Chasing Adventure: A Solo Travel Guide to Bali
A Guest Blog by @ALifestyleProject
Some of us travel to relax. Others to escape and explore. But for me, travel is about adventure. Over the last few years, I’ve discovered that I never feel more alive than when being pushed outside my comfort zone. There is nothing more empowering than realizing you are capable of something you never thought possible. This thirst for adventure started by jumping out of a plane at 14000 feet along the coastline of Western Australia on holidays 4 years ago, and has become an objective of every holiday I’ve taken since.
My desire to see Bali had been a long-held dream, after studying Indonesian at school and most of my Australian friends making the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. So when the stars aligned and I found an opportunity to take a solo trip, I couldn’t have jumped faster.
Bali welcomes a staggering 5 million tourists to the tiny island annually. Whether its a trip to party in Kuta or to chill out on the relaxed coastline of Canggu, there really is something for everyone. On a mission for tranquillity and nature, my research leads me to Ubud, the lush jungle-like region of central Bali made famous by the story ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Turns out, I couldn’t have picked a more perfect location for a 30-something mum in need of respite and excitement.
I was amazed at how many locals spoke English, although the native tongue is Bahasa Indonesia. The locals are incredibly hospitable Between the locals and fellow tourists, there is seldom a chance to feel lonely while traveling solo in Bali. Within an hour or so of arriving in Ubud, I’d befriended a lovely Canadian girl, who shared my first meal in Bali in a little local warung. It set the tone for the entire trip.
Unless you are comfortable on a scooter in a foreign place with chaotic traffic, I strongly recommend engaging a driver for your stay. A trusted friend sent me a recommendation, and Nyoman could not have been more wonderful. As a solo traveler in a new place, there was a huge comfort in finding him waiting for me at the airport and greeting me with a huge smile. Not only did he get me to my accommodation and around Bali throughout my stay, but he also helped negotiate amazing deals for ALL of my adventures, came to my rescue when I had problems withdrawing cash, provided endless advice about everything from bartering to where to eat and even greeted me with cold Bintang on my birthday! If you need a reliable driver during your stay, tell him Kylie sent you. A great, trustworthy driver is worth their weight in gold.
The accommodation options are endless, but for this trip I opted for a budget option in a blissful AirBnB in Ubud, costing me roughly $20 AUD a night. On my birthday I did decide to treat myself to a day pass to a breathtaking Padma Ubud. Many of the 5-star resorts in Bali offer day passes, allowing you to enjoy the facilities and live like a queen (or king) for the day. The Padma offers a swim and dine package, which included food/drink credit and towel hire. Everything you need for a glorious day by the infinity pool overlooking the lush jungle.
Recommendations for Adventures in Bali
Ubud proved to be the land of firsts and huge moments for me. Spending two hours on an ATV exploring the jungle and getting covered in mud isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but I’m not sure I’ve ever had more fun. Solo travel has this beautiful thing where you get added to other groups. When I was grouped in with some other Aussies, it was a great way to connect with other travelers. We all had a blast and remain, friends, today.
White Water Rafting in Bali
Without a doubt, the highlight of my trip was white water rafting down the Agung River with Graha Adventure. From the moment the guides assembled the group, their enthusiasm and excitement were infectious. We all jumped into the back of a ute, paddles, helmets and life jackets in tow. Then hiking down to the river through beautiful tranquil rice paddies. I was lucky enough to share this experience with 3 newlywed couples from India, America, and Scotland. Our guide was phenomenal and lead us down the most picturesque landscape I’ve ever seen. Surrounded by traditional style carvings in the cliff faces and jungle we spend two hours in absolute paradise. If you do anything in Ubud, I implore you to consider this!
If you enjoy the water, it would be a wasted opportunity to not at least do a day trip to beautiful Nusa Dua. I was blown away by options for fun. There were so many aqua based activities that I had trouble deciding what to jam into a single day. I had intended to spend some time snorkeling. Then I discovered that I could realize one of my dreams, going on my first scuba dive. The coral reefs, the huge array of fish and the odd shark was more than I could have hoped for and was undoubtedly one of the biggest highlights of my trip. I ended up booking to go again as soon as the first dive was over, jamming a second dive in with a quick parasail, enjoying Nusa Dua from the air in between.
In short, as far as budget travel goes, Bali really is hard to beat. In the 9 days, I was there, I felt like I have only just scraped the surface. I would love to share more on the psychological benefits of travel and adventure. That’s probably a whole blog in itself. Perhaps I’ll have an opportunity to share some of those in the future. But if you are looking for an adventure, you won’t be short of one here. Counting down the days until I return to this beautiful island nation.
About the Author:
Kylie McGuigan is the founder of the ‘A Lifestyle Project’ movement. It is designed to encourage others to follow their pursuits in family, business and life. Kylie comes from a background in psychology and community-driven projects around mental health and wellbeing. She is based in Australia and is currently developing her landscape photography business along the way. You can follow her adventures here: https://www.instagram.com/alifestyleproject