12 Must-Experience Festivals on Your Solo Trip to Bali
Bali is one of the most beautiful destinations in South Asia. With a Hindu majority community and the religions Islam and Buddhism dominating the areas, you can expect a variety of cultures and festivals in Bali. Most of these festivals are mainly a glimpse into the Balinese culture, and I think that’s a great way of knowing more about this beautiful island.
If you are planning a solo trip to Bali, I would highly recommend that you check out some of these must-experience festivals to make your time spent on the island worthwhile. However, the festivals take place throughout the year. So, you may be able to attend some and miss some of these. To avoid missing the festivals that you find the most interesting, you can plan your solo trip to Bali accordingly!
Now, let’s take a look at all the beautiful must-experience festivals that Bali offers its tourists!
1. The Balinese New Year Celebration
New Year’s are special, no matter which part of the world you celebrate them in. And Balinese New Year, also known as Nyepi, happens to be one of the most special festivals in Bali. But here’s the catch. Unlike most of the other celebrations and festivals that involve a lot of lights, fireworks, and noisemakers, the Balinese New Year is celebrated in absolute silence!
In honour of the New Year celebration, the shops, malls, commercial sector, and transportation facilities are all shut down. And the locals fast the whole day.
The reason behind celebrating New Year in silence is quite interesting too. The Balinese believe that the silence all around the island will fool the evil spirits. They will then think that the island is uninhabited and leave it alone!
During these times, you will have to stay back in your hotel for the day. The activities will resume from the next day onwards, which is known as Ngembak Geni. On this day, people meet up with their loved ones and ask for forgiveness.
The date for The Balinese New Year Celebration in 2021 – March 14
2. The Balinese Spirit Festival
This seven-day festival with concerts, workshops, events, and a lot more fun activities is another famous Balinese festival. The Balinese Spirit Festival takes place in one of the most popular tourist destinations, Ubud. The festival is believed to be quite famous among both locals and tourists as it brings Bali’s spirituality to another level!
Most people attend the Balinese Spirit Festival to find and explore the dimensions of their spiritual selves. Pretty cool, right?
The festival hosts many yoga and dance classes as well. If you are interested in trying out yoga in the Balinese way, then you will not be disappointed. You can also check out different forms of yoga, including Kundalini, Tantra, Astanga, and Vinyasa.
The most interesting part about the Balinese Spirit Festival is their spirituality-related workshops that take place throughout the week of the festival.
The date for The Balinese Spirit Festival in 2021 – March 29 – April 04
3. Ubud Food Festival
For all the foodies out there, this festival is for you! The Ubud Food Festival is by far one of the most popular festivals among tourists. And why wouldn’t it be? Balinese cuisine is some of the best around the world!
The aim of the Ubud Food Festival is to bring together different local and international chefs. You can check out the whole process of cooking the cuisine first hand or even attend talk shows by some of the popular chefs from all around the world.
And, if you just want to try out some delicious Balinese cuisine, you can purchase the entry ticket and have the best time of your solo trip trying out different dishes!
The date for Ubud Food Festival in 2021 – October 12
4. Bali Kite Festival
If you have never been to Sanur in Bali, now is the time to go. The famous Padang Galak Beach in Sanur hosts the famous Bali Kite Festival every year! It is quite an experience in itself to witness the sky full of colourful kites. And not just your regular kites, you will see the kites in different shapes—dragons, boats, wild animals, and a lot more!
If you are interested, you can even take part in the Bali Kite Festival. Or, just enjoy the beautiful view of colourful kites in the sky!
The date for The Balinese Spirit Festival in 2021 – August 20 – August 28
5. Sanur Village Festival
Another very popular cultural festival celebrated in Bali, Sanur Village Festival has a unique reason behind it. Back in 2005, Sanur was badly hit during the Bali bombing. The damage to the area was massive and affected a major part of South Bali.
However, the next year, in 2006, Sanur got back on its feet and bounced back with this amazing cultural festival. You can say that Sanur Village Festival is celebrated in honour of the incident that took place so many years back!
Every year, Sanur Village Festival showcases a variety of events, including beach soccer, kite flying, gamelan music, and much more. The festival goes on for about five days and is definitely worth checking out on your solo trip to Bali.
The date for Sanur Village Festival in 2021 – August 21 – August 25
6. Bali Arts Festival
If you have a keen interest in learning about Balinese culture, then the Bali Arts Festival is definitely the place to be. The most attractive feature of this festival is the grand opening parade that is all about colours, music, and culture! You can say that the Bali Arts Festival bridges the gap between traditional theatre and modern performances.
You will be experiencing a wide variety of cuisines, movies, dance performances, music events, and a lot more.
The Bali Arts Festival takes place at the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Centre in Denpasar every year. And the best part about the festival is that every day you will see a new event which can really work for you if you plan on visiting the Bali Arts Festival throughout its course!
The date for the Bali Arts Festival in 2021 – June 12 – July 10
7. The Biggest Balinese Festival of Lights
Held in Nusa Dua, the Balinese Festival of Lights is arguably one of the most colourful festivals in Bali. As the name suggests, you can expect it to be full of colour and lights! A visually attractive festival, the Balinese Festival of Lights hosts several music concerts, dance performances, food stalls, and much more.
Since the festival goes on for about a month and a half, you will surely be able to spend a day or two in Nusa Dua to witness this magical experience. You can also check out their lanterns and the hot air balloon rides that are hosted especially for tourists and visitors of Bali!
The Biggest Balinese Festival of Lights usually takes place in July every year.
8. Bali Blues Festival
This happening festival is one of the most famous music festivals in Bali. Originally, the Blues originated in the USA during the mid-1800s and travelled all the way to Bali. Now, it is being kept alive on the island by musicians and listeners who are really into this sort of music!
The Bali Blues Festival is hosted by the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) every year. It gives a platform to all the Blues musicians, be it local, national, or even international musicians! When you attend the Bali Blues Festival, you will be shocked to see how crowded it usually is and how many people love it. But really, that’s the charm of the festival, and it is definitely worth a visit!
The festival takes place in Nusa Dua.
The date for the Bali Blues Festival in 2021 – January 31
9. This Is Life Festival
This Is Life Festival is a musical event that aims at bringing together music and culture. It is hosted on Gili Air, a small island that is considered Bali’s little sister island. This festival is quite a fun one as you can enjoy being on an island that is completely surrounded by beautiful coconut trees and the refreshing ocean!
At This Is Life Festival, different music genres like Tech House, Psychedelic Trance, Minimal House, Deep House, Progressive, and Techno are played. If you are someone who loves music and partying the night away, then definitely consider attending this music festival on your solo trip to Bali. You might also get a chance to meet the local and international DJs playing at the festival!
The date for the This Is Life Festival in 2021 – July 9 – July 12
10. Finn’s New Year’s Music Festival
Finn’s Beach Club is one of the best clubs in Bali, with 9 bars, four pools, and five restaurants! That’s massive, right? It is also considered one of the most beautiful spots to witness the sunset in Canggu!
If you visit Finn’s on any regular day, you will surely have a lovely time. But during the Finn’s New Year’s Music Festival, the whole atmosphere transforms into something more energetic and lively!
In the past, Finn’s Beach has hosted some of the most happening New Year’s parties. During Finn’s New Year’s Music Festival in 2019, the club saw a massive number of over 10,000 people welcoming the new year at Finn’s. Now that says something about this beach club, right?
The music festival usually gets split into two days—New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. So, if you are looking to have a great time while enjoying this fun music festival, then attend the Finn’s New Year’s Music Festival on your solo trip to Bali!
The date for the Finn’s New Year’s Music Festival in 2021 – December 31 – January 1, 2022
11. Ultra Music Festival
If you are someone who loves attending festivals and events, then you are going to love the Ultra Music Festival. Popular international DJs like Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Avicii, Skrillex, Kaskade, Fatboy Slim, and many other big names have performed here.
Ultra Music Festival happened in 2017 for the last time and hasn’t been held since. In 2017, Hardwell, Zedd, Nicky Romero, Kygo, Getter performed their electronic acts!
Whenever the music festival is held, thousands of people, both locals, and tourists, make a point to attend it! And who wouldn’t want to when such big names perform at the festival, right?
The date for the Ultra Music Festival in 2021 – The event for the year 2021 was cancelled, but there are chances for it to be held in 2022, and dates are yet to be announced
12. Ubud Village Jazz Festival
Ubud Village Jazz Festival is one of the most popular music festivals in Bali. Many tourists from all around the world visit Bali and make it a point to attend the Ubud Village Jazz Festival. For all the Jazz lovers, this can be just the right opportunity!
Many musicians, both local and international, can be seen performing at the music festival. And if you turn out to be lucky, you may even get a chance to meet some of them!
The date for the Ultra Music Festival in 2021 – August (The exact date has not been announced date)
Disclaimer: The dates for these festivals may change. It is recommended that you check on the official website of the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) or any official website to confirm these dates.
So, which Balinese festival seems the most interesting to you?
Phew! That’s quite a list of cultural and music festivals, huh? Well, considering that these festivals are all spread across the year, you can plan your solo trip accordingly.
Personally, I prefer the cultural festivals more as these give me an insight into Balinese culture. After visiting the island a couple of times now, Bali has made it to my favourite travel destinations around the world. And I always make it a point to know more about the culture of Bali and its people!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.