The Island of the Gods is a spiritual place. Religious offerings line the streets, colourful temples form the fronts to homes and the people live and breathe an aura of happiness wherever you go. The ideal place to exercise your right to ‘find yourself’ on the ever so slightly cliché year-long expedition through South-east Asia, Bali makes for some seriously satisfying solo travel time. Here are just a few of the reasons why…
Take Some ‘You’ Time
Whilst the epicentre of the action and some of the very best hotels in Bali can be found along the southern coast, take some time to head inland towards the village of Ubud – the gateway to the famed Monkey Forest – where fields upon fields of emerald-green rice paddies await you. It’s here that yogis and spa enthusiasts alike truly embrace the opportunity to kick back and connect with both themselves and the nature around them in spectacular surroundings. You’ll soon find that soaking up the silence in Bali becomes your favourite pastime. Dangle your legs in the infinity pool overlooking the sway of the rice paddies with a drink in hand. Take five and rest your bones in a hammock set deep in the forest and listen to the call of the monkeys. Cycle through the vibrant backstreets and take in the sights, smells and sounds. Whatever you do – make it about you.
The Moment’s All Yours
Whenever I get a stamp in my passport for somewhere considered weird by the average tourist, I wear it like a badge of honour. The same can be said for visiting new and far flung places, and Bali just so happens to be jam-packed full of them. Ideal for clearing the mind or taking some time to relax alone, there are a handful of remote areas towards the north of the island that remain relatively untouched by tourism, such as Lovina and Amed. Venture north and be the very first amongst your friends to experience a whole new side to Bali formed of hidden coves, untrodden hikes and fresh seafood caught before your very eyes by local fisherman. This is one for the bragging rights.
Getting Around is Easy
Getting around is no hassle at all as options are a plenty. Moped hire here is relatively inexpensive, plus unlike the likes of Vietnam and India where stepping foot onto a bike is akin to taking life into your own hands, the roads here are usually clear and simple to navigate once outside of Kuta. Always remember to insure yourself and keep that helmet firmly on your head before donning the aviators and embracing your rockstar moment. Alternatively, you’ll find that the local taxis are an efficient mode of transport, however, always ensure the driver turns the metre on as one or two drivers tend to be sketchy. As for the local way of travel, catch a ride on a bemo. These public minibuses act as shuttles for locals between towns and villages and are the cheapest way to get around the island.
You’ll Never Dine Alone
I’ve always been semi-conscious of dining out alone. What will people think? Why is everyone staring? Do they think I’m weird? These are all thoughts that have crossed my mind, but it’s safe to say that Bali was one of the few places where I felt 100% comfortable chowing down on the local cuisine solo, and that’s all thanks to the ‘warung’. These family run restaurants regularly spill out onto the dusty streets and are set up so that you’ll be sharing a large table with others. Habitually friendly places filled with locals, the neighbourhood warung is where you’ll find Balinese cuisine at its best, with rustic dishes spawned from family recipes that have been passed down and evolving for centuries. Another fantastic reason to travel solo to Bali – the phenomenal aromas and zingy flavours found in the cuisine will ignite your taste buds, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.
One of the privileged things about solo travel is the fact that it’s all about you and no-one else. There’s no arguments on what to do for the day, where to go and how to get there – it’s all about what you feel like doing. Spend a little extra time getting that killer shot of Mount Agung or hang your feet over the cliffs of Jimbaran Bay for a minute or two longer, because time is never of the essence. Now, this can easily be applied to any country when travelling solo, but on the island that seems to have something for everyone, from surfing and spas to horse riding and mountain climbing, you’ll thank me for this advice further down the line.