If you’re looking to live somewhere on the cheap, Bali is a perfect destination.
The things that break in the bank in our every day lives are housing, transportation, food and fun.
Where to Stay
There are multiple inexpensive options to live in Bali for longer periods of time. AirBnb is probably the most economical option, as most hosts give discounts the longer you stay. You can rent a private room for $15 USD or less, or an entire house for $40 USD or less per day. If you’re traveling with someone, it can get super cheap. There are also lots of villas and homestays that may be even less.
If you’re only staying for a week or two, I’d suggest you look into a villa or hotel. Depending on your location, you can find amazing luxurious places for as low as $11 USD per night. Hostels are also available, and recommended for solo travelers.
How to Get Around
The thing to do in Bali is rent a motorbike. Be careful, as people are quite confident drivers. You’ll find it’s much easier to get around on these than in a car. You can rent a motorbike for 650,000 IDR or $50 USD per month. Stay away from tourist areas when you’re looking to rent, as they will try to charge you $3-5 USD per day.
Depending on how much you’re driving, a full tank of gas should last you 2-5 days. You will see locals selling petrol (gasoline) along the side of the roads. Look for the absolute vodka bottles filled with gas. It will cost you 8,000-10,000 IDR per liter or $0.60-0.70 cents. If you’re totally empty, the tank will hold 2 liters.
If motorbikes aren’t your thing, you can use apps such as GO-JEK , Grab or Uber. With GO-JEK, you can have someone pick you up on a motorbike, which will be the cheapest option. Otherwise, prepare to pay about $1-3 dollars to take a ride with Grab or Uber. Stay away from the local taxi service, they are ridiculously expensive. Keep in mind the local taxis have a transportation monopoly around the beach front areas, so walk a bit inland before ordering your car.
Eating on a Budget
If you’re staying for more than a few weeks, I highly suggest you buy yourself some groceries. You can only buy a little at a time, as you’ll be driving your motorbike, but it’ll be so much cheaper than eating out every meal. Look up the closest supermarket to you online…$25 USD of groceries should last you at least one week.
Eating out is still much cheaper than western restaurants, if you know where to go. Warungs are the ‘homemade street food’ places you’ll see along the sides of the roads. The food is always fresh and very delicious. Rice, noodles, vegetables, chicken, and fish are what you’ll usually find there. Pay $1 USD or less for a fulfilling meal!
Lazy? Order takeout with GO-JEK. You can get food from any restaurant in your area.
You can also find great western style restaurants where you can get a meal and a drink for less than $10 USD.
Stay tuned for my favorite restaurants and cafes in Bali.
What to do for Fun
Since drinking alcohol is far from cheap in Bali, you’ll have to find something else to do when living on a tight budget. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Go to the beach – it’s free! Great way to spend anytime of your day.
- Be a tourist – Go see the many waterfalls, hike Mt. Batur, visit the various temples, etc. None of this costs a lot, and will surely keep you busy for awhile.
- Learn how to surf – Right off the bat it’ll cost you about $20 USD to take a lesson, but after that it’s only a few dollars to rent a board for an hour or two.
- Volunteer – There are tons of nonprofit organizations in Bali where you can help local kids, or animals.
- Visit the local art galleries – There are art galleries and furniture stores every where, you won’t need to look hard.
Okay, if you really want to drink though, it’ll cost you about $2-3 USD for a beer, and up to $7 USD for a cocktail. Buying from a store and drinking at home will save you a bit, but not much.
Staying near Seminyak? Read about the best way to spend a day there.