the invite through word of mouth from the locals for a fantastic night there when the sun sets!
A variety of temples including the beautiful Water Temple, a coffee plantation – get a tour guide to take some candid photos and taste test all the coffee they make on the plant for FREE! The additional famous ‘poo coffee’ is at an additional cost but it makes for a great story! Rice fields – unfortunately, if you thought Ubud was too touristy, the popular rice fields are a lot worse! The locals have barricaded any tourist photo opportunity spots and have even set up a toll to progress any further up the paddies! It did dampen my experience, but luckily it wasn’t top of my bucket list.
You can hire a bike for the day and it takes around an hour to cycle around the whole island. I picked the best time in the afternoon to set off and the sun just started to set as I was getting closer to the famous Hotel Ombak swing sunset Insta-photo opp location. Luckily I found a great spot just before the hotel that was a lot quieter and quaint to take a swing photo! The hawking of sales was a lot less and more manageable being on a small island but that means the prices are a bit higher and there’s less of chance of a successful haggle. After watching one of the most beautiful sunsets on earth the night life really kicks into action! There are a few locations for outdoor movies and dining options to chill out with, but just shy of a few minutes away near the night markets where you can get fresh food cooked right under your nose is the booming clubs where you can party the night away!
The fast boat back to Bali was the worst experience I had in the whole holiday. It took a while longer to get back than the journey out to the island because it had a lot of stops to take along the way, and it needed an inspection halfway to ensure it was not overcrowded- which is common and very dangerous. It was great having the wind in my hair on the upper deck until the tide changed and we were all getting soaked! So we had to retreat back inside where it was hot and stuffy which was ripe conditions for sea sickness. I really had to get into my zen mode to stop throwing up! When we finally reached the dock at Bali I was cold, exhausted and just wanted to quickly get back to Ubud and crash in my bed. Horribly there was a bombardment of taxi services which even made it difficult to get off the boat! I think I know what it’s like to be harassed by paparazzi! I had to be pulled onto land! Thankfully, I had a very informative taxi representative that recommended a driver to me, obviously it was at tourist prices. I thought I had booked a ride back but unfortunately this is quite common. You can take a private taxi back to Ubud for 350k-500k IDR or take a shuttle bus for around 120k IDR that takes longer and drops off everyone along the way. It was my own space and aircon back for me!
Recommended places to stay in Gili T:
- Ko-ko-mo resort Gili Trawangan
- Hotel Ombak Sunset
- Pearl of Trawangan
- Santorini Beach Resort
How did I end my amazing solo trip?? With dinner at the local of course; Mee goreng and a Bintang – A Bali home brew!