To partygoers, Bali is a hip spot packed with bars and clubs. To surfers, it is home to enormous swells. To yoga enthusiasts, it is a tranquil oasis. And to couples, it is a romantic paradise. But what does this Indonesian isle have in store for solo travelers craving for fresh and exciting experiences as well as unique and extreme adventures? Here are Skyscanner‘s to-do-list suggestions.
1. Ride your first wave
Bali is famed for its world-class surf spots, so it’s a great place to have your first go at surfing. Kuta Beach is especially friendly to beginners, with its soft tides and average-size waves plus a host of surf schools. Here, you can give white water surfing—riding the waves once they break and roll toward the shore—your best shot.
2. Test the waters
Head to Tanjung Benoa and explore its marine wonders on board a scooter. Yes, an underwater scooter that will be lowered 4 meters deep into the sea, allowing you to “drive” around. Or you could go “flying” on a rubber boat shaped like a fish’s fin. Pulled by a speed boat, your “flying fish” ride will be lifted up to 2 meters above the water. Of course, you can also go jet skiing, parasailing, wake boarding and water skiing.
Read more: 5 best dive spots in Mactan, Cebu
3. Climb an active volcano
Leave at 2 or 3 a.m. for a pre-dawn ascent of the 1,717-meter-high Mount Batur. It’s a dark and rocky two-hour climb, but you won’t mind the exhaustion once you reach the volcano’s crater and watch the sun appear above the horizon. The sunrise paints the sky in a blaze of colors, from orange and yellow to red, pink and purple. The bonus: having eggs—cooked in the volcano’s steam—for breakfast!
4. Jump off a tower on wheels
Tried bungee and tandem jumps before? In Bali, you can take things up a notch. Shoot off the ramp on a BMX bike that gets flipped mid-air, or rev a motorcycle just before you ride off the platform. If these aren’t extreme enough for you, try the fireball jump. Wearing a fireproof suit, you’ll literally be lit on fire just before you take a plunge!
5. Frolic in black sand
A volcanic island, Bali has its share of serene black-sand beaches where you’re free to run and roll around. You’ll find most of them on the east, west and north coasts. Lovina, in the north, tops our list with its serene and quaint atmosphere, calm waves, and dolphin sightings at sunrise. There’s also a nice, clean and quiet black-sand beach in Tejakula that’s perfect for romping.
Read more: 9 amazing sandbars in the Philippines
6. Ride around on a motorbike
A plus side of traveling solo is that you get to chart your own course, especially if you’re driving a motorbike. So rent a scooter or motorcycle and go off-the-beaten path to see as much as you can of Bali. Ask locals who know the lay of the land to help you out. They can take you to dirt roads and teach you how to dodge potholes and drive up and down at a slow speed, or to busy intersections, where weaving through gutters, cars, and stray chickens and dogs can be a real challenge.
Note that you’ll need a valid international driver’s permit that covers motorbikes. If you don’t carry one, you can secure a temporary permit from the Denpasar Police Office.
7. Do the monkey dance
Visit the cliff-top Uluwatu Temple before sundown, in time to watch Bali’s captivating monkey dance (kecak). It’s actually more of a play that combines rhythmic vocal chant (“Cak, cak, cak…!”) and intricate head and eye movements and footwork in a powerful retelling of the story of Ramayana. Sit in the front row and one of the performers just might ask you to join in on the action! You can also learn the steps for yourself at dance clubs (sekaa) in the village.
Read more: Skyscanner goes to Masskara love dance
8. Enjoy a sundowner
Sip cocktails at a beachfront bar as you wait for Bali’s dramatic sunset spectacle. Our favorites include the iconic Ku De Ta, with its sprawling lawn, garden deck, restaurant nooks, and top-notch drinks (ask for the Kuve Margarita, Vanilla Passion Foam, or lemongrass, mojito and raspberry cocktail). Perched on a cliff along Jimbaran Bay, the Ayana Resort and Spa’s Rock Bar along with its signature martini is also worth a visit.
Read more: Top 10 secret summer holiday destinations in the Philippines Photo credit: Lauren Hewings
9. Take on a food challenge
Think you can conquer a seafood feast all by yourself? Jimbaran has 40 to 50 beachside restaurants serving grilled seafood dishes. And many of them, including the popular Menega Café, offer set meals that include at least four types of seafood (e.g., lobster, clams, squid, prawn, crab or fish), drinks, rice, steamed vegetables and slices of fruit. So take a seat by one of the tables on the beach and brace yourself for a hearty and sumptuous fare. More of a meat lover? Drop by Moo Moo’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill in Legian and sign up for its T-Bone Challenge—to finish a plateful of steak in 30 minutes!
10. Taste the world’s costliest coffee
At $130 per kilogram of roasted beans, is civet coffee (kopi luwak) worth its price? Find out for yourself. Check out one of Bali’s plantations and sample some of the local blends. Derived from beans excreted by Asian palm civets, this variant boasts a rich aroma and a smooth, rounded flavor minus the bitterness often associated with coffee.
11. Drink arak with the locals
Don’t miss out on some arak—traditional Balinese liquor made from the fruit of palm trees. Locals usually drink arak as a group, chatting and taking shots in turn. Because arak packs a strong flavor, most mix it with cola or beer.
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12. Experiment with art
Channel your inner artist by joining an art workshop. The Bali Center for Artistic Creativity and Gallery in Ubud holds an experimental painting class highlighting Rudolf Steiner’s color theory. For some extra “me” time, you could also attend the week-long painting and drawing sessions organized by Bali Art Retreats.