First Solo Trip - Beautiful Bali

18th Sep 2019
Photo of First Solo Trip - Beautiful Bali by Saurabh Kalyankar

*** This is a long post with very detailed itinerary

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I was always fascinated about doing at-least one solo trip. Thats when I decided in month of June 2019 that I would go to Bali. Bali being close to India so in case of any emergency and has Visa Exemption I choose Bali. But these were not the primary deal breakers for me to choose Bali. I had Vietnam, Bali and Thailand on my mind, however due to scenic beauty of nature and beaches, small country/island so that you can cover maximum, good place for backpackers for solo trip and the currency I choose Bali.

I started reading blogs on various travel forums, online and watched many youtube videos. This helped me in gazing the places that I need to cover in Bali. So in my mind I shortlisted Lovina, Ubud, Nusa Penida, Seminyak and Kuta. I had no idea what these places have stored for me but these were the places in my mind. After this step I started searching for what are main attractions in Bali, again I started reading blogs, online forums and watched Youtube Videos. I came across many places and most of them were isolated and not much visited places (not typical tourist attractions). I plotted them on Google maps, after the plotting was done I could see the places were in north, central, south and other corner between central and south. Refer Image below:

Photo of First Solo Trip - Beautiful Bali 1/5 by Saurabh Kalyankar

After this I decided I will first visit Lovina for places in North, then Ubud for Places in Central, then Kuta for places in South and Nusa Penida for places on small tiny Island. This was the first step in making itinerary. Let me tell you all my planning started from second half of June and I booked flight tickets post making this rough plan. After keeping eye on prices that were changing daily from +/- 1000- 10000 INR finally I booked my flight tickets and started building concrete plan. Also applied for leave in office, In India applying leave and getting approved is also a major task when planning for vacation. About Flight I booked Malaysia Airlines which had halt at Kuala Lumpur and then to Denpasar at Bali, same during return (DPS->KL->BOM). Indians don't require Visa, we have Visa exemption for Bali. Basic requirement have passport valid for more than 6 months and have enough pages in passport for stamping.

I took 600 USD with me for expenses, took 60 L Rucksack with me for traveling and small 10 L bag for short trips in Bali. When packing don't pack much I did overpacking I would 5-6 shorts and equivalent t-shirts or shirts are enough. Also keep crocs and sport shoe or flip flop as foot wear. Crocs made life easier ;).

Sharing my itinerary.

Photo of First Solo Trip - Beautiful Bali 2/5 by Saurabh Kalyankar
Page 1 of Itinerary
Photo of First Solo Trip - Beautiful Bali 3/5 by Saurabh Kalyankar
Page 2 of Itinerary

The day(17th Sep 2019) arrived and my flight was at 11:30 PM, since it was raining heavily in Mumbai I preferred leaving early from home to avoid any need of haste further. I collected my boarding pass, did security check in, did immigration at Mumbai ( they still ask you something very causally to check why are you going), visited duty free and had food in lounge and finally boarded flight. Veg dinner served in flight was not that great thanks to the lounge food. I arrived at KL airport after 5 hours and there was halt for 1 hour and next 3 hour flight to Bali. Finally I arrived at Bali 12 PM Indonesia time.( Further in this post all timings will be as per Indonesia time and currency will be IDR). Green channel and Immigration was done smoothly.

Photo of First Solo Trip - Beautiful Bali 4/5 by Saurabh Kalyankar
Denpasar Airpot Entrance - Bali

Day 1: 18th Sep 2019: While I was coming out of Airport I was looking for sim card and money exchange however I had no intention of buying it at Airport. The Sim card having 5 GB of data was 250,000 IDR and exchange rate for 1 USD = 13,400 IDR. Finally I was out of the Airport but couldn't figure out where was exit I was following fellow passengers and when I was out I realised there are no shops or money exchange around, the nearest area for this was Kuta but I had no idea about it. I was not having any sim card neither IDR. Finally I asked one of the local guy there and he said he will drop me till money exchange and to which I said I have no money to give you and he was like I will drop you for free. Finally with 10kg bag I took his help and we arrived at authorised money exchange shop. (Beware of Fraud at Bali during money exchange you can google it separately or DM me I am not writing about it here). The rate at shop was 13795 IDR for 1 USD which was much better than Airport. I bargained at Money Exchange and took a rate of 14ooo IDR for 1 USD and exchanged 300 USD with them. My advice don't exchange all money at once since IDR is weak currency against USD or EURO or GBP or AUD you will have to carry hefty cash with you all the time. After the exchange was done I bought a sim card for shop near money exchange where I again bargained and took 9GB data sim card for 150,000 IDR. I was hungry was looking for something good to eat and I came across one newly opened cafe named as 'Connected Cafe' had offer of one on one on food.

Photo of First Solo Trip - Beautiful Bali 5/5 by Saurabh Kalyankar
Connected Cafe

As per my itinerary I have to travel Lovina. Lovina is north of Bali and Aiport ( & Kuta Area) are on south Bali so the total distance from Kuta was approx. 90km and it took 4 hours to reach at Lovina Loca (Hostel Overall 6/10 Ambience: Good Cleanliness: Good , room lock was not working, the cooling system was not upto the mark, no hot water as geyser or the heating system was not working ). Lovina is very peaceful and serene place. So I started looking out for cab and booked on GoJek, I was booking cab from Kuta to Lovina showing me 600,000 IDR. The cab guy cancelled as it was far, I booked another one the cab guy was asking for extra 100,000 IDR which I denied then policemen helped me get a cab and cab driver denied saying its too far and he is to return home at 3:30 pm, so he dropped me off to nearest mall taxi stand. Finally I found a guy who was ready to come to Lovina and he said he will take charges as per taxi meter to which I agreed. Finally my journey started to Lovina, on my to Lovina I realised that its too far and hectic since I was continuously travelling. My driver, Mr Frey (Angel of my tour) told me that he informed his wife that we wont be coming back home same day as it will be too late. Considering the journey, the bag I was carrying ( Quechua 60 L RuckSack), comfort and convenience, I thought of asking Frey to take me on the places I have decided and drop me to Ubud. We start discussing the same and after a lot of bargain finally he agreed and accompanied for next day with car. Let me tell you the decision of making him accompany me was the best I did I felt later during my trip. Hence I said this guy was blessing disguise. I reached Loca Lovina Hostel around 7, I made myself comfortable and was sitting in restaurant area of Hostel when people told me that early morning there is Dolphin tour at Lovina Beach. After thinking much and since I was too tired after long hectic journey I said ok for Dolphin Tour which was early morning 6 AM next Day for 100,000 IDR.

Day 2

The guy came on bike to pick me up from my Hostel and it was 15 min ride to Lovina beach. After reaching the beach I came to know I was sharing my boat ride with other tourist (She is from China). The boat started and we were in middle of water yet struggling to find Dolphins where as the other side of beach had really beautiful sunrise which one should not miss.

After riding in middle of the sea we finally found lot of dolphins and enjoyed watching them swim. After this was done the same person dropped me back to my hostel at Lovina. I had breakfast and check out from hostel and started my Bali Journey as per my itinerary with same taxi driver.

Sunrise at Lovina Beach

Photo of Lovina Beach, Bali, Indonesia by Saurabh Kalyankar

So the very first I started with Secret Garden of Sambangna, during my car journey to this place I realised that North Ubud is hilly, forest area with more greenery everywhere. After I reach at Secret Garden of Sambangna I saw ticket counter which had entry fee per person and per group ( so group would consist of minimum 3 pax) and group was cheaper than single person. Since I was travelling solo my driver Frey asked me to see if they can club me with someone and coincidently there were two girls Switzerland with whom they clubbed me. So this package includes a guide showing us all water falls (around 4 waterfalls) with life jacket. I paid 125K IDR so each person in group had to pay the same amount. So we started with Korya had plenty of water flow, so there was cliff from where you could jump with or without lifejacket. I didnt had courage to do that since I didnt want to hurt myself on first day itself and ruin my solo trip since I am not professional diver.

Here there were other water falls like Aling-Aling, Kembar Pucuk. Aling-Aling was a great fall and most famous of all. Many people were diving across the waterfall and they were enjoying. I did water slide in Kroya waterfall. I had superb experience. I haven't uploaded video on my travel account of Instagram, its on my personal account however soon I will upload it on Instagram. But let me tell you that was amazing experience.

So after visiting all the water falls here I changed clothes and went ahead for next spot it was GitGit waterfalls. Again after reaching near GitGit you can pt for guide who charged around 300K. However this time I thought I will walk alone to waterfalls and enjoy and come back. On my way I met one couple from Europe ( don't remember which country where they from). During my journey I met many people and most of them were Europeans from countries like Switzerland, Italy, Germany, England, Netherland, Amsterdam etc. So on our way we had little chat even they didnt opt for guide and we reached the GitGit waterfall. It was at walking distance from parking.

(Guys I haven't completed writing this, but since this is first time for me let me know your views, likes or dislikes. Your suggestions are welcome so that I will continue further, let me know if you like, this kind of detailed description or want me to cut short it)