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When I booked my fights to Bali I was beyond excited. I imagined sandy beaches, beautiful rice terraces, tropical drinks, exotic temples, and first class dive sites.  It didn’t disappoint. The beaches were busy, but nice. The rice terraces were gorgeous to walk through (when it wasn’t pouring rain). The temples were great to explore and the diving was phenomenal. But after spending a month in Indonesia, a couple weeks of that in Bali, I was more than happy to leave. Because as beautiful as it was, my experience of solo travel in Bali kind of sucked.

I should clarify that my disliking solo travel in Bali had nothing to do with the fact that it’s a romantic honeymoon destination. While this tends to bother some people, I’ve never let it get in my way (in fact, Venice is one of my favourite places for solo travel). I should also mention that just because I’m saying my experience of solo travel in Bali sucked, doesn’t mean that Bali sucks. Bali is really cool with plenty to see and do, and was an awesome destination for a girls’ getaway. However, as a female traveller on a budget, who likes to get off the beaten path, my experience of solo travel in Bali was frustrating and left me disappointed and wanting more.

Tanah Lot

Solo Travel in Bali: Getting Around was a Nightmare

 Bali does not have a public transportation system. Uber and Grab Car do exist, however at the time I visited (September 2016) they were at odds with the taxi drivers and there was a bit of a battle going on. Angry signs on the roads, and horror stories about Uber drivers being pulled over and passengers being forced out and threatened by taxi drivers meant this was not a service to use or rely on. Which left taxis, shuttles, and tour guide-type private drivers.

The most affordable option is the shuttle; however, it is also the most inconvenient as they follow a set route that usually adds hours to travel time. Not that it matters as you need a minimum of two people going to the same destination to be able to use the shuttle. For travelers going to the main areas like Kuta, Seminyak or Ubud, that isn’t usually a problem. But for me who wanted to get to Tulamben for diving, it was a nightmare. I even offered to pay the price for two passengers (still cheaper than a taxi or private driver) but was told no.

As is expected, taxis and private drivers are the most expensive options. Blue Bird taxis are the best option (they will operate on a meter) but are only in south Bali. And, while not as pricey as North American standards, a ride may still leave a hole in your wallet.

You can try to bargain with private drivers and will probably be able to drop the price a bit, but not much. I ended up having to pay $60 to get from Ubud to Tulamben (3-4 hours). While that may not be such a terrible price considering I had a private car, the fact that it was my only option to get there was a major bummer and definitely influenced my trip. Originally I really wanted to go to the west coast of the island, but with private cars being the only option, it just wasn’t financially feasible.

Seminyak Bali

Solo Travel in Bali: Day Trips are Geared Towards Groups

Part of the magic of Bali is being able to go into the country side, see the rice terraces, the waterfalls, the coffee plantations, and the temples. I had a massive list of places I wanted to see but my list was quickly narrowed down upon finding out that there are no public busses, or easy ways to get around. Like with travelling between cities, the only option was private drivers or hire your own motorbike (which wasn’t a good option for me as explained later).

Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who wanted to do some site seeing and was able to easily rope in fellow travelers to join me in going to Pura Titra Empul temple, the rice terraces, and even to see a local magic man. Being in a group meant these day tours were affordable, but if I had been alone it would have cost me a small fortune. While it was nice to have the company on these day trips, it also meant we had to decide where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see as a group. Thankfully I’m pretty easy going and wanted to see almost everything, but I can imagine it could be frustrating for someone who wasn’t as flexible and had their mind set on certain places.

Note: Since being in Bali I’ve discovered Get Your Guide which uses local tour operators and guides, but they have been vetted and have reviews. If you are looking for a tour but are a bit concerned, I suggest checking out their options for something a little more reassuring. 

Pura Titra Empul Temple

Solo Travel in Bali: There is a lot of Sexual Harassment

I’m not usually the type of solo female traveler who advocates wearing a fake wedding ring or making up a fake significant other, but in Bali I quickly told everyone that I had a boyfriend. I’m not sure what it was about me that encouraged all the men to ask me if I would like to drink and party with them, but it ended up being pretty unnerving on my end.

I had a particularly uncomfortable ride to Ubud with a driver who kept trying to take me drinking rather than to my hostel. I also left my dive shop in Tulamben a day early because the staff, all males, were a bit too interested and questioning about my love life and the fact that I was there alone. While nothing ever happened, I constantly felt on edge around many Balinese men.

Solo travel in Bali- diving

Solo Travel in Bali: Cellphone Service was Crap

I will fully admit that having a sim card and a working cellphone is a complete luxury while travelling. However, as someone with a penchant for getting hopelessly lost and into some sticky situations, I usually get one if I’m going to be in a country for awhile. It’s a bit of a security blanket.

I bought a sim card as soon as I arrived, and although it didn’t cost me much I was disappointed to find out that service was verging on non-existent most places I went. While nothing happened in the end that required me needing one, it easily could have, especially when I met up with Chantae and we both crashed our motorbikes. 

Normally, not having a working cell phone wouldn’t bother me that much. However given my seemingly constant unease around many of the local men, it definitely bothered me.

Solo Travel in Bali

Final Word on Solo Travel in Bali

Did I dislike Bali? No, but my frustrations with the parts listed above didn’t allow me to love my time there as much as I thought I would. Perhaps I’m to blame; maybe I didn’t do enough research or plan well enough ahead. Maybe I should have budgeted more, or not spent as much time on the island.

Do I suggest avoiding solo travel in Bali? No, not at all. But based on my experience I do recommend having a plan and extra money, especially if you want to get more off the beaten route. Don’t leave booking transportation until the last minute, ask around and see if anyone is interested, and try to be flexible.

PS: If you are going to Bali and looking for a guide book, my good friend and travel journalist Chantae Reden recently wrote this Bali Travel Guide for Moon Guidebooks.

Not sure you want to travel alone? I recommend taking a look at Intrepid Travel’s small group tours. I went sailing with them in Greece and it was a great mix of organized activities and free time. You can check out Intrepid Tours here or read about my experience with them here.

Must Have Travel Accessories for Solo Travel in Bali

I love solo travel, but it does mean I need to take some extra precautions. For any other solo travellers out there, especially my ladies, I highly recommend you pack the following:

Psst: Wondering what my must-have travel items are? Here’s what you’ll always find in my bag.

A Note on Travel Insurance in Indonesia

Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine twice before (once for damaged luggage, once because I developed a lung infection while traveling). While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance. With prices starting at $37 for 4 weeks, they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.

Solo Travel Bali

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97 Comments

  1. Karisa @ Flirting with the Globe on January 11, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Booooo – I’m sorry you didn’t love it! I did a girls trip, but my itinerary differed some. We talked to bartenders whose friend/cousin/brother is a driver (it seems like everyone was)! We were weary that we wouldn’t get picked up or that the car would be sketchy or the driver wouldn’t speak English. Everything ended up great for $45 to 60 usd for the whole day! But again, we may have lucked out because the friends we met hooked us up. 🙂 I’m glad you still enjoyed parts of your trip though!

    • Hannah Logan on January 11, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      I think having friends to share the cost with is a big help too. That 45-60 USD for one person was pretty expensive- especially since I was on a budget as Bali was the start of 4 months of travel. I would go again, but probably with friends and more for relaxing than adventuring.

  2. Richelle on January 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Wow I had no idea! No one ever talks about Bali’s transportation problem- and you probably can’t just rent a motorbike to take you 4 hours to another city (and what if you break down and you’re by yourself with no cell service?). Thanks for speaking the truth! I feel like all I hear about Bali is that it’s either amazing or too crowded and touristy. I’m going to Sumatra in a few weeks instead and I’m super excited!!!

    • Hannah Logan on January 11, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      I’m pretty jealous of your Sumatra adventures! I think you picked well over Bali – can’t wait to hear about it!

      • Camila on December 3, 2019 at 1:38 pm

        You spoke truth!hahah I also traveled alone and I definitely agree on the “too friendly men” and yes! The transportation is a nightmare. Those two things combined made me feel very unsafe a couple of times. Once I had to that travel in a motorcycle with a local driver in a town close to Batur (I had no other option to go to point a to to point b ) I was sure he was about to kill me in the middle of the forest. It ended up well the guy was just a toooo friendly guy and unaware of personal space . I blamed myself for trusting the guy but honestly sometimes there are not other way to travel, It ended up well ( I’m still alive) I was shaking and feeling powerless but alive. In highly touristic places like Ubud I felt too much attention but still “normal” (girls will understand what I mean) but in places where they don’t see too much tourists I felt harassed by locals sometimes . (Unwanted compliments, strangers asking personal questions, unwanted attention). I will be honest I will never travel alone to Bali.

        • Hannah Logan on December 5, 2019 at 3:01 pm

          Ah I’m sorry you didn’t have a great time either 🙁

  3. Tracy on January 12, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Hi Hannah, I felt you!

    As a local myself (I am Indonesian), I also find the transportation is an issue for me who sometimes loves to travel alone. As much as I love Bali, it will be better to go with more people I think. Especially I can’t ride a motorbike (well..) so my only choice left is either rent a car (not cost-friendly) or take a motor bike taxi (we call it ojek) which can be painful for my butt if long journey. Haha..

    • Hannah Logan on January 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Such a bummer 🙁 at least it’s good with friends!

  4. Sebrin on January 12, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Wow, this is amazingly honest! My husband and I went together during our backpacking trip around the world. We spent about a month in Bali on a backpackers budget and while I had my man with me, I felt so weird about Bali too! I mean it had amazing moments and I’ll probably go back but everyone felt aggressive in a martyr, self-depricating kind of way. Thanks for the honest post!

    • Hannah Logan on January 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm

      honesty is the best policy 😉 haha. Yeah there was something weird about Bali. It just wasn’t how I thought it would be at all. Beautiful… but weird.

  5. Brianne Miers on January 13, 2017 at 1:55 am

    Thanks for sharing your experiences! I’ve had similarly disappointing solo trips for some of the same reasons – Belize was geared toward group and luxury travel, and I got followed and harassed everywhere I went in Sri Lanka. I hope to head to Bali this year, so I will keep this all in mind.

    • Hannah Logan on January 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      I’ve heard that about Sri Lanka which is a huge bummer 🙁 I’d love to go there. Maybe not the best place to go solo though.

  6. Tracie Howe on January 13, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I had a similar experience. I went in off season though, so it was cheaper, but there were also fewer people going on day tours that I could join up with. In some cases I wouldn’t know if a tour was actually going until the night before.

    I also tried to Uber all the way from the south to the north because the estimated cost wasn’t bad. Haha! The driver apparently didn’t see that I was requesting such a long trip, so he picked me up and realized he couldn’t do it after all. He dropped me at a bus station and got me a really crappy local bus to the north. At first it was a painfully long drive through Denpasar, but when we got to the countryside we picked up giggling school children and happy locals, which made it kind of fun. Super cheap that way if you’re willing to take local “buses”. I’d try Bali again with this new insight on how to get around.

    • Hannah Logan on January 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      That bus ride sounds so fun! Thats what I was looking for but I kept being told no… sigh.

  7. Sarah on January 13, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    So true, I felt the same way. As much as I love Bali, it’s just not the best place to travel solo. So this post is great for people thinking about going: bring a friend.

  8. TJ Mcfaull on January 14, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Spot on in many cases! I’m back to Indo in April to dive more, but I’m flying straight to Flores and dodging Bali almost entirely. I know you and I had lots of varying experiences, but the only way to explore Bali as a solo traveller is absolutely on a bike/scooter. Which either requires bravery or luck, and money to get off the beaten track.

    • Hannah Logan on January 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Ah I’m jealous your back for diving! Yeah the motorbikes are awesome but after crashing mine only a few days earlier I wasn’t keen on getting on one for hours especially without a working phone for a map.

  9. Kristine on January 14, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    I was a bit worried planning a solo trip to Bali mainly because of the transport issues like you mentioned, but thankfully my friend came along and my solo trip became not solo. Agreeing with you about the ‘over-friendly locals’, I get that too, even when I was with a group of friends!

    Glad at least you managed to have a few interesting activities including the Pura Titra Empul temple (it looks awfully crowded as per the photo though) and seeing a local magic man!

    • Hannah Logan on January 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Haha yeah the temple was HUGELY crowded because we went on a holy day (oops). Awesome experience though.

  10. Kassie on January 14, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    I also felt that way about Balinese men. I visited the island with my boyfriend on our RTW but he ended up getting terrible food poisoning while we were in Bali and I ventured out alone a lot and was always uncomfortable with all the questions.

    That being said, I also fell in love with how beautiful the island and culture was. I would absolutely love to go back someday and check out other parts of the island.

    • Hannah Logan on January 14, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      You are tight, the island and culture definitely are amazing!

    • Clarity Traveller on January 5, 2020 at 10:34 am

      I’ve spent a lot of time in Bali and felt very safe overall. I also got a lot of attention from the locals. One time, a friendly uber driver offered to drive me privately. Because of the taxi mafia he wasn’t allowed to drop me off where I was going and I could see he sincerely felt badly about it. He was very kind and professional.

      He became my driver for awhile, and charged the same rate as uber, he would tell me to use the uber app and pay whatever uber would charge. It was soooo helpful. But after several days, he began talking about getting married, lol. It wasn’t creepy, it was kind of cute actually, but super uncomfortable. I had to stop booking rides with him, but found other locals through my hotel, who were great.

      When a sweet, very handsome, 19 year old, who was the hotel driver, began asking me tons of super personal questions, including why was I traveling alone, and was I married, I realized this is just the culture, because he Definitely was Not hitting on me (I’m over 40).

      I nicely explained to him that where I’m from, these questions are considered too personal and we don’t ask these type of questions unless it’s someone we know very well. He was bewildered and profusely apologized. He said that now he understands why Western foreigners sometimes turn silent during conversations, LOL. He was kind of mortified thinking that he was being rude, but laughingly said, “now I understand why Westerners don’t answer me sometimes, they must think I’m being rude!”.

      A local friend who lived in the USA most of her life, told me it’s 100% due to their sense of community. Most of the Balinese are very kind. They just want to know your story, and help if they can. If you’re single, they might start suggesting potential partners for you to meet.

      Oh and just a heads up, although they are used to seeing tourists dressed in shorts, tank tops, and swimwear, it’s still shocking to them. I was heading up to the pool of my hotel and one of the staff saw me in my bikini and dropped his tray! Poor kid looked like he was 18 at most, and was completely flustered. Meanwhile there is a sign in the bathroom not to use towels unless absolutely necessary. I was about to grab a towel to wrap around me when I saw the sign and thought, oh well, I’m just taking to elevator to the pool, lol.

      I’m debating whether to go to Bali next week or to Vietnam. If it weren’t for the nightmare transportation issues, I’d definitely go straight to Bali. My tip is to be sure where your staying is walking distance to restaurants, supermarket, and the places you like/need to go to often. I did this a few months ago and it helped, but I still had to use BlueBird a lot, which gets expensive.

  11. Karin on January 14, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    While I am not planning a trip to Bali anytime soon, this post makes me think it´s probably not my kind of place. No public transport? Seriously? I usually hitchhike, but it can get tricky in touristy places where everyone wants money money money. I travel with my husband most of the time, but also men constantly hitting on you…I mean, it gets awkward. Loved your post though!

    • Hannah Logan on January 14, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      I have had a couple people tell me after reading this they managed to find local busses… but no one I asked wanted to tell me about them 🙁 So I guess they exist but not the easiest to find.

  12. anna on January 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Great post! I do get all your points. Public transport is a nightmare!!

    • Hannah Logan on January 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      They just need accessible local busses! haha. I don’t need anything fancy

  13. Rachel Heller on January 15, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I haven’t been to Bali yet, but I can assure you that a lot of the issues you mention get easier as you get older. It’s easier to rent a car, for example, and you’re more likely to be able to afford it. And the men are less likely to see you as prey if you have a few wrinkles on your face! When I traveled in my teens and 20’s it was pretty much only bigger cities with public transportation. Now that I’m in my 50’s I get off the beaten path as much as possible and I don’t get hassled.

  14. Ria (@lifeinbigtent) on February 4, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Honestly I found solo traveling in Indonesia better than with someone 🙂 Somehow when I was traveling solo more opportunities were open to me, more suggestions 🙂 I agree with some of your points about Bali but I believe each of us can have totally different experience depends where you go, how and etc 🙂

    • Hannah Logan on February 4, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Very true. I think I went in thinking it would be more accessible than it was. I’ve since had people tell me there are local busses but, at the time when I asked, no one was willing to tell me about it. So I left feeling like I didn’t get to do everything I wanted because I was travelling alone.

  15. Rahmat Suraya on February 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I just go back from Bali as a solo traveler a weeks ago. I found this blog by twitter. I’m so excited to you that you come to my country and share your experience during in Bali. Now I go back to continue my study at college in Yogyakarta, and if you want to come to Indonesia again. Especially in Yogyakarta, I can help you for sharing any information that want you know. Hope you enjoy your next trip
    Just contact me via email : rahmatsuraya1994@gmail.com

    • Hannah Logan on February 7, 2017 at 12:18 am

      I’m so bummed I didn’t get to Yogyakarta! Will need to come back so I can visit!

  16. Mario on April 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Sad to hear that you didn’t enjoy Bali. Yet, I have to admit (as I am currently also putting the hand-written Indonesia traveljournal from 3 years ago on my blog): You have to really get used to the transportation system there (or rent a scooter/motorbike… which may be quite exhausting since the roads aren’t really the best ones). Yet, I am sure to revisit Indonesia, though most likely focus on Lombok/Flores/Sumatra. Oh, and yeah, definitely the Gilies again. Just about 1 month ago, military and police arrived at Trawangan and cleaned up the beaches (got this info from a local dive center, Trawangan Dive). The local dive centers already struggled to keep the reef clean…

    Ps: Even as a male, I kinda know the issue with being way too much hitted on by local males (met a lot of female travellers that said the same thing you did). It feels different than the “harmless” catcalling women get in latin america, Yet… I don’t really get why this is happening there – this isn’t India, where men have so little contact to women that they have just no clue how to flirt or interpret female behaviour at all.

    • Hannah Logan on April 10, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I kept being told there was no public transport system but since posting this people keep telling me there is. I think the locals just didn’t want me to know haha. Which sucks because I think it might have made a difference in me feeling like I had more freedom to move around. As for the men- they weren’t all bad, but yes some were very uncomfortable.

      • Mario on April 10, 2017 at 3:30 pm

        Well, there are the bemos of course… but it is hard for a non-local to get on one in Bali (strangely, in Java public transportation wasn’t that much of an issue for me, though it is way less touristy). I think the reason is than people are dependent on these bemos and since they are much smaller than the Latin American chickenbusses or colectivos, they rather keep this cheap transportation method to themselves – travallers got enough money to find a substitute. 😉

        • Hannah Logan on April 10, 2017 at 6:53 pm

          Haha you are probably right! I’ll have to be more savvy next time.

  17. Laia on June 5, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Oh, I’m not alone! Thanks for writing this article.
    I’m in Ubud right now, I arrived here two weeks ago… and I don’t love Bali for the same reasons you mention. Lack of public transport, mostly, but I was also scammed while buying a local SIM card, I’ve been chased by dogs several times and touched by a man (he was wearing a helmet so I’m not sure he was local). I’ve also had problems with internet and ATMs.
    It’s sad because the island is beautiful, the culture is very interesting, the food is good and most people are nice. I do see why people like it, but I think this is a place for people who can ride a motorbike (I don’t).

    • Hannah Logan on June 5, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      yes, I think if you have a motorbike or are content to stay in a villa or in town at the beach clubs relaxing its probably great. Just didn’t suit my travel wants sadly. Beautiful spot though

  18. Alan on October 11, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I bought a local 4G”sim and it is super annoying you cant just make calls to anther number. Another thing that went wrong is that in “mobile data” settings i had to enable LTE instead of 3G. Best one i found is simati indonesia

    • Hannah Logan on October 12, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Good to know about simati if I go back!

  19. Muhammad Khair on November 16, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I traveled solo to Bali on the 26th October 2017. What you said about the public transportation in Bali is true. The cheapest mode of transportation is renting a motorcycle or taking a ride on a motorcycle taxi (Ojek). If you hire taxis or private cars it will cost you a lot. I had booked a hotel and having outdoor activities with a travel agency before coming to Bali. The transportation going to Gitgit doing canyoning activities or white water rafting in Sungai Ayung from my hotel have already been arranged.

    • Hannah Logan on November 23, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      Yeah the lack of public transit is a bummer for sure!

  20. fisqa tasyara on November 24, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Not Simati. The relatively best cell provider in Indonesia (largest coverage) is Simpati by Telkomsel. Data is cheap too. For 10€ you can get from 4 to 22 gb, depending on the current promo.

    To get around, it is easiest to rent a car or motorcycle unfortunately. Buss is available, in some places only. Always book in advance because the services offered in Bali is usually overpriced. I have frequented Bali alone very often. I always rent a car from Taksi baliku rental service (+6285337358999). But I am a local, so you have to ask him whether you can rent just the car as a foreigner.

    I’m sorry you didn’t have a good time in Bali. Better experience later, maybe?

  21. Delia on December 15, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Hi, I am a local and travelling alone in 2017. My friend experienced the same issue as well. She is from german. I came to her when she was talking in a ‘too friendly’ mode. The stranger wanted to take her by his motorbike in a first meeting, which is weird. And kept talking to her eventho she refused it in a gentle way. What a coincidence we stayed at same hotel. We ended up travelling together, and met another solo traveller from argentine. Then it became group trip which is MORE safe especially in south area. Riding a motorbike is the cheapest way for short distance. But if you want to travel to another side of island, lets say from Kuta to Amed, travelling with friends is better, otherwise you have to spend much money for transport. Oh yes, uber could be scary, they have banned it in tourist areas like kuta, seminyak, uluwatu, ubud, canggu and maybe some other areas. The hotel in uluwatu didn’t even allow us to call uber and asked us to use their transport which was 3 times more expensive. So we had to walk to main street with our stuffs and waited for the uber there. I had to pretend that I was the driver’s cousin (uber ,driver’s idea) and my friend had to hide because she has blondie hair. Someone can just ask you to go out from uber taxi if they know you hire uber and left you there in the middle of street with big bag. They don’t ban the Gojek tho (like uber but with motorbike).

    • Hannah Logan on December 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      It’s a big bummer about banning Uber, really 🙁 I think that would have made a huge difference

  22. Carla Doria on February 3, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I’m in Bali right now, and yes I had the same experience. I thought I would be able to find tours I could join and where we would share transportation among other tourists, but private tours only 🙁 which is still weird for me as solo traveller as I wanted to meet other people on the same tour. I just went on a tour and spent the whole day with the driver. He was nice but I’d rather preferred to be with more people.

    • Hannah Logan on February 3, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      I hear ya girl. It’s definitely frustrating

  23. Kay on February 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I’m in Bali (Sanur) right now, just arrived last night actually and having the same experiences as you. I can’t believe it’s just one day in and I’m not liking this place already. The most awkward being the men. I went snorkeling today and it was just me on the boat and the man who owned the boat. So I told him it’s my first time and I’m really nervous. He decides to come in the water and assist me which I was thankful for. But then what followed was terrifying. He was touching all over my body, especially my legs (rubbing his hand back and forth) Even when I would rest on the small ladder attached to the boat, he kept rubbing over my legs and butt. OMG…I’ve never been more freaked out in my life. The whole session was supposed to be for 1 hour and I told him after 20 minutes to take me back. He kept telling me I should go for one more round and I had to say ‘no’ several times before he finally agreed to take me back. Once back on the boat, he suddenly touches my chin and starts rubbing as if he’s trying to clean something off of it. Absolutely horrifying!!
    Also, all the shop keepers pushing to buy things and being over friendly just for the sake of making some money. They were all getting too personal and asking how long I’m staying. Like wtf .. it’s none of their business. I told one I was here for 4 days and she said ‘why so short, stay longer’ … and I’m thinking to myself ‘yea right, … that’s not gonna happen with the way this day is turning out.’
    Anyways, I’m going to Ubud tomorrow to get away from all this nonsense. I actually don’t have a plan on how many days I want to stay. I was thinking about 1-2 weeks but now I’m just on the edge after today’s experience. But I think it will be pretty short. To all the solo travelers out there coming to Bali, just be very careful and maybe rethink on coming alone… it’s better with a friend or a group.

    • Hannah Logan on February 20, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      Oh jeez I’m sorry you are having such a rough time 🙁 that snorkelling story is horrible! I hope Ubud is better for you. It has a big expat community so hopefully you can meet some people and have some company.

    • Nana on February 22, 2018 at 7:41 am

      Omg..that’s horrible. I’m sorry for your horrifying experience.
      I had the similar experience when I went to Bali (2years ago) with my sister, she’s wearing hijab and we still got the overly too friendly attitude from local Balinese men. Although it was only happened when we walked around Legian and Kuta. Most of the time we went everywhere by rental car, so it’s pretty safe.
      These articles and comments made me anxious of my decision to go solo travel to Bali for off beaten track itinerary and I’m Indonesian..

      • Hannah Logan on February 22, 2018 at 12:51 pm

        I don’t think you shouldn’t go if you really want to. I think with some planning and knowing what to expect, you can make it a much better experience and help ensure that you will feel a more comfortable. Renting a car if you can again might be a great idea. Personally, the most issues I had with the local men were the drivers.

  24. Heather Glebe on March 26, 2018 at 7:27 am

    I am on a retreat in Bali now and would like to do some touring between March 30 and April 2nd or possibly April 4th out of Ubud. Might anyone out there be interested or know of a blog where solo travelers can connect? Thank you!

    • Hannah Logan on March 26, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      If you stayed in a homestay or a hostel that would be an easy way to meet other travellers. Or try facebook- are you part of any travel groups? Theres a huge one called Girls Love Travel that might be worth checking out and posting a note in.

      • Heather Glebe on March 26, 2018 at 1:33 pm

        Great — thanks, Hannah!

  25. Juana on March 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Im in Lombok with my boyfriend. We were in Bali before. Felt super dissapointed. A taxi driver followed us to our Grab and start screaming at us. Kuta is so full of dirt and plastic It made us super SAD. We escape to Ubud (not the city center, super turistic and expensive) and we have a real good time until one morning after a yoga class at the ubud yoga house we decides to Walk near the rice fields, which is a really nice place by the way. There was a little art shop. The Guy inside said he was the painter and bla bla bla. He said there was a waterfall nearby. We went there and he followed us to show us the way. He was super nice. When we arrived, we make a ‘ritual’ to thank the gods, with flowers and fruits. Everything was super good until he said we needed to take off our clothes and hug under the cascade for ‘couple harmony’. Of course we didnt do It, and he continued to ask us to hug and touch each other and so some sexual posses infront of him. We didnt do It and we were really unconfortable because we were alone in the middle of nowhere with this Guy. We were so sad because we thought he was being honest. We decided to leave and he even ask us for money. Then he told US he lied to us, he was just a coconut Seller not the painter. He spent hours talking about how he makes his own paints, etc, and It was bullshit. The only good thing we found un Bali was Ubud yoga house and the nice family we stayed at Ubud (Soca guest House). If You want to dive or snorkell just go to the Gili islands. We felt it was Very hard to get some real balinese culture. All the Instagram pretty pictures are mostly expensive resorts which are not exactly balinese. Sorry for the negative comments but It was just what we lived there. Already loving Lombok ❤️

    • Hannah Logan on March 28, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      Ugh thats too bad 🙁 Glad you like Lombok though! I loved the Nusas and Komodo National Park. Would like to see other parts of Indonesia too

  26. […] men, and beautiful Bali villa rentals were interesting to see, it was too commercialized for me. I wanted off the beaten path adventure and I couldn’t seem to find it there. Thankfully, I met up with my friend Chantae who had heard good things about the nearby small island […]

  27. Rasela on April 12, 2018 at 7:31 am

    This post is very helpful.
    I have been anxious of travelling to Bali alone because of safety and mobility issues. I will cancelmy trip. I don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere knowing men there could be impolite. Thanks a lot.

  28. Nana on May 14, 2018 at 3:12 am

    Hii..I’m just back from my solo traveling to Bali and want to share some of my experiences.
    And thank goodness I didn’t get any harassment or overly too friendly guys.

    Found this some sort of shuttle bus/hop on hop off named Kura kura bus http://kura2bus.com/ which offer a good deal of transport if you want to go to Ubud area. The deal is quite affordable for a solo traveler. Not much if you are a party of 2 or more. Day pass is IDR 100k (USD 7.5), 3D pass IDR 150k (USD 11). 7D pass IDR 250k (USD 18).

    I stay at Seminyak village area where one of bus stop located.
    I checked to UBER/GRAB apps one way cost to Ubud is around IDR 90k (1.5hr travel), so yes the Kura2 bus is quite a deal esp as online transportation and Blue Bird taxi (meter taxi) is banned in Ubud area.

    This shuttle has 5 lines that cover Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Sanur, Ubud, Nusa Dua and Jimbaran area.

    Pro: -the bus is air-conditioned, offer free wi-fi, many power outlets.
    – Cheap for long distance area like Ubud, Sanur, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua.
    -Has many discount coupon for shops/cafe nearby their bus stops
    -The customer center speaks a decent English and Japanese
    -The booklet offer more detail map area around their bus stop (you can d/l from their web)

    Cons: -Bali traffic is unpredictable so going to different line takes more times and it wasted so much of your time (e.g from seminyak to Ubud, from line 4 to line 5 it took me 3hr traveling time compare with lets say rent a car 1.5hr) .
    -More happening area like Canggu and/or off beaten track at North Bali is not yet covered (probably in the future? *finger cross)
    -Unless on 1st /last bus stop where there’s space for parking, bus is sometimes only wait for several seconds.
    -The drivers has limited English so if you want to consult more touristy advise, need to call the call center directly

    Tips:
    -if you only travel around Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, the best option is using online motorcycle like Go-Jeg/Uber/Grab since travel with bus/car is way longer due to bad traffic jam.
    -plan ahead
    -for more shared cost option you can opt to join community like couchsurfing

    Anyway I don’t get any commission from Kura2bus ,lol.. I just want to help fellow solo traveler. And I love Bali no matter how expensive it is for an Indonesian like me.

    • Hannah Logan on May 14, 2018 at 11:27 am

      good tip, thanks! Nobody was able to tell me about that bus when I visited 🙁 just perama shuttles which wouldn’t take a solo traveller.

      • Nana on May 15, 2018 at 8:25 am

        Tbh not many people knows this.
        99% of my friends prefer to go to Bali in a group to share the cost of rent a car or just rent a motorcycle for cheapest and fastest mode of transportation. So they have no idea about this kind of transportation exist in Bali.

        And based on the website, it was established 5 years ago, with all the reluctant from local with any new business in transportation, I can imagine it must be a slow growth.

        • Hannah Logan on May 15, 2018 at 12:15 pm

          haha good to know! Thanks for the insight though 🙂

  29. Pooja on June 6, 2018 at 6:39 am

    OMG!!! I am planning a solo trip in November, 2018, after reading your blog and all the comments out there, thinking, should I drop this trip?

    • Hannah Logan on June 6, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      I wouldn’t say drop it. Just go in with these things in mind and have a plan of where you want to go and what you want to do. Bali is beautiful and has a super interesting culture. Many of the people are kind I just had enough crappy interactions and experiences that it left me feeling negative about it.

    • Jaria on September 18, 2018 at 6:18 am

      I’m also planning a trip at the end of November I’m nervous to go myself we can meet up if you are still going

      • Joana on October 31, 2018 at 12:30 am

        Hi. I going to travail solo at the end ou november too 🙂

  30. Nana on June 8, 2018 at 3:13 am

    Tbh every country have their dark side and flaws even the safest country.
    All we have to do every time reading bad experiences like these is keep that thing in our mind and just be more cautious.
    From all my trips so far, the only country who genuinely help strangers (without asking money for return or scam) is Japan. Seriously, every time I opened my maps and look confused, there’s always some local offered to help even with their little English without I even ask.Well, mostly the old ones, the young is too shy and timid imo but they still willing to help if we ask.

    Anyway, just use your common sense. After reading all the negative experiences, just bear in mind that yes, in Bali some local offer helps in exchange of extra money, and some are thinking that foreigner is stereotype as “easy”, they probably watch too many Hollywood movies. But please underline the word “some”, don’t generalize that every local like that.

    How to minimize it: be prepare, plan ahead

    • Hannah Logan on June 9, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Agree. I’m not telling anyone not to go to Bali- I made that very clear in the final paragraph. Bali is beautiful. I just didn’t have a good experience and shared it- it’s a personal post, I’m not generalizing.

  31. Nana on June 11, 2018 at 1:04 am

    Yes , I know you are not generalizing dear and I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy Bali. I also had some doubt when I first read your article when I’ve already booked my flight.

    But thanks to you, I made some thorough plan as a result I really enjoyed my stay there.

    I think my next plan is learning how to drive a motorcycle..lol… it helps when you decide to explore small towns in some Asia countries.

  32. Priscilla on August 21, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Oh my gosh!!!!! I could not relate more to this article. I , too am a solo female traveler, 5 days in Ubud and 5 days in Seminyak. I truly havd the most bizarre experience yesterday with a driver. I stopped by the taxi stand because I didn’t feel like walking into town in Ubud from my Airbnb. He was very happy to accommodate me and we set off. He asked what I had done, so I explained I had seen some temples, did a cooking class, and now off to do a bit of shopping. He said that I should see the waterfall, and where they make silver, and that he would also help me in the market to negotiate because he was a local. Not sure what happened, but I think something got lost in translation at some point over the three hours. I made a joke about wanting to stay in Bali forever, but my husband would not like it (I dont have a husband- just dropping hints to him I was unavailable.) He said he can be my Bali husband in a joking way to which I laughed. Then he waited for an answer… so I just nervously giggled. Then he starts saying I am His princess here, and it doesn’t matter that he has a wife and I have a husband. Then he grabbed my hand and said “I like you.” Keep in mind, we are like 50 minutes outside of town, there are no tourists around, so either I can tell him I want to get out of the car somewhere so foreign, or I can just suck it up and deal with it. I made up a story that I had to get back as soon as possible to meet up with some friends, and he kept asking me to cancel plans with them so that him and I could have dinner. I said no about five times and he finally got the hint, but as he was dropping me off he tried to kiss me!!!!! I was so shocked I just Hopped out of the car. I have no idea where he got the idea I was Interested- but I think in America we tend to be much more friendly than the rest of the world. So maybe if you are friendly to the Balinese men, they take it as a sign of interest? So bizarre. Anyways I have 5 more days here…. wish me luck!!!

    • Hannah Logan on August 21, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Ack so uncomfortable. I totally get you. GOOD LUCK!

  33. […] to go on day trips to popular areas like Ubud. While I’m quick to admit that I didn’t love Bali as a solo traveller, I did enjoy my girls trip to Seminyak and our private Seminyak villa definitely had a lot to do […]

  34. […] on the road. My pub night in Northern Ireland still remains one of my scariest moments, and the harassment I experienced in Bali was enough to make me never want to return. I often look at some other solo female travellers, who […]

  35. Robert on October 15, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    bali sucks. end of story. i am so glad all of these people with no souls go here. this means they are not in the truly pristine, wild places. every dumb chick and bro wants to eat pray love and find themselves in a couple weeks and go home and tell everyone how enlightened they are. I’m not hating, just telling the truth… and this is 150+ countries into my journey, so i’m no rookie. keep going to bali people…

    thank you

    • Jenny on April 10, 2019 at 5:51 am

      Couldn’t agree more. Currently in Ubud and hugely disappointed. Glad I’m not the only one standing here in awe wondering if anyone else can see what I’m seeing. On to Lombok pronto!!

  36. […] better for the environment is enough to push you then imagine this: you’re travelling through Bali and unexpectedly get your period (trying to manage being on the pill with major time zone changes […]

  37. Carola on January 10, 2019 at 3:24 am

    Hello! I am facing the same problems right now. that really stresses. I am considering to rush to java. Does anyone know if it is better there regarding female solo travelling?
    Kind regards,Caro

    • Hannah Logan on January 10, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      I can’t speak for Java, but I even found Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan better when I was there. Have you tried either of those?

      • Carola on January 10, 2019 at 6:11 pm

        I came from Lembongan and Cheningan 😉 that was really nice. Now I have this experiences on Bali but I wanted to get to know more about Indonesian Culture on the main island. I will inform about Java. Thanks Hannah.

        • Nana on January 11, 2019 at 7:28 am

          i’m sorry that you are having a rough time in Bali.
          Maybe this will help a bit for culture reference though you don’t need to say hello to everyone, lol
          https://lifeinbigtent.com/good-manners-in-indonesia/

          imo Javanese ppl is more shy than local Balinese, the irritating part probably more kids calling you “bule (indonesian for foreigner), hi sir & hello”) and randomly ask to take picture with you .

          I recommend to go to Jogjakarta, the ppl there tend to be more polite and due to the city itself is a student town it’s way cheaper than Bali.

  38. Nikki on January 20, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Hi, I’m thinking about going to Bali in June. This will be my first trip as a solo traveller and although I won’t be travelling all over (it’s more of a holiday) I would like to go and see/do a few things.
    I’ve found a couple of places on Airbnb as I thought this would be a better option compared to staying in a hotel with a load of couples?! One is close to Bingin Beach and has bars and restaurants close by, but the other is quite remote and the reviews state that a bike is must to get anywhere. But after reading the comments on this thread I’m a bit concerned that I will be out of my depth doing this?

    Any help would be appreciated

    Thanks
    Nikki

    • Hannah Logan on January 20, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Hey Nikki,
      It’s really up to you in the end and what you are comfortable with. That being said, as a solo traveller who has had these experiences in Bali, I don’t think I would personally love an Airbnb away from everything that I needed a bike to get to. Especially since I have bad experiences with motorbikes and wouldn’t rent one on my own.

  39. Nimisha Modi on January 29, 2019 at 4:57 am

    Hey I was just planning on visiting Bali all by myself but was skeptical about the traveling thing. Thank god I lamded here to read your blog. Travelling solo will surely be a pro blem at Bali and when you’re a female student travelling all alone, it can definitely burn your pockets.

    Thank you so much for being honest ?

    Love from India

  40. Maria on March 13, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    I honestly wish I would read it among all “BALI IS AMAZING” reviews before my trip. Thankfully I’m not alone here, but in a week here we (2 female travellers) had 2 really shitty and scary accidents with taxi drivers, very creepy surfing trainer who constantly kept trying to touch me (payed for an hour and left after 20 minutes) and a purse snatched. My friend decided to let it go when she realized her documents and phone are home and there’s just a little cash and personal belongings because the guy pulled so hard her hand started to get twisted and she still has a bruise.

    Transportation is a nightmare, beaches are pretty polluted and men are beyond creepy. I would say I’m an experienced and open-minded traveller, I loved-loved-loved India, Nepal, Malaysia,Cambodia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Ukraine, remote parts of Russia and Vietnam and felf perfectly fine there, it’s the first time I’m somewhere and don’t even want to leave my villa, let alone explore remote areas.

    We do good research on culture and dress-code everytime we travel, and even when I had some bad experiences in some of other countries they were never AS bad or as frequent as here. Wearing long dress, covering shoulders and having a fake ring doesn’t help at all, men here are the worst.

    Well, the more you know. I heard that Gili is a good place so we’ll try to check it soon, if it’s the same – our plan B is having a laugh about it all, ordering take-away sushi and playing online games in a villa with a pool! Never thought our holiday would go like this but we’re determined to have a good time one way or another 🙂

    Just thought I’d add my experience under your post in case someone else is in doubts.

    • Hannah Logan on March 13, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      Ah I’m sorry its been crap for you too. I know so many people love it but sadly, I didn’t have that experience and clearly nor did you. Did you try Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan? They were way better for me

  41. Achmad ghozi on September 10, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Dear all solo traveler

    I am local man (not bali)
    I really feel disgust with the silly stupid behaviour that you receive from local man.

    Trust me.. they wont dare do that to local girl. They the consequence

    So when ever you get approached with staranger with silly behavior, just be assertive like local girl in general. Dont give space to communicate. Dont laugh and speak a bit

    • Hannah Logan on September 10, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      Being assertive isn’t always the fix. Sad fact is that many women, especially western white women, are seen as easy and promiscuous in some cultures and that automatically makes them a target. Being assertive helps, but it doesn’t always work. Either way, women shouldn’t have to be assertive. Men should respect us enough to leave us alone if we clearly don’t want the attention.

    • nana on September 11, 2019 at 5:05 am

      @ACHMAD GHOZI
      I think you meant well.. but you are doing victim blaming here.. I’m from Jakarta Indonesia and believe me when I said, I don’t smile much to stranger , don’t like talking to stranger and I don’t wear skimpy shirts as well but guess what It still happen. Whether I’m with my sister or female friend who wear hijab or walking by myself , it still happen.
      It won’t happen if you walk with group of men (more than 2) because if you read some of these comments the harassment still happen on some couple too.

  42. […] What I love most about the brand is their belief that every body is a swim body. From sexy one-pieces to cute bikinis, they have everything in a huge range of sizes. Bombshell Ashley Graham works with this brand, which I think is amazing for promoting body positivity. At least it worked for me; I always swore I would never wear a bikini, and then somehow I bought one to take with me to Bali. […]

  43. Khanny on January 5, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Sorry to hear about your experience Hannah – I think it is awful that men think it’s okay to prey on tourists with the intention of getting something in return – and we shouldn’t have to make small talk and laugh because we’ll be less safer otherwise. I’m a Muslim woman (wears hijab) and I have booked my solo trip for June 2020, to Seminyak. After reading these comments I will have to be that little bit more cautious with the local men. It’s a bummer because I don’t have friends and family on standby who can accompany me on my trips hence why this is my first solo one. What would be the safest means of transport from the airport to my hotel? Also can I book excursions when I get there or should I prebook online? I agree that there is good and bad everywhere and this is why I don’t want this to hold me back from travelling alone.

    • Hannah Logan on January 6, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      Don’t let it back for sure! Just go in a little more prepared. From airport, a taxi is your best bet. Look for the Blue Bird taxis. They are the official ones that will give you the best rates (though taxis still aren’t cheap). It might also be worth asking your accommodation if they provide or can arrange a transfer.
      You can definitely book when you get there. That’s probably best so you can see the weather. That being said, be careful with who you book. Everyone has a friend that does tours. And I got sucked into one with the UNFRIENDLIEST driver ever who didn’t act as a guide or even try at all. I like to recommend Get Your Guide for tours. They vet the companies ahead of time, but they are still local companies. Plus you can check the reviews/

  44. Cher on February 2, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Wow I can’t thank you enough for writing this blog and all the women who have shared your experiences. I was going to go to Bali solo for a month or more and now I’m not going at all. Being someone who has traveled solo my whole life and began at 17yrs old moving to my island Puerto Rico (I’m 28 now) I’ve definitely dealt with men being over friendly but NOTHING like these experiences. I will not be going to Bali solo or anytime soon tbh and I’m beyond grateful for you posting your stories!!!! I’ve been raped and sexually assaulted before (once while in Aruba, and I was with my girl friend) so I will definitely not be going to Bali. Thank you SO much for sharing.

    • Hannah Logan on February 3, 2020 at 12:37 pm

      I’m sorry you cancelled your trip, I’m sure you were looking forward to it, however, I’m also glad you had this information beforehand to make that decision. I’m sure given your experiences you are probably extra cautious and I hate to think that you would be miserable or uncomfortable. Maybe give it a chance another day with a group but, in the meantime, I think there are plenty other places that are more ideal for solo female travel.

  45. […] a destination. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve done this (looking at you Bali and Morocco) however, as a solo traveller, especially a solo female traveller, I believe that […]

  46. Chidi Ashley Travels on May 15, 2020 at 4:38 am

    Thanks for sharing this info.

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