Although Bali is the most visited island in Indonesia, it’s still really easy to travel Bali on a budget. I stayed for 10 days and found it to be really reasonable. You could easily travel the island for under $35 a day.
Best Time to Visit
High season in Bali is during Easter, Christmas, New Years, and the months of July and August. Prices will be at their highest during these times because there will be loads of tourists. I visited Bali the week before Christmas and still found reasonable prices everywhere I went. Bali has great weather year-round but May, June, and July are generally considered the best time to visit. The dry season in Bali runs from May to October.
Because of how many tourists visit bali, there are options for every budget. Sure, you’ll find 5-star luxury resorts everywhere but Hostels and Airbnb’s are also very prevalent. I stayed with some friends in an Airbnb in Seminyak for my first couple days and stayed in hostels for the rest of the trip.
In Ubud, I stayed in Puji Bungalows for $7 a night. The room was very basic, but they offer free wifi, a swimming pool with rice paddy views, and a 24-hour front desk. The best part about Puji Bungalows was the incredible location. The Ubud Traditional Market is a 10-minute walk away and the famous Monkey Forest Sanctuary is only 15 minutes on foot.
When I made my way back to Seminyak I stayed in Capsule Hotel New Seminyak. I paid about $10 for a dorm bed and absolutely loved it. The rooms were clean and comfortable. There was a hangout room with beanbag chairs and DVDs to watch. The kitchen was stocked and there was a bar area downstairs to hang out in. I met a ton of people here and had a great time. The beach and all the main clubs and restaurants are within walking distance.
Budget accommodation is very easy to come by in Bali due to the high number of backpackers that pass through. I generally use hostelworld.com or booking.com to get good deals on hostels. I also love Airbnb when I’m traveling with friends and if you sign up through my link you’ll get $20 off your first booking.
The cheapest mode of transportation in Bali is the motorbike taxi. This is exactly what it sounds like — sitting on the back of a local’s motorbike. This isn’t the safest mode of transportation but it gets you from point A to point B relatively cheaply.
Taxis are common throughout Bali but are much more expensive than in other Southeast Asian countries. To make sure you’re getting a fair price, be sure you use the regulated Blue Bird Taxis. There are a lot of imitators so have your hotel or hostel book a taxi for you before you head out.
There are tourist buses in Bali but they are very limited. I took a Perama bus from Kuta to Ubud for about $5 USD one way.
Okay I know this post is all about Bali on a budget but food is the one area where I would splurge. Bali, especially Ubud, has no shortage of incredible fresh food. I ate almost completely raw vegan the whole time I was there and my body loved it. I’ll focus on Ubud because that’s where I had the best meals. In other areas of Bali I ate mostly at local warungs. I saved a few rupiah but the food was pretty bland and not worth writing about.
My favorite restaurants in Ubud were Alchemy, Sari Organik, and Umah Pizza which is right next to Puji Bungalows.
Alchemy is Bali’s first 100% raw vegan cafe and juice bar. They offer a juice and smoothie bar, salad bar, and raw chocolates. There is also a health food store located inside the cafe. My daily order was a coconut milk flat white ($3.30USD) and one of their incredible smoothie bowls ($4.10USD).
Sari Organik is an Ubud staple. It can only be reached by an extremely pleasant 20-minute walk through the rice fields. The food wasn’t outstanding in my opinion but the table overlooking the rice fields was enough of a reason to visit. Across the path from the restaurant you can actually walk through the gardens that they grow their organic produce in.
Next to my hostel was the hidden gem Umah Pizza. After months of Italian food withdrawal in Thailand, I was delighted to find somewhat decent ‘za in Ubud. The prices were incredible — about $2 USD for a small margherita pizza.
I didn’t feel the need to spend much on activities in Bali. I spent my days in Seminyak walking to the beach and strolling through local shops. In Ubud there were magnificent hikes and markets just a walk away from the center of town.
One day in Ubud I visited the famous Monkey Forest Sanctuary for $3 USD (it looks like the prices have gone up in 2017 and are now $3.75). This pocket change bought me a few hours of monkey watchin’ and jungle walkin’. If you don’t want to pay the entrance fee there are always monkeys hanging around the entrance as they are free to come and go as they please.
I loved taking long walks in Bali. My favorite hike was the Campuhan Ridge Walk. You can read more about that here. I also liked walking through the markets. Both of these activities are completely free.
One day I hired a driver to take me around to some of the more significant sights around central Bali. I paid around $40 for my own private driver for the entire day. He took me to Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Tegenungan Waterfall, and a Lewak coffee farm. I wouldn’t recommend the latter as it seems there is some controversy around the process of Lewak coffee, but the other two activities were well worthwhile.
The local beer in Bali is called Bintang and can cost between $1.50-$3 for a bottle.
I didn’t drink or go out very much in Bali. Nightlife is pretty much nonexistant in Ubud. I didn’t meet very many people during my time there so I didn’t go out to the few bars that are there.
In Seminyak there is a much bigger party scene. I spent a couple nights out at the upscale beachfront club Potato Head. This beach club is home to two restaurants, three bars, and an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. I also visited the treehouse-themed bar La Favela. Neither of these places has a cover charge so they are free to visit (unless you want to shell out $10.50 for a cocktail).
For an average day I would budget $10 for a dorm bed or $25 for a private room. A mixture of local warungs and more upscale eateries should cost you no more than $12 a day. Factor in $3 for activities and $5 for transportation and you’ve still got enough for a couple Bintangs at the end of the day.
Total cost: $30
I definitely could have saved a few dollars by eating local, taking motorbike taxis, and forgoing my private car hire for the day — but overall I found Bali to be pretty easy on the wallet.
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