25 Tips for Your First Solo Trip to Bali
Over the last few years, Bali has turned out to be one of the perfect destinations for all kinds of travellers. The beautiful island caters to the needs of every traveller and serves everything that one must need to have a great vacation on a platter!
If you are planning to travel solo to Bali, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind to make sure everything runs smoothly.
1. Plan your itinerary
Bali is one of the travel destinations that offers its visitors pretty much everything one might need to have the perfect vacation. But with so much served to you on a platter, you might find it difficult to do and see everything in Bali. This is why I would recommend you plan your itinerary wisely. It is okay if you miss out on a few things on your first solo trip, but hey, there is always a second time!
2. Choose affordable yet safer accommodation
Even though Bali is quite a budget-friendly destination, you might end up spending so much more than needed if you don’t keep a budget. This applies while choosing accommodation as well.
Now I understand that as female solo travellers, safety is of utmost importance. But Bali is a pretty safe place for female travellers. And it offers a wide range of accommodation for women -luxury, moderate and cheap. The best part is a lot of cheaper accommodations in Bali are safe!
3. Rent a scooter
Bali’s two-wheeled vehicle, moped, is quite a famous one. If you want to explore the island in a “Bali” way, then definitely rent a moped. But remember to follow the traffic rules and always keep your helmet on!
However, here is a thing to remember about renting a moped in Bali. The condition of the roads is quite poor and if you are not confident in your riding skills, drop the idea. The chances of you getting into an accident because of your poor riding skills and some of Bali’s bad roads are quite high. Instead, you can book a cab to explore the island.
You can check out BaliBikeRental.com to compare the prices of the rental companies and choose the one that suits your needs the best!
4. Keep a sufficient amount of cash with you
It’s the 21st century, and many countries have gone digital in payments. But cash is still considered the king in Bali. You will need cash no matter what, except when eating in western restaurants and shopping from high-end shops! Most local restaurants and street markets only accept cash payments.
My recommendation would be that you carry around 10,000 to 100,000 Indonesian Rupiah in your backpack at all times. It can come in handy while you haggle (which you must!) at Bali’s markets!
5. Learn the basic Balinese words and phrases
Learning basic words in the local language of a country you are visiting is always a good idea. Now, mastering Balinese in just a few days may not be entirely possible. But you can put in a little bit of effort and learn the basic words and phrases such as ‘thank you,’ ‘you are welcome,’ ‘I am sorry’ and ‘please’ to make your stay in Bali smoother. And also, if the locals see you making an effort to learn their language, they might happily help you out in their land!
6. Be careful while visiting Ubud Monkey Forest
Visiting Ubud Monkey Forest is one of the top things to do in Bali. But you have to be careful while visiting the forest. Monkeys can get naughty and aggressive towards tourists, so try to follow the forest’s guidelines that you see at the entrance.
When I visited Bali on my first ever solo trip, I figured out that the friendlier monkeys were at the entrance of the forest. As you go in further, you come across the not-so-friendly monkeys. I’m not even exaggerating, guys! If you wish to take a picture with the monkeys, I would say the entrance is a safer option!
7. Be aware of the hotel area you are staying in
While Bali is definitely one of the safe destinations for female solo travellers, it wouldn’t hurt to get familiar with the area you are staying in. I would say avoid taking narrow pathways and dimly lit areas, especially at night. And always carry a whistle and pepper spray in your backpack for safety measures!
8. Purchase a local SIM card
To avoid problems that usually arise when you use your SIM in a foreign country, purchase a local SIM card. Regardless of how long you will be staying in Bali, the local SIM card can be helpful in multiple ways.
But make sure not to buy it from street vendors and local stores as these usually sell fake ones. Always visit the authorised mobile centres or stores to purchase a reliable one.
9. Dress appropriately
Bali expects its visitors to wear decent enough clothes in public. However, if you are on the beaches in Bali, you can walk around in your swimwear and bikinis, but once you leave the beach, make sure to cover yourself up.
During my solo trip to Bali, I came across a lot of female tourists wearing their bikini bras and shorts in public places. Even though it was in the areas near the beach, I could see a few men creepily eyeing them!
10. Explore beyond Ubud
Certain regions in Bali, such as Ubud and Seminyak, are mostly crowded with locals and tourists. You can say that these are tourist hotspots. While you should definitely check out Ubud and everything that this beautiful place has to offer, there is a lot more to Bali. You can explore other places such as Kuta and Canggu. You can even check out the hidden non-touristy spots in Bali to make your solo trip more memorable!
11. Stick to your budget
Since everything is comparatively cheaper in Bali, it is very easy to lose track of your budget and end up spending more. I have seen this happen at beaches and restaurants that intend to cater to tourists. Honestly, I did lose track of my budget on my first solo trip to Bali too. But I learned from this mistake and made sure I spent money on things that I absolutely needed to see and do on my second solo trip to the island!
12. Remove your footwear wherever you see the sign
While exploring the island and its beautiful streets, you can easily spot some temples, restaurants, and cafes with footwears of visitors outside. Keeping your shoes on is considered a bad manner in certain places of Bali.
For this, I would say you wear flats or slip-on shoes that can be worn and taken off easily. Avoid wearing sneakers or shoes with tightly-knit laces if you are going to explore the streets of Bali!
13. Do not use public and unsecured WiFi
We all live in a generation that’s hungry for internet data and WiFi. Staying away from social media, even for a few hours, is a big task these days! And this urge to use social media when you don’t have your mobile data is even more. But I would recommend you stay away from using public and unsecured WiFi. These networks can get access to your smartphone without your realisation. So invest in a local SIM card and use your mobile data whenever required.
14. Cover yourself up while visiting religious sites
Religious sites and temples are some of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. So when you visit these places, you are supposed to dress appropriately and refrain from revealing too much of your skin. In other words, you cannot wear clothes that show your legs or shoulders.
Bali is famous for its sarongs, which are nothing but a piece of cloth that you wrap around your waist. You can purchase one of these sarongs and wear it when you visit the temples in Bali. You can also style it to wear on the beaches as well!
15. Look at both sides while crossing the roads
Having visited Bali about two times, I can now say that the roads of the island are not that safe, even for pedestrians in some cases. You can often see motorbikes riding on the footpath meant for pedestrians only to beat the traffic. This is why I would recommend you look at both sides before crossing any road in Bali.
16. Don’t forget to try out as many Balinese dishes as you can
Bali serves one of the most delicious cuisines in the world! Your solo trip to the island will be incomplete if you don’t let the foodie in you out and enjoy the Balinese cuisine, along with other different cuisines served here.
17. Bargain in the markets of Bali
While Bali has many art markets and street shops for you to explore, it is essential that you bargain at every shop. There is a little something that I realised on my solo trip to Bali that vendors and sellers in the markets are really quick at spotting a tourist. And then, they increase the price of almost everything you ask for. Sometimes the increase is thrice the original price, so bargain as much as you can! And before making a purchase, check the same item at three or more shops to check for quality.
18. Carry an umbrella or raincoat with you
Bali is a tropical island, and the chances of rain are quite high here, especially if you end up visiting during the wet season between July and August. To avoid getting drenched in unexpected rain, always carry a small umbrella or a raincoat in your backpack.
19. Greet the locals
There is no doubt about the fact that the Balinese are extremely welcoming and warm towards their tourists. So, don’t hesitate to greet them when you visit a restaurant or any other tourist place. Or, at the very least, return a genuine smile when they greet you first!
20. Carry a water bottle with you at all times
Regardless of the time of the year, the mornings and afternoons in Bali can get quite hot. And since you will be exploring the island in the mornings, I would suggest you carry a water bottle in your backpack to beat the heat.
21. Avoid getting in taxis that do not use a meter
There are way too many tourist scams that you can come across in Bali. One of the most common ones is taxis without a meter. Or with a meter, but the driver says it doesn’t work! By saying this, the drivers overcharge the people, especially tourists. They will most likely quote a price that’s at least twice or thrice higher than the usual price. To avoid this, you can opt for the genuine taxi group in Bali, the Blue Bird Taxis.
22. Always carry sunscreen around
Like I said earlier, you will be spending most of your daytime exploring Bali. These are the times when the sun is completely out, and the weather is hot. And this is where the sunscreen will come in handy!
But here is a tip for you. I realised that the price of sunscreen in Bali is comparatively higher than in other countries. So I would suggest you carry one or two from your home!
23. Keep a pack of flushable wet wipes in your backpack
Intimate hygiene is one of the most important things for female solo travellers. Not every washroom in every tourist place you visit in Bali is hygienic. You might even find a few that do not have toilet paper or water. While it is okay to use your bottled water for cleaning purposes, flushable wet wipes are a lot better! This is because flushable wet wipes are easy to carry, and also, why waste drinking water?
Check out my guide on How to deal with periods on your solo trip.
24. Use your right hand for gesturing
While this is a common rule in many countries, Bali follows it religiously too. Always make sure that you use your right hand to eat, gesture, give or take cash. And it is only polite to follow the rules and regulations of the foreign country you are visiting.
25. Never mention that it is your first solo trip
Although many solo travellers feel that telling the locals that it is their first solo trip to Bali would work in their favour, it mostly does not! When you tell someone, let’s say a cab driver, the chances are that they will scam you. So, avoid mentioning you are on your first Bali trip and keep the conversation casual if you do end up talking to someone or making friends.
Are you ready for your first solo trip to Bali?
Well, this is quite a list of tips! But trust me, it will be really helpful when you embark on your first solo trip to this beautiful island. While it is necessary that you keep these tips in mind and follow all the rules set out by the island, having fun on your Bali trip is equally important too. Be it a relationship, love, or travel destination – our ‘firsts’ are always the most special ones!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.