Dreaming of tanning on the beaches of Bali? Of exploring the most instagram-worthy cafes? Or perhaps rather look for adventure by chasing waterfalls? What if I told you, you could do it all, and you can do it all on a budget. Traveling Bali is extremely affordable, and while Instagram may make it look like luxury paradise, the reality is that that is only a small percentage of what Bali has to offer. In the 40 days we traveled Bali we spent a rough $1670 between the two of us, which translates to approximately $20 per person per day (and yes that is US Dollar, just to make it easier for everyone) how is that for a budget destination! And trust me when I tell you, we overspent in certain locations, and could certainly have spent less if we really wanted to. So, intrigued to visit Bali yourself, to learn where our money went to, and to learn how exactly you could travel Bali on a budget of less than $20 a day? Keep on reading to learn from our mistakes and to find out the best money saving tips for Bali!
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Bali Travel Budget
To give you a better idea of what exactly we spent our money on, and how we actually manage to travel on a budget of $20 per person per day we actually tracked every single penny we spent. From accommodation, to bottled water, to simple snacks. We wrote it all down, and summed it up in five different categories: accommodation, food & drinks, transportation, activities and miscellaneous costs. While we went slightly over our budget (mainly because we just love eating), we managed to spent pretty close to the initial estimate of $20 a day. You can find the exact breakdown of the cost below:
|Category||40 Nights for 2 People||P.p.p.d.|
|Accommodation in Bali||$676.65||$8.46|
|Food & Drinks in Bali||$704.83||$8.81|
|Transportation in Bali||$204.38||$2.55|
|Activities in Bali||$38.26||$0.48|
However, the reality is not everyone will spend as much as we did, and not everyone will spend as little as we did, this all depends on how you look at the money we spent. While some prefer to stay in luxury resorts, we are budget travelers with the hope to spend as much of our lives on the road. So we cut our costs on things that matter less to us, and splurge on activities or food that do matter to us. So to give you a bit of an idea of what kind of travelers we are, and if you are likely to spent more or less than us, here is some context on how we travel:
- We avoid tours – we love exploring on our own and prefer to arrange everything ourselves. We only take tours if there is simply no other way, if it will take us further of the beaten path, or if it is necessary for our own safety. From our own transport to where we eat, not only helps us to save money, we also are able to provide you with more information on how exactly we manage to visit all these sights and do all these activities without a tour yourself!
- We love scooters and motorbikes – No taxis for us if there are motorbikes or scooters available, and lucky for us there was plenty of those in Bali. We had a scooter available for 39 out of our 40 days in Bali, which allowed us to explore all the sights and surroundings on our own. We normally prefer to walk, but in Bali it was a lot easier to explore by motorbike instead.
- No infinity pools and floating breakfast – The stunning infinity pools of Bali, with these beautiful floating breakfasts and the most incredible views. While this is what many people travel to Bali for, and we absolutely would love to stay in these places to experience it, this does not fit in our budget. On top of all of that, pretty accommodation is nice, but it is not the reason we travel, we prefer to seek adventure and learn about culture. Instead, we opted for some basic, but clean and preferably with AC, private rooms in smaller guesthouses and hotels.
- We travel slow – 40 days in Bali, and that doesn’t include the Nusa Islands or Lombok. Being full-time travelers with our backpacks being our homes we sometimes need some rest but also plenty of time to work and to write these articles and edit all the photos we post on our instagram and here on the website. Traveling slow means less cost in transport and the option to stay longer in inexpensive places.
- We love food – being away from home almost 365 days a year means you don’t always have the comfort of your own kitchen, or the luxury of eating whatever you desire. While we love eating local food, when we are spending months at a time in a country we like to mix it up we some of the food we love from home or simply from other countries. So while we don’t splurge much on alcoholic drinks, we love eating a good pizza, a tasty burger or perhaps a delicious curry. As for that reason, and the fact that Bali has so much delicious food to offer, the largest part of our money went to food during our 40 day stay in Bali!
So now that you know a little bit on how we travel, and have decided if you could spend less or more than us, keep on reading to find an even more detailed breakdown of the several categories. First up: the cost of accommodation in Bali.
Cost of Accommodation in Bali
As mentioned above, you won’t find any infinity pools in our cost breakdown, but from the places we stayed in two came with a pool, and two were so close to the ocean that we could either hear it or see it from our room. To give you a better idea of what to expect for your money we have listed the places we stayed in below, plus the prices that we paid (during low season) per room. As we are a couple this is one of the major ways we manage to save money. However, if you are a solo traveler, don’t worry, there are plenty of budget hostels available with dorm rooms as cheap as $4 a night. You can find a full overview of the hostels available in Bali here on Hostelworld.
|City||Accommodation||Nights||Cost per room|
|Lovina||Bayu Mantra Bungalows||4||$11.14|
|Amed||Room with Oceanview||1||$19.69|
Save money by booking accommodation in advance, as Bali hotels and guesthouses do tend to fill up during the high season. If you are a couple planning on traveling Bali we highly recommend using Booking.com or Airbnb to find the best accommodation for you.
How we could have spent less on accommodation in Bali: Now, while we averaged roughly $17 a night for the both of us, we could always spent less. We could have opted for more budget accommodation in Ubud, Canggu and Amed, but the reality is, we were happy with spending the amount of money did for the amount of amenities we got in return for it. Like mentioned above, two of these rooms came with a pool on the premises, one even with a gym, and the other two were a stone throw away from the ocean. All our rooms had AC, and perhaps one of the most important factors in the work that we do, we had a solid internet connection that allowed us to write these blogposts for you.
Cost of Food & Drinks in Bali
Bali is known for the beautiful instagram worthy cafes, the photogenic buddha bowls and of course the large amount of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. There is something in Bali for everyone, you can eat local or simply eat some delicious Italian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese or one of the many other cuisines that you will find in the touristic areas of Bali. And while the prices are relatively cheap compared to prices of Australia, Europe and North America, if you are not careful, you will end up spending a lot more then you had budgeted for. Food and drinks were our largest expenditure during our 40 days in Bali, and we averaged roughly $9 per person, per day. But please note, we barely drink alcohol, hence the prices below simply included some fresh juices, sodas and mainly bottles of water if refills weren’t available. If you are planning on partying in Bali, or having a beer every night with your food, expect your cost to be a lot higher than ours. Below find the exact breakdown of where we spent how much on food.
However, these prices above won’t tell you much, as we might eat less or a lot more than you do on a day. To give you a bit of a better idea check out some of the prices below to see where you could splurge your money on. We have listed some food items below so you can have a better idea of what to expect of the food prices and at what kind of restaurants in Bali.
- Nasi Goreng at a local warung in Ubud: 45000 IDR (± $3.15)
- Vegan Tofu Scramble at a local warung in Ubud: 28000 IDR (± $2)
- Warung Pick & Mix at a local warung in Canggu: 40000 IDR (± $2.75)
- Pizza Margherita at a restaurant in Ubud: 3000 IDR (± $2.10)
- Country Breakfast at a more Western Style cafe in Canggu: 65000 IDR (± $4.50)
- Big Mac at a McDonalds near Canggu: 30000 IDR (± $2.10)
How we could have spent less on food and drinks in Bali: As there is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to our food budget, we could have certainly spent less during our travels in Bali. The best way to cut down on food cost is by eating local, go for the street food, or the delicious warungs where meals are as low as $1 to $2. If you are not a fan of Indonesian food, set your food budget a bit higher so you can enjoy all the smoothie bowls, pizzas and burgers without having to think to much about sticking to your budget.
Cost of Transport in Bali
Transport in Bali is extremely affordable, especially if you arrange your own transport. Everywhere on the streets of Bali you can find taxis or even Uber drivers to take you around town, but if you are on a budget, you might want to opt to rent a scooter or motorbike instead. With scooter rentals as low as $3 a day, and gas costing less then a $1 per liter it makes it one of the most affordable and most convenient ways to get around Bali. However, riding a scooter or motorbike in Bali does require some experience as the roads can be of poor condition in certain places, and traffic could simply be madness. But, if you feel comfortable and confident riding a motorbike or scooter then this might be the way to go for you, just don’t forget to wear a helmet!
Besides the scooter we only took 3 taxis in Bali: to get to Ubud, from Ubud to Canggu and from Canggu to the airport. As a total we spent roughly $200 on transport during our 40 days in Bali, which included 39 days of scooter rental, gas, and the three taxis. Here are some example prices to give you a better idea:
- Scooter rental in Ubud: 55000 IDR (± $4) per day for our 150cc scooter that we rented for 26 days.
- Taxi ride between cities: 150000 IDR (± $10) for a taxi ride from our Airbnb in Ubud to our guesthouse in Canggu.
- Scooter rental in Canggu: 55000 IDR (± $4) per day for our 125cc scooter that we rented for 11 days.
- Taxi to the airport: 250000 IDR (±17) for a taxi ride from our guesthouse in Canggu to the airport.
How we could have spent less on transportation in Bali: Honestly, we are not sure if we could have spent less as not having a scooter and taking taxis everywhere would have costed us a lot more money. Going for an older scooter, with less cc’s might have saved us a couple of dollars, but we were willing to pay a bit more for a 150cc scooter in Ubud due to the fact that it was a lot more comfortable for two people on a bike, and it managed to get up the hills in the North without any issue, something that lower cc’s scooters would have not managed. If you are planning on visiting the Gili Islands or the Nusa islands budget a bit more as the ferries are quite expensive.
Cost of Activities in Bali
Now, perhaps the most important category of all, the cost of activities in Bali, and as you might have seen, surprisingly enough, this is the lowest expense category with a total of not even $40 during our time in Bali! Now, you might think we didn’t do anything, or that we just hung out at cafes and ate food, but this is actually quite the contrary. The reason these costs are so low is because activities and sightseeing in Bali is just simply extremely affordable, as long as you arrange your own transport! To give you a better idea of some of the sights we have seen, and how much it costs, check out the complete table below. You can click the activities and sights for more detailed info on how to get there, best time to go and much much more.
|Activity||Type of Activity||Cost per person|
|Pura Tirta Empul||Temple||$1 + $1.75 for locker and sarong|
|Tegalalang Rice Terraces||Nature||Free|
|Campuhan Ridge Walk||Nature||Free|
|Tukad Cepung Waterfall||Nature||$1|
|Sekumpul Waterfalls||Nature||$1.40 +$1 for the Fiji Falls|
|Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall||Nature||$1.40|
|Banyumala Twin Waterfalls||Nature||$1.40|
|Pura Ulun Danu Bratan||Temple||$3.50|
However, this is just a small sample of all the sights we had seen in Bali, if you are looking for some more inspiration check out our complete Bali bucket list. Temples and waterfalls often charge a small fee, allowing you to see many sights and activities even if you are traveling on a strict budget. We later found out that some people had to pay to enter the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, however, we visited three times early in the morning and never found a point to buy an entry ticket. As long as you are arranging your own transport, and don’t visit these sights as part of a tour, you can keep your activities budget extremely low, even if you travel faster than us as most sights only cost a couple of dollars. However, if you are planning on taking surfing lessons, or to go diving, you might want to up your activities budget as these activities will cost you more money.
How we could have spent less on activities in Bali: This is one category we never cheap out on, as we prefer to see all the sights we want to see, no matter the cost. However, we didn’t go diving and instead opted to go snorkeling in Amed as a budget alternative but we hope to return one day to still dive in the most beautiful waters of Bali though. Walking and swimming at the beaches is completely free, so is exploring the cities and towns and visiting many natural viewpoints along Bali’s beautiful roads and beaches, all allowing you to stick to your budget!
Miscellaneous Costs in Bali
Last, but definitely not least on the list of Bali travel expenses: miscellaneous costs. This is often a forgotten category, something that people forget to budget, but something that could wreck your budget if you are not careful. While short term travelers won’t face many of these costs, for anyone who spends longer then a month on the road these costs might incur. Miscellaneous costs, in our case, is made up of the following items:
- Laundry: There is no suitcase big enough that will allow us to pack for a full year on the road, without doing laundry, especially in Southeast Asia. So as we prefer not to be smelly people, we often do a laundry twice a week. Laundry in Southeast Asia is often based on weight or on items. We prefer to look for laundry services that charge per weight as with larger washes this is more affordable. Laundry in Bali ranges from roughly $1 – $2 per kg, often available for pickup the next day. Laundry made up for most of the miscellaneous cost during our time in Bali.
- Soap, shampoo and other toiletries: For the same reason as above, we have to buy items such as shampoo, toothpaste and all other toiletries while on the road. The prices in Bali were comparable to prices at home, ranging from $2 – $5 per bottle of soap or shampoo, depending on the brand that you buy.
- Medication and bandages: With someone as clumsy as me it is a cost we simply cannot avoid. While we didn’t have to buy any medication during our stay in Bali, we just had to buy some bandaids and bandages which was roughly $1 – $2 per pack, nothing that will break the bank!
How we could have spent less on miscellaneous cost in Bali: There is the option of washing items by hand, which is something we often did in between for items we would wear more frequently, but in the end these washes didn’t seem as effective as a real laundromat wash, or we simply didn’t have any space to dry our items. All with all this is a very personal category, as some people might not spent any money in this category at all, or some might spent more.
How to stay on a Budget in Bali
So now that we have broke down exactly how much we spent on what category and where, including many example cost and how we could have spent less it is time for our final money saving tips for Bali. We might have mentioned some above, but in case you’ve missed them here they are again, plus a couple of more tips!
- Bring a water bottle – Not only because you will be doing the environment a huge favor, but you will also be doing your wallet a huge favor. Many hotels and guesthouses will have filtered water or 5 gallon water bottles available from where you can fill up your own water bottle for free.
- Eat local – While the Mexican, Italian, Indian and many other delicious cuisines and cafes look amazing, they are also a lot more pricier then the local warungs. Either balance it out, or just eat at warungs all together and enjoy the delicious pick & mix style buffet, or a freshly made nasi goreng for just a couple of dollars, eating local food for at least half our meals saved us a lot of money in Bali!
- Enjoy the free breakfast – Many hostels and guesthouses offer free breakfast for their guests! Get up for sunrise, and be back in time for some delicious eggs, or perhaps even pancakes, and some tea or coffee. This will save you buying another meal outside! You can check in advance online already when booking if your hotel or guesthouse offers free breakfasts.
- Don’t book tours or taxis through your guesthouse – Taxis and tours arranged through the guesthouses are often twice, if not more, as expensive as if you would arrange it on your own on the streets. This is especially in Ubud, where you will find people offering their taxi services simply everywhere.
- Walk or get a scooter – If you can ride a scooter, or motorbike, and feel comfortable riding through the hectic traffic of Bali then this is the best way to get around, while in most cities you can walk, having a scooter will be really handy for the sights that are a bit out of town, and it will save you loads of money on taxis. Sharing the scooter with your partner or friends will make it even more affordable! Just don’t forget to wear a helmet!
- Share a taxi – Don’t feel comfortable riding a scooter, no worries, many people don’t. As taxis tend to get a bit expensive, try to get some friends or a group of people in your hostel together to share the taxi with. Prices are always per taxi, so this could easily save you twice or even four times the money!
- Find a laundry place where you pay per kg – At many guesthouses and hotels they will offer laundry service, but it is often based on a per item basis. As the clothes most of us pack for Bali are quite light, you will save a lot of money if you do your laundry on a per kg basis instead. You might have to look a bit further, but there are enough of these services available!
- Use Airbnb – Airbnb is one of the best ways to find stunning accommodation for only the fraction of the price of a similar kind of hotel. From small local guesthouses to villas, Airbnb seems to offer it all. We have been using Airbnb almost everywhere we travel, and we have almost always been happy with where we stayed! Just be sure to read the latest reviews to see if the property description actually matches reality.
- Traveling solo? Stay in a hostel – The benefit of traveling with a partner or with friends means splitting the price of a room, however, if you are traveling solo it doesn’t mean that your trip has to get more expensive! There are many hostels in Bali available that offer a bed in a dorm room for prices as low as $4! Not only will you save money, it will also be easier to meet new people to share that scooter or taxi with, to save you a couple dollars, and to make some new friends!
- Bargain – Prices in Bali are flexible when there is no price tag in front of it, and sellers at the Ubud art market, but also at scooter rental places, will often start with a higher price, as they expect you will bargain with them. So don’t just agree immediately to the first price, bargain, and you will often be able to get 20% – 50% off the original price. This is especially possible if you will buy more items when you go shopping, or rent a scooter for more then one day!
- Low budget activities – While you can fill your trip to Bali with diving lessons, surf classes, climbing volcanoes and so much more, there are a lot of low budget activities. Entry fees to waterfalls and temples are often only a couple of dollars, allowing you to do multiple things in one day even if you are on a low budget. Now that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go diving or surfing it all, we just recommend balancing low and high cost activities to make most of your Bali budget adventure!
In the end, no matter what kind of style you will travel in Bali, it is still an incredible beautiful and affordable destination. If you are planning on going be sure to check out all our Bali articles here and to read about these 21 things to know before you go! Just so you can enjoy your travels to Bali to the max. Are there any money saving tips we have forgotten about? Be sure to tell us in the comment section down below. And oh, don’t forget to pin it!
I always find it incredibly interesting to read budget posts like these, and yours is incredibly comprehensive. Plus, your dreamy photos make me dream of going (or moving?) to Bali!