FOR MEDITATION & ADVENTURE TRY

Bali

 


In films and in imagination Bali is a tropical paradise, filled with pristine beaches and rice paddies to bike along while in quiet reflection. And during your vacation you can find all of that...but it’s going to take a bit of work. Bali is a developing island, with all the tourism, garbage and traffic that go with it. That being said, it’s a great place to visit on your own. You’ll encounter other adventurous solo travelers, it’s easy and affordable to get around, and it has a wide variety of things to see and do. The challenge is figuring out what you want to do and finding a way to get below that overwhelming surface. 

 
 

 
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Where do I want to go?

• CANGUU: If you're new to surfing, hit the beginner waves in Canggu.
• KUTA SEMINYAK/ULU WAATU/CANGUUGreat for all levels of surfing.
• KUTA SEMINYAK:  Great places for making out with an Australian surfer while dancing at a club (;
• JIMBARAN: Watch the sunset and enjoy a meal on the beach.
TULAMBEN/AMED: Located in the northeast, these locations offer amazing wreck scuba diving.
 

 

UBUD: For yoga and meditation, Ubud is the original Eat Pray Love destination, though keep in mind it’s not nearly as peaceful and quiet as the film suggests. Places along the west coast and in the resorts surrounding Ubud offer retreats at a wide variety of prices.
GILI ISLANDS: Offers snorkeling with stingrays and turtles.
NORTH OR WEST BALI: To truly get away from it all.

 

Important Tips

BOOK BEFORE YOU GO
I found it best to have the first night booked before I arrived, so I knew where I was going when I landed. Ngurah Rai Airport can be confusing (view my tips for navigating), especially getting off a trans-Pacific flight. Ask your hotel before you arrive how much a cab from the airport should cost so you can make sure your driver’s not ripping you off and write down the name and address to give your driver.

BRING CASH (RUPIAHS)
Indonesia is a cash-based society. Large hotels, nice restaurants, and high-end stores will take credit cards, but for everything else, including hotel and B&B stays, have Indonesian Rupiah available. Unless it’s a chain or you've booked and paid in advance, they’ll expect cash. ATMs are plentiful in tourist areas but not in smaller towns and on the islands. It can also be a crapshoot if those ATMs are actually working. Keep in mind ATMs may have a maximum amount you can take out at one time, often between 500K - 1 million IDR (about $40 - $75USD at the time of writing). Luckily your money travels further in Bali!

WIFI
Wifi is plentiful in the larger cities and can usually also be found in the smaller towns that attract tourists, though the signal will likely be painfully slow. Assume you won’t be downloading anything while there.

YOU WILL GET WET!
It is the tropics and you will get wet! Even in the dry season, rain storms can and will happen midday. Don’t bring any clothing that you wouldn’t want getting wet.

BRING YOUR OWN FEMININE PRODUCTS
For women, feminine products can be hard to come by unless you’re in the larger cities. And tampons are basically non-existent. Bring your own! Or for the eco-minded, invest in a menstrual cup to cut down on waste.

 
 

QUICK GUIDE

  • Language: Balinese
  • LGBT-Friendly: Yes
  • Female-Friendly: Yes (see note in Important Tips)
  • Best Time of Year: Any
  • Price: $$$$
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Transportation: Bike/Walk
  • Currency: Rupiah
  • Credit Card-Friendly: No
  • Wi-Fi Friendly: Yes

BEFORE YOU GO

Do  your research! Bali is a small island with a lot to offer. Read more of my important tips below.

Yes Eat Pray Love was filmed in Bali, but the town of Ubud in reality is very different than the cinematic version.

Ubud in  Eat Pray Love

Ubud in Eat Pray Love

Downtown Ubud in reality

Downtown Ubud in reality

 

 
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Tips for Solo Travel in Bali

BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
When out and about, follow the basic solo traveler rules: Be aware of your surroundings, don’t stay out to the point that you’ll be walking home on empty streets, avoid getting drunk, be cautious about letting people know where you’re staying, and always follow your instincts. If something feels off, don’t worry about being rude. Just leave.

GENERAL SAFETY FOR WOMEN
As a woman following the safety rules above, I never felt unsafe. Balinese society is too polite and friendly to catcall as a general rule. You’re more likely to get harassed by other westerners than by the Balinese.

AVOID RESORTS
I avoid resorts when traveling solo. Resorts are full of families and couples and I find it a bit lonely. I’ve also found it’s easier to meet/socialize with both fellow travelers and locals when staying at smaller establishments. This is certainly true in Bali, as homestay owners are happy to sit around and chat with you.

SHOP FOR REASONABLY PRICED YOGA
Bali is home to dozens (if not hundreds) of reasonably-priced retreats offering yoga, meditation, surf lessons, SCUBA, photography, and more. Retreats run anywhere from 3 - 30 days, and can be a great way to be a part of a group, meet fellow travelers, and learn new skills. The Blooming Lotus Yoga retreat I did was fantastic.

MEET OTHER TRAVELERS
The Yoga Barn in Ubud, in addition to classes, also hosts events, movie nights, and more for both travelers and residents of Ubud. If you want to meet fellow travelers obviously the hostel route is an option. If you’re not into hostels, check Facebook groups and travel forums to see who else is going.