If somebody would have asked me 2 years ago about Bali and about the cost of living there, I would probably answer that it is an expensive destination, suitable to the ones that want to spend their honey moon on an exotic island and opposed to the backpackers traveling on a budget. Something inside me kept telling me that it should also be possible in another way, a cheaper way. But the truth is that I would never imagined that I can easily live with only 3-5 euro a day (or even less). And, for sure, Bali is not quite a destination chosen by travelers, just because it seems a luxury one.
Actually, our initial plan when we arrived in Bali was to spend only a few days there. But when we saw how cheap you can live there, we extended our trip for two weeks. Then, when we saw that it all depends of where you go and how you negotiate, we even tought to move to Bali for a few months. This is exactly what we did. Of course, the word budget is subjective. For me, to be on a budget means to spend maximum 10 euros a day, but because I don’t want to talk about extremes, I will consider as an example 15-20 euros a day.
My advices to travel Bali on a budget:
As you know, the biggest expense is accomodation. The good news is that Bali is full of hostels that offers accomodation in a common dormitory starting only from 3 euros. If you are two, my advice is to take a private room. These start from 6 euros/room. From 10-12 euros onward you will already get swimming pool and breakfast. Another good option is to talk with the local people and agree on a room with shared bathroom for a reasonable price.
If you are not limited by time, I would recommend you to volunteer in exchange of a bed. This iswhat we did and we spent 3 months in Bali without paying for a single night of accomodation.
On the extremes, there are the resorts, the villas and the hotels. So, if you are a fan of luxury and comfort, you can also find rooms for hundreds, or even thousands euros a night.
Beside the romantics sunsets and the fairy beaches, Bali can pride itself with something else: indonesian cuisine. Warung is the name for the local restaurants where prices are fix and small. You can eat a good portion of food for 1.5 euro. The most common dishes are Gado Gado (rice, tofu, egg and vegetables with peanut sauce), Nasi Goreng (fried rice with vegetables and egg), Mie Goreng (fried noodles with vegetables and egg) and Noodles soup. As a bonus, the food in the warungs, even if it is not quite hygienical cooked, it is very fresh and tasty.
Of course, if you want western food, the prices are accordingly, a breakfast starting from 3-4 euros.
Almost every time when I was eating, I was adding an Ice Tea for which I was paying around 0.5 euro (Ice Tea is in almost all places home made). The beer is quite expensive, 1.5 euros a small one.
The good part when you travel for a longer period is that it is not neccesarly to eat all the goodies in one day. So, twice a week I trying to eat somethng else than indonesian food.
The fruits and vegetables are very cheap: a pineapple costs 0.75 euros; bananas are around 0.5 euro for 10-15 pcs; papaya costs under 1 euro. Of course, all these prices have to be negotiated because the locals have the tendency to as for more, knowing you are a tourist. Another advantage of long term travels is that you start to learn the real prices, the ones for the locals. So, after a few days in Bali I already knew that a pinneaple can not cost 1.5 euros, but 0.5 and I started to negotiate the prices.
The best option to explore Bali is by renting a scooter. And i say this because all the nature in Bali is absolutely fantastic and you don’t have to miss it. Don’t be fool to stay two weeks in the same place. It costs approximately 4 euros a day, but if you rent it for a longer period you can negotiate to 2 euros a day. The fuel costs aprroximately 0.5 euros. If you share the scooter with somebody else, you will get it almost for free.
These being said, you have no excuse to not explore the island. If you don’t feel comfortable riding a scooter, you can use GO-JEK application for a service similar to Uber. The taxi is the most expensive way of transportation in Bali! But, if you insist to travel with one, use the blue cars from Blue Bird taxis.
For the ones passionated about shopping, Bali is a good place. For example, the dress from the picture cost 5 euros.
In Bali there are a lot of activities that you can do. From renting a driver to take you to the touristic atractions and up to the temples, you have it all. The entrance prices are different from one objectiv to another, but if you travel on a budget I recommend you not to visit all the temples. Anyhow, the most beautiful and natural parts of the island do not cost money to be visited. Jump on your scooter and explore the island, the beaches, the waterfalls, the rice fields, the moutains, etc.
As a conclusion, Bali is that type of destination which has a flexible budget. You can visit it both with 200 euros a day and 5 euros a day. For example, my monthly expenses were:
- accomodation: 0 euros
- food: 3-4×30=120 euros
- scooter: 21 euro
- fuel: 5-7 euros
Total 146-148 euros a month.
And now I wonder, how many of you exclude this island exactly because it seems an expensive destination?