I’ve recently returned from my first solo holiday and I couldn’t be happier that I did it. I learnt a lot and got to experience a brilliant island over 10 days.
I flew with China Eastern because the flights were dirt cheap (£320 RETURN!). Its near impossible to fly direct, which meant I flew London Heathrow to Shanghai Pudong (11hrs), Shanghai to Bali Denpasar (6hrs), and the same on return.
I checked into the Ibis Styles Petinget in Seminyak which I stayed in for my first 2 nights. On my first morning I had breakfast by the pool, then walked half an hour to a quiet beach. I spent my morning reading and totally relaxing into holiday mode. That afternoon I went to Mano Beach House for an afternoon of sunbathing. I had a delicious tuna steak lunch, drank gallons of fresh iced tea, and then watched the sunset with nibbles before heading back to my hotel.
The next morning I had a 7am breakfast, got packed, and then enjoyed the hotel pool. I had lunch before getting a taxi to my villa for the next 4 nights. I booked the villa through Airbnb and it was total bliss. The villa was set in a courtyard to give total privacy, the living space was all outside next to my own pool, and my bathroom was partially outside too, which was heaven. A great part of the villa was the breakfast. I ordered the night before each day, and I chose to have it at 8:30am as I got up around 6-7 every day. I had fresh fruit, croissants, sausages and boiled eggs, and strawberry juice , which I ate each day by the pool in the sunshine – it was perfect. It was the most relaxing tranquil place to stay and exactly what I wanted from Bali. While staying there I spent plenty of time enjoying the sun and pool and also plenty of time at Mano Beach House -my absolute favourite spot in Seminyak.
Mano Beach House is…on the beach, but it also has a pool, so with all the comforts of a bar, restaurant, toilets and showers but none of the inconveinces of ending your day with sand EVERYWHERE. You can either have a restaurant table without any minum spend, beanbags with 100,000Rp (£6) minimum or sunbeds at the front with 500,000Rp (£30). I experienced all of the above and my favourite spot has to be the sunbeds, especially at sunset, because you’re right on the edge, it’s the most peaceful and comfortable place, and with two people having food you’ll easily spend 500,000Rp. With just me I made sure I ate plenty, which wasn’t a hardship. All the food I had was really fresh and light ,which was just what I wanted in the heat.
It was at Mano where I met my Aussie friends who insisted I joined them as I was on my own. I ate my dinner and enjoyed cocktails with 4 women aged between 40-50 and their 50 year old male friend, the craziest group of mums I’ve ever met. My evening of reading didn’t go as planned! When I’d finished eating we headed back to their villa, a short taxi away, and had drinks by the pool before heading to Canggu – a town about 30 minutes away. We went to ‘Old Mans’, a popular outside bar with a band, and then we headed onto ‘Lost City’ the club, where they had a booth to celebrate one of the ladies 40th birthdays. It was my latest night of the trip, and the only time I drank, but the ladies were so much fun!
It took nearly two hours to get to Ubud from Seminyak due to traffic, but the drive was fascinating, I spent the whole journey staring out of the window trying to take it all in. I booked to stay at the Alamdini Resort, which was down a street full of restaurants and shops.
My room was on the third floor and all I could see from my balcony was luscious green forest; it was perfect. After checking in I quickly ordered room service, before I was picked up by my driver to head to down to the bottom of the island to Uluwatu. I went to see the temple on the cliffs, and watch the Balinese Kacek dancing. I can’t explain how gorgeous it was on the cliffs, but I think the photos do all the talking.
Kacek Fire dancing is an iconic art performace from Bali focussing on the sounds made from human voices. There’s not a single instrument used, just incredible skill by the large group of men. The perfeormace told a story of 5 characters dressed in intricate traditional Balinese costumes. The sun set on the cliff edge behind the perfomace, and it was really magical. It’s at the top of the list of things I’d recommend you MUST see in Bali!
The next day I was picked up by my driver at 8am to head to the rice terraces to do the big swings, the biggest being 75ft, and it was great. The views were gorgeous, and it couldn’t have been more picturesque.
Something that really stood out to me as a big big shame was the enormous focus on taking photos, and the obsession. It’s great to have the memory keepsake but why isn’t their a focus on the experience and enjoying it in the moment? I think I’m into cliché territory, but I feel like people are living in the moment less and less due to the desire to get the perfect Instagram photo. Don’t get me wrong – I was happy to get some photos and my driver did a great job of capturing the experience (especially as it was my first photos of me on the whole trip due to being alone) but I did it for the experience and that was my paramount priority, just enjoying it!
From the swings, we drove for about 20 minutes to where I was going white water rafting. I was paired up with a Malaysian honeymooning couple, and they were so sweet.
I spent my final day walking around the town centre of Ubud, visiting the Temple, eating lots of ice cream, strolling around the 1000s of shops, and then enjoying the gorgeous infinity pool at my hotel. I wasn’t picked up by my driver until 9pm so I went out for dinner before heading to the airport. I also kept my hotel room on which cost me 50% of one nights stay, which was well worth it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight on my wonderful trip, it’s the perfect place to go for a first solo trip as it felt really safe and there are so many other people in the same situation. I will definitely be back.