Bali is a tourist destination that’s financially accessible to young travelers but simultaneously one that caters to those seeking a posh experience. In my opinion, Bali’s quality of accommodations and dining experiences follow the law of diminishing returns. $30/night can purchase an incredible hotel room with great views. As the price increases, the quality does increase (but said increase begins to slow as the price rises).
In Bali, you can get food for less than $1 USD or, you can stay in a hotel that costs $3500/night. As is the case with many other costs in life, the price is dependent on what you’re willing to pay. We’ll discuss the costs associated with everything from a backpacker’s journey to a trust-fund baby’s romantic honeymoon. More importantly, we’ll cover all the costs in between.
We will discuss how to get the most bang for your buck while in Bali. It’s helpful to know that one can haggle in Bali (though it’s a bit of a different experience than in other countries). We’ll show you how to find the best restaurants, too. As you know, high prices aren’t always necessarily synonymous with the most delicious food in town.
Haggling is an accepted practice in Indonesia unless there are clearly marked signs. If you want to receive a cheaper price, you’ll likely need to start with a lowball and meet somewhere in the middle. If you aim too low, you will likely disrespect someone trying to make an honest living.
Haggling in Bali is a bit different than haggling elsewhere. There are plenty of situations where a seller will attempt to highball you on the price. In other countries like India or Thailand, one can walk away before beginning to haggle, and the seller will likely try to stop them from leaving by offering a second lower price. This doesn’t normally happen in Bali as shop owners would prefer to save face.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the “walk-away” trick, you should begin by suggesting a price. Do not ask what for the price; otherwise, you will receive tourist prices. It puts you in a better negotiating position from the beginning.
While it’s certainly fun to haggle at times, remember that you are in a unique situation. Many working-class Balinese people who make their living selling goods/foods in the street could likely use the money. Before haggling, ask yourself if the few cents truly makes a difference to you. You’re already on the benefiting side since these goods are 3 times cheaper in Bali than in Western countries.
The costs associated with transportation are completely dependent on your desired method of travel. If you wish to rent a motorbike, you need to make sure that you have paid for travel insurance. These costs vary; however, I have had a fantastic experience with Safety Wing for approximately $35/month.
If you don’t have travel insurance and find yourself in a motorbike accident, you can guarantee that you will have serious out-of-pocket costs. It’s also important that you are legally able to drive in Bali; otherwise, your travel insurance will not likely cover your medical costs.
Make sure your rental company offers a nice helmet (and if not, pay for one yourself – they’re around $20 USD). A daily motorbike rental will likely cost 100,000 Rupiah per day (this is around $7 USD). If you rent weekly, you can get price reductions and pay about 600,000 Rupiah per week ($40-45 USD). If you rent monthly, you will likely pay around 1,200,000 Rupiah per month ($80-90 USD).
These prices are common for those that are not receiving a special deal from a friend. You will likely receive an old Scoopy or an old Novia. If you wish to have a newer version of these models or a much nicer motorbike/scooter, you can expect to pay more. Gasoline (or ‘petrol’) is really quite cheap. A Scoopy will go from empty to full for just $1.50 USD.
If you prefer the safer route, we don’t blame you! Avoid the Mad Max-like roads here. Taxi-rentals vary drastically depending on your location (and more honestly – depending on the first impression you give. If you seem like a wealthy tourist, the asking price will reflect that).
Taxi rides cost anywhere from $7-$15 USD within a specific town. If you are going from the airport to Canggu or from Kuta to Ubud, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $45 depending on the time of day and temperament of your driver.
Most taxi drivers are kind, friendly, and personable – just like everyone else in Bali. However, many taxi drivers here operate in a mafia-like state. You will see signs all across Bali that read “Respect Bali – Use a taxi driver – Say no to Grab and Go-Jek.” Driving is one of the most common sources of income for the villagers of a popular tourist town. Many locals made substantial investments in the form of new cars – they don’t seem keen to let those investments die without a fight.
Even those these signs exist, it is still common for tourists to use rideshare programs like those mentioned above. If you try to call a Grab from the beach in front of Old Man’s, you will be unsuccessful. If you try to hail a Go-Jek from inside Ubud’s city center, you will fail. Drivers are often scared to enter those areas where taxi drivers have a monopoly. Walk a bit outside of town, and you can save money by using these services.
If a taxi ride costs $15 USD, the same Go-Jek ride usually costs $7-10 USD. The key difference is that taxis can be found around every corner in Bali. There are wooden booths set up every few blocks where multiple taxi drivers relax.
Simply approach their sitting area and explain where you wish to visit. Don’t be afraid to offer a price first. If you say “I had the exact same ride at X cost”, they’ll usually match the price. As you walk through the city center of Kuta, Ubud, and Canggu at any time of day, you’ll almost be overwhelmed by the number of people who shout “Taxi?’ at you. All these men are truly very nice. Don’t let phrasing like mafia scare you.
As you park your motorbike (or your car) around town, there are often some unexpected costs. At many restaurants, there is a parking attendant on premises who will help you park your scooter. He will neatly organize the bikes, helmets, etc. Most importantly, he will keep an eye out to protect your helmet or bike from theft.
Most of the time, this service is complimentary at restaurants. However, at other locations (usually beaches, temples, and other tourist attractions), it is very common to come across a parking lot attendant. They wear no uniform, they seldom speak English, and there are no signs indicating the cost to park. However, they’re legitimate.
The fees associated with parking are nominal – you won’t spend more than 30 cents during a 3-5 hours visit. You receive a benefit, too. Many crowded areas have hundreds of tourists present at any given moment. This translates to hundreds of motorbikes, scooters, and Vespas. The parking lot attendant will take your bike out of this maze for you. It’s really quite convenient.
In certain areas of Bali, helmet theft does occur. If there is no parking lot attendant, simply hide your helmet underneath the seat in an inner compartment or take it with you. If a man is working and guarding your belongings, you should feel safe knowing that these men will look after it.
Bali Belly is a real problem in Indonesia. Be careful around certain street foods if you have a sensitive stomach or cannot risk being sick on your trip. However, those that eat at certain fancy resorts are equally likely to come down with a stomach bug. You can always purchase stomach medicine from a local pharmacy for $1 USD.
How much does food cost in Bali? Let’s divide specific price examples into three categories: budget travelers, middle-of-the-road costs, and retired, millionaire CEOs.
Food – Travelers on a Budget
There are plenty of great ‘warungs’ available around Kuta, Seminyak, and Ubud. Warung literally translates to “small family-owned business – typically a restaurant or cafe”. These are normally extremely affordable and extremely delicious. These warungs specialize In Indonesia dishes like Nasi Campur – which usually varies from $2 USD to $6 USD.
If you’re looking to truly eat like a pig, we highly recommend trying a Balinese specialty named ‘Babi Guling’. Babi Guling means ‘Suckling Pig’ and it is very tasty. The best restaurant for this is located in Ubud. It’s named ‘Ibu Oka Babi Guling’ and there are three locations. You can get a plate filled with rice, chilis, chopped green beans, pork skin, fried pork, barbequed pork, and some sausage for approximately $4 USD.
Babi Guling is only available in Bali as the rest of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim (meaning they don’t eat pork). If you have dietary restrictions, you can eat vegetarian food like Gado Gado (anywhere from $2 USD to $4 USD).
Generally speaking, if you wish to save money in Bali, you need to eat local food at the warungs. Anything with a Western flair is likely to be considerably pricier. There are only 2 exceptions to this rule – 1) In Ubud, there is an affordable restaurant named Famous. 2) In Canggu, there is a great Italian-fusion eatery named Dapur Kitchen.
At both places, you can find incredibly delicious meals under $5-6 USD. The owners of both restaurants are great people. If you visit Bali, why would you only eat at restaurants that are pricey and not representative of the local culture’s culinary preferences? It’s fine to eat at a fancy restaurant, but if all your choices are cost-prohibitive and too expensive for the local Balinese community to try, you’re doing the neighborhood a disservice.
Food – A Reasonably Priced Trip to Paradise
Bali is filled with great, tasty restaurants that would cost 2-4 times as much in a Western country. This is especially true in neighborhoods like Kuta, Canggu, and Ubud. You can expect to have a delicious meal for $6 USD – $12 USD. These restaurants usually sell items like pizza, hamburgers, fish, and even steak.
If you head to Jimbaran Beach for seafood, you can literally pick out your own fish and watch as it’s placed on the grill. You won’t even break the bank as you eat fresh fish (caught that day) and watch the sunrise with a glass of wine in hand.
If you’re feeling lazy (or hungover), look into Go-Jek Food. The program is very similar to Uber Eats in the United States. You can order delivery food from any local restaurant (usually not more than $7 USD – $10 USD) and the delivery fee is nominal. I always suggest tipping $2 – $4 USD as the drivers aren’t making very much money.
A great affordable meal in Ubud is named ‘Bebek Bengil’. You can have a crispy duck for approximately $7 USD. Another fantastic restaurant in Ubud is named Sage – you can have the best vegetarian food of your life for $5 USD.
In Canggu, we highly recommend Old Mans for breakfast. They offer a Buy 1 Get 1 program for breakfast. For just $6 USD, you can both dine with a view of the beach. Another great classic in Canggu is Lifescrate. All their meals are the same price ($6 USD) and they have their food down to a science.
Food – Money Isn’t Even a Thought
Every luxury resort offers a dining experience that is equally pricey. In Bali, these fancy dinners are often accompanied by a jaw-dropping view. The nicer dinners in Bali cost anywhere from $40 USD – $200 USD per person.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable dining experience, we highly recommend the Swept Away Restaurant in Ubud. If you make reservations, they will light over 100 candles to make your dining experience extraordinarily romantic. The tables are positioned aside a river and they spell out “I Love You” in flower petals. The package even offers a 30-minute photo shoot.
While many options in Bali might be cost-effective, you can certainly find ways to dine like royalty.
Hostels – Travelers on a Budget
Those who are trying to save money should stay in hostels. Most hostels are approximately $8 – $15 USD/night. You can often save quite a bit of money by opting for a room with air-conditioning. If you’re in Bali for a short time, you’ll likely be outside the room all day anyway. It’s cool enough at night to justify a room without temperature controls.
If you are traveling as a couple, it’s usually cheaper to purchase a cheap Airbnb. Otherwise, a hostel will charge you for two beds. A really charming Airbnb with rice field views can cost as low as $20 USD. The further you stay outside of Ubud or Canggu’s city center, the cheaper the accommodations.
Airbnb and Homestays – A Reasonably Priced Trip to Paradise
If your budget is greater than $40 USD and less than $100 USD, you can be amazed at your options. Homestays are very popular and they offer options that flirt with unparalleled luxury. Airbnb is a great option for those who aren’t on a really tight budget.
You can easily find a private villa with your own personal pool for around $80 USD/night. It’s beyond easy to live life large in Bali. Even some of the world-famous Airbnbs in Bali are priced around $100 USD. The rooms are charming, well decorated, and perfect for your next Instagram post.
Resorts – Money Isn’t Even a Thought
If you stay at a resort, you’re likely fitting into this category. These internationally owned businesses begin at $250 USD/night. If you try to stay in a neighborhood like Uluwatu, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a resort with rooms under $400/night. In fact, the average cliff-side villa costs north of $1,000 USD a night.
Of course, that’s literally a private cliff-side villa with direct views of the sunset. You’ll never have an opportunity to stay at a hotel like this again. If you have the means, we encourage you to take the plunge. You won’t ever forget it. We promise!
Bali is a perfect place for tourists because the costs range from accessible to king-like. No matter what experience you’re chasing, you can find it on the Island of the Gods. You’ll thoroughly enjoy your time here – no matter your budget. As Bali becomes increasingly more expensive, it might be prudent to check out the area sooner rather than later!
How much does a scooter rental cost in Bali?
If you rent a scooter on a daily basis, the cost is approximately $7 USD a day for a Scoopy/Novia model. If you rent a scooter for a weekly or monthly basis, these daily prices drop significantly. If you wish to receive a nicer bike, you will pay premiums.
Is Bali an expensive place to travel?
No, many travelers can afford to explore Bali on less than $40 USD a day. If you seek out cheap or free activities, restaurants, and homestays, you could pay even less. However, Bali also offers more luxurious experiences for significantly higher prices. Not everything is that inexpensive.