Bali – Solo Travel/Holidaying/Remote working – here’s everything you need to know

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Bali Solo travel and remote working

If you’ve been thinking about going to Bali, travelling solo or even relocating & working remotely then this blog is for you!

This is based upon my experience, and as with everything, your experience could be very different, it’s useful to bear that in mind. I, as a solo thirty something female spent 2.5 weeks in Bali & Lombok. Not loads of time, but enough to gain an insight and so here’s my tell all!

Thinking about travelling solo but have the fear?

I’m far from an “experienced” solo traveller! I spent 5 days in Malta in 2022 solo but that’s it! Every other city break or holiday I spent with a partner, friend or group of friends. So, it wasn’t my “norm”, but it has been something I’ve felt called to do.

And in particular, to do so in Bali. If you’ve been following my IG for some time you’ll know I’m a big believer that if you feel called to do something.. that call will keep calling until you answer it (your intuition).

I have been to Bali before… but that was approximately 6 years ago, Bali was different then, as was I & I was with a friend.. making it a different kind of trip. Also, this time I went to places I hadn’t been to before.

Where should you go?!

This really depends on what kind of trip you want. Bali is diverse. Each place is very different but it really does cater for everything, everyone & every budget. Here’s a low down of the places I went to…

Canggu

The home of the digital nomads & surfers, this area is particularly popular with people in their 20’s. It’s busy, so expect the roads to be manic. It has lots of vibrant cafes, shops, restaurants & bars. It’s very popular for surfing so if you are a surfer or want to give it a go, you’ll love it here.

As a tourist hotspot, it’s not the most cultured per se, but it is perfect if you enjoy café culture, like to party, work remotely and/or meet people. Accommodation is also cheaper than some other parts of Bali.

If you do go, I’d recommend you visit Finns Beach club unless you are travelling with a children, in which case other beach clubs are better as they’re more laid back. Check out La Brisa, a breath-taking café/restaurant overlooking the beach, which turns into a music venue some evenings and a market every Sunday.

Popular bars at night time include Old Mans and Sandbar.

Unless you have lots of time or are remote working, I’d recommend you stay for 2-3 days.

Mount Batur Inactive Volano Sunrise Hike Bali
Mt Batur Sunrise Hike (a volcano!)
La Brisa, Canggu

Ubud

If you are spiritual, adventurous or in any way “outdoorsy” then you will love it here. The centre is extremely touristy though, it’s lined with shops, cafes and restaurants & the roads are even more manic. With that in mind it is not the place for you if you are claustrophobic.

That said, you don’t have to stay in the heart of it. Immediately as you go out of the centre you are in the heart of the jungle.. think rice fields, natural waterfalls & monkey forests. It is breath-taking.

Bali is particularly religious (Hinduism) so temples are pretty much everywhere.

If you enjoy yoga/breathwork/meditation or anything of the sort, you must go to Yoga Barn. Even if you aren’t I recommend you go. It genuinely is very special. I ended up doing 2 workshops when I was there and I will absolutely be back.

If you are spiritual or into alternative healing, Ubud is famous for this. I can recommend an energy healer if you’re curious… feel free to message me on IG for his details. I know many people don’t believe in this kind of thing but honestly what do you have to lose?

If you like hiking or being active & are relatively fit, I’d recommend you do the sunrise hike of the inactive volcano, Mt Batur. The starting point is approximately 1 hour from Ubud, you get collected at 2.30am and is an experience you will absolutely love. I booked mine through Getyourguide.co.uk, it cost approximately £55 which includes transfers, a guide, a head torch & a trip to natural springs after. There are cheaper options but this is the best. It’s also really safe so you have nothing to worry about on that front!

I’d also recommend the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a beautiful scenic walk from Ubud centre. There are plenty of cafe huts on your way but wait until you reach the floating cafe (it’s stunning) & the hotel, Kastara. The views from there, of the rainforest and rice fields are genuinely stunning Tip: you can buy a day pass there to enjoy the infinity pool, soak up those views & enjoy fine food. Don’t have time? Pop in for a coffee or even just to nosy at the views!

Because of its central location, Ubud is a great base for day trips to waterfalls, rice fields & plantations etc. For that reason I’d recommend you stay 4-6 days here (unless you like to party, in which case it’s not the place for you). If you are travelling with a pram or children I’d recommend you stay outside of the main centre because it’s so busy there.

Gili Trawangan

This is the most popular of the Gili islands that form part of Lombok. Whilst known as the party island compared to the other Gili islands, it’s not as wild as google would have you believe.. yes there are bars to dance in but many people who go to Gili T to relax, unwind and enjoy island life.

It’s pretty small. You can cycle around the entire island in a couple of hours. It is a “proper island”… no cars, just a horse and truck or a bicycle. I really loved Gili. It’s beautiful. And as a solo traveller, it is the perfect place to meet other people, although it is transient, so, unlike other parts of Bali, it’s not somewhere tourists/expats tend to stay longer term.

Popular activities here are: snorkelling with turtles (if you find the go-pro I lost to the ocean when I was there let me know, ha!); jewellery making & cooking classes. I didn’t do the last 2 but I heard great things.

To travel here, get a boat from Sanur in Bali. There are a number of boat options but I’d recommend scootcruise.com. It’s one of the more expensive options (prices vary, on average it costs £55-90 return) but it’s much faster (3 hours) and smoother. It’s definitely worth paying extra especially if you’re easily sea sick. The other boats are notorious for extreme turbulence. I’d recommend you stay for 3-4 days.

If you’re thinking of going to Gili Air or Gili Meno, you can go as part of a day trip as opposed to staying over, unless you really want to be on a secluded, remote island, in which case you can stay the night in either.

Gili Trawangan Sunset Beach nights
Sunset on Gili Trawangan
Island Life.. it really is beautiful!

Lombok, Kuta

Lombok is another island in Indonesia that’s separate to Bali (and has its own airport).

Like Bali, it’s religious, although this island is predominantly Muslim.

Size wise it’s about 2/3 of the size of the whole of Bali, and whilst the Gili Islands form part of Lombok, you have to get a boat from Gili to main Lombok.

I stayed in an area called Kuta, which is most popular for tourists/expats.

To get there you can fly from Bali or get a boat. I got a private boat from Gili Trawangan and in a taxi from Lombok port, it’s about a 2 hour drive. Your hotel can arrange this for you easily and it costs about £50-60. You can do this much cheaper, via a public boat but these take longer.

When you arrive you will be immediately taken back by how beautiful it is, luscious green fields, forests and wild monkeys on the road. It’s definitely not as westernised as Bali so you may be in for a culture shock… expect chickens roaming freely.

It’s a lot cheaper than Bali, and because it’s not as westernised, much more cultured. I really would recommend you see it.

As with Bali the best way to get around is my motorbike/taxi. Unlike Bali there are no apps to book a taxi/taxi bike through, so it’s best to ask a local or to hire your own motorbike/scooter. You can also hire a taxi for the day to take you to lots of main sights. It’s really good value & perfect if you don’t have much time. I paid approximately £50 to hire a taxi for the day. We went to a couple of beautiful beaches, a local village called Sade and a bat cave (with the cockroaches; rats and bats, I’s recommend trainers instead of sandals for that one!).

At Sade village you get an insight into “real” local culture. It’s very traditional! They’ve only had electricity for the past 10 years; live in huts and marry their cousins (in exchange for a goat, or if, they marry outside the community, they offer the bride’s family a buffalo.. honestly!).

I didn’t have time but when I was there but if you have the opportunity I’d recommend you hike their volcano, Mt Rinjani. It’s over twice as high as Mt Batur, takes at least 2 days & you’ll need to camp overnight. Therefore, it’s not for the faint hearted but I do think it would absolutely be an incredible experience.

Like Bali, there are loads of beautiful waterfalls, rice terraces, cafes, shops etc.

Some popular bars for the evening include Reggae Raggae and Surfers Bar. These are local places, so “shack like” as opposed to a fancy bar (which you can get at home.. go soak up the local culture!).

I only had time for a few days there but you could absolutely spend 5-7 days there unless you want somewhere more westernised.

Nusa Lembongan

This is a Balinese island, so from Lombok expect to spend at least half a day getting there. Again, I bought my ticket from scootcruise.com. You can buy it in advance online or at the harbour in Sanur (Bali) or Lombok.

Tip: Do not wear trainers/footwear that you mind getting wet. When the boat pulls in you have to walk through the sea to get to land.

This is absolutely one of my favourite places. It is genuinely stunning.

When you’re there the number 1 thing you must do is go to Mangrove Forest, its a forest in the water that you can kayak or sail through. It is absolutely beautiful.

Also, you can go to Nusa Ceningan, Devils Tear (especially for sunset), and the Blue Lagoon all within a day (and Mangrove). I paid a local taxi bike approximately £30 to take me around for the whole day.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time but you should absolutely go on a day trip to Nusa Penida – it looks amazing!

O’Hanas is a popular beach club. Whilst called a “club” it’s essentially just a beautiful laid back restaurant & bar overlooking the beach. It suits everyone from families to solo travellers. It is a tourist place and therefore you will pay tourist prices i.e. the same as the UK.

Devils Tear Nusa Lembongan Sunset
Devil’s Tear, Nusa Lembongan
O'Hanas Nusa Lembongan
O’Hanas, Nusa Lembongan

Uluwatu

Like Canguu this is is a popular area for digital nomads and expats to settle in, except people here tend to be a little older i.e. 30s upwards, as opposed to Canguu which is 20s upwards. Accommodation can be more expensive here.

It’s very popular for surfing and isn’t as known for partying, compared to Canguu or Seminyak.

If you would like to try paddle boarding or kayaking I’d recommend Sundays Beach Club. Again, it’s not a “club”. It’s just a luxurious, laid back place on the beach, nestled amongst the caves. It’s very family friendly and caters for everyone.

Popular places for the evening (depending on the night & whether you want a night out, some culture or great food) include Single Fin; Savaya; Tabu; Ulu Cliffhouse & Uluwatu Temple (to watch a traditional fire dance at sunset).

I only had time for 2 nights here but you could absolutely stay 4 if you have time.

Sundays, Uluwatu
Food in Bali
From smoothie bowls to budda bowls.. the food in bali not only looks beautiful, but is delicious!

An insight into other places – Something I regret not doing is going to Komodo Island. I didn’t know about it before I went, but have heard it’s the best place, so take it from me.. you must go! I’d recommend you avoid Kuta, Bali (different to Kuta, Lombok). It doesn’t have a great reputation and apparently Seminyak is now very similar… although I liked Seminyak when I was there 6 years ago.

Devils Tear Nusa Lembongan Sunset

Is it cheap?

No. I think this is a big misconception. Since covid it’s a lot more expensive as during those times locals really struggled as their economy relies upon tourism, and as a result they’ve now inflated their places. Also, they charge tourists a different price to that which they charge locals. Certain things are cheap (such as getting your laundry done (you can get half your suitcase washed, dried & ironed for about £10!); taxis (a 2 hour taxi costs about £25)and massages (expect to pay £6 for an hour massage & they are amazing!).

The fancy places are the same price as the UK for food and drinks. But, you absolutely can travel on a budget. It just depends on what type of trip you want. To budget, eat in a local restaurant/cafe (referred to as a warung) where you will pay £3 for a meal as opposed to eating in a popular tourist restaurant or beach club. You could also stay at a home stay instead of a fancy hotel. And ditch the cocktails for beer or a soft drink.

Is it safe?

I felt incredibly safe when I was there, more so than parts of Manchester! I didn’t see anything underhand or inappropriate whilst I was there.

That said, since I got back I have heard of some people having phones snatched from their hands whilst on bikes so it’s best put them away. I’ve also heard of some women being grabbed inappropriately. With this in mind, just like everywhere, unfortunately it’s best to be mindful of these things.

One of the main common unfortune occurrences are motorbike/scooter accidents. Bear in mind that this is the most common method of travel. Most tourists haven’t driven a bike before, go out for drinks in the evening and drive home, often without a helmet. It’s the norm there. And so accidents are really common and something to be mindful of.

Would I recommend solo travelling?

Absolutely. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It honestly is everything you want and more.

If you are worried about being lonely you have absolutely nothing to fear. It is SO easy to meet people there. And, if you don’t want to meet people, you can have some alone time too. I’d say it’s harder to meet people in areas like Ubud and Lombok compared to the other places, but honestly you can meet people everywhere if you are open to it.

Mount Batur Inactive Volano Sunrise Hike Bali

Is it good for remote working?

Yes, it’s set up for this. Practically everywhere has strong wifi. It’s got a huge café culture and expat community (particularly in Uluwatu and Canguu, although I’d recommend Nusa Lembongan for this also, unless you want to party as it’s not that kind of place). Many parts also have shared work spaces, gyms and events specifically to meet people & build that sense of community.

If you are thinking of relocating, join the WhatsApp group Ulu Life (https://chat.whatsapp.com/Ew6DajW7OJbGhGyEleWiDc) where people share events; flat shares; rentals; tips on absolutely everything and arrange socials.

It’s set up for expats or tourists so I think it would be really easy to relocate here. People are so incredibly friendly, it’s really easy to meet people and the culture is amazing. I don’t think it’s somewhere you would live for many years but certainly for a few months or a year, it would be an incredible experience.

If you are doing so, expect to pay £600pcm for a room in a 2 bed villa/apartment plus £100pcm for bills for a location such an Uluwatu.

Sundays Beach Club Uluwatu

Some Final Gems…

  • Get a local sim card loaded with data when you arrive at the airport or a local shop. Remember to negotiate the price (take at least 1/3 off their starting price) as your own network may not work. I’m on O2 and for some reason my wifi would not work.
  • Download the grab and gojek apps… these are to book a taxi/taxi bike. For some reason my grab wouldn’t work with my bank cards but Gojek did.. although it didn’t recognise my phone number so if this happens just use another person’s number, it still comes to your phone and gets paid from your bank account.
  • Bring hand sanitiser/hand wipes. Some toilets are basically a hole in the ground, and if you are fortunate to have an actual toilet, many places don’t have a basin with soap.
  • Visa – you can buy an e-visa online for iro £30 which allows you to stay up to 30 days. For longer stays you need to apply for a longer visa or travel around (such as to Thailand or Philippines and back).
  • Key things to pack: A light water resistant jacket/poncho – when it rains it really rains (although this is mostly in rainy season); comfortable sandals (suitable for treks!); clothes that are easy to wear on a motorbike/scooter (long dresses aren’t very practical); ditch your hairdryer & straighteners… it’s so hot a humid there is literally no point; a battery pack for your phone; mosquito spray with deet & a small rucksack.
  • Cash/Card: Most places accept card/contactless (revolut has great exchange rates) but cash is better for places such as Lombok which aren’t as westernised. When withdrawing from a cash machine there, usually it gives you cash and your card last.. so don’t forget your card, it happens so often!
  • Travel vaccines – Depending on which you’ve had before you may need a few. Check with your local GP & travel clinic!

You will have the best time!

Please let me know about your experience when you go and if you have any questions at all, send me a message on instagram @ thefuckitcoach and I will be happy help.

Solo Travel Bali

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