Bali can be quite an expensive affair with its lush hotels, fine-dining restaurants, beachside bars, shops, and tourist attractions, but if you are travelling on a budget, don’t worry as Bali has so much to offer, and you don’t have to spend a lot to have a fantastic time. They say the best things in life come free, and we agree! Most of our magical moments happen without even spending a penny!
Here are some of our best Bali budget ideas to keep your visit to Bali good for the heart, soul, and bank balance!
Couch surfing in Bali
Before I arrived in Bali, I had to find myself a place to stay for an extra few nights, so I checked on this website, not expecting a huge choice. But, much to my surprise, Bali had lists of fun, kind and welcoming people willing to open their homes to you for nothing in return! So, although I didn’t end up doing it, it’s something I would most definitely consider.
What a way to get a truly unique Balinese experience; from staying with traditional healers, business professionals, families, artists, and fun young travellers, couch surfing is a fantastic experience!
Homestay accommodation in Bali
If you’re looking for something a little more long term, then homestays are your answer. Bali has many places for you to stay, from the bustling town to the quieter outskirts, with many Balinese families waiting to welcome you into their homes. For as little as $10 per night or up to $40/50, you can rent a room, and you will find suitable, comfortable, and even lush options.
Just like couch surfing, this is an invaluable experience, as your time will be spent among the Balinese, eating traditional foods and being immersed in their culture. You will learn a multitude of fascinating things and finish your experience much richer.
Shopping in Bali at morning markets/warungs
If you are buying your food, it might be best to stay away from the supermarkets and head to the morning market with one of your Balinese friends (that way, you will pay the local price). You can get an abundance of fresh vegetables and tropical fruit for a meagre cost!
When you don’t feel like cooking and fancy dining out, then get yourself to the local warungs where your Balinese friends go, and you can pick up some filling nasi goreng for as little as 10,000 IDR ($0.90)!
Get to know your neighbours!
We can’t stress this enough- make friends with your neighbours!
There’s many a time I’ve been walking past my local warung when I’ve been invited to join for a drink, just in exchange for my company. Learn about the local culture, relax and have fun- these memories are priceless! Something else that used to happen in my old home is that I would have fresh coconuts for free just because they had so many (you can pay up to $5 for these at high-end places!).
There is no end to the kindness I have experienced while staying in Bali, from food and drink to help get someplace; my Balinese friends have been absolute angels! Don’t forget; it’s nice to give back, so do think about this too, even if with just your time, help etc.
Spend time with the locals!
From learning the language and culture to visiting their temples during ceremonies, the Balinese are more than happy to have you around in their day to day lives. You will be like one of the family and have some of the most memorable days of your life!
Get to the beach.
With your haul from the morning market, make yourself a nice picnic, and then take yourself away to one of Bali’s beautiful beaches. If you need extra drinks/snacks, any tiny shop or warung will sort you out for a low price. To make transport costs lower, share the taxi with your friends and make sure to bargain for a fair price. Cheap, fun, bliss!!
Stick to the mocktails!
If you’re planning a night out, then I highly recommend sticking to the mocktails.
Mocktails are delicious, refreshing, and fruity- you will feel good in the night and the morning! There can be over a $5 difference per drink if you choose the alcoholic version, so it quickly mounts up!
If you want a drink, then the local beer Bintang is one of your cheapest options; for about $2.40, you can get a large one that will last a while (but please note, prices vary from place to place). The other low-cost drink is the local Arak, which is a trendy choice for a lower price.
Please do be aware of your own limits if drinking, and please arrange sufficient transport home.
Do not attempt to drive a scooter or walk home alone, for our peace of mind as well as yours!
Bargain in Bali!
From the price of your transport to your purchases in the market, it is in the Balinese culture to bargain.
It’s best to go to markets in the morning, and if you do, ask for morning price (Harga page), but if you’re shopping in the afternoon, ask for this, as then the locals may think you are a little more accustomed. Take your time and offer what you think is a fair price; walk away if you feel necessary, but don’t let this be any more than a fun part of your shopping trip or offend locals by offering too little. The first purchase of the day is significant for them, and they rely on it to bring luck and abundance to the rest of their working day!
Shops away from the busier locations offer fairer prices, and if you go to the source of where art/clothes are made, you can pick them up at a much lower price.
Take a walk!
Walking in Bali will keep you wide-eyed and open-mouthed along the busy Bali streets through peaceful rice fields or any of the many parks. There are so many sights to see and so many things to stop and take in, and as long as you’re not tempted to spend all your money on fine foods, clothes and arts, then walking is a great option, and one of our favourite pastimes. We live in the Ubud area and love the Champion Ridge Walk.
Volunteer in Bali.
There is always so much happening around Bali; things that people worldwide come to, including Bali Spirit Festival, Soulshine Festival, and Ubud Readers and Writers Festival. Prices for these can be a little high, but the great thing is you can volunteer at these festivals! Check their websites to find out how.
In addition, my friends have had fun doing other great things: teaching yoga to kids, teaching English, going to local schools to help, animal help centres, and more! (Please note, some volunteer programs (teaching) do require a fee, which is only normal to keep everything running and generally isn’t too high!)