Woman Solo Traveler

Article by Nadia Natasha Wiharja & Wise Steps Travel – Jakarta, 23.12.2018.

For the last 3 years, I have been living in and traveling to many different parts of Indonesia like Bandung, Jakarta, Riau, Flores and Ubud in Bali. I was fortunate enough to discover many stunning places, meet inspiring people and create unforgettable memories on my journey.

Traveling alone as a woman helped me to discover myself and to become more independent. Nevertheless, I also realized that it can be challenging in Indonesia for solo female travelers.

Now, as I am designing and developing unique experiences at Wise Steps Travel, I wanted to share my experience to all of you female travelers out there, that are planning their next trip to Indonesia with the hope that you feel better prepared and it improves your experience.

So here are 10 Tips that can make your trip more comfortable and safer without missing the fun and memorable experiences.

  1. Preparation is everything.

Take a rainy Sunday, sit down with a cup of tea and just google your destination in Indonesia. Collect some nice ideas about how to travel, where to stay and what to do but more importantly read about the individual characteristics of the visited area such as traditions, customs and religion. This information will allow you to draw conclusions on general behavior and dress codes. Remember that Indonesia is an incredibly diverse archipelago, so that you could travel from Java via Bali to Flores encountering three different religions Muslim, Hindu and Catholic.


  1. Share your Plans!

It is always a good idea to share your travel plans with family or friends at home so people are more or less informed about your location. That usually makes them worry less and in case of an emergency they might be able to assist better.

Don’t forget to share your contact number that they could reach in any case. Indonesian Sim Cards are very affordable!


  1. Gems instead of Jewelry!

You will find all the previous things in Indonesia, hidden gems, lovely people and amazing experiences. No need for bling-bling but if you feel like going out one of these warm summer nights there are great locally crafted jewelry in Indonesia that is affordable and unique so feel free to shop on spot and support the local artisans.


  1. Copy & Pack!

It is always a great idea to have an extra copy of your documents (passport, driver’s licence, travel insurance) either printed and packed with you or even better send it to yourself as email so you can access it from everywhere without the risk of loosing the copies as well.


  1. When in doubt, don’t pack it!

I know, I know…we are women and we love the idea of having multiple choices for clothing, shoes, accessories etc. but I suggest to think practical in this case. What destination am I travelling to? What are the local weather conditions? What activities am I planning? In my opinion the size of your luggage correlates directly with the feeling of freedom, the smaller the bag the bigger the feeling of independence and freedom.

Apart from that, laundry services are mostly available, fast and affordable everywhere.


  1. In Rome speak as Romans speak!

Even just a small “Terima Kasih” (Indonesian) which means thank you in English, will make a difference. Indonesia is well known for the warm and welcoming hospitality of its people, especially to travelers from outside the country. It is only fair to show some respect by learning some simple words in local language to warm their hearts. You might even get a discount on your sarong at the local market. 😊


  1. Ask the right people!

It is a great step for you to approach locals when asking for help or the way to your next destination. There are a few things you should be aware of though. Firstly, understanding and talking in English still opposes a big challenge for the average Indonesian and unfortunately that increases the risk of misunderstandings. In general, Indonesians are very helpful, however I would suggest that you ask women for help if available. The main reason is, that sometimes men consider it unfriendly to say “I don’t know”, and instead of saying that, they might rather point you in the wrong direction. In general, you should be cautious when people offering rides or transportation or other things on the street. Use your common sense, but talking to people won’t hurt.


  1. Organizing vs. Go with the Flow.

Women as opposed to men usually love to organize journeys beforehand. If that sounds like you, you might want to organize your travel plan maybe even with a trusted local and responsible tour operator, or at least book your accommodation, airport pick up or some special activities. Whatever works best for you is fine. However, I would recommend to leave a few days free of activities just to see what the day brings. Strolling around in places like Yogyakarta or Ubud can be very interesting and you should do that with your own pace.


  1. Going off the beaten ‘path’

For the adventurous girls among you, I have to say Indonesia is considerably safe to travel to but as in any other country you should take precautions which includes not to run around alone in the middle of the night in empty or dark streets. Here again, use your common sense and you should be fine. So, go ahead explore this fascinating archipelago there is so much more than only Bali and Gili T. Our personal secret hints are Sumba Island, East Flores or even the North of Bali with its hidden waterfalls and impressive local communities.


  1. Take good care of yourself!

Being sick during your short time holiday can be very annoying so take good care of body and mind. There are some major sources for sickness that you should be aware of:

Get informed if you need any specific vaccination that is not included in common vaccinations. Whenever you eat at the food stalls on the streets, make sure it looks more or less clean and it’s always a good indicator if many people eat there. Make sure to drink plenty and always bring a bottle (ideally refillable) with you, in this tropical climate you can be quickly dehydrated. Make sure you have enough time to relax and recharge, a traditional massage and a healthy herbal drink can work miracles on your body. Secret hint, a banana a day, keeps stomach ache away!

Finally, make sure to prepare your medi-pack with all common medicines from home, including your tampons as that is not available everywhere and rather more expensive (pads is more common in Indonesia.

I really hope, that this helps to prepare your journey to Indonesia as a solo female traveler. If you have more questions, feel always free to reach out or check the information on our website.

Hope to see you soon in Indonesia!

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