Where to go if backpacking solo in Bali

Bali is one of those rare places where you can have a good time regardless of how much money you are willing to spend. You can plan a weekend vacation, staying at St Regis or W hotel, or go backpacking for a couple of weeks like me.

There is so much to do on this island. From trekking enthusiast to beach bums, there is something for everyone. My initial plan was to go diving here in the pristine blue water around Lombok, a short boat ride away from Bali, but after a devastating earthquake, Lombok and surrounding Islands were evacuated.

Things are starting to get better there, and I’ve been told diving activities would resume shortly. If you are keen going diving, make sure to carry a copy of your PADI diving certificate with you. These certificates are issues around the world including India.

backpacking solo in Bali

Balangan Beach

Now that diving was out of the picture, what did I do? First, I landed in Uluwatu, surfing country. I took a day-long surf lesson at Padang beach which costed me around IDR 5,00,000. (USD 33 or INR 2400) By the end of it, I could paddle and even managed to stand up on the board for a second or two. The surf shop I went to is called Shark Fin which is one of the more reputed ones in the area.

My evenings were usually centred around socializing and going out. I stayed at a party hostel so as soon the sunset, things went electric. Every night was a party and one night, I hopped onto a party bus. By the end of the night (which ended at 5 AM in the morning), I had a place to crash if I was ever in Munich, Leeds or even Kuwait City.

backpacking solo in Bali

Calm Waters in Nusa Lembongan

After a few nights, I headed south to catch a speedboat to Nusa Lembongan. It is a tiny Island near mainland Bali well known for its shallow waters, perfect for snorkelling. This place was gorgeous! Clear blue water and a view to die for. The snorkelling instructor there told me that this was just a glimpse of what you could’ve seen in Lombok.

a river running through a forest

The Monkey Forest in Ubud

Next, I headed up north to Ubud to rest and rejuvenate. Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali so it was quite touristy. If you are into yoga and wellness, this is the place to be. I, on the other hand, planned my stay here around having a meal at Ibu Oka. Besides paying homage to one of Antony Bourdain’s favourite eating spots, I went to see our furry kinsmen at the monkey forest. There was an early morning trek to Mt. Batur but I passed on it as I was in no mood to wake up at 2 AM in the morning to go climb a hill.

a group of people holding bottles

The Bintang Clan

Now that my batteries were all charged up, I headed back south, this time to Seminyak. I had an option to either go to Kuta or Seminyak but every single person I met advised me to avoid Kuta. This part of the Island is posh, with luxury boutiques and fine dine restaurants, not the ideal place for backpackers. People asked me to go check out Potatohead, but I was in no mood to pay IDR 2,00,000 for a cocktail. At the pod hostel there, I met a bunch of great folks from Canada and the UK and we pretty much partied from sunrise to sunset.

Speaking about partying, the best club, in my opinion, there was La Favela. I’d give Skygarden a miss if I were you as the place is too crowded. I think that’s what happens when you become one of the best nightclubs in the world.

a sunset over a beach

Sunset in Canggu

I ended my trip in Canggu, a laid-back surf destination an hour away from Seminyak. All I did for the last few days was lounge around in Beach clubs, sipping Mai Tais and eating fish and chips. A good way to end a fantastic trip.


There’s something so familiar about Bali yet it was so different. For me it’s not the journey or the destination that matters the most, it’s the people. And I ended meeting some amazing folks there. I’m not sure if I would’ve had such a great time if I wasn’t travelling solo. I’m going back there for sure, after all, diving in Lombok hasn’t been checked off the bucket list.

What have been your best experiences travelling in Bali?


  1. Hi Ajay/Ashwant,

    Really seeing a lot of unnecessary hateful comments on your blog posts recently. These idiots act like you owe something to them.

    This post is really useful for travel-freaks. And refreshing to see a backpacking post here, away from the luxury posts. Don’t give in to these jerks. Keep strong.

    A faithful reader

    P.S. – Only grouse. Sometimes the headlines are click-baity esp for the hotel offers etc which are only targeted for few members. The same can be mentioned via ‘targeted’ in headline.

    • @Shashank, thanks for your genuinely positive feedback. As for the second part, there are many things in the picture which readers don’t see. Discoverability of a post goes down the longer the headline. As we learn how to optimise, we have no option but to optimise. We try to work with the constraints and sometimes we feel that the target is a significant number, so we don’t really zero down.

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