I’ve never really been interested in travelling alone… I’m a people person, I love being social and spending time surrounded by family and friends. The idea of travelling solo to a country I’d never visited, talking to people in a language I didn’t speak scared me a little…but somehow I convinced myself to venture out on my own for a little “Eat, Pray, Love” style adventure to Bali. Read on for my top tips and 8 fabulous things to do in Bali…
Visiting Bali Alone
I booked into an all inclusive resort, the blissfully named ‘Bliss Sanctuary Bali Retreat‘, especially designed for women travelling on their own, in the heart of Seminyak. Over the next seven days, I challenged myself to try, see, and do everything I could to explore Bali. I must admit, travelling on your own is surprisingly empowering. You’re relying on yourself, no one to plan for you, you have to figure everything out on your own. You can eat what you want, do what you want, without anyone holding you back. I think I had always felt there was some sort of stigma to travelling by yourself – like, “look at that loser on her own, she must have no friends.” I feel bad I ever thought that way. I felt connected to the culture, aware of everything happening around me and much more open to talk to people than I would have travelling with friends, and I met some amazing people who became my adventure buddies.
Below are my favourite adventures from the week – all of which I’d recommend whether you’re travelling on your own and making friends as you go along or travelling with others:
My group and I left our resort at 1am in pitch black and drove to the base of the mountain. It was so cool hiking up the mountain in the dark – so many people, everyone with flashlights lighting our path to the top. Sunrise was gorgeous – the valley below us was covered in fog. The locals fed us breakfast (banana slices between white Wonderbread – LOL) at the top and played music (turns out John Denver songs with a Bali twist warms your heart). It all felt very surreal…until…wait for it… At the very top, basking in the glow of this amazing sunrise, I sat down next to my friend on an old bench and…SNAP! The bench broke beneath us and we landed flat on our butts. After the one second silence it took to realise what just happened, we cracked up. I’ll forever remember that time I broke a bench on top of a mountain at sunrise in Bali… hahaha.
At the base of Mount Batur is a natural hot springs – turned resort! Imagine your favourite pool at a fancy hotel – but fuelled with natural hot springs water. Now picture that same pool but now it’s overlooking a lake and mountains… welcome to the paradise of Toya Devasya! After hiking a mountain, the foot rubs and laying in steamy hot springs felt like a dream. #Recommend
To quote my friend Matt, I looked like Indiana Jones’ sister exploring hidden temples around Bali. The Water Temple (Pura Tirta Empul) was a highlight – you can go through the ritual bathing in the different pools. I happened to be there on a Balinese holiday – so they literally couldn’t have fit more people inside that pool if they’d tried. Needless to say, I skipped the ritual that day but it was an amazing sight to watch. The Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) was gorgeous too – so intricate and ornate! Beware – temples are very popular with tourists…so if you want a picture sans people, go very early, right when they open to the public.
More “Legends of the Hidden Temple” pics below… #90sKid
4. Monkey around Ubud (AKA check out the Monkey Forrest!)
I’m not saying everyone needs to do this but I got 3 rabies shots before travelling to Bali so I could safely make a trip to the Ubud Monkey Forrest without needing an emergency hospital run should I get a monkey bite. Ha! Not a joke. The Monkey Forrest was crazy – there are monkeys everywhere! They’re not afraid of you, will jump on you, take food right out of your hand (don’t take it with you – they will find it), and are generally hilarious to watch. If you love monkeys, it’s like Disneyland.
I’m a crazy plant lady – I love nature, flowers, trees, etc – so I loved seeing the rice patties! If you’re looking for the best photo op – you need to see the rice patty terraces. The most famous one is Jatiluwih. If a full day trip to see grass isn’t on your bucket list, I’d suggest visiting the Tegallalang rice terraces on your way to the Monkey Forrest in Ubud.
I didn’t do it – but other friends have recommended the Eco Bike Tour through the rice patties & coffee plantation… (If you go to the coffee plantation – make sure to try Bali’s famous “Luwak” coffee – which is coffee beans that have been eaten and pooped out by a little animal that resembles a mongoose. Yummy, huh? It’s touted as the most expensive coffee in the world. I tried it, proving that you can make a tourist trap out of any ol’ crap!
All I wanted was to soak in a tub filled with flowers. Is that so much to ask? Turns out, in Bali you can do this! #DreamsDoComeTrue As I mentioned…I stayed at an all inclusive resort, Bliss, which offered unlimited, yes, UNLIMITED spa treatments. I soaked and scrubbed my skin within an inch of its life with facials, massages, scrubs, wraps, hot stones galore!
For the full “Eat, Pray, Love” Julia Roberts type experience I just had to squeeze in some yoga…. The yoga class was outside, full of like-minded hippy-dippy shower-less people and I loved it. Do it.
As you can see from my photo caption below, I’m about as lame as they come when it comes to surfing. I want to be amazing at it, but I’m just not. Still – the surf instructors didn’t give up on me and the waves were calm so I stood up on the tiniest wave in the world – and you can too! They’ll even invite their photographer to come take photos of you if you’d like. It was a gorgeous day and definitely a fun experience at one of Bali’s most iconic beaches.
Just as every Julia Roberts film must come to an end, so did my time in Bali. It was an amazing week and my first solo trip which empowered me to pursue future adventures. If you’re travelling solo make sure you Bali-eve in yourself (sorry…couldn’t resist!) and just come visit this amazing place!
- Christina is an LA native and former TV Producer on high profile productions such as "Queen Latifah," "Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and "Last Call with Carson Daly." Christina is passionate about travel and now lives in Australia. She writes about her adventures, travel tips to make your life easier, the most instagrammable places you need to visit, foodie finds, and what it's like living in Sydney.