This one fairly complex but important question on everyone’s mind even before they start making proper travel plans. Bali in this case. Undoubtedly so. Bali Travel Costs. How expensive is Bali?
Please Note: For the sake of uniformity and ease, all costs are in IDR-Indonesia Rupiah. You can make your own individual currency calculations as there are far too many currencies to represent.
Most of the travel plans are based on a budget than anything else. The more you save, the longer you can travel, the more you can enjoy. Everyone wants that. At best, you return home happy and also save a ton for the next trip! So let’s go and hear out my tips to save money and get more mileage for your money.
- Bali can safely be termed as backpacker friendly, meaning very cheap to travel and enjoy. The most important point being, there is no Visa fee for a lot of countries, so the first saving is made the moment you land at the airport.
- Bali is well connected by roads and transport. No, there is no public transport available, but there is really cheap Bike taxis everywhere in the island. You just need a SIM card to be able to call and book the bike-taxi. The bike taxi is so cheap it took me just 7,000 IDR to get me from the airport to the Hotel in Kuta. Even the cabs are not really expensive if you are carrying luggage and have other co-travelers. Download GoJek and Grab apps from Play store or iOS app store. Use the free WiFi at the airport to book your first taxi.
- The currency exchange at the airport is not expensive at all. In fact, this was the first airport in all my travels where the currency exchange rate was almost the same as the ones in the city. Surprise Surprise. Better still, there is ATM in the airport and you can withdraw cash using one of your cards! Not a bad start indeed.
- Airbnb, homestays, Hotels, and Hostels are all remarkably cheap. Hostels start from merely 55,000 IDR with breakfast included. Other options are also cheaply priced and so there is no need to worry. You can use all the regular Booking, Agoda, Hostels, Hostelworld, etc apps to book your choice.
- Food is decently priced and will start at 30,000 IDR from street vendors to about 75,000 IDR at a decent place to eat. Fast food joint and such other places will cost more but still not a strain on your pocket for sure.
- Beer is the local favorite and Bintang is the most sought after. Priced at just 23,000 IDR in local marts, it can get expensive if you are in the city center. Local marts sell other popular brands of alcohol as well and it’s not difficult to find them. Bintang beer is usually priced at 40,000 IDR inside clubs and bars. So the prices almost double when purchased at a club/ bar/pub. Please make a note of this before you plan to party out and have fun. Remember to budget your expenses beforehand so that you do not end up spending a lot of money partying.
- Water can be bought for 5,000 to 10,000 IDR for 2 liters and depends on the brand you purchase and the store you purchase from. Prices are set by the marts/ stores and are not regulated. So that can pretty much put any price they want to. There are stores like Indomaret which sell even ready to eat food and packaged food which is very cheap. Some have seating, so you can enjoy your snack or meal inside the outlet and do not have to go out looking for a place to eat the stuff you buy.
- All marts and convenience stores are very easily accessible. You are always only about 400-500 meters away from one at the most. So save your money and buy everything at the mart and not at the local stores. Mart names are Indomaret, Alfa Mart, Circle K, Mini Mart to name a few. They are easy to spot and look like 7-11 stores in Thailand.
- You typically do not need a SIM card in Bali. The only time I ever used was when I wanted to Book a cab/bike taxi. Otherwise, there was no reason to call anyone or use the Internet. You can use the hostel WiFi to do all the Internet activities. But in case you do need it, they are available at stores starting from 50,000 IDR and above. They are easily available if you need them.
- Always take a bike taxi to go anywhere, it’s cheap, reliable and very fast. You will not believe the number of traffic jams that take place in Bali. Check my Youtube videos and you will notice. A bike taxi is the best way to save time and also lots of money. A bike taxi is usually almost at least 50-60% cheaper than a cab.
- Rent a bike if you have an International Drivers License. Bikes can be rented from 50,000 IDR to 100,000 IDR depending on model, power, and performance. It’s the best way to travel independently and also save a lot of money. Petrol/ Gas is very cheap in Bali and is priced at just 8,000-9,000 IDR and so really cheap. You can take a bike on rent for several days and return it just before you leave Bali. Very economical and very safe. Good at saving money especially if you are 2 people or even a number of co-travelers. Do not rent a bike/car if you do not have an International permit a the Traffic Police can penalize you a huge amount of money, sometimes even 1 million IDR. So be very careful.
- If you are more than 2 and around 6-7 people, you can rent a big car with a driver and this will turn out cheaper than even the bike. Also, you get to enjoy and sightsee from the comfort of a very nicely maintained air-conditioned vehicle. Prices for a car with driver start from 400,000 IDR and goes up depending on the type of vehicle you choose. But even at 400,000-450,000, you get a really good car for 8-10 hours.
- Bali is open to bargain at any local shop. Clothes, gifts, etc everything can be bargained for. Don’t be ashamed as they expect you to bargain and bring the price down to an acceptable level for both buyer and seller.
- Drink cheap by using offers and Happy Hours. Drink wisely and cheaply as drinking costs can spiral out of hand. You can pre-drink before you head to a bar or club and that way avoids spending too much too soon.
- Instead of Speed Boats, you can inquire about public ferries to the place where you want to go. There are public ferries that go to the islands, they take a long time, but you can enjoy the ride at a far lower cost.
You can very well manage on a budget of 250,000 IDR per day comfortably. Not much right? See that’s how affordable Bali is. If you make a budget plan and work according to the plan, you are pretty much safe. All excursions, boat tickets and entry tickets to attractions will be extra and that will totally depend on how much you want to travel and how much you want to explore and see. So its an individual preference and its budget can be easily set by you.
Follow my other guides to make accurate plans for Bali so that you will know approximately how much the tour will cost you. As a factor of safety, always budget 30% more expenses to include any delays, mishaps, etc. That will ensure you are safe and not without money. Always carry more than you need to and spend less than you have to, and you will be pretty much safe. Have a day by day account of how much you are spending w.r.t your plan/budget and you will have a fair idea of the cash flow. This will help you from being caught unawares and without much cash at the last moment.
I feel this has been a good start to the Bali vlog series and with many more to come I am sure it will be an interesting read. Please stay tuned for more and share your feedback/ queries. Don’t feel shy to join in and write a few blogs for us and be featured on our website. Please do share this with your friends and family on Social Media. Cheers and happy travels.