Back in 2015, I had a year long work assignment in Asia, I took advantage of it and did a few solo trips. I decided to go to Bali which is famous as a yoga retreat and honeymoon destination. I was pretty nervous about traveling alone and I traveled alone for work before, but this was different. I would not only be eating alone, visiting attractions on my own but also be alone in a new country.
A co-worker recommended hiring a private driver to take me around Bali which helped ease my nerve a little. It was around 45 USD for 10 hours a day (an amazing price). The driver didn’t speak too much English but he was able to recommend some local restaurants and tips. As I traveled through Bali, I found a lot of temples, beaches, other tourists, and of course monkeys everywhere! I love my time in Bali that I ended up coming back with a friend and her mom a few months later. Here are the most memorable places to check out:
Uluwatu Temple/ Balinese Kecak Dance
Uluwatu Temple, or Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is located on top of a cliff and it’s known for one of the top places in Bali to watch the sunset. It overlooks the beautiful waves of the Indian Ocean. There are also daily 1 hour Kecak dance performances held at an amphitheater nearby which starts at 6 PM (sunset time). Everyone is seated facing the stage with the beautiful sunset and ocean backdrop. You must wear a sarong and a sash to enter, which can be rented at the temple entrance but I would just buy one since you’ll need it to enter all temples.
What I Have Learned: The monkeys at this temple are not friendly so be careful of all your belonging. I spotted monkeys with sunglasses, a water bottle, and even a little girl’s shoe.
Cost: Uluwatu Temple Entrance: 50,000 IDR (3.50 USD)/ Balinese Kecak Dance: 150,000 IDR (10.50 USD)
Hour: Mon to Sun: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
As an animal lover, I was excited to check out this monkey sanctuary. This centuries-old temple complex doubles as a sanctuary for a thriving population of roughly 500+ Balinese long-tailed macaques. Monkey Forest Ubud has around 10,000–15,000 visitors every month. The Monkey Forest Ubud has 186 species of plants and trees and 3 temples; Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple, Holy Spring Temple, and Prajapati Temple. You will find locals selling bananas to feed to the monkeys near the entrances but keep in mind that the monkeys are wild animals so they may bite and also may carry disease.
What Have I Learned: Do not bring plastic bags, sunglasses, foods, or loose items because the monkeys will steal your items. Also, do not approach a baby monkey because the mom will get defensive.
Cost: 80,000 IDR (5.50 USD)/ Free Parking
Hour: Mon to Sun: 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM
This market has everything from clothes, sarongs, jewelry, handbag, homeware, Balinese handicrafts, and your typical souvenirs. Most of the products sold at the Ubud Market are made in the neighboring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan, and Peliatan. The Ubud Traditional Art Market vendors will not have a barcode or set price so you’ll have to bargain.
What Have I Learned: Walk around first before you start buying because many shops will sell the same products just in different colors or sizes. I usually buy souvenirs for family and friends and found that the more you buy, the better the bargain you’ll get.
Hour: Mon to Sun: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
An ancient Hindu shrine dedicated to the gods of the sea is perched on top of a rock formation off the Indonesian island of Bali. You can walk over to the temple itself during low tide to view the base where the legendary ‘guardian’ sea snakes dwell in crevices around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain. During high tide, waves flood the causeways making it impossible to cross. Check the tide times before planning your visit.
What Have I Learned: Priests at the fountain bless visitors by sprinkling them with the holy water from the natural spout. You can cup your palms and take a sip to prove it is amazingly fresh water.
Cost: 60,000 IDR (4.15 USD)
Hour: Mon to Sun: 7.00 AM to 7:00 PM
More places to check out:
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park – The towering statue is Bali’s most iconic landmark and depicts the Hindu God Wisnu, atop his mount, the mythical eagle, Garuda. The statue and pedestal is about 400 feet high which is taller than the Statue of Liberty in NY/NJ and Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Geger Beach Nusa Dua Bali – This white sand beach with calm crystal water was empty when I got there early in the morning. It looks like a great place to sunbathe and go swimming. There’s a waterblow nearby where the waves crash at high tide into the reef which can splash up to 26 feet high.
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) – This 11th-century cave is entered through the carved mouth of a demon almost like you’re entering the dark underworld. Goa Gajah is still an active worship site so try not to get in the way of worshippers inside the narrow cave.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace – The Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud are famous for their beautiful cascading rice paddies on the cliff and their traditional Balinese innovative irrigation system (subak). There’s a Love Bali swing that’s probably surrounded by tourists taking a picture with it.
Puri Saren Palace (Ubud Palace) – The historic royal palace offers overnight lodging & Balinese dance performances in the evening. There’s a temple with a beautiful lily pond in front of it.
Tirta Gangga – The former royal palace in eastern Bali features tiered fountains, gardens, and stone sculptures of mythical creatures spouting water into bathing pools.
Lempuyang Temple – Lempuyang Temple or Pura Lempuyang Luhur is one of Bali’s oldest temples and six holiest places of worship on Bali. ‘The Gates of Heaven’ is famous for the white stone gates that frame Mount Agung.
Besakih Temple – Besakih is known as the ‘Mother Temple of Bali” because it’s the biggest and holiest of Bali’s temples with at least 86 clan temples and shrines. Its high location offers spectacular countryside views with rice paddies, hills, mountains, and streams.
Mount Batur – Hikers will enjoy climbing this volcano, and the rewards of the views into the crater and of the crystal clear waters of Lake Batur.
How many days do you need in Bali? 3-5 days
What is your main transportation in Bali? Car.
How long did it take to get to Bali? 2 hours and 40 minutes flight from Singapore
Where did you stay? I stayed in Kuta Beach because it’s known to be a tourist area.
Is Bali expensive? $$
When did you go to Bali? November 2015
What Have I Learned: Bali’s attractions are far from one another. You’ll need a car to get to all the locations.