A Girls' Getaway Guide to Bali

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sole Sister Adi has lived on and off in Bali and has taken countless girlfriends around her beloved island. Read her tips on how you and your friends can have an unforgettable getaway in Bali, Indonesia.

On a surf trip to Siargao a few years back, I was drawn to a travel guidebook of Bali laying around by the boardwalk. I browsed through its dog-eared pages that showed the island's diversity in landscapes and marine life. I was immediately sold and placed this mystical destination on the top of my list ever since.

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Bali’s undeniable charisma attracts millions of visitors from all corners of the globe, making it one of the most sought after holiday destinations. Soaking up sunshine on warm tropical beaches, biking through rice fields and a strong Balinese culture still rich in history and tradition are just a few of the many images people visualise when they think of Bali.

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There’s so much to see and do in this tiny little island of over 4 million people. And this island of the gods continues to attract a record number of visitors per year. More and more countries have been given the privilege to get 30 day visas on arrival, instead of having to painstakingly apply for one in advance. The brand new airport is a charming architectural masterpiece of modern Balinese and I always look forward to coming back.

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Read: Quick Guide to Bali

Where to Stay
With the low exchange rate of the Indonesian Rupiah, even budget travelers and backpackers instantly feel like millionaires after a trip to the ATM. A room in a homestay with breakfast only cost 100,000 - 200,000 IDR for two people (roughly 8-15 USD). For the same price as staying at a hostel in Europe, visitors can afford to stay at one of the many luxury villas, fully equipped with its own private pool and butler. What else could you possibly need?

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On my first ever trip to Bali, I brought my closest friends -- Joana, Sarah, Abi and Alcina (left to right) along with me and jam packed our week-long itinerary with trips to explore all the different beaches. We wanted to visit every single one of them and of course I sneaked in a few must-see surf spots! After much thought, we all voted to stay at a central location, near Alila Seminyak, an upscale area in between busy Kuta and more laid-back Canggu.

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Girls' Geta3way Guide to Bali

With so many options, it was quite challenging to arrive at a collective decision on where to stay. But finally, it was clear that our first home in Bali would be a quaint 2-bedroom villa walking distance to Double Six Beach. Along the way were many designer boutiques, art galleries and restaurants that seemed worthy of a Michelin star or two. Many creative and digital nomads call Seminyak home for the close proximity to all these luxuries, as well as cafes and co-working spaces with internet speed up to 15 mbps, three times faster than that of Ubud.

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Local Flavours

With barely any sleep and arriving straight from the airport, we couldn’t wait to finally try real local flavours so we stopped by a well-known warung on the main road of Kuta for breakfast and coffee. We sampled the more popular Indonesian dishes like Nasi Goreng, Mi Goreng and my now favorite, Gado-gado.

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Our chauffeur also recommended a place on Jalan Uluwatu that served Bali’s specialty, a dish that is prohibited in other parts of Indonesia. Babi Guling, pork stuffed with different herbs and spices before being cooked in the earth’s heat. One of our favourite restaurant finds was a warung that specialised in all kinds of grilled Sate and its mouthwatering peanut sauce which we also poured over our nasi (rice).

Where to Shop
We got a little too excited seeing the outlet stores along Jalan Ngurah Rai for the first time. Popular brand names like Quiksilver, Ripcurl, Volcom, Billabong and Insight were on sale in a massive three-storey building. They have all the latest designs on surfboards, beach clothing and accessories. There were loads of half-marked items and a regular 90% off section. We spent half a day just looking for amazing bargains! At the end of the day, we came home with a ton of bikinis as cheap at Php 200 (USD $5) per pair.

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Getting Around

We hired a local chauffer, Made Nata who’s been driving tourists for over two decades. Nata spoke English well and was highly recommended by my surfer friends who frequently visit Bali. He and his wife have recently just finished building their very own homestay and are now ready to welcome guests. Each day he showed up early and patiently drove us to different scenic spots like Ubud, Nusa Dua and all the Bukit beaches. He never complained even though we were out the whole day! 

Read: Why Bali is the Most Empowering Destination for Solo Female Travelers

It was quite a shock to be offered mushrooms and 'temporary boyfriends' by the vendors on the beach. We found some peace underneath colourful umbrellas and indulged in some ice-cream and cocktails during sunset. One night, we dressed up for hours to have dinner and drinks at Potato Head Beach Club, where apparently, Bali’s upscale crowd starts the party. We have been trying all kinds of delicious Indonesian cuisine but it was quite nice to see a wide variety of International dishes on the menu. The following night, my girl friends went out to party at Kudeta while I happily stayed at home at the villa and called a masseuse for a two hour massage and body treatment by the pool.

Life is wonderful here!

It’s not too late to make your Bali trip happen this summer! Here are some important tips to help you plan a hassle-free vacation:

How to get here:

-Direct flights from Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong and Perth
-Flights average $100 one-way and $150 roundtrip
-Most nationalities get a 30 day visa on arrival at Ngurah Rai airport
-You can also book your stay through Traveloka.com

When to go:

-Best weather is from May to November.
-Most surf competitions happen on July and September.
-Ombak Bali, a surf film fest happens every July at Double Six, Seminyak Beach.

Travel tips:

-Carry an open-line mobile phone if you want to use a local simcard. 5Gb internet data costs about Rp 100,000 (7.5 USD).

-No surfboard? No problem. Head to Jalan Poppies Lane 2 for the best deals.

-Bring a half-filled suitcase and raid the outlet stores and souvenir shops in Kuta.

-Bargaining is customary and it is acceptable to start at half the price.
-Dress and act appropriately when visiting temples and other sacred places.
-Help Bali’s trash problem by refilling your water bottle instead of buying plastic bottled water daily.

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Selamat datang, 
Sole Sis Adi

Sole Sister Adi escaped from the corporate world so her life now happily revolves around yoga and travel. She lives a simple, eco-friendly lifestyle and inspires those around her to do the same. She shares her AntiGravity and yoga practice everywhere she goes and dreams of building rustic Secret Spot hostels in beautiful tropical destinations. She just came back to the Philippines after a long term backpacking trip across Latin America. Follow Adi's adventures on Love the Search and on Facebook and Instagram.

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2 sole trails

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