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Solo Trip to Bali/Sumatra - Recommendation & Dos/Don'ts

Travel Forums Asia Solo Trip to Bali/Sumatra - Recommendation & Dos/Don'ts

1. Posted by mehra.sanchi (Budding Member 2 posts) 26w Star this if you like it!

Hi Everyone,

I have been wanting to travel solo for quite sometime, Have done a few short route trips in India but have always hesitated to travel solo for long distances.
I really want to visit Bali and explore !!!
Have heard a lot of negative things about transportation and safety when it comes to travelling solo.
Looking for honest responses and help in planning my itinerary.. flights,hotels,budget ?

Will be great to hear from you all...

My tentative trip details that might help you to answer are as follows -

Dates - Last week of Jan/1st week of Feb - Flexible
Budget Range - Low to Medium
Duration - 3 to 5 days (Flexible)
Nationality - Indian (Currently in Bangalore)
Drive/Ride - Can ride a two wheeler
Interests - Beach,Long walks,Shopping,Interacting with locals etc.
Languages known - Hindi & English

P.S. Happy to help anyone who is planning to visit India.

2. Posted by bernice82 (Inactive 2 posts) 26w Star this if you like it!

wow, very interesting as for me

3. Posted by theo1006 (Respected Member 8 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

Hi Mehra,

Here are my comments, you’ll have to decide what your preference is.

Bali is a relatively small island, yet with 3 to 5 days you’ll just make a first acquaintance. I have seen Bali evolve in 40 years from a mainly rural community into a mass tourist destination – 2 million visitors yearly. That is for me the main negative: you’re part of a crowd and when interacting with locals will always be ‘a tourist’. Although, you being from India and presumably coloured, people may wonder whether you are a compatriot, perhaps from East Indonesia…

As for safety, the Balinese are a gentle people and solo travellers are generally safe. With so many visitors, some crime is bound to happen. This usually involves non-Balinese and is often drug-related. Road-safety is a problem. Though it is possible to rent a scooter or motor-bike, I would not advise it. The Indonesians drive erratically and accidents are frequent. As you will know, the Balinese adhere to the Hindu religion, but they do not practice the caste system like they do in India.

If you choose Bali, I advise you base yourself in Ubud, which is the cultural centre. Avoid Kuta, unless you are looking to go partying. It is easy to book trips from Ubud, walking, by bicycle or with a rented car. There is a whole range of accommodation, including budget which is favoured by Indonesians with a small purse. The Balinese are an artistic people, they make attractive souvenirs. In Ubud you should attend at least one traditional dance performance, and the Museum Puri Lukisan.

You also mention Sumatra in the title of your question. Sumatra is completely different from Bali. It is the second largest island of Indonesia and much less densely populated than Bali. I only have knowledge of some parts in the north. Most tourists land at Medan and from there head to Gunung Leuser National Park (to sight orang hutan) and Pulau Samosir, and island in the world’s largest crater lake. The Batak people, whose homeland it is, are more outspoken than the Balinese; their culture is less refined. But I don’t mean to say that you should worry about your safety.

Personally in North Sumatra I prefer Aceh. As you may know they suffered a tsunami disaster in 2004, and five years later I was surprised how well they recovered. The capital Banda Aceh is full of mementos of the tsunami. From Banda Aceh, you can take public transport (17 km) to Lampuuk beach. Nature hiking trips are offered by the Ujong Pancu Information Centre. Aceh is the only province of Indonesia that practices its version of syariah law. If as a woman you dress conservatively, they will respect you for that.

If you want more specifics, feel free to ask.

Theo

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Dec-2017, at 14:43 by theo1006 ]