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From Anticipation to Adventure: My Solo Trip to Bali

I have learned to embrace the thrill of solo budget adventures. This time, I am going to Bali for a month-long journey that I know will be an unforgettable experience. The thrill of exploring new places, while immersing myself in a new culture, and meeting new people is building daily as my departure date gets closer.


I am eager to set out on this adventure and have been tirelessly researching the best places to visit and things to do. From the stunning temples and beaches to lush green rice paddies, Bali offers so many experiences that I can't wait to discover.

I have spent hours pouring over travel guides, blogs, and forums. I am becoming confident that I know what belongs on my perfect itinerary. But with any adventure, there are bound to be surprises, and I am excited to embrace them.


However, as a mature female traveller, I also have some trepidation about travelling solo to an unfamiliar destination. I wonder if my decisions to travel alone and plan everything are wise. I question if I have learned enough about the local culture to be respectful and avoid cultural faux pas. I know that taking risks is an essential part of any adventure, and pushing beyond my comfort zone makes it all worth it.


I also need to figure out what is going in my suitcase for this month-long solo trip to Bali. Come meander with me as I deal with the last of my pre-travel research and decisions are finalized.


Safety

While travelling to any destination, safety is a top priority, and Bali is no exception. Bali sees its fair share of petty crimes against tourists, such as pickpocketing and theft. I am not overly worried and am as confident as possible in my ability to make my stuff appear less desirable than most other travellers. I have developed several techniques over the years that I shared in a previous post.


In the area of Ubud, where I plan to spend a considerable amount of time, the most common crime against tourists is theft. Thieves target visitors who are distracted or have their guard down, particularly in crowded tourist areas so I'll be especially vigilant when visiting Monkey Forest, Ubud Market, and other popular spots. I use an anti-theft cross-body bag that is kept zipped and secured at all times. I will use the hotel safe to store my passport and any other valuable items.

Another major safety concern in Bali involves transportation. While taxis and ride-hailing services are readily available, they can be unregulated and risky. After all my research, it is clear that the best apps to use in Bali are Gojek and Grab. Even though I own and ride a Vespa at home, reports indicate that while very popular, it is also dangerous with many inexperienced riders and unfamiliar traffic conventions. The whole idea of being expected to drive on the sidewalk when streets are congested absolutely terrifies me ... and it seems the streets are always congested! I plan on hiring a driver once I arrive, based upon the recommendation of my guesthouse hosts. I also have a list of recommended drivers from various travel forums. Prices are incredibly reasonable and the services include a personal tour guide.


Handling Money

As I have discussed in a previous post, handling foreign currency can be very confusing. In Bali, the currency used is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), and the exchange rate fluctuates regularly. As a budget traveller, I want to get the best exchange rate and avoid foolish spending because I haven't understood the value of my money.


When it comes to transactions in Bali, I've learned that cash is king. Most small establishments and street vendors only accept cash, and some may not have change for large bills. I also need to ensure that any bills I receive are not damaged or torn, as many businesses will not accept them.


Apparently, credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in Bali, especially in larger establishments and tourist areas. However, my travels have taught me that it's always a good idea to carry some cash as a backup and to avoid any potential issues with card payment machines or surcharges. I will likely be carrying more cash and bills than will be comfortable, at least in my early days, so I'll be extra motivated to divide my money into different pockets and pouches.

At the time of writing the exchange rate is about 14,000 IDR to $1 CAD. The size of the numbers is rather intimidating to my rather math-phobic brain. To make quick calculations when converting prices from local IDR to my home currency, I've installed a currency conversion app on my phone.

As a budget traveller, I am always mindful of my expenses and seek out good deals where possible. I know to haggle when shopping at markets. I plan to use ATMs to withdraw cash, as they usually offer better exchange rates than currency exchange booths. I've learned that most ATMs in Bali have a fairly low maximum withdrawal amount, so I will need to keep that in mind when I'm heading to more rural areas and plan my withdrawals over several days.


My Must-Dos

I can't help but get excited about all the incredible sights that I'm itching to explore. While I really want some stunning photos to document my trip, I'm not interested in doing the glamorous Instagram photoshoots that seem to be popular with younger travellers. Instead, I'm more interested in experiencing the rich culture and natural beauty of Bali

One of the sights I'm most excited to see is the famous Tegalalang Rice Terraces, located just outside of Ubud. I also plan to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud. Another essential attraction for me is the Pura Tirta Empul, also known as the Holy Water Temple. I'm hoping to take part in the traditional purification ritual.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the beautiful nature and landscapes of the island. One of the places that I can't wait to visit is Mount Batur volcano, which offers stunning views of the sunrise over the island. There is a sunrise hike that I will be joining. Of course I will visit some of Bali's beautiful beaches, such as Padang Padang and Seminyak.

I'm especially excited to meet up with a dear Malaysian friend who is going to join me for a few days in Lombok, an island located just east of Bali. We plan to explore the beautiful beaches and waterfalls, sample some of the local cuisine while enjoying each other's company. Packing Packing is always a crucial part of ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip. I know that I'll need to bring along all of my necessary cameras, devices, and cables to document my experiences and stay connected with loved ones back home.


When it comes to clothing and toiletries, I plan to follow a basic packing philosophy of packing light and smart. This means choosing coordinating pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits, and planning on doing laundry weekly to ensure that I always have clean clothes.


I won't give into the temptation to pack any "just in case" clothes or items. Instead, I'm focusing on bringing along only the essentials and leaving room in my luggage for any textiles, art, or other souvenirs that I may want to bring back with me.


Despite having 2 checked large bags included in my ticket, I plan to only bring along one 24" checked bag that's fairly empty, giving me plenty of space to pack any souvenirs or purchases I make during my trip. In addition to my checked bag, I'll be bringing a larger personal item to ensure that I have all of my necessary items within reach during my flights. For years I have been reducing the luggage I carry. I prefer travelling with less because I hate manhandling bags and, let's face it, I'm getting older and losing strength. I have been using a 20" bag, so this one seems huge as it sits on the bedroom floor waiting to be packed.

As I complete my final preparations for my Bali adventure, I'm feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness. While I'm looking forward to exploring all that Bali has to offer and creating unforgettable memories, I'm also aware of the challenges that come with solo travel and exploring a new culture.


However, I'm eager to embrace this adventure and see where it takes me. I hope that by sharing my experiences and insights with you, other mature budget female travellers will feel inspired to set out on their own solo adventures and create unforgettable travel memories.

So, will you follow along with my journey? I can't wait to share my experiences with you and hear about your own travel adventures in the comments section below. I'd love to hear about how you handle your last-minute preparations and what research is essential for you.


 

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