A joyful and inspiring travel couple either living sustainably in Germany, or soaking up the sun somewhere else in the world!
Bali is one of the most popular destinations at the moment. Not just because of the wonderful landscape, the good food and the cordial people, also because of the affordable prices. Undoubtedly, Bali is getting more expensive every year though. The increasing prices reflect the rising stream of foreign people (especially Europeans and Australians) coming to Bali and the islands every year, all year round.
Nevertheless, Bali is still a super budget-friendly destination. Here’s a summary of the prices and costs you should expect when you travel to Bali, and our overall budget for three weeks was:
Daily Budget: €30-40 per person
Of course, the daily budget depends on you. If you want to sleep each night in your own villa with pool and eat in nice restaurants, £30 a day won’t be enough for you. But as a budget backpacking couple like us, you can live very good with £22-30 per day and per person. This daily budget includes everything (except your flights): accommodation, food and drinks the whole day, entrance fees, transportation, souvenirs and so on.
So let’s get more into our tips for budgeting for Bali!
In Bali you can find tons of great stay options. Depending on your budget you can stay in backpacker-friendly-hostels, home-stays, hotels or even in a private villa with a pool.
If you’re willing to share a room with other people, you can find accommodation for less than £2.50 per night per person (most of time without breakfast). If you want accommodation with breakfast, your own bedroom and bathroom and a pool, you have great options for less than £9.
In Canggu we had one of the best accommodations ever with an incredible breakfast in the garden (we had to take a rest after every breakfast cause we ate so much good food!), a beautiful and clean pool, a super cosy and clean room, and wonderful staff, which totalled to just £11 per person per night.
If you want to stay in a private villa with a pool, you’ll find some for less than £17 per night per person. Of course, there’s no limit for the prices as if you want a bit more luxury, you can stay in hotels or villas for more than £170 per night per person.
If you want to stay for longer, you can find home-stays which would be around £120 per month, but there are also wonderful private villas with pool that start at £260 per month.
No matter how big or small your budget is, you’ll find unbelievable food in Bali. Especially their famous Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles) and banana pancakes, which were our all-time favourites (I’m sure some of you can agree!).
If you want to eat local street food, you can eat a dish (plate filled with rice, vegetables and chicken) for less than £1.70. You can find tasty and fresh food like this in places called “Warungs”. Warungs are typical Indonesian restaurants with cheap prices and amazing food, the locals really know what they’re doing (the same anywhere in the world)! If you eat in a restaurants owned by westerners, you’ll pay more than in local restaurants, and it might not live up to your expectations like the food at home, as the supplies and sources are completely different. In Western style restaurants you can expect to pay around £4.50 for a dish.
But of course, it always depends on the restaurant and the place where you’re eating (e.g. eating in the centre of cities is more expensive than eating in small villages). You can also sometimes find expensive Warungs owned by locals and you can also find cheap restaurants, cafés or bars owned by westerners.
In local restaurants (e.g. in a Warung) you can get non-alcoholic drinks such as water or coke for less than 60p and fresh pressed juice is available from £1. We drank a coconut at least once a day and we paid around £1-2 for one.
Bintang is the most popular beer in Bali, and if you buy it in a supermarket it costs around £1, and at a local restaurant it costs around £1.70. Due to the fact that Liquor is highly taxed in Indonesia, it makes this type of alcohol really expensive to buy. Hard liquor like Vodka or Gin with a mixed drink usually starts at around £2.50 per glass. A bottle of Absoult Vodka often costs more than £50.
With the drinks it’s the same as the food – it sometimes does depend on the specific place where you’re eating or drinking, as to whether or not it’ll be cheap, or more on the expensive side.
The best way to discover Bali is undoubtedly by scooter. Not only is it extremely fun, but it’s also very cheap, making it the best method of transport to explore.
You can hire a scooter for as little as £3.50-£5 per day. Can’t argue with that! Just don’t forget to wear your helmet…
Petrol is also very cheap and if you want to fill up your tank, you only pay around £0.80-£3. There are only a few common petrol stations, so the majority of the time you just have to spot a sign and some bottles of petrol on the side of the road, which will just be outside a normal house or shop. This is where they will fill up for you.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving a scooter (the traffic in cities like Ubud or Canggu is just crazy), you can use taxis or private drivers.
The taxis in Bali are divided into two types: Blue Bird taxis and everyone else. Blue Bird taxis are known as really honest dealers and you can order one of them via an app. Non-Blue Bird taxi’s are known for their dirty tricks such as not using their meter, taking longer routes and so on.
Important: be careful that you take the real Blue Bird taxis and not the imitated ones. Here´s an article which will help you to distinguish between the real and the fake ones.
A fair taxi price is 7,000 IDR (38p) when they arrive and then 6,500 IDR (35p) per kilometre. Always carry small notes with you, because some taxi drivers will tell you that they don’t have enough change (even if they have), to make you pay more with the notes.
Taxis from the airport in Denpasar to your destination are always more expensive – here are some examples:
Airport to Denpasar: £7.70
Airport to Canggu: £12.90
Airport to Seminyak: £6
Airport to Ubud: £16.30
If you want to hire a private driver for a day it may cost you around £17-26 per day. We got to know our first private driver by driving home from dinner with a Grab taxi. While he drove us home, we asked him if he would like to drive us around the next day. Happily, he agreed and we exchanged phone numbers (sounds like a romantic date!). The next day, he picked us up and drove us to several waterfalls for around £17.
A few days later, we booked another spontaneous taxi driver, and this driver was one of the kindest people we got to know during our trip. So, we also exchanged numbers and two days later he drove us to a date with some friends. Afterwards, he brought us to the airport and our friends to Ubud. As I asked him for the price, he told me that it’s our decision on how much we pay him… How incredible is that?!
Ride Sharing Apps: GoJek & Grab
GoJek and Grab are becoming more and more popular in Bali. Services like these are an easy, cheap and safe way for getting around. Nevertheless, these services are a controversial topic in Bali.
In some areas (e.g. Ubud & Canggu) these services are banned by the local governments. Sometimes there are cases of the local taxi drivers even attacking the drivers of these services, because they’re so angry they’re stealing their custom! However, despite being banned in some areas there are still lots of tourists using GoJek and Grab.
Nevertheless, these services are still legal in Bali (even though they’re banned from certain areas), so it’s completely up to you if you use them or not. If you do decide to use them, you should order your driver to a place which is not directly on the main road and most definitely not next to a local taxi rank.
If you want to visit one of the islands around you, we highly recommend Nusa Penida from Sanur in Bali, to Nusa Penida, you can expect to pay around £13-17 per person. If you want to, you can buy a ticket with pick up from your accommodation and drop you off at your new accommodation, for around £18.
Check out our 6 best things to do in Nusa Penida!
From Nusa Penida, you can then also take a small boat to Nusa Lembongan, for less than £3.50 per person.
Boat tickets from Bali to the Gili Islands are around £26 per person.
No matter if you want to visit a waterfall or a temple, most of the time you will find you have to pay an entrance fee and sometimes also a parking fee for your scooter. But don’t worry too much as most of the time the entrance fees are only around 45p per person and scooter!
If you visit a very busy and touristic place, the price could of course be bumped up a little more.
You can buy sim cards more or less everywhere in Bali. They sell them not only in the big cities, but also in many Warungs in small villages. There are two main companies, Telekomsel and XL. We used both of them and had a good 3G coverage, even if Telekomsel worked a little bit better in rural areas.
What kind of price could you expect? Well for 6 GB you can to pay £2.60-5 depending on where you buy it from.
Important: try your sim card out in the shop where you bought it before you leave, so you can get help from the staff if it’s not working.
TIP: You can also buy your Indonesian sim card online with Klook and pick it up at the airport when you arrive in Bali, which is very handy and saves a lot of stress! We only didn’t try this option because we didn’t know about it, but sounds like it’s a very easy way to get a sim card hassle free!
If you have a credit card in which you can withdraw money all over the world (if possible without any fees), you don’t have change the currency at home.
Everywhere in Bali, and also on the islands around Bali, you can find plenty of ATMs. Don’t forget to withdraw money at the airport when you first get there too, so you can pay your taxi to your accommodation. You could even withdraw a couple days worth of money to avoid any additional fees.
Be aware though, as this catches most people out – even if your bank doesn’t charge any fees, most of the ATMs still do regardless. If you withdraw £135 (2,500,000 IDR), that’s almost the limit of what you can draw out, and with that you have to pay around £5 fees (100,000 IDR). So basically for every transaction you have to pay £5! So think about this carefully, as it’s probably best to get the full £135 out each time.
Keep in mind that’s it’s also often not possible to pay your accommodation by card. Especially in small accommodations, you can often only pay by cash. So, it’s important to have always enough cash with you and check with your hotel before your stay, or at least at check-in to see what the deal is with card.
Conclusion – Our Budget for 3 Weeks
Even though Bali is getting more and more popular, it’s still an affordable and budget friendly destination. Budgeting for Bali really depends on what you want to do and where you want to stay, as your daily budget can literally range from £10 per day to £450+ per day.
We spent a total of 3 weeks on Bali, including one and a half weeks on Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, at the end of the rainy season (February/ March 2019). We flew from Zurich (Switzerland) to Denpasar (Bali) with a layover in Doha (Qatar) for two hours and paid around £514 per person.
During our time in Bali, we spent around £771 per person (without flights). We stayed in both a very cheap hostel for less than £9 per person, per night, but also in more expensive hotel for £103 per person, per night.
We didn’t cook our own food as we didn’t have a kitchen in our accommodation, so we went out for dinner every evening. Depending on the size of the breakfast, sometimes some fruit was enough for lunch, but other times we had a lovely meal at a Warung.
We preferred local Warungs instead of western restaurants because we’re totally in love with Nasi and Mie Goreng (in case you hadn’t noticed already), and of course it was very cheap to eat there.
With that being said, there were also some evenings when we ate at more expensive places to treat ourselves! For example, in Ubud or Canggu. These two locations in particular are getting more and more expensive due to the number of tourists spending their holidays there, and also living more long-term. That’s why you can find a lot of super cosy and beautiful “hipster”-cafes and bars.
Most of the time we got around by scooter which cost little to nothing, but we also hired a private driver three times as mentioned. Don’t be afraid of the crazy traffic in Bali and the horrible roads on Nusa Penida though – if you concentrate and drive carefully you will be fine, just be aware of your surroundings.
Except a boat tour through the Mangrove Forests on Nusa Lembongan, we did all other activities by ourselves. It was a lot of fun to hike down to all the wonderful beaches on Nusa Penida and discovering the waterfalls in Bali was nothing short of incredible.
Even though we enjoyed our time in Bali, we were a little bit disappointed by this popular island (don’t get us wrong, there are still many beautiful places).
There’s one main reason for this: it’s simply just too busy and too touristic for us, especially in the south of Bali in places like Kuta or Canggu. Bali became a real Instagram hotspot, especially at attractions such as famous temples, rice terraces or waterfalls, making them super overcrowded. If you want these kind of places to yourselves to enjoy it, you have to get up a lot earlier to beat the crowds. At some of these places it just feels like everything evolves around the perfect Instagram shot, but that’s just Bali for you!
Nusa Penida in general was definitely less crowded because there are a lot of daily tourists, who just visit the attractions near the harbour. Most of the other places are calm and perfect to escape from the business of Bali.
Nevertheless, Nusa Penida is getting more and more busy too.