Whether you’re in Bali for a long time or a freaking good time, there’s some things you might want to know to make the most of your experience. I’ve put together a bunch of recommendations and little hacks that served me well during my time out there.
The Best Drivers In Bali
This is hands down the BEST way to get around if you want to squeeze a bunch of fun into your days with zero hassle. You’ll pay a set rate for the day, and your driver will take you wherever you want to go. Not only that, but they often double as tour guides and will you get tickets, entrance fees and additional recommendations and stop-offs during your day. I had two incredible drivers during my time in Bali.
First up, Mr Monk. He came really highly recommended and it was easy to see why. He speaks great English which made communication a breeze and he played music that made us want to dance ALL DAY LONG. Great service, super friendly and knowledgable. Be sure to reach out to him and book in advance as I know he’s really popular!
Next up, Dewa. Probably the coolest guy on the entire island!! Again, fantastic English which made it easy to be spontaneous, add on additional stops and hear all of his brilliant stories and jokes. His service was great; throughout the day, he offered ice cold water and cold flannels and was a great driver and friend in Bali.
Where To Get Your Hair Braided
I got my hair braided twice during the time I was in Bali, I wanted to try a few different places so I could report back. Honestly, both of my experiences were great but quite different.
Serge Hair Braiding
Serge was recommended to me by my friend Cassie when she appeared at a beach club with her hair looking like braided perfection. He’s super popular so was quite busy at the time I was booking - but I managed book a slot for a week later. He’s actually originally from the Ivory Coast and has a private unit in Canggu, he did a beautiful full head of long knotless braids for 1.7 million IDR. I was there for around 10 hours in total and I was really impressed with the finished result.
There’s actually two of theses salons and I first found them on TikTok before I’d even arrived. They’re local salons that specialise in hair-braiding, wigs and extensions of every colour and style that you can imagine. The great thing about Charllotta is that all of the staff are trained to braid, so it’s not uncommon to have four or five staff members braiding your hair all at the same time. I was there for around five hours, for a full head of slightly thicker braids that reached my elbows and it cost 1.7 million IDR.
Where to meet new friends
Arriving in Bali for a solo trip can be pretty daunting, the last thing you want is to feel lonely or that you don’t know where to start when it comes to making new friends - but, trust me there are so many places to meet people.
Black in Bali - This was my number one group for meeting new people, making friends, doing activities including spa days, brunches, beach clubs and volunteering. The vibe of the group was great and we truly became a family while I was out there. Miss these guys so much! They also have a monthly group chat for whoever is there during that month.
Girls In Bali - I actually didn’t use this group much while I was out there, but before I arrived posted in there and got so many tips and advice on what to pack and how to prepare for four months in Bali. This is also where I met one of the girls I spent a lot of time with out there who was on a solo trip, it was so nice to already have a connection before I had arrived. When I landed we started planning to meet and by the time she left Bali we’d done beach clubs, brunches, sleepovers and plenty of nights out together. Now planning to meet up in the UK - it's amazing how many new friendships have come full circle since getting back home.
Bali Anecdotes - This group chat will give you hundreds of notifications, but anything you want, need or have questions about are pretty much guaranteed to get answered in here. I also attended a Christmas get-together that was promoted in this chat as well as a Drag Queen Tarot Card event which was super fun and ended up with a bunch of us on stage dancing to Beyonce. You’ll definitely meet other solo travel girls in this chat!
There are a number of visas that you can get for travelling to Bali but it’s important to read the fine print on what’s allowed and not allowed on each one and have a sponsor to process your visa. I can only talk about my personal experience which I felt was extremely smooth and clear, I used Let's Move Indonesia and started the process around 3 months before I was due to fly and my visa was approved in plenty of time. My visa extension process was straightforward too, you’ll need to go the Embassy in Nusa Dua area, dress smart and have your photo and biometrics taken (this will all be explained beforehand by your visa agent)
**Please note, your passport will need to be taken by the agent before you visit the Embassy so that the visa can be processed. It feels extremely unnatural, but it’s how they do it out there so keep that in mind and take any precautions you see fit.
Grab and Gojek
The best way to get around for short trips or a long day in one spot would be to use Grab or Gojek (both apps available on your phone). They’re like Uber, but rather than just getting picked up via an app in a car, you can choose whether you’d like a car or a scooter. Scooters cost significantly less than cars and the journeys are much quicker (which you’ll appreciate with the roads being so busy!) as they can weave in and out of traffic and drive on pavements if needed. Always always wear a helmet - even if it’s a short trip. If my driver didn’t have a spare helmet with them I’d either ask to use theirs or cancel the scooter and order another one. Safety first.
**Side note: If you don’t want the sweat from other passengers on your head, shower caps are gold, so take a stash!
I think that’s pretty much everything in my 5 piece word-vomit Bali blog series. Now, if you want to get REALLY up close and personal with my experience in Bali, feel free to have a digital binge of my story highlights on Instagram (there’s FIVE of them!) or check out my YouTube channel to catch my thoughts on the whole experience!