Before I went to Bali, I spent ages trying to work out how much money I would need while I was there. Everyone kept saying it was really cheap, but with no frame of reference this isn’t very helpful – do they mean cheap compared to the UK, or compared to other Asian countries? With this in mind, I decided to write a post all about how much money I spent in Bali. While I was there, I definitely didn’t make much effort to save money; I wasn’t staying in 5 star hotels or anything, but I was happy to spend the money on any activity I wanted to do. Because of this approach, hopefully this post will be helpful to most people who are heading to Bali or the Gili islands.
My total budget was 6,880,000 IDR. This was basically decided by how much cash I had left: 550 USD and 35 NZD (this would equate to around £357)
Transport around Bali (and to the Gilis) – 670,000 IDR in total (£35 approx)
Taxi from the airport to Kuta – 100,000 IDR each
Bus from Kuta to Ubud – 70,000 IDR each
Return boat for Gili Trawangan – 500,000 IDR each (this included buses and we were picked up in Ubud and dropped off in Seminyak)
Accommodation – 420,000 IDR for 3 nights (£22 approx)
This accommodation was alright. It was a capsule hostel, which I would definitely recommend because you get a lot more privacy than in a normal hostel (you essentially have your own little box with 5 walls and a blind) but I guess if you were claustrophobic or bigger than me you may not enjoy it so much. The accommodation wasn’t anything fancy, but it was perfectly acceptable: quite clean, good location, quite comfortable. A solid 3 out 5 stars from me.
Food and Drinks
A full meal in a restaurant set us back about 120,000 IDR most of the time for a delicious meal. We also had a couple of smaller meals for around 40,000 – 50,000 IDR. In general, the food was tasty and cheap.
We went out two out of the three nights, and both times spent 100,000 IDR each for unlimited drinks (as you might expect the drinks weren’t that strong or that nice, but they were cheap!). It’s easy to see why Kuta is such a party place for Australians; it very much is the Magaluf for Aussies.
Our Kuta activities were mainly paying for sun loungers on the beach (50,000 IDR) or finding bars with pools. Our favourite find was HQ Pool Bar on the beach front, who shared 15,000 IDR to use a towel and expected you to buy food or drinks while you were there – it was an absolute dream!
We also took a surf lesson in Kuta, which we just arranged on the beach. We paid 220,000 IDR which was a lot cheaper than some of the more “official” looking surf schools. We got 1:1 tuition for that price, which I would say is essential for your first lesson – it’s so much harder than it looks to just paddle away from the shore!
I also got a shellac manicure on my last night in Kuta which was 130,000 IDR.
Accommodation – 200,000 IDR for 2 nights (£10 approx)
This accommodation was super cheap. It was very basic – literally just a 20 bed dorm room above a bar, but it was completely fine for what we were looking for. We were definitely happy we had opted for the cheaper option
Food and drinks
There are some really nice restaurants and bars in Ubud and you can definitely spend more if you want to go in for the healthy lifestyle type places. We went to a mix of different places and spent around 75,000 IDR on our main meals and around 40,000 IDR on smaller meals. We didn’t really drink much in Ubud as this was the least wild location we were going to!
By far the most expensive activity we did was a cycle tour with Bali Go Bike. It cost 400,000 IDR but I would say it was totally worth it! This included a tour of a coffee plantation where you got to try lots of teas and coffees; breakfast overlooking an active volcano and one of the best views I have ever seen; an 18 mile cycle around the island exploring all of the sights with amazing views of the Rice Paddies; and a delicious traditional meal at the owner of the company’s house (which was a traditional Balinese compound and absolutely beautiful).
We also went to the famous Monkey Forest which cost 30,000 IDR; got a (wonderful) Balinese massage and pedicure for 110,000 IDR; and went to the market where we bought some gifts (70,000 IDR) and I got a beautiful blanket (320,000 IDR).
Gili Islands (mainly Gili Trawangan)
Accommodation – 450,000 IDR for 3 nights (£23 approx)
This was a bit further away from the beach than we would have liked, but it was a really nice hostel. We had to argue a bit to stop them from making us share a bed (without reducing the cost), but after we got past that, it was really good.
Food and drinks
We spent a lot more here than we had previously. Partly I think this was because things were genuinely slightly more expensive, but also because we were realising we really hadn’t spent that much so far! We spent around 250,000 IDR per day on food. One night we had quite a lot of drinks at the Sunset bar at the other side of the island and then went out after so we spent about 150,000 IDR each that night. Generally though, we spent about 30,000 on a couple of beers.
We rented bikes one day which was 60,000 IDR and totally worth it! It’s the best way to get round to the other side of the island for the unmissable sea swings (there are no cars on any of the Gili islands).
We also went on a snorkelling trip on a “glass bottomed” boat, which was actually just a traditional long boat with a plastic section on the bottom. This was an ok trip, but definitely not one of the best snorkelling trips I have done – I really regretted not asking how many people would be on the boat as we were really crammed in and it wasn’t as luxurious as I would have hoped! Luckily we only paid 100,000 IDR each.
Accommodation – 260,000 IDR for 2 nights (£13.50 approx)
This accommodation was really nice. Again it was a capsule hotel, but this one was much cleaner and nicer and weirdly, one of the cheapest places we stayed! It had opened quite recently so I think we got a good deal – it definitely goes to show it’s worth searching on Hostelworld and not just settling for the first thing you see.
Food and drinks
Things are much pricier in Seminyak, but by this point in our trip we were happy to splash out. We had an amazing meal at Motel Mexicola and spent 405,000 IDR each. It definitely would have been possible to spend a lot less than that though – we also had a nice (but small) lunch for 35,000 and a decent brunch for 80,000.
We went to Ku De Ta for drinks on our first night and spent 150,000 IDR each on two cocktails.
Our main activity in Seminyak was going to the Sunny Side Up festival at the Potato Head Beach club. This was pretty expensive but totally worth it; we had an amazing time. The ticket was 1,200,000 and I spent 800,000 when I was there (this included my dinner, 4 beers and 2 cocktails plus a taxi there and back). This was one thing that hadn’t been in my budget, so I bought the ticket with my bank card (it’s only about £60). Luckily you had to get the tickets online anyway so it wasn’t an issue.
Accommodation – 300,000 IDR for 1 night (£15 approx – we splashed out)
This was lovely and it was a proper hotel. There was a roof top pool, we had a twin room with an en suite and a TV in our room. It was really, really nice. We had food and drinks at the pool and spent 120,000 IDR each. We also organised a trip to Tanah Lot through the hotel. This cost 200,000 IDR each for a private driver to take us there. We also paid 30,000 IDR each for entry and split the 10,000 IDR for parking.
I hope this helps anyone who is trying to work out how much money you need in Bali! Hopefully the descriptions will give you an indication of the fact that my spending could have been a lot more reserved, but equally there would have been room to be a bit more extravagant! If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments.