Bali is an incredible destination for solo travellers! Its natural beauty coupled with its wonderful hotels, resorts, restaurants and shops makes it one of the best countries in the world to visit.
For most of the pandemic Bali’s borders were closed, but they have now started welcoming tourists once again! Bali is coming back to life.Bali has been a tourist hotspot for a long time now and is extremely popular with Digital Nomads and people working remotely so there are plenty of options for beautiful accommodation, food, transport and all your creature comforts. This means that Bali is the perfect place to visit for solo travellers and beginner travellers. It has everything you need (and more!) to have an unforgettable and relatively stress-free stay when you are travelling alone.
If you are travelling to Bali for the first time solo, it is good to know a few things before you go so there are fewer headaches and no surprises once you arrive! In this post, we are covering 23 things that are handy to know before you embark on a solo trip to Bali. These tips include logistical things such as how to get around, money, getting a sim card, cultural awareness, visas and so on. We’ve also included tips on where to stay, hotels and things to do in Bali to meet other travellers!
1. Make sure you get your card out of the ATM before you leave
One thing that catches many travellers out in Bali (and other Asian countries) is that the ATM will take your card and only give it back after you have received the cash. Many people accidentally take the cash and forget about their card leaving it in the ATM and losing it. Losing a card when you’re travelling is a real pain (which is why you should always have at least two cards with you!), especially if you’re travelling alone and can’t rely on friends or family to cover you while you sort out your financial situation.
2. Use ride-sharing apps to get around
Many tourists get around Bali using scooters. However, this is not advised if you aren’t very confident and experienced on a scooter as traffic is busy and the driving can be erratic. The last thing you need when you’re alone in another country is to end up in hospital after an accident (plus your insurance may not even cover riding motorbikes!). Walking can be a challenge as well due to the distances to travel, the crazy traffic and the lack of footpaths.
Luckily there are other ways to get around Bali with relative ease! Bali has two main ride-sharing apps which are essentially the same as Uber. They are called Grab and Gojek. Download the app and request car or motorbike rides to zip you around. Doing this can be easier than catching taxis as you don’t need to argue over the price or whether there is a meter.
It’s important to note that there are tensions in Bali between taxi drivers and ride-sharing apps. This means that ride-sharing services aren’t allowed in all places (such as the airport, Ubud and some other more touristy places). In these places using a taxi or organising your own driver through your accommodation in advance is best.
Blue Bird taxis are a reliable taxi company that uses meters so you don’t need to haggle or worry about getting ripped off. You can flag Blue Bird taxis down on the road when you need a ride.
3. Hire local drivers for day trips
Once you’re in Bali, you will likely be able to connect with reliable local drivers who you can call or text to give you a ride when you need one. You can connect with a good driver through Facebook groups, people you meet and also your accommodation.
Having a personal driver is amazing when you want to go on a day trip somewhere and see a bunch of places in one day, especially when you’re travelling solo. Many of the drivers are super friendly! They will keep you company, take you to cool spots you may not have known about and they will even take photos for you!
4. Tips for dealing with Bali belly
Bali belly is a notorious problem for first-timers in Bali. Your digestive system won’t be adjusted to the bacteria in Bali. This can lead to diarrhoea and having an upset stomach. Having Bali belly is kind of inevitable, especially if you haven’t travelled much in Asia, so it is best to go prepared.
When you’re alone in a foreign country and feeling sick, it can be lonely and even a bit scary not having your usual support network around. So help prevent Bali belly! You can do this by taking activated charcoal with you. You can buy activated charcoal tablets on Amazon or you can buy them in powder form in Bali (look out for a shop called Bali Buddha). Use activated charcoal when you start to feel a bit sick as it helps carry the bacteria out of your system without affecting you too much.
Travelan is another medication you can take before meals to prevent Bali belly from happening in the first place.
5. Tipping isn’t customary in Bali
It’s good to know that you aren’t expected to tip anyone in Bali. No one is going to be asking for a tip or getting upset if you don’t give one. At restaurants, a service fee (and sometimes other fees such as taxes) are added to the bill anyway. It may be appropriate to tip in some circumstances, for example, your driver after a long day trip taking care of you.
6. Be aware of spiritual customs and holidays
The majority of the population in Bali is Hindu. They are very spiritual and they have a lot of rituals, festivals, holidays and ceremonies that they participate in daily. This is part of what makes Bali such a beautiful and special island to visit! For example, Nyepi is a holiday in March where everything closes, lights are off, and the internet is off. Everything shuts down, even the airport.
Many village ceremonies are happening all the time which are amazing to see. It's special to get fully immersed in the spiritual culture and traditions while you are here, to be aware of them and to also respect them. Be aware that you need to cover your legs and shoulders when visiting sacred sites and temples.
It is also important to note that when women are on their period they are not permitted in many temples and sacred sites. This can’t be policed but out of respect for their culture and religion, these places should be avoided if you are menstruating.
7. Bali is a volcanic region which can disrupt flights at short notice
It’s good to know this so you aren’t too surprised if your flight in or out of Bali is suddenly cancelled. There's not much point in worrying much about it because it’s completely out of your control and shouldn’t deter you from visiting. It’s just good to know! It's also good to know that there are frequent earthquakes in Bali so you can expect to feel a rumble during your stay.
8. Make sure you know what visa you need (if any) before going to the airport
Make sure you have everything you need for your visa to gain entry at the airport. Many countries can enter visa-free for 30 days or you can get a visa on arrival for $35USD at the airport before you go through border control. This visa is for 30 days and is extendable to up to 60 days.
At the time of writing this article, Bali is only letting a small number of Asian countries in visa-free for 30 days due to COVID, so you will need to line up to get a visa on arrival. To get the visa on arrival you need 6 months on your passport and proof of onward travel.
Plus you need to meet any of their COVID requirements (e.g. having a temp below 37.5 degrees) before gaining entry. Always check for the latest updates and requirements for entry before you travel. Check this website for the latest COVID destructions in Bali.
9. Take the stress out by getting VIP airport service for just $30 with TIC Bali
With this service, you get a driver who picks you up right after you get off the plane and they take you privately from the tarmac to the terminal. The VIP service will stay with you until you are through customs, have your bag and find your driver.
They will help you get a SIM card, go to an ATM and answer any questions for you. This service will be super beneficial if you feel nervous about coming to Bali alone for the first time and the process of going through the airport.
10. Get a SIM card at the airport
When you are travelling solo, it is important to be connected as soon as you land so that you can communicate and find your way around. Unless you want to pay high roaming fees from your home country, the best way to stay connected is to get a local SIM.
Many people will tell you to not get a SIM at the airport because it is much more expensive, however, for safety and convenience it is probably a good idea to just get one at the airport.
Indonesia has made it more difficult for travellers to get SIM cards and requires you to have your passport and passport photos. All of this can be done at the airport for you but if you go to a local store you may have to go on a mission to get photos as well! Plus the time and money to go out and find a stall, it’s not really worth it (unless you are on a super strict budget).
Not to mention you won’t be connected to the internet, texts and calls straight away which may make getting your taxi or driver difficult!
11. Organise a ride from the airport to your accommodation in advance
When you depart the airport you will be faced with a ton of taxi drivers who want your business. This can feel super overwhelming and a bit intimidating especially if you are on your own. See if your hotel will arrange a driver to come and pick you up so you don’t have to try and get a taxi (and possibly get ripped off!) or walk out of the airport to get a ride share.
Take the easy option and opt to have a driver with your name on a board pick you up. With the TIC VIP service on top of that, it’ll make your arrival smooth and stress-free. If you arrive late and don’t want to travel far to your next destination, book a hotel near the airport and continue your journey the following day,
13. Visit the popular spots for photos as early as you can
Bali is fully back in business which means that crowds are flocking once again to this magical island to capture the perfect image for their insta feed. There are so many stunning (and ultra-famous) spots to visit such as the beaches of Nusa Penida, waterfalls around Ubud, temples and so on. Beat the crowds and overwhelm by going super early. you can arrange all of this with your driver!
14. Where to stay?
If you are on a tight budget or really want to mingle and meet other people then staying in a hostel is your best bet! There are some really beautiful hostels in Bali so you don’t need to slum in.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel or Airbnb even when you’re on your own, there are still plenty of options! One of the downsides of solo travel is not being able to share the cost of a hotel room or Airbnb with a friend or partner!
However, in Bali you can still stay in some nice places with pools and all the amenities for upwards of $ 20 USD, so you don’t have to miss out!
15. You don’t have to stay at a hostel to meet people
You can meet others and make friends in many ways in Bali! There are so many people travelling solo and also ex-pats and digital nomads who call Bali home. If you are a digital nomad or are bringing your laptop on holiday there are many co-working places in popular DN towns such as Ubud and Canggu.
This is a great way to meet people. You can also go to yoga classes and other events when you are there. There are many conscious and spiritual-themed events and classes on offer.
Another way you can connect with others is through Facebook Groups. If you search Bali or a town you are staying such as Ubud on Facebook. You will see several travel-related groups you can join to ask questions or to see if anyone would like to meet up with you.
Dating apps such as Tinder or Bumble and Bumble for friends are another really good way to meet people!
16. Check that your accommodation comes with Wifi in the room
Wifi in the room isn’t standard so make sure you have it! As a solo traveller, it is nice to be able to stream movies and go on the internet in the evening without using up all of your mobile data!
17. Always carry cash with you
It's easy to get cash out in Bali as there are ATMs everywhere that accept foreign cards. Most places only accept cash so it's important to always have cash on hand, especially for smaller purchases such as taxi rides. When you receive money from the ATM, always try to break up your bigger notes into smaller notes every chance you get. Sometimes smaller shops and taxi drivers might not have enough change (or so they may say!).
You can pay with a credit card in hotels and some restaurants but that will usually come with a 3% surcharge fee. Cash is king in Bali so come prepared!
18. Power socket and plugs in Bali
It’s always good to know what power adapter you may need (if any) before going to a new destination!In Bali the standard voltage is 230V and the socket type is C and F. This is the same as the sockets in many European countries. If you are coming from somewhere else in the world like Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the states you will need an adaptor.
It is always easier to be prepared and get one before you go so you can charge up all your devices as soon as you arrive.
19. Laundry in Bali
It’s easy and cheap to get your laundry done in Bali. In all of the touristy areas, there are plenty of very affordable laundry services. Just hand over your bag of clothes and they will come back the next day clean and folded. Who loves other people doing their laundry for you? It's an amazing service to have access to. Typical prices are about 20k IDR per kilo. Your accommodation will also likely offer laundry services but it may be a lot more pricey so check before handing over all your dirty clothes!
20. Be prepared to sit in a lot of traffic
Bali is a small island and so the distance between places may seem small but keep in mind that there is A LOT of traffic. A journey that should take half an hour could take HOURS because of this.Traffic is caused by lots of tourists getting around, locals getting around and also festivals and ceremonies that frequently block roads. Knowing this is what Bali is like before you go can help you plan for it and not get so frustrated when you’re sitting in traffic instead of on the beach!
21. Pamper yourself
Bali is one of the best places in the world to indulge in daily massages and spa treatments. Even luxury spas are super affordable by western standards. So take yourself to the spa (every day if you like!) and fully give yourself all the treatments that you might not be able to access so easily at home! A flower bath in Bali is definitely a bucket list experience!
22. Don’t be afraid to eat alone in Bali
The Balinese people are so lovely and friendly that you probably won’t notice you’re dining alone!
23. Recommended places to stay in Bali as a solo traveller
Here are a few places that are recommended for solo travellers. These places have plenty of accommodation, transportation, restaurants and cafes and also plenty of other people who are travelling solo to connect with!
It’s not necessarily recommended to go too off the beaten path in Bali when travelling solo. You can, of course, it just might be a bit more tricky and expensive to organise getting to more remote areas on your own. A solution to this is to connect with people through Bali Travel Facebook groups to see if you can link up with other people wanting to do the same thing.