You don’t need to be on a romantic vacation to love Bali. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Bali has long been known as one of those faraway places newlyweds jet off to for their honeymoon. Although the gorgeous Indonesian island certainly has no lack of beachy bungalows for couples to canoodle in, there’s also a vibrant scene for traveling singles. Whether on a trip with your friends and looking for adventure or traveling alone and looking for refuge, don’t let the honeymoon hype fool you: Bali is a perfect escape for the unattached traveler. Here, where to go in Bali sans romance.
Seminyak by day (JasonParis/Flickr)
Here, club kids, culture vultures, and yogis, can find refuge and get their party on. Think of Seminyak as the South Beach of Bali. You can chill or party via the plethora of waterfront, cabana-filled beach clubs or hit the town’s main drag to shop, dine, drink and flirt. There’s also an impressive nightlife scene with posh lounges and plenty of clubs for bumping and grinding.
Ku de Ta is an uberchic beachside venue that offers visitors a chance to relax or party. Start with afternoon cocktails on the sand and catch the stunning sunset and then stay for dinner and drinks. Try the pork belly ramen and the vanilla passion foam cocktail (vanilla foam, passion fruit, vanilla vodka) and thank us later. But it’s not cheap: A meal with plenty of drinks will cost you about 2 million Rupia (around $143) — especially pricey by Balinese standards, but well worth it. The restaurant/bar/lounge is on the posh side for Bali and the drinks, food, views, and people watching are impressive. The in-house DJ spinning upbeat dance tunes adds to the funky ambiance, which turns into a full-on dance party on select nights.
Woo Bar (Photo: W Spa and Resort)
Woo Bar at the W Spa and Resort is another gorgeous spot single travelers flock to. Like Ku de Ta, Woo is fun day or night but if you had to pick, the evening programming is not to be missed. The place known to host a boogie-down Silent Disco party and regularly hosts popular DJs from around the world. Unlike other clubs here, there are no minimum consumption rules or cover charge. The drinks are slightly overpriced but the signature cocktails are sublime, just like the view from the bar. Try the Bubble Gum Sour (Belvedere vodka, bubble gum syrup, fresh pressed lemon juice, and orange bitters, served over crushed ice) or the Monkey Soldiers (Captain Morgan Spice, Bols white cacao mint leaves, W made chocolate-honey syrup, lemon juice, and fresh and dehydrated banana).
Related: Shop Like a Local in Bali
Jenia in action. (Photo: Jenia)
Jenja is one big fat, fun party. The 2-year-old bar, lounge, and club is a bi-level entertainment complex. On the upper level is “Foyer” a multi-lounge space with drinks and snacks. Start your party engines there before heading to the dance floor downstairs. On Thursdays, resident DJs Heidy and Wisdy spin Nu Disco. The weekend is even better, but expect more techno and house.
Temple at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Photo: Erica Corsano)
If you’re more of an arts and nature lover, Ubud might be more your speed. Nestled within Bali’s central mountainous region, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and boutiques (especially on Jalan Monkey Forest Road) but Ubud has a more laid back vibe than Seminyak and offers cheaper shopping dining and accommodations.
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a must-see. You can feed monkeys or if you’re lucky, pose for a photo with one on your shoulder. Just a word to the wise: Not all monkeys are friendly — some are aggressive and will bite or hit if you upset them. So always remain calm and try not to aggravate the furry little guys.
While cruising the streets you’ll come across many a young backpacker —mostly from Europe or Australia. A lot of them stay at one of Ubud’s many super cheap bungalows (some under $10 a night). Think of them as exotic youth hostels surrounded by stunning Hindu architecture. In fact, Ubud is a fantastic place to visit Hindu temples or the stunning royal Puri Saren Palace.
Local Ubud art market (Photo: Erica Corsano)
Art buffs can check out the local art market for affordable works by local artists (many of which are awesome copy cat jobs) or peruse one of the many galleries or art museums in the area. For local modern art, hit up Museum Neka or for more traditional pieces, Puri Lukisan (a.k.a., “Palace of Art”), which is filled with Balinese paintings, sculptures, and fountains.
Yoga Barn is also a popular (and prestigious) attraction among young tourists. Yogis flock for mediation, yoga, healing, massages, and more. The in-house cafe serves up a vast selection of vegan and vegetarian food and fresh juices. As for yoga, the laid back atmosphere welcomes beginners and experts alike.
After you’re done with perfecting downward dog, you might need something more upbeat. Enter in Laughing Buddha Bar. Halfway up from the Monkey Forest, you’ll find one of the liveliest spots in the area. Live bands play a mix of jazz, blues, rock, and ethnic music with the occasional salsa night. Order from their “Buddhalicious” line of signature cocktails or if you if you prefer, opt for a virgin icy cold juice.
Beautiful Canggu sunset (Photo: Catriona Ward/Flickr)
CanSurfers and skaters know that Canggu is a phenomenal place to hang 10. The eight-mile stretch that makes up this fairly underdeveloped area is one of Bali’s surf meccas for wave catchers of all levels.
There are a handful of surfing schools here, including Surfcamp Bali at the Raja Ombak Surfers Resort. The camp is one of many in the area offering lessons to aspiring athletes or pros. It’s surrounded by the best surf spots, including River-Mouth, The-Stairs, Sandbanks, and Echo-Beach.
Related: 5 Beautiful Bali Hotels Under $100
Old Man’s Bar by night (Photo: Old Man’s Bar)
Nightlife around these parts is low key compared to nearby Seminyak but luckily Aussie-owned Old Man’s Bar is for a surf break, lunchtime provisions, and evening entertainment. The drink list might be basic but it has all the essentials, and its happy hour at sunset is divine. Activities like table tennis make it feel like a rec room at summer camp (“This one time at surf camp…”). Live bands play on Fridays and a DJ spins on Sundays.
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