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As someone who’s visited Bali, Indonesia on multiple occasions (both with my family and as a solo female traveller), here is my top advice for solo travel in Bali. Keep reading to discover the best places to visit in Bali for solo travellers and the top things to do in Bali alone.
Hi, my name is Hayley and I miss Bali. But seeing as we can’t travel there right now, the next best thing (for me, anyway) is to write about it. I’ve visited Bali on several occasions and last year I stayed for a whole month (and didn’t get sick 🙌🏻). Bali will always be one of my favourite places and it’s already been the focus of quite a few blog posts. But I thought I would talk about Bali from a solo female traveller’s perspective today. With detailed information on the best places to visit, things to do in Bali alone and general travel tips, this is the only travel guide you’ll need to read before you solo travel in Bali.
General solo travel in Bali tips
Firstly, I want to direct you to this post, as it covers all of my top Bali travel tips. But here are some additional tips, specifically in regards to solo travel in Bali.
Getting around Bali as a solo traveller
Arriving at the airport
You’ll undoubtedly be arriving in Bali via plane. The airport has gotten a lovely renovation in recent years (I still have fond memories of the previous airport). Nonetheless, once you step outside you will be overwhelmingly greeted by hundreds of locals holding signs that display different names. Most accommodation in Bali will offer to organise airport transport for you. I take them up on the offer as it’s the easiest option, especially when you’re arriving in a foreign country late at night. Alternatively, you can visit the taxi desk at the airport.
Day to day transport
As for day to day transport, if you feel comfortable renting a scooter, it’s one of the most popular options. There are locals renting scooters everywhere in Bali, which shouldn’t set you back more than 60,000 IRP per day. However, if you want to hire a scooter I recommend organising an international driver’s licence before you leave your home country.
Personally, I rely on walking and Blue Bird taxis as a solo traveller in Bali. Blue Bird has an app, but I’d just walk and wait for one to appear on the main road. Once you arrive in Bali you’ll understand what I mean. The Balinese streets are overwhelmingly filled with a lovely combination of scooters, cars and taxis. Now, Blue Bird is the best company because all taxis have meters for the most affordable rate. If you hop into a different taxi, the driver may try to barter with you or “forget” to turn the meter on and no one has time for that.
Uber and Grab are also present in Bali, but drivers are prohibited from entering many of the main tourist areas. As for public transport, the only option is the Kura-Kura public shuttle bus service. It travels between Bali’s most popular tourist attractions and destinations. I’ve never used this bus network, but I have seen them travelling around Bali.
Travelling around Bali alone
On my last solo trip to Bali, I also travelled from Kuta to Ubud and back again. In the first instance, I got my family’s driver to drive me as I wanted to stop at a few different places along the way. He’s fantastic, isn’t pushy like some drivers and speaks great English. If you’d like his details, let me know. On the other hand, from Ubud to Kuta I paid 60,000 IRP to travel on a shuttle bus with other people backpacking Bali alone. I just booked it at the travel desk outside my homestay in Ubud. If you’re a fellow budget traveller, this is a good option.
When I visit Bali, I travel with my Citibank debit card as I don’t get charged any international fees. I also predominantly use official bank ATMs. If you prefer, you can also bring cash in your local currency and change it at a money exchange. Although a few high-end restaurants have card facilities, cash is king in Bali. Tipping is also always appreciated at both restaurants and spas.
What to pack for solo travel in Bali
As luck would have it, I’ve already written a post that highlights the 10 things I highly recommend packing for a trip to Bali. Check it out here.
How to avoid Bali Belly on your solo trip to Bali
We have to get real for a second because Bali Belly is a menace I am, unfortunately, all too well acquainted with. It’s essentially an upset stomach or travellers’ diarrhea that you can get while travelling around Bali. Predominantly caused by contaminated food and water, stay away from Bali’s tap water as it isn’t potable. Although experts say to not drink the ice in Bali, it’s government-regulated now and safe to drink.
I also take Travelan before lunch and dinner in Bali and it seems to be the magic ingredient. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited as I was when I travelled around Bali for one month without getting sick. Life goals, friends 😂. If you do inevitably get struck down by Bali Belly, make sure you stay hydrated, take rehydration drinks (available from convenience stores) and stick to a bland diet. Bali Belly is also why I highly recommend purchasing travel insurance before your solo trip to Bali.
Is Bali safe for solo female travellers?
This is probably one of the most commonly-asked questions when it comes to solo travel in Bali. In my option, Bali is safe for solo female travellers. Personally, I’ve never felt afraid while walking around Bali alone. On my last trip, I stayed in high traffic areas, so I felt comfortable walking to and from dinner at night in Sanur, Ubud and Legian. In saying that though, locals will try and tempt you into their stores by calling out compliments left, right and centre all day every day. A simple “no, thank you” or shake of your head and a smile usually does the trick. As I always say, trust your instincts.
My final tip for solo travel in Bali
Another thing that made me feel safe in Bali was purchasing a local SIM card. I used this service through Klook and it was fantastic. Someone met me at the airport and fitted the SIM card on my phone before we departed for about $10 AUD. I just felt better knowing I was able to contact someone if something did happen. If you don’t want to take my word for it either, there are over 9000 reviews for the service on Klook.
Best places to visit in Bali For solo travellers
Okay, let’s talk about the five best places to visit in Bali for solo female travellers.
I have a total soft spot for Sanur and I think it’s a great place for solo travel in Bali. Located on a pretty beach, Sanur isn’t as hectic as Kuta or as hip as Seminyak. But it still offers the best of Bali, including cheap restaurants and spas. Sanur is also a great place to base yourself for a Nusa Penida day trip (I did this particular trip via GetYourGuide on my last solo trip to Bali).
I’ve previously posted about my favourite Sanur hotels. However, for fellow solo travellers, I recommend Kamboja Homestay. Firstly, the rooms are large and comfortable with private terraces. Secondly, Kamboja Homestay has a small onsite pool, cheap breakfast available daily and very friendly staff.
Legian is an underrated destination and a great base for solo travel in Bali. The area between Kuta and Seminyak, I believe it offers the best of both worlds. I’ve stayed in Legian many times before (here’s my accommodation guide and a look at the glitzy Bali Mandira). But on my last solo trip to Bali, I spent one week at Grandmas Plus Hotel. The rooms are small, but they have everything you need as a solo traveller. The only downside is that the pool is located at a neighbouring property, but I was working remotely at the time so this didn’t phase me.
From Grandmas Hotel, I was able to walk to Jl Padma and Garlic Lane, which are lined with great restaurants. Check out Azul Beach Club for sunset drinks, Our’s for cheap Balinese cuisine and friendly staff, and Lokal for a Western-style lunch. I was nervous about dining out alone in Bali. But I don’t know what I was worried about, as the Balinese are always so friendly and welcoming. For example, I went to Our’s on a quiet night and the servers just hung out and talked to me as I waited for my meal.
Here’s my guide to the best Legian bars and restaurants
Ubud is another one of the best places to visit in Bali for solo travellers. The mountain town (from Eat, Pray, Love fame) is a tourist hotspot. It’s also overflowing with yoga studios if that’s your thing. For food, try the nasi goreng with pork belly from Crossroad Burger (🤤), visit Waroeng Bernadette for traditional Indonesian cuisine, go to Buona Sera if you’re craving Italian and try any of the specials at White Orchid.
One of the best places to stay in Ubud for solo travellers is Donald Homestay. It’s conveniently located on Ubud’s Eat Street and the rooms are spacious and cheap. The family-run homestay also has a small pool and offers complimentary breakfast every morning. There are plenty of places to visit in Ubud if you want to keep busy on your solo trip to Bali. Popular Ubud tourist attractions include the Art Market, Monkey Forest, Ubud Palace, the Campuhan Ridge Walk and the Blanco Art Museum.
Seminyak is one of the most popular places to stay when going to Bali alone. It’s primarily known for its shopping and contemporary bars. There are plenty of fashion and designer boutiques lining the streets in Seminyak, as well as many cool restaurants. This includes La Favela, Sea Circus, Motel Mexicola, Sisterfields… (I could go on and on). Seminyak is also known for its beach clubs and bars. Head to colourful La Plancha to watch the sunset or spend the day at Potato Head Beach Club.
Seminyak is a little bit too Melbourne-meets-Bali for my liking, as I love the more authentic Bali you find in other destinations. However, there’s no denying it’s where many millennials and solo female travellers base themselves in Bali.
The final destination on this list is the only place I haven’t visited as a solo traveller in Bali. But Canggu is where digital nomads seem to congregate in Bali. This means it’s home to several co-working spaces, cool street art, Instagrammable cafes and beachfront bars.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Amed if you’re travelling to Bali alone. This is because it’s too off the beaten path in my opinion and the only way to get around is by scooter. I would also avoid Kuta because it doesn’t offer an authentic Bali experience (a.k.a it’s overrun with drunk Aussies 💁♀️).
Things to do in Bali alone
This is a general list of things to do in Bali alone. But more often than not, if you’re wondering what to do in Bali alone, follow my holiday routine. It usually involves food, reading by the pool, shopping and more food 😂.
Do a day trip
Depending on where you base yourself in Bali, a day trip is the best way to see many of Bali’s natural and religious landmarks. For example, when I travelled with my driver from Kuta to Ubud, we stopped at Tegenungan Waterfall, Tirta Empul Water Palace, Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple and the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. Hiring a driver for the day is common practice in Bali and as you walk down the street, many local drivers will offer you their services.
Other day trip options include heading south to Padang Padang Beach and Uluwatu Temple, visiting Nusa Penida or the Gili Islands, or hiking up Mount Batur for sunrise. Here’s a link to a list of day trips available through GetYourGuide. However, this Full-Day Instagram Highlights Tour is a GetYourGuide Original and the most popular Bali day trip by a long shot.
Ubud and Seminyak are home to several yoga studios. Basically, type “yoga + Ubud” into Google and you will be overwhelmed by the results. If you enjoy yoga, I think taking a class in Bali is a great idea for multiple reasons. Primarily, it’s the perfect place to meet new people and fellow travellers.
I love shopping in Bali. Fortunately, it’s also one of the best things to do in Bali alone. Now, market stalls line every street in Bali. I prefer heading to fixed-price stores, as you know the price is affordable and you don’t have to barter. What can I say, I hate conflict 🤷♀️. My favourite fixed-price shop in Legian is Ketut’s and I try to visit every time I’m in Bali. She’s also just a lovely lady, so I’m always happy to support her and her family. Ketut sells clothing for everyone, plus luggage, accessories and homewares. Here’s the link to find her on Google Maps.
Another shop I always visit is Silverberry, as it sells high-quality but affordable sterling silver jewellery. I still wear a ring I bought there over 10 years ago, which cost me $12 AUD and is still in great condition. My go-to everyday silver earrings are also from Silverberry. I’m their biggest fan 😂.
As I mentioned, Seminyak is home to plenty of designer boutiques. But if you’d like to visit chain stores like Topshop and H&M instead, check out Beachwalk Shopping Centre in Kuta. By the way, this is also a great place to watch the sunset in Bali. There’s a deck with beach and plane-spotting views. Alternatively, if you visit Ubud, head to Ubud Art Market or walk along Monkey Forest Road, which is lined with boutiques.
There are spas and massage facilities everywhere in Bali. Because treatments are so affordable, you could easily get a different treatment every day of your visit. My personal favourites are facials, the cream bath treatment for your hair (it makes it silky smooth) and a hot stone massage. This is definitely the most relaxing massage option and is particularly beneficial if you have sore muscles. Two spa franchises I always return to are Carla Spa and Luna Spa, which are located across Bali. I also visited Yes Spa Bali on my most recent trip to Legian and the facilities and service were fantastic.
My only word of warning, though. I now exclusively ask for women masseuses as I had a strange encounter once with a male masseuse. It’s a fun travel story now, but I don’t think I’ll ever be that tense while getting a massage again 😳.
See a traditional dance performance
Seeing a traditional Balinese dance performance is one of those things you have to do once in Bali. Fortunately, the aforementioned Beachwalk Shopping Centre hosts free weekly performances, which I checked out during my last visit. In Ubud, there are performances at both Ubud Palace and Cafe Lotus, which sits adjacent to Saraswati Temple. Back in Seminyak, I have heard good things about the performances at Made’s Warung.
Take a cooking class
Similar to yoga studios, there are plenty of cooking classes to choose from in Bali. Cooking classes are a great solo traveller activity and a delicious way to learn more about traditional Balinese cuisine. Here’s an affordable cooking class in a local village in Ubud and an alternative option in Kuta, which includes a visit to the local market.
Speaking of food… one of the best things to do in Bali alone is to eat all of the delicious food. Enjoy traditional dishes like nasi goreng, mee goreng, nasi campur and gado gado. If you’re nervous about dining out alone, most restaurants have WiFi so you can always do something on your phone. Alternatively, if you happen to visit during the sports season, there will always be an AFL or NRL match to watch on the TV screens available at many bars and restaurants 😉. You may also get lucky and get chatting to the staff as I did in Legian.
Head to the beach
Whichever beach you visit, there are usually locals renting beach umbrellas and loungers for an hourly or daily rate. But I prefer to visit Legian Beach at sunset. I sit at my friend Jerry’s beach bar, talk to the regular beach sellers, see planes come into land constantly and watch the sunset over the ocean. Magic!
3000 words later, you can’t deny this is a comprehensive guide to solo travel in Bali!
But I wanted to cover all bases when it comes to travelling to Bali alone. If you’re looking for more solo travel destinations, check out this post. Furthermore, if you think anything is missing or you have additional questions about planning a solo trip to Bali, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. Enjoy Bali for me!