Bali is a gripping place. It can't quite be accurately depicted by words or pictures, but there are so many special things about this piece of paradise that must be felt and experienced in person. Its energy is prevailing, its culture overflowing, and it boasts enough views to last a lifetime.
Below I'm breaking down what I spent during my 8 day trip here, with the hopes that it can help you map out your future Balinese getaway. If you weren't planning one already, add it to your travel list and start now. This country, this island in particular, is a must visit, one of a kind destination. Fortunately, it's also incredibly affordable. Whether you're on a super tight budget or if you have some room to ball out (or somewhere in between like me), you are bound to live it up on this energetic Indonesian island.
The currency used throughout the country is called the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). It's very weak against the US dollar, with the exchange rate being about $1.00 USD = 13,000 IDR. You're often dealing with 50,000IDR and 100,000IDR notes, which seems like it'd be a lot, but it's only a few dollars after the USD conversion. Apparently, all the zeros were added on to the rupiah to make their currency seem stronger than it is.
Find the overview and breakdown of what I spent (more or less) juuust below.
Total spent over an 8 day solo trip: $525.
--Including food, accommodations, tourist site entrance fees, transportation around the island, and shopping
This does not include my flight to and from the Denpasar, Bali airport. My roundtrip flight was $187 from Bangkok, Thailand -- a great fare offered by AirAsia. From the U.S., you can often find RT deals to Bali from major cities for under $900 (i.e. from Boston for $737, from New York for $795, from Chicago for $874. Keep an eye out on The Flight Deal).
Accommodations = $159 (8 Nights)
$77 - I spent 4 nights at a gorgeous villa in Ubud, Bali called the Pondok Wahyu (check out more photos and my review here) for only $23/night. With my AirBnB credit, I received $25 off of the $91 total. This place was heaven and an absolute steal.
$56 - 2 nights in the home of AirBnB hosts in Ubud. I chose to stay with a host family in a traditional Balinese home to learn about the island from the locals' perspective. Their home and the separate guest room were fabulous! My host, Agus, and his wife were more than hospitable. They brought out breakfast in the morning to enjoy their serene courtyard, and offered island tours (at an extra cost), scooter rental, restaurant suggestions, and tons of insight into Balinese customs. I loved living like a local in their home.
$26 - 2 nights at Umahku Hostel in Seminyak, Bali. I decided to head over to the beach for my last 2 nights in Bali. I originally planned to have 4 nights in Seminyak, but I couldn't get enough of Ubud's peaceful vibes, so I stayed a bit longer and cut Seminyak short. In Seminyak, I opted for a hostel to save some dollas. At only $11/night, the Umahku Hostel offered a ton of value. It was overall one of the most comfortable hostel dorm rooms I've stayed in to date -- super comfortable bunk beds with a privacy curtain, an outlet and a light at each bed, and huge storage lockers with a personal key. It was great. It's one block from the popular Seminyak walking street (restaurants, shops, bars, massage salons), a 5 minute drive from the beach, has a pool, and an on-site cafe with a discount for guests. Its funky decor gave it a youthful touch. Two thumbs up for another pleasant hostel stay!
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Food = $135
My cheapest meals were just under and just over $1.00. Yes, ONE dollar. This included some chicken I grabbed from a fast food spot near my villa in Ubud and street food I dared to try a few times (Nasi goreng -- chicken fried rice; Babi guling -- suckling pig). You may not be so bold as to try Indonesian street food, and I can't say I'd blame you. Living in Thailand, eating street food became a norm for me, so I figured why not? But the street food in Bali wasn't nearly as appetizing as it in Thailand. Quick tip: try at your own risk... or don't.
My most expensive meals were during two nights on the town at the Laughing Buddha and CP Lounge, two of Ubud's popular live music nightlife venues. I 'splurged' on dinner, spending $18.82 and $22.28 respectively. Both totals included an appetizer, main course, and cocktails, along with tax and the service charge... not too bad, right? I especially enjoyed the cajun chicken, shrimp wontons, and the band at Laughing Buddha!
On average, my eats were about $5--$10, and often times less, at local eateries around town. Two of my favorite meals came from the Indonesian restaurant next door to my Ubud homestay -- I got ayam bakar (roasted chicken) and a gourmet vegan ice cream one day, another day, ayam cah jamur (stir fried chicken with veggies) and a caesar salad; each meal was under $5 and SO. DELICIOUS.
A few other meals I had -- Indian for $11.29, chicken satay for $2.71, a really bomb vegetarian burrito and acai bowl for $10.91 (at the best vegetarian spot I've EVER BEEN TO, no lie), and a steak dinner for $3.31. Yummy cuisine at every price point.
Tourist Sites (Entrance Fees) - $14
Each popular tourist site charges a minimal fee to enter (as in almost nothing). I visited the Tegenungan Waterfall ($0.75), Tirta Empul Temple (the Holy Spring Water Temple - $1.66), Mount Batur Volcano ($4.54), Tegalalang Rice Terrace ($0.75), and the Antonio Blanco Museum ($6.02). I bought a water bottle at a couple of the sites, so I added those pennies in there too. Transportation to these places are a separate cost, which I cover below.
Transportation = $122
$22.58 = Taxi from the airport to Ubud; $22.58 = Taxi from Ubud to Seminyak; $3.05 = Uber ride from Seminyak to the airport
$23.28 = Scooter rental, 5 days total (4 days from my villa in Ubud, 1 day from my hostel in Seminyak).
$3.01 = Gas for my scooter
$52.69 = Private full day tour around Ubud (my AirBnB host, Agus, took me on this tour, where I visited most of the tourist sites mentioned above, as well as to the silver shopping district, Celuk Village).
Shopping & Miscellaneous = $95
This section includes all the random stuff I bought during my visit, from necessities like contact solution and mosquito spray, to souvenirs, clothes, and a Balinese massage. Of course this part of your budget will vary greatly depending on where you shop and how much you buy, but here's a brief list of example items and how much I personally spent on them to give you a general idea:
$18.82 = SIM card with small data plan (I wanted phone service when I first arrived so I could use Google and navigate around on my scooter when I wasn't connected to wifi)
$1.73 = two converter plugs from a small local hardware shop
$11.29 = lemongrass tea and frangipani massage oil from a coffee farm tour
$5.27 = hour long Balinese massage
$3.76 = henna tat on the beach
$53.46 = about 5 various articles of clothing (mostly from the Seminyak Oberoi Market)
and so on...
My solo trip to Bali was invigorating, eye-opening, relaxing, and well worth every penny (and then some). There are so many more Indonesian adventures I'm craving to experience -- like hiking to the top of Mt. Batur Volcano, island hopping, and scuba diving -- so it's no doubt high on my list to return to.
If you're in need of a strong dose of Bali, I hope this post pushes you a little further towards making that dream trip happen.
Please note, this is not intended as a suggested budget for everyone, but to give an idea of price points in Bali based on an outline of my expenses. When planning your trip, keep your travel style in mind and always leave room for emergencies. Happy planning!
Headed to Bali soon? What are you looking forward to most!?
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