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Is Bali Cheap? Prices in Bali for Locals & Travelers (2024)

Indonesia is one of the cheapest countries in the world. Bali, being its tourism pearl, should also by extension be cheap. Or is it?

On one side, many local Balinese earn as little as 180 USD (the minimum monthly wage, believe it or not) so there must be a way to live in Bali as cheaply as that.

On the other side, Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and with great demand come not-so-great prices. I’ve heard of honeymooners spending over 5000 USD per person for a 10-day trip of a lifetime.

Simon in front of Kanto Lampu waterfall
Visiting waterfalls in Bali is both fun and cheap! Most cost 20.000 IDR (1.3$) to enter.

The answer is somewhere in the middle. Bali is incredibly cheap if you do like the locals do and only ‘relatively’ cheap (compared to Western countries) if you spoil yourself with breakfast bowls, fancy restaurants, private transfers, and luxury villas.

So in this article, I will give you tips on how to save some money in Bali by experiencing a more authentic side of the Island of the Gods (and by that, I mean how the locals do it). I will also list up-to-date prices for the most popular expenses as a tourist.

Is Bali cheap? Let’s find out.

Is Bali Cheap: the Straightforward Answer

Yes, Bali is a cheap destination!

It’s very cheap if you are a budget-conscious backpacker, it’s moderately cheap if you’re on your yearly holiday and you will feel like you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck if you’re on your honeymoon.

For equivalent travel styles, Bali is:

Cheaper than:More expensive than:
Thailand (the islands)Vietnam
MalaysiaLaos
Anywhere in the PacificJava
Timor LesteSri Lanka
Philippines (touristy islands)Philippines (off-the-beaten-track)
Take this with a grain of sand of course

Prices in Bali: Locals vs Foreigners

Let me first address the elephant in the room: how do I, a foreigner, even know what locals in Bali pay for different things?

Two reasons: I have spent a considerable amount of time in Indonesia and I have an Indonesian girlfriend. Even though she’s from Java, she knows the tricks to get cheaper prices in Bali and the places where this is possible.

So in this comparison/price report, I’m sharing her insights too. By the way, she said Bali is expensive for her Javanese standards, just so you know.

Price of Accommodation in Bali

That’s probably one of the areas in which you wouldn’t necessarily want (or be able) to do like the locals do. You’re on holiday after all! Either this or you crave at least a few of the comforts of home.

Also, the price per night varies drastically across Bali.

Locals

Just to satiate your curiosity, a simple room with a fan and en-suite bathroom without hot water costs locals who rent (most have their own houses after all) around 1.5 to 2 million IDR per month (95-125 USD). That equates to around 3.5$ per night.

Travelers

I am fully aware that there are different types of travelers out there. I am myself a budget backpacker and usually keep it on the down low.

  • Hostels in Bali: between 75k and 180k IDR (5-12$);
  • Guesthouses: between 120k and 300k IDR (8-19$);
  • Midrange hotels: between 200k and 500k IDR (13-32$);
  • Fancy resorts: up to 6 mil. IDR (380$);

Digital nomads / Staying long-term

Bali is one of the most popular places for digital nomads – you know, those people who work something mysterious online, earning in dollars but spending in rupiah (or dong, or baht…).

They often rent out entire villas with many extras. Such villas go for between 4 and 12 million IDR (254-760$) per month.

Price of Food in Bali

A portion of food in a Masakan Padang
Look at that massive portion in a Masakan Padang! It was only 30.000 IDR (2$) per plate!

When it comes to the food I ate in Bali, the cheaper the tastier. No fancy seating, no decoration, no bright lights, barely enough soap in the water in that liquid soap bottle, dirty toilet, you name it.

As Anthony Bourdain put it, “My best food experiences have been in places that really don’t give a shit about their toilet. They know their food is good and that’s enough.”

So what I’m saying is that just because the local warung doesn’t have the same glamor as the trendy restaurant doesn’t mean its food isn’t actually better.

Breakfast

Breakfast sets with prices in Bali
I find these breakfast sets kinda pricey but maybe you don’t. It’s all about perspective.

A Bali breakfast bowl has become synonymous with healthy eating on the island. Acai bowl, muesli bowl, fruit bowl, whatever you wanna call it. These will typically set you back around 80-120k IDR (5-8$).

But locals don’t eat these fancy bowls. A hot, fragrant soto ayam (chicken soup) is much more common in the hands of a Balinese for breakfast. A soto ayam costs between 10k and 20k IDR (0.6-1.2$).

Lunch

nasi campur
A pretty looking plate of nasi campur for 45k IDR (2.9$)

It’s no secret that Bali has a massive array of choices when it comes to food. For lunch, a tourist may go for an eclectic nasi campur (mixed rice, but really just a little of everything on a plate) in a trendier place, which can cost around 50k IDR (3.5$).

You can find simpler lunch in a local warung. Mie ayam (~15k IDR), nasi goreng (~20k IDR) or mie goreng (~20k IDR) are very common meals.

Dinner

If you’re into exquisite dining in a world-renowned restaurant, Bali is probably the most affordable place for this in the world. A 7-11-15 course meal may cost you just 1.2 mil. IDR (~76$) in one of Bali’s best fine dining restaurants.

Western food is widespread too. A pizza costs 50-120k IDR (3-8$) and a burger will set you back around 80-100k IDR (5-6$). Simpler options and Indonesian food are ubiquitous too.

Chimichangas in Ubud
These beef chimichangas from a Mexican restaurant in Ubud cost 76.000 IDR (4.8$)

Locals frequently eat Lalapan for dinner. It’s a style of cooking where everything is deep-fried and served with fresh white rice. Chicken/fish/duck, tofu, tempeh, and eggplant are the most common items on a plate of lalapan. The meat can either be fried (goreng) or grilled (bakar). It’s my favorite food!

A very well-sized portion costs around 25.000 IDR (1.6$). Cheap!

If you want affordable seafood, take a look at this guide to Jimbaran Fish Market where you can buy fresh fish and have it prepared just minutes later!

Price of Drinks in Bali

Non-alcoholic drinks

  • 1.5L bottle of water costs 8.000 to 12.000 IDR (0.5-0.75$);
  • A latte from Alfamart is 15.000 IDR (1$) but one from a coffee shop costs ~35.000 IDR (2.25$);
  • Es teh/es jeruk from a street vendor/angkringan goes for around 4.000 IDR (0.25$);
  • A can of cola from the supermarket is 8.000 but in a restaurant, it’s more like 20.000 IDR (1.25$);
A cup of coffee in Bali
Who doesn’t like a good cappuccino while doing some work?

Alcohol

You have to remember that Bali is in Indonesia and when it comes to alcohol, Indonesia is quite conservative, being mostly Islamic and all. Bali may be predominantly Hindu, but the tax on alcohol applies to everywhere in Indonesia and Bali isn’t an exception.

That’s why beers and cocktails are quite expensive compared to local standards and to other SEA countries like Vietnam and Laos. Locals don’t drink much (if at all) and many supermarkets don’t sell alcohol at all.

  • Can of beer in a restaurant: 30.000 IDR (2$);
  • Cocktail in a bar: 90-150k IDR (6-9.5$);

Alcohol may be even more expensive in trendy clubs in Canggu and Seminyak – I haven’t personally been to any, but given the international crowd with deep pockets and a taste for C2H5OH, I’d not be surprised to see cocktails priced at 250.000 IDR (16$).

Price of Transportation in Bali

Public Buses

Bali’s public transport network is laughable. There are just a handful of bus lines that only criss-cross the south with just 1 going as far as Ubud.

The buses are so unreliable! I once waited over 45 minutes for a bus that reportedly comes every 10. It never came and I took a Grab instead.

Tickets (~0.25$) are bought on the bus with QRIS only making it not very useful for travelers (though you can set it up through the GoPay function of GoJek’s app).

Scooters

Simon on a scooter in Indonesia
Scooters are ubiquitous in Indonesia

Even locals don’t use the buses a lot! Practically everyone has a scooter.

You can rent a scooter virtually everywhere in Bali. It’s a rite of passage to ride a scooter in Bali. It’s not as difficult as some make it out to be, but take it easy and wear your helmet!

A daily rental costs 60-80k IDR (4-5$) whereas a monthly rental goes for around 1.2-1.5 mil. (76-95$).

Fuel is 10.000 IDR (0.6$) for Pertalite at a gas station and up to 18.000 (1.1$) per liter for Pertamax in a bottle.

Taxis

The taxi mafia is going rampant in Bali and you will see signs in many places warning you not to use GoJek and Grab and that the point is only for drop-off. In other words, use the local taxis.

Unfortunately, that jacks up the prices. GoJek and Grab are good precisely because they regulate the prices according to demand – it should cost around 10.000 IDR (~0.6$) per kilometer for a motorcycle taxi and 15.000 IDR (1$) for a car.

If you don’t book through the app, it may be more – negotiate before you agree. And keep in mind that sometimes drivers will stubbornly refuse to use the apps to the detriment of both parties.

Perama buses

I haven’t used those, but they offer a relatively affordable option for long-distance travel in Bali. For example, Kuta to Ubud costs 60.000 IDR (3.8$).

Private Transfers/Driver

A common option for wealthier travelers – the private transfer. You’re paying a premium to have the convenience and comfort.

A driver for the day costs between 500.000 and 700.000 IDR (32-45$) whereas private transfers depend on distance and sometimes the number of people. As an example, from the airport to Ubud, it will be around 300.000 IDR (19$).

Price of Attractions in Bali

Tanah Lot complex of Hindu temples in Bali
Tanah Lot temple

Here are some entrance fees for popular places in Bali (these are for foreign adults):

  • Uluwatu Temple: 50.000 IDR (3$);
  • Tanah Lot: 60.000 IDR (4$);
  • Most waterfalls: 20.000 IDR (1.3$);
  • Tirta Empul: 50.000 IDR (3$);
  • Lempuyang: 55.000 IDR (3.5$);
  • Monkey Forest (Ubud): 80.000 IDR (weekdays) / 100.000 IDR (weekends);
  • Bali Bird Park: 385.000 IDR (24$);
  • Bali Zoo: 395.000 IDR (25$);

Price of Tours in Bali

To be fair, I enjoyed exploring Bali at my own pace with a scooter. Most organized tours do not offer something worth the extra money I’d be paying for.

An exception is a tour up Mount Batur for sunrise as it’s affordable (as low as 300.000 IDR /19$ from Ubud) and saves you from having to drive up the mountain in the middle of the night.

Mount Batur and Batur Lake
Mount Batur and Batur Lake

Booking a tour in Bali is easy, as tour offices are on every corner in popular areas. Depending on what kind of excursion you opt for, you will be looking at a price tag of between 200k and 750k IDR (13-48$).

Simcards and Data

Data is so cheap in Indonesia! The last time I spent a month in Bali, I paid 30.000 IDR (1.9$) for 10 GB of data for a month!

Now, keep in mind my IMEI is registered in Indonesia, and I already had a SIM card – I just loaded a new data package on it – just like what the locals do.

As a short-term tourist, you’d also pay around 50.000 IDR (3$) for the SIM card. All in all, you’re looking at 100-120k IDR for a month of data (plenty of it).

Just avoid buying at the airport (where it’s more like 400k+/25$) and hold on until you reach a city. Then go to a Telkomsel or Indosat office and buy a tourist sim card with data according to your needs. Make sure they register it before you leave! (that’s different than the IMEI registration)

Laundry

In touristy places, laundry goes for 15-20k IDR (1-1.25$) per kilogram for washing and drying.

Go outside just a little bit and you can find a local laundry with the same quality for as little as 5.000 IDR (0.35$) per kilo.

How much does a holiday in Bali cost?

How big is a watermelon? How high do birds fly? Indeed – it depends!

But you hate that vague answer, so here’s a subjective guess, based on experience and data:

  • Budget backpackers: 10-25 USD per day;
  • Midrange holidaymakers: 50-75 USD per day;
  • Luxury honeymoon (per person): 150-250 USD per day.

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