This guest post is by Mal.
Bali is one of the safest and most exciting destinations for solo female travellers, and for me, it was the first place in Asia where I travelled alone.
For a small island, Bali is extremely diverse and packed with stunning temples, lush rice fields and beaches. Here, you can party until dawn, hike volcanos, learn surfing, spot dolphins, and experience the world’s best yoga classes – the choice is huge!
It is no surprise that many visitors keep coming back, and some, including myself, call Bali their home.
In this post, I’m sharing everything I know so that you can make the most of your trip, including where to stay in Bali for solo travellers, fun things to do and tips on staying safe and making friends.
Best Places In Bali For Solo Travellers
If you’re looking for best places to stay in Bali for your solo adventure, here are my top recommendations.
Located on the southern coast, east of Kuta, Canggu is the best place to stay as a solo female traveller for ladies who enjoy socialising, nightlife and surfing. If it’s your first time, I recommend Batu Balong, which is one of the best places to stay in Canggu for being in the centre of all the action that happens in town.
Aside from being a hotspot for surfers and party goers, Canggu is also a thriving hub for digital nomads from around the world. The area is packed with excellent co-working spaces where you can find a community of like-minded individuals hustling away in the tropical paradise.
And let’s not forget about the incredible number of restaurants catering to every taste bud imaginable – the choices are simply ridiculous, so if you’re a foodie, you will definitely love it here. What I also enjoy about Canggu is that it is full of sustainable fashion boutiques, such as Indigo Luna owned by local entrepreneurs, selling unique pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.
Best things to do in Canggu:
- Take a surf class at Batu Balong Beach.
- Party at Old Man’s.
- Visit Tanah Lot Temple (30 minutes drive).
- Eat at Canggu cafes: KYND (vegan), Copenhagen (brunch), and Lolas Cantina (Mexican, lively).
Another place where you have to stay while visiting Bali is Ubud, known as the cultural and spiritual capital of the island. It’s an absolute haven for yoga and meditation enthusiasts, with many excellent studios offering classes to suit all levels.
Ubud is tucked away in the middle of the island, and it is surrounded by unspoiled rice terraces, with plenty of stunning luxury hotels to splurge on. While Ubud may not boast the sandy beaches Bali is famous for, it more than makes up for it with its stunning waterfalls and majestic temples such as the Saraswati and Tirta Empul temples, which are just a short drive away.
Ubud is also great for shopping for souvenirs as it has its art market and sampling the authentic Balinese cuisine at its many local restaurants known as “warungs”.
Best things to do in Ubud:
- Shop for souvenirs at the Ubud Art Market.
- Take a yoga class at Ubud Yoga House.
- Visit nearby waterfalls: Tegenungan, Kanto Lampo and Tibumana.
- Eat at the local Ubud Shanti Warung overlooking rice fields.
Now, let’s talk about Uluwatu, tucked in Bali’s Bukit Peninsula in the south. Uluwatu is famous for being a world-class surfing destination. If you’re searching for those epic waves, Uluwatu is your spot. It has some of the more advanced surf breaks on the island, such as the Suluban and Padang Padang, where yearly surf competition takes place.
Uluwatu is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Bali, such as Melasti Beach and Bingin Beach. These beaches are not only picturesque but also safe for swimmers.
Also, unlike the bustling streets of Canggu or Seminyak, Uluwatu is less crowded and doesn’t suffer from the same crazy traffic, so it is also great for a more laid-back and relaxing stay.
Best things to do in Uluwatu:
- Watch the Kecak dance show at Uluwatu Temple (daily at 6 pm).
- Watch the pros surfing at Suluban Beach.
- Enjoy a seafood dinner with your feet in the sand at Jimbaran Bay.
If empty beaches and non-touristy destinations appeal to you, then check out Sanur, a quiet beachside town located on the southeastern coast of Bali
Often overlooked in favour of the more famous neighbours, Sanur’s charm lies in the tranquil setting and laid-back vibe. With a stretch of quiet, sandy beaches where you can have a piece of paradise all to yourself, it makes for the perfect place to unwind, reflect, or simply soak up the sun in solitude.
Another major plus of staying in Sanur is the reasonable accommodation rates. You can find some great deals here, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of Bali without burning a hole in your pocket.
Finally, Sanur is home to the main port of Bali, where you can catch a ride to the nearby Nusa Penida island or even the paradisiacal Gili islands near Lombok!
Things to do in Sanur:
- Watch the sunrise at the beach
- Go on a rice field walk
- Take a day trip to Nusa Penida
5. Gili Trawangan
My final suggestion takes us off the main island of Bali to the little corner of paradise known as Gili Trawangan, usually just called Gili T. This tiny island is just off the northwest coast of Lombok, and trust me, it’s a must-visit for any beach and nature-loving lady!
Picture this: turquoise blue waters, white sandy beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and no cars in sight (just bicycles and horse carts!). Here, you can enjoy that laid-back island life we all dream about.
It’s also a fantastic spot for snorkelling and scuba diving, so if you’re into underwater exploration, you’re in for a treat. Plus, Gili Trawangan is also known for its vibrant nightlife – a perfect opportunity to socialise.
Things to do in Gili T:
- Take a snorkelling trip around the island.
- Visit the neighbouring Gili Air and Gili Meno.
- Rent a bicycle and explore the island
- Spot turtles at the Turtle Beach
How To Make Friends And Meet People in Bali
Travelling solo does not mean you’ll need to be alone all the time, and the good news is that Bali is super easy to make friends! Here are some of the best ways you can meet like-minded people.
1. Facebook groups
My favourite Facebook groups where you can connect with other travelling ladies are Girls in Bali and Canggu Nomad Girls. I actually met my best friend Haley through the Canggu group, so I can definitely recommend it.
You can pop a message with a few words about yourself and ask if anyone is up for meeting up for sunset and a coconut. It’s that easy. You will have a nice evening, and you never know, you may find a travel companion for exploring the island if that’s what you want.
Another great way of meeting people in Bali is by staying in hostels. Hostels are not only super affordable but also often offer many different activities such as surfing and yoga classes, organised trips around the island and of course parties.
Here are some of my favourite hostels in Bali:
- Kos One Hostel in Canggu that has a chic pool area.
- Tribal in Pererenan (Canggu) which is perfect for coworking.
- Arya Wellness Hostel in Ubud, an upmarket hostel exclusively for women.
3. Gym or yoga classes
If you’re not into staying in hostels or putting yourself out there on Facebook to meet people, another way to meet other ladies in Bali is fitness or yoga classes. The advantage of making friends this way is that you will, straight away, have something in common! Many fitness studios on the island also have their own hang-out places – a pool area or a cafe and regularly organise events and meet-ups for their members.
How To Get Around Bali
1. By scooter
Renting a scooter is the most popular way to get around Bali, and it’s my preferred way! It’s cheap, around $3-6 per day, and gives you the freedom to go anywhere you want.
Bali traffic can be crazy, especially in the south of the island. If you’re a complete newbie, I highly recommend booking a class or two before riding independently. But if you’re an experienced scooter user, you’ll get a hang of it in no time!
Remember to always wear a helmet, navigate slowly in crowded areas, and, most importantly, enjoy the ride! Riding a scooter through the rural areas is super fun!
Don’t forget your international driver’s license, and make sure your insurance covers riding a scooter. Local police often check, and trust me, paying a fine is not on anyone’s vacation agenda!
2. Go Jek or Grab
If you prefer not to deal with Bali’s wild traffic, using Go Jek or Grab is an excellent alternative for navigating the island! They’re both essentially the Indonesian version of Uber and super affordable. You can choose between a car or a scooter ride, depending on your preference and the distance you plan to cover. Just download the app, and you’re good to go!
I personally use GoRide (Go Jek scooter) when I plan to have a few drinks and don’t want to drive back home. To give you an idea, any ride within Canggu costs only $1.
The car option – GoCar is great for longer rides or if you’ve got luggage. For example, a drive from Canggu to Ubud takes around 90 minutes and costs $17.
3. Organised transfers
If you need to transfer with your luggage from one city to another but don’t feel comfortable taking a Go Jek alone, shared transfers are a great alternative! They provide a hassle-free way to move between cities, and you can easily book a transfer through a local travel agency or even your hostel.
How To Stay Safe in Bali
Bali is generally a very safe place for solo female travellers, but it’s always good to be mindful and take some precautions. Here are my top tips for staying safe in Bali:
1. Bali Belly
“Bali Belly” is a common term for traveller’s diarrhoea, and trust me, it’s not something you want to experience during your solo adventure! Don’t worry though, most cafes and restaurants in Bali are very safe, and I personally never had the infamous Bali Belly.
You can easily avoid the belly issues with these simple precautions:
- Be cautious with street food; while it’s delicious, the hygiene can sometimes be questionable.
- Avoid overindulging in the local spirits, and if you do, make sure you hydrate properly, as the tropical climate in Bali makes the hangover extra brutal.
- Always stick to bottled or filtered water, which is not a big deal since the locals themselves don’t drink tap water.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before meals.
These simple habits can save you from spending precious vacation time in the bathroom, and trust me – you’ll thank me later!
2. Riding a scooter
Riding a scooter in Bali is a blast, but safety first, right? Stick to these tips, and your scooter rides will be nothing but smooth:
- When cruising, make sure to store your bag under the seat, especially if you’re driving at night.
- If you’ve had a cheeky Bintang (or two), don’t ride and take a Go Jek home instead.
- Watch out for crazy or inexperienced drivers. It’s a real problem in Bali and the local governor even tried to ban all foreigners from driving scooters.
Finally, my golden rule is simple: just take it slow. It is better to arrive 5 minutes later than to break your teeth or worse!
3. Money Exchange
For currency exchange, stick to authorised counters only to avoid any scams. However, my preferred method is simply withdrawing cash from ATMs or just paying by card, which is really common here. Just remember to notify your bank prior to travelling to avoid any unexpected blocks on your card.
4. Travel Insurance
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have travel insurance, especially when travelling solo. My go-to insurer is Safety Wings. Their insurance covers me globally and is extremely affordable. Remember, while we all hope for smooth travels, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned solo traveller, Bali is a fantastic destination to explore alone.
It’s incredibly diverse, full of amazing people and the perfect spot for a digital nomad lifestyle. Plus, it’s super budget-friendly!
With its stunning beaches, epic temples and jungles, there’s something magical about this place that will keep you coming back for more.
See you in Bali!
About the Author: Mal is a travel blogger and owner of Where to Stay Bali She divides her time between living in Bali and exploring the world. Apart from travelling, she is also an avid surfer and passionate photographer.