The word Bali evokes images of tropical beaches, palm trees, and a fascinating culture. This is one of the most popular travel destinations in Asia that gets over four million tourists each year. Some are here on a luxurious vacation and rent a villa in Bali whereas others travel on a budget. The good news is that Bali is actually a very affordable place and it’s becoming a haven for backpackers. This article describes how to travel to Bali on a budget and gives a few essential tips to help your money last longer.
How Much Does a Trip to Bali Cost?
The cost depends on what you’re looking to get out of your trip. If you’re here on a family holiday at one of the beach resorts and plan to take day trips with a private driver, then you can expect the total expenditure to be high. But, if you look at some of the guesthouses and hostels, you can find a comfortable place for less than $25 per night.
Getting around doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can find motorbike or bicycle rentals for less than $10 a day and it’s possible to negotiate a better rate for a week. If you want to explore the island, consider taking the public buses rather than a taxi or private driver.
Another factor to consider is where you’re flying into Bali from. Several budget airlines connect Bali to places in Asia and it’s easy to find a cheap flight. You should also be aware that most non-Asian tourists need to buy a visa on arrival, which costs $35 and may very well increase in the future.
Where to Stay in Bali on a Budget:
Kuta and Ubud are two of the more budget friendly areas in Bali where accommodation costs are typically at or around $25 per night. You can find comfortable guesthouses and homestays with breakfast for reasonable rates too. Expect accommodation to be basic in a family owned property.
For people who want to relax near the beach and are looking for an affordable place, you should check out Uluwatu. This area is popular with surfers and tourists looking to soak up the sun and chill out along the lazy coastal town. Bungalows and guesthouses are popular and the prices are often advertised in the local currency. You may or may not be able to find these advertised online.
Getting the Most out of Your Money:
Now that you’re in Bali and realize how much you’ve spent on flights, the visa, and accommodation, it’s now time to make sure your money lasts as long as possible. Here are some essential tips to get the best value for your money in Bali.
As you’re walking around the town, expect to see lots of shops advertising bicycle, motorbike, and car rentals. The biggest tip is to shop around and get recommendations from a local on the best place to go. Some have better rates than others and may be open to negotiation. You should also remember that the rentals may not be in the best condition. The cheapest option isn’t always the best. It’s also important to factor in the cost of fuel into the daily budget.
Many visitors hire a private driver to take them around the island. This is a good idea as they’re not too expensive and you may be able to split the costs with friends or other travelers. But, you need to be very careful that the driver actually takes you where you want to go. Some will take you to their commissioned stops that then provide vastly overpriced services or food at a below average quality. Make sure you’re clear up front with the driver about your expectations and what you want to do.
Free Things to Do:
The good news is that the best things to do in Bali are free. Most of the island is surrounded by natural beauty in the form of beaches or mountains. Some of the top things to do in Bali are actually free. Plan your days to include long walks on the beach or swimming in the sea and hiking in some of the mountains. Hiking and exploring the country to find the temples are a great way to have an adventure if you have your own transport.
This is also a good time to offer a warning about some of the touts. You can expect to see people hanging around outside temples or tourist hotspots offering to sell their services as a guide. Others roam the beaches selling massages and manicures. Both are probably only going to end up with you paying more than you bargained for. Not all guides are licensed and typically quote a price that’s three or four times higher than the going rate. The beach vendors upsell and you’ll find yourself with a bill significantly higher than what you agreed on. Be careful and exercise caution to keep hold of your money!
The Takeaway Message:
Visiting Bali doesn’t have to break the bank and it’s a very affordable destination. After the initial costs of getting here and buying your visa, expect accommodation to be cheap if you look around. Take the time to find the best deal when considering to rent a motorbike or car. And always be clear on what you expect of the driver if you arrange a private tour. The natural beauty of Bali makes it a wonderful place to visit and most of the best things are free!