With it’s lush, volcanic landscapes, mystical Hindu temples, and beaches ringed by reefs, Bali a mainstay of the Indonesian archipelago but also unique in every way. It’s the most visited place in the country and Trip Advisor’s 2021 Travelers’ Choice Awards winner, but is Bali expensive?
It’s easy to see why tourists and settlers flock to Bali year after year in search of sun, sea, and good surf. The so-called Isle of the Gods is a remote working hotspot, a surfer’s paradise, and a luxurious travel destination all wrapped up in one. You’ll struggle to find an island with more variety than Bali; a place where you can be coffee tasting and bathing in hot springs by morning, snorkeling with sea turtles by afternoon, and partying in neon-lit clubs in Kuta by evening. But how much will all that cost?
That’s what we’re here to find out. This guide will take you through the price of a holiday to Bali, from accommodation and food to visas and all the hidden expenses. We’ll even take a look at what it costs to live on this legendary rock for those who decide to stick around. It might not be the cheapest destination in Southeast Asia, but it’s surely one of the most varied and exciting. So let’s get into it…
The Average Cost of a Holiday to Bali
Bali accommodates everyone, from backpackers and digital nomads to honeymooners and families, but the cost of a holiday to Bali varies greatly from traveler to traveler. It’s more than feasible to do Bali on a shoestring. A $1 nasi goreng is never too far away. Still, Bali has a luxury market. It’s easy to stumble across five-star beach clubs that will charge you $5 for a cold Bintang.
The predicted price per traveler per day in Bali is $60 on average. This can be broken down into $20 on food and $8 on local transportation, with accommodation costing, on average, just under $40 a night. But every traveler is different, and how you choose to spend your time will determine how much your holiday costs.
Still, there are some expenses that every traveler needs to consider before coming to Bali. It’s unlikely that a long-haul flight from any international airport will cost less than $500, and some airlines are known to charge up to $2,000 for a return flight. Bear in mind, traveling in 2022 is not as easy as it once was. Pre-flight preparations are more extensive, and Covid-19 PCR tests can set each traveler back a few hundred dollars.
You also need a visa to enter Bali if you don’t have an Indonesian passport. Immigration used to issue a free 30-day visa-on-arrival to all passengers arriving at Denpasar airport. Now, the only way to enter the country is on a business visa or with an employment Kitas. A two-month business visa costs around $200 but can be extended up to six months. While a Kitas costs $2,000 but allows you to stay in the country for up to two years. If you plan to stay in Bali for a long time, a long-term visa is a good investment.
Accommodation Prices in Bali
Accommodation in Bali is as expensive as you want it to be. It sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. Bali accommodation is as varied as the vast landscape. From hostels that cost $3 a night to spa resorts that will set you back $300, it’s easy to find both cheap deals and luxury everywhere you go in Bali.
You’ll find the most expensive accommodation in touristy areas. Think Seminyak’s beachfront hotels, Uluwatu’s cliff face villas, and Ubud’s jungle-view spas. But around every corner, there’ll be a budget guest house for half the price. You just have to know where to look and be willing to sacrifice a few luxuries.
The season also makes a considerable difference to accommodation costs. Bali’s high season lasts from April to October when the weather is warm and dry, and tourists flock in the thousands for their summer holidays or to escape Australian winter. Villas and five-star hotels will shoot up their prices to meet demand. Head to hostels and guest houses to avoid steep price increases. Or consider visiting Bali in the low season, where you may experience a few rainy days, but the discounts will be worth it.
Whatever your budget, find accommodation to suit you below:
Bread & Jam Hostel ($) – A non-nonsense backpacker hostel, this spot in Kuta is near the airport and perfect if you’re just passing through. Offering dorms and private rooms in a clean and modern atmosphere, Break & Jam is ideal for solo travelers and anyone on a budget.
Sun and Surf Stay ($$) – For a true surfer’s paradise and relaxed bohemian vibe, head to the fisherman’s village of Bingin beach in Uluwatu. Sun and Surf Stay is half hotel, half guest house, located right on the beachfront. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves and head for a surf the moment you wake up.
COMA UMA ($$$) – With infinity pools that hang over the vast paddy fields below, COMA UMA in Ubud is the epitome of exclusivity. This idyllic five-star hotel is tranquil and secluded, offering world-class cuisine and spa treatments. Enjoy a break from the crowds of tourists in Kuta and soak up Ubud’s spiritual energy at this hotel.
Food and Drink Prices in Bali
Food in Bali is one of the cheapest things to buy if you know where to eat. Local food from a warung, Bali’s answer to street food, can be very inexpensive. Chicken satay, fried noodles, or the local delicacy “Bakso”, a chicken ball soup, can all cost as little as one dollar a portion.
To eat budget western food at more mid-range restaurants, you can expect to spend $3 to $7 per person. And for fine dining, the average is $15 to $20 a meal, which is still very affordable compared to many popular holiday destinations but more expensive for southeast Asia.
Soft drinks and water are all generally very cheap to buy. Mini Marts in Bali sell Coca-Cola, canned iced coffees, and 1.5-liter bottles of water for less than 25 cents. But alcohol is where you could burn a hole in your pocket. Spirits, cocktails, and beers can all be found for around $5 a glass, but as all the wine is imported in Bali, one glass can cost you upwards of $10.
Check out the haunts below for food and drink to suit every budget:
Warung Canteen ($) – A traveler-style warung with a vibrant atmosphere serving local and western food. They also do personal beer kegs and flavored shisha.
Lola’s Cantina Mexicana ($$) – A Mexican-inspired taco-house with breakfast burritos, tequila cocktails, and an Instagram-worthy aesthetic. Check out their happy hour for $3 margaritas and $1 tacos.
MASON Bali ($$$) – A sophisticated terrace restaurant serving gourmet Australian comfort food in a trendy setting.
Living expenses in Bali
So, you’re sold on Bali and ready to stay the long haul. But you’re wondering if living in Bali is just as affordable as a holiday. Well, you’re in luck. A long stay in Bali could find you halving your monthly expenses.
Depending on where you stay and the time of year you visit, it’s not uncommon to find monthly accommodation deals for the same price as a two-week stay. The average villa rental costs $500 – $1,000 a month, with guest houses going for as little as $200. You’ll also often find that your bills, air conditioning, and housekeeping fees are all included in the price.
The best way to get around in Bali is by scooter. It’s easy to run daily errands or explore the vast island, and scooters are largely safe. Renting a scooter costs about $5 a day, but you can find good bike rentals for $50 a month. Fuel is just as cheap. A full tank costs around $3 and could last you up to two weeks.
To benefit from Bali’s improved mobile data, you’ll need a local sim card. But a month of data can cost as little as $5, and they take minutes to set up. Visit one of the many small stalls that sell these sim cards, and they’ll do it for you.
There’s no shortage of gyms in Bali, especially in the busy tourist areas like Canggu and Seminyak. A local, basic gym membership averages at $20 a month, but these often have no aircon and limited equipment. Bali’s fitness culture is thriving, with hundreds of online coaches and fitness influencers basing themselves on the island. It’s not uncommon for luxury gyms with state-of-the-art equipment and spa facilities to cost $100 a month, even in the low season. If you’ve got the budget to stretch, check out Body Factory Bali for healthy fitness food, free squat racks, and ice baths for post-workout cool-downs.
All things considered, your monthly expenses in Bali are likely to be a fraction of what you’d pay back home. Although you can spend upwards of $3,000 a month if this is a lifestyle you can afford, Bali is for everyone, and your monthly expenses can be as little as $500.
Bali on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips!
If you’ve still got your sights set on the island, but you want to keep the costs down, check out our top money-saving tips for getting the most bang out of your buck:
- Eat local – The best way to save money in Bali is to stick to Indonesian food wherever possible. You can usually find cheap nasi goreng hidden on the menus of even the fanciest restaurants. Stay local, visit warungs, and don’t be afraid to eat street food. Your stomach will get used to it!
- Stay in guesthouses – You don’t need to live in a hostel to save money. Even if you’re only visiting Bali for a few weeks, guest houses are the perfect middle ground between hostels and hotels. For privacy and security, they’re an obvious choice. But hostels can also cost twice the price of a homestay with their sought-after party vibes. So expand your accommodation search and sacrifice the happy hour for a better night’s sleep.
- Eat out. It’s cheaper! – Yep, you read that right. While western food in mid-range restaurants can start to add up, buying your own supplies from the supermarket can cost just as much. Hardly any holidaymakers cook in Bali. The small stoves in villas and outdoor kitchens aren’t equipped for regular cooking, and warung food is far cheaper than supermarket snacks.
- Avoid the tourist traps – This might sound like a given when it comes to travel tips, but in Bali, the tourist traps don’t only take the shape of organized tours and animal tourism. Instead, many crowded beach clubs reel tourists in with their reputable names, but it’s not worth parting with your hard-earned cash for overpriced drinks and minimum-spend day beds. Skip the beachfront infinity pool, and hit the beach warung next door. You’ll find the same sunset view, Bintangs that are half the price, and vibes that are twice as good.
- Live within your means – It can be easy to get caught up in the opulent lifestyles that so many can afford in Bali, but always be mindful of your budget. A $10 meal may sound cheap, depending on where you’re used to holidaying, but a $1 meal is far cheaper. Luxury might be on your doorstep, but you’ll be able to make your travels last longer if you’re sensible with your cash.
The Verdict – Is Bali expensive?
Bali is Indonesia’s most expensive tourist destination and one of the most expensive places to travel in Southeast Asia.
There is almost no public transportation, and supermarket prices aren’t dissimilar to what you’d find at home. But Bali is as expensive as you make it. There are amenities, activities, and accommodation to suit every budget, and great deals are never hard to find.
If you stick to local food, avoid tourist traps, and spend within your means, you can get by on as little as $20 a day. Never be afraid to bargain respectfully and ask for discounts if you’re sticking around for longer. Chances are, after a few weeks on the island, you’ll be extending your stay.