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. The increasing prices reflect the rising stream of foreign people (especially Europeans and Australians) coming to Bali and the islands around every year.
Nevertheless, Bali is a super budget-friendly destination. Here´s a summary of the prices and costs you have to expect when you travel to Bali and our budget for three weeks:
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 super expensive restaurants, 35€ a day won´t be enough for you. But as a “budget-backpacker” (like we are), you can live very good with 25-35€ per day and per person. This daily budget includes everything (except your flight to Bali from home): accommodation, food and drinks the whole day, entrance fees, transportation, souvenirs and so on.
In Bali you can find tons of great stay options. Depending on your budget you can stay in backpacker-friendly-hostels, homestays, hotels our even in your private villa with pool. If you want to share a room with other people you´ll find accommodations for less than 3€ per night and person (most of time without breakfast). If you want an accommodation with breakfast, your own bedroom and bathroom and a pool you have great options for less than 10€. 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 super beautiful and clean pool, a super cozy and clean room and wonderful stuff for 15€ per person and night. If you want to stay in a private villa with pool you´ll find some for less than 20€ per night and person. Of course, there´s no limit for the prices as you can stay in hotels or villas for more than 200€ per night and person.
If you want to stay for a longer time you can find Homestays that would be around 140€ per month. But there are also wonderful private villas with pool that start with 300€ per month.
how big or small your budget is, you´ll find unbelievable good food in Bali.
Especially nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles) and banana
pancakes were our all-time favourites.
If you want to eat local (street) food you can eat a dish (plate filled with rice, vegetables and chicken) for less than 2€. You can find tasty and fresh food in “Warungs”. Warungs are typical indonesian restaurants with cheap prices and good food. If you eat in a restaurant owned by westerners, you´ll pay more than in local restaurants. Here you´ll get a dish for 5-20€.
But of course, it depends always on the restaurant and the place where you´re eating (e.g. eating in the centre of cities is more expensive then eating in small villages). You can find also 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 like water or coke for less than 0,75€. Fresh pressed juice is available from 1,20€. We drank at least once a day a coconut and we paid around 1-2€ for one. Bintang is the most popular beer in Bali. If you buy it in a supermarket it costs around 1,10€, at a local restaurant it costs around 2€. Due to the fact that Liquor is highly taxed in Indonesia, it´s really expensive. Hard liquor like vodka or gin with a mixed drink starts at 5€ per glass. A bottle of Absoult (Vodka) costs often more than 60€.
With the drinks it´s the same as with the food, it depends on the place where you´re eating or drinking if it´s cheap or expensive.
The best way to discover Bali is by scooter. It´s not only a lot of fun, it´s also very cheap. You can hire a scooter for 4-6€ per day (don´t forget to wear a helmet). Petrol is also very cheap, if you want to make your tank full, you pay around 1-3€. There are only a few common petrol stations, most of time you can find a sign and some bottles with petrol at a normal house or a shop, that’s where you can refuel.
If you don´t feel comfortable by driving yourself (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 with an app. Non-Blue Bird taxi are known for their dirty tricks like 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 (0,44€) when they arrive and then 6,500 IDR (0,41€) per kilometre. Always carry small bills with you, cause some taxi drivers will tell you that they don´t have enough change (even if they have). Taxis from the airport in Denpasar to your destination are always more expensive, here are some examples: Airport to Denpasar: 9€, Airport to Canggu: 15€, Airport to Seminyak: 7€, Airport to Ubud: 19€.
If you want to hire a private driver for a day it may cost you around 20-30€ per day. We got to know our first private driver by driving home from dinner with Grab. 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 our phone number (sounds like a romantic date). The next day he picked us up and drove us to different waterfalls for around 20€. Some days later we had a spontaneous taxi driver and this driver was one of the kindest person we got to know during our trip. So, we also exchanged numbers and two days later he drove us to date with friends. And 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.
Ride Sharing Apps: GoJek and 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 (in these areas are shields which you it to you). And in some areas the local taxi drivers attack the drivers of these services cause they´re really angry that they have less customers. Even if they´re banned in some areas there are still lots of tourists using them.
Nevertheless, these services are legal in Bali (even if they´re not allowed to pick up people at some places/ areas), so it´s up to you if you use them or not. But if you use them, you should order your driver to a place which is not directly on the main road and also not next to local taxi drivers.
If you want to visit one of the islands around you, we highly recommend NUSA PENIDA to you. From Sanur to Nusa Penida you pay around 15-20€ per person. If you want to you can buy a ticket with pick up from your last accommodation and transport to your new accommodation for around 21€. From Nusa Penida you can take a small boat to Nusa Lembongan for less than 4€ per person.
Boat tickets from Bali to the Gili Islands are around 30€ per person.
No matter if you want to visit a waterfall or a temple, most of time you have to pay an entrance fee for yourself and sometimes also a parking fee for your scooter. But don´t matter most of the time the entrance fees are around 0,50€ per person and scooter. If you visit a very busy and touristic place it could be also a little bit more expensive.
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 head a good 3G coverage, even if Telekomsel worked a little bit better in rural areas. For 6 GB you have to pay 3-6€ depending on where you buy it. Important: try out if it works in the place where you buy it, so you can receive help from the stuff if it´s not working.
You can also buy your Indonesian sim card online with Klook and pick it up at the airport when you arrive in Bali. We didn´t tried it cause didn´t knew about this option but sounds like it´s an easy and good working way to get a sim card.
If you have a credit card with which you can withdraw money all over to 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 ATMs. Don’t forget to withdraw money at the airport so you can pay your taxi. Even if your bank doesn´t charge any fees, most of the ATMs do. If you withdraw 157€ (ca. 2,500,000 IDR), that’s most of the time the limit, you have to pay around 6€ fees (ca. 100,000 IDR).
Keep in mind that’s 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.
Our Budget for three weeks
Even though Bali is getting more and more popular, it´s still an affordable and budget friendly destination. Depending what you want to do and where you want to stay, your daily budget can range from 12€ per day to more than 500€ per day.
We spent 3 weeks on Bali (included one and a half week in 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 600€ per person.
During our time in Bali we spent around 900€ per person (without flights). We stayed in a very cheap hostels for less than 10€ per night and person, but also in more expensive hotels for 120€ per person night.
We didn´t cook by ourselves cause we didn´t had kitchens in our accommodations so we went out for dinner each evening. Depending of the size of the breakfast, sometimes fruits were enough but sometimes we had also lunch at a Warung. We prefered local Warungs instead of western restaurants cause we´re totally in love with nasi and mie goreng. And of course, it was very cheap to eat there. Nevertheless, there were also some evenings when we ate at more expensive places. For example, in Ubud or Canggu. Especially these two places are getting more and more expensive due to the number of tourists spending their holidays and living for a longer time there. That’s why you can find a lot of super cozy and beautiful “hipster”-cafes and bars there.
Most of the time we got around by scooter (we always took one together), but we also hired a private driver three times. Don´t be afraid of the crazy traffic in Bali and the horrible roads on Nusa Penida. If you drive concentrated and carefully, you´ll make it.
Expect of a boat tour through the mangrove forests on Nusa Lembongan we did all activities by our own. It was a lot of fun to hike down to all the wonderful beaches on Nusa Penida, but also discovering the waterfalls in Bali was incredible.
Even though we enjoyed our time in Bali we´re a little bit disappointed by this popular island (don´t get us wrong, there are many beautiful places). There´s one main reason: it´s 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 and especially the attractions like famous temples, rice terracces or waterfalls are super crowded. So, if you want to have it on your own, you have to get up very earlier. At some places it feels like everything is just done for the perfect shot.
Nusa Penida was in general less crowded cause there are a lot of daily tourists who visit only the attractions near the harbour. Most of the other places are calm and perfect to escape from the troubles in Bali. Nevertheless, this island is getting more and more busy too.
If you have anything to add, some questions or some more important stuff, share your thoughts with us in the comments below. We would love to read them.
Lots of love,