Solivagant in Bali

I was always curious on how it would feel travelling alone to a place you’ve never been before. So, it went to my bucket list. Just in time, my birthday was due in two months (that time it was July 2015), Cebu Pacific’s seat sale. I decided to book a flight on the last day of sale (I guess that was the hardest part, clicking on the purchase button :)). There were a few options due to weather conditions during the month of September, I was left with Bangkok and Bali. The cheapest ticket (Php 4,127.24 rt) available was the 2nd, so, Bali it is! Thank you to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love.. at least, I have an idea of the place. By the way, I’m also a beach bum, so the island would be perfect. In case I get scared to explore, I can just stay by the beach for 4 whole days (I won’t mind! :)). But.. did not happen! So, here’s how it went…

As a first-timer, I chose to stay in the most visited part of the island which is the Southern part of Bali. Kuta area is where most of the tourists are but I preferred to stay at Seminyak, a more relaxed area (I think I should’ve stayed at Kuta though..lol). Anyway, I booked Destiny Boutique Hotel at Php 3,960 good for 4D 3N which I found in Expedia. You may also want to check Agoda to compare which has a lower rate. And also check your credit card promos for additional discounts. I picked this accommodation because it is near the beach (10 to 15-minute walk) and it includes a buffet breakfast! I played it a bit safe on the location and type of hotel, I’ll probably try a hostel next time.. 🙂

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Day 1

Arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport
– Money Changer: After immigration, you will see a few of them at the exit. If you don’t have Rupiahs with you, have a few dollars changed as there are other money changers at your area which has a better exchange rate.
– I bought a sim card (Telkomsel) for data usage (google maps, waze, etc..) It costs 250,000 Rp. I was able to use it for 4days.
– Airport Taxi Counter: after your exit the arrival building, you will see their booth. Just hand them over the address, then they will give you the fixed amount (it’s not a metered taxi), the ticket, and your driver will walk you to the car. 170,000 Rp was charged to me going to my hotel (Seminyak area). Cash payment will be done once you arrive at your destination so make sure you have Rupiahs. You may also try Uber. Make sure to check with your hotel if there’s a free airport transfer. For me, there was a fee, so I opted to take the taxi.

Checked-in at the hotel, dropped my stuff, then explored the surroundings and the beach.
– Whenever I travel, I like to know the places around me first. Restaurants, cafes, shops, convenient stores.. So whenever you need something, you know where to go to. You may find a lot of ‘Circle K’ convenient stores.

Note: Sarongs are usually required when visiting a temple. If you already have one, bring it with you always so there’s no need to rent one.

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Birthday Cake and Coffee at Kzu

Beach

Late Lunch at Hog Wild in Bali

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Pork Ribs BBQ 119,000Rp | Steamed Rice 15,000Rp | Sweet Potato Fries 28,000Rp | Mango Milkshake 30,000Rp.. plus SC & Tax

Food was good.. the Pork Ribs BBQ is good for 2 to 3 pax.. 🙂

Uluwatu Temple/Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Pura is temple in Balinese.. 🙂 This is a sea temple perched at the edge of a cliff and is one of the key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars. It is best to visit the place at sunset hours for a breathtaking view. Then, you may also watch the Kecak and Fire Dance, a Balinese Cultural Show.

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Kecak and Fire Dance
Kecak is the most unique Balinese dance which is not accompanied by any orchestra/gamelan but by a choir of seventy men. It has its origin in an old ritual dance, “Sanghyang” or Trance dance. The show is done everyday at the adjacent cliff-top stage at 18:00 to 19:00.

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Short video of the Kecak Dance.

Fees:
200,000 Rp – Taxi from Hog Wild (Kerobokan Kelod) to Uluwatu
20,000 Rp – Entrance Fee, with sarong
100,000 Rp – Kecak and Fire Dance show
400,000 Rp – Private Car from Uluwatu to Seminyak (make sure that you already have a ride back since there are no public transportations at the area. I agreed to pay the amount because I panicked and did not want to be left alone in the dark)

Day 2

My itinerary was more of like a DIY. I did not follow the usual tour packages that you see on brochures or those offered by agencies. I had specific places in  mind that I want to visit. Since I was travelling alone, package rates are either times 2 or at least you need to pay 1.5. There are no public transportations in Bali. So the best way to get around is join a tour or rent a car . I found Bali Cab through the internet. The package includes 10 hours car service, an english speaking driver, fuel and unlimited mileage.. so you can go anywhere you want for 540,000 Rp! It would be cheaper if you are 4-6 people on the trip because the rates are per car and not per head.

Pura Besakih
Pura Besakih is the largest and holiest on the island and is known as the Mother Temple. It consists of 23 temples built in the slopes of Mount Agung. It is about 2 to 3 hours from Southern Bali. The place is beautiful but be warned! You really need to be extra careful here and not be fooled by scammers.

BesakihIt starts with an entrance fee of 20,000 Rp but my ticket shows 15,000 Rp. Then at a tourist table, they will show you a ledger that has large amounts of donation and insist you to match the amount. You will be given a tour guide then advise you to ride a motor with another local who again charges you for a fee. Once you enter, another set of locals will tell you to buy offerings (flower petals, match, incense). After some ritual the tour guide showed me, I was asked for another donation for the gods so I pretended that I don’t have enough money and showed him my wallet. He took pictures for me, explained the history and talked more about their gods. At the end of the tour, at an isolated side, he asked for his payment and even asked if I have US Dollars. So I said again that I don’t have much and he just accepted what I gave him.

Here are a few blogs that shares a similar experience:
http://theatlasheart.com/2013/09/28/besakih-temple-the-worst-side-of-bali-tourism/
http://passportplanner.com/bali-pura-besakih-temple-complex/
http://livingoutsideofthebox.com/2014/01/30/mother-temple-of-besakih-bali/
http://bezmapy.com/2015/06/28/besakih-temple-experience-blog-one-big-scam/

If you really want to visit the place, below are some tips:
– keep your money separately (wallet, pockets, bag) and don’t show any US dollars
– it would be better to join a group tour. If not, make sure you can get through the harassment without giving them more money
– you should know how to say no.. they can be very persistent on convincing you to give large donations

*This was only the bad experience I had during the trip. It was scary though. So, you might want to skip the place if it doesn’t interest you much. Locals I’ve met in other areas were nice, friendly, and helpful! 🙂

Penglipuran Village
This is a traditional countryside Balinese Village located in Kelurahan Kubu, Bangli regency. There’s no entrance fee, you can just walk through the long stretch. Locals are friendly and they will also invite you to come in.

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Goa Gajah
or Elephant Cave is located Gianyar regency which is near Ubud.
Entrance fee is 15,000 Rp | Parking Fee is 5,000 Rp

Goa Gajah

Ubud
This is considered as Bali’s cultural heart. The town is surrounded by rice paddies and small farms. It is where you find the art museums, local craft market, and galleries. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to explore much of this town since I only had a few hours left for the daytrip.

Ubud Monkey Forest
The Sacred Monkey Forest is a popular tourist attraction in Ubud. Entrance Fee is at 30,000 Rp. You can also buy bananas inside the forest to feed the monkeys. If you have other foods with you, make sure to keep it safely closed in your bag since they can also grab it from you. 🙂

Monkey Forest

Ubud Palace
Officially Puri Saren Agung, is a historical building complex situated in Ubud. You may enter the place for free.

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Ubud Art Market
This is also near Ubud Palace and Monkey Forest. You can buy paintings, sarongs, magnets, and other souvenir items. Make sure you know how to bargain. Ask for more than a half discount. For example, they will sell a sarong for 80,000 Rp, you can haggle up to 30,000 Rp.. 🙂 If they won’t agree, just walk away.. Most of them will call your attention back and offer a lower price. I bought six magnets and got it all for 100,000 Rp.

When I got back to Seminyak, I was supposed to go to a warung (a modest small restaurant or café) I saw on the 1st day to try the Babi Guling, unfortunately, it is only served during lunch time.. 😦  I just went to a nearby resto then had a massage at Spa Bali. They offer different services. For me, I chose the package of body massage, body scrub, and flower bath for 352,500Rp (package is 300,000Rp + SC, tax & 3% credit card fee).

Day 3

I decided to slow down a bit and hit the beach. So, I walked by the shore until I found the Potato Head Beach Club. They have a very chic facade of vintage window shutters. It is a nice place to chill, you can take a dip at the pool or by the beach if the waves are not that strong.

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I stayed at the grassy part where it is free of charge and ordered:
Pisang Cooler (Shake)-60,000 Rp | Ocean Squid – 90,000 Rp | Bintang – 50,000 Rp | Vanilla Coffee – 65,340 Rp

You may also choose to stay at the front seats with umbrellas near the pool but there’s a charge of 500,000 Rp consumable.

After I slept and finished my drinks, I decided to leave and make the most out of my trip.

Tanah Lot
The Tanah Lot Temple is set on the big rock surrounded by sea water. It is located at the Tabanan Regency. This is also a popular tourist attraction especially during sunsets. Entrance Fee is 30,000 Rp. Also, on your way to the temple, you will be passing by stalls and market where they also sell souvenirs and crafts.

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After Tanah Lot, I went straight to Kuta square to check out the location and shops. True enough, it was really crowded with tourists. You can find shops such as Rip Curl, Billabong, Hurley, Roxy, and a lot more. There are many discounted items but of course prices displayed are as is.. 🙂

Dinner at Cafe Seminyak

Cafe Seminyak
Nasi Campur – 75,000 Rp

For my last day, I cannot do much anymore since my flight was at 8:35am and had to leave the hotel early. I enjoyed this trip very much but there is a lot more to explore..  I would definitely visit Bali again with friends or family next time.. 🙂 I really learned a lot as for the solo traveling, it was fun and something I plan to do once in a while! If you have any questions or suggestions.. just leave a message. I hope you get to experience Bali sometime too! 🙂

 

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