Friday, October 10, 2014

Budget Bali?

Last week, I went away for a nice holiday. I went to Bali!

It's not the best picture, but oh well, it's 100% original. Sunset from Kuta beach!

Anyway, I'd just like to share how much my little holiday was. Sure, it wasn't the cheapest way possible, but I think it'd be helpful for anybody out there heading to Bali and looking for a rough feel of how expensive things were in 2014.


Even picking the HOT FARES with Jetstar, which are the $29 tickets each direction, the amount of airport taxes and all the other charges brings up the total to $142 all-in, which is quite a large difference from the $58 you would expect. If you need check-in baggage, it's an additional $20 each direction. Not too shabby actually, but keep in mind that this is like the super promotional price! Why the promo? Rainy season. According to the people I talked to, rainy season is from November until January, and main tourist season is from March to October. Just take note!

My tickets to Bali was pretty much the best option that I could find. The cheapest one, taking into account stopovers and the timings. In total, I paid $360 to fly Garuda airlines, making a stopover at Jakarta. It wasn't too bad actually, there was food on every flight, very impressive! Well, not super great food, but hey, food! Also, there's 1 free check-in baggage, so that's pretty good. However, I would've personally preferred a direct flight, but all the direct flights were really expensive. I guess I just booked too late. Book early!


Honestly, there's tons of cheap accommodation all over Bali. Most of the people I know stayed up in Seminyak and booked entire private villas with private swimming pools. I heard that it can be as cheap as $120 a night to about $200, depending on property. Personally, I think it's only a good idea if you've been to Bali before and you're just looking for a nice quiet beach holiday and to just goof around with your friends you're with. I think many of these properties are not near the beach or the main tourist areas, meaning that you will probably need to hire a driver and split the cost between everyone, which the market rate is $50 a day.

I stayed in Kuta, which is the surfer area. Very messy, noisy and crowded... I loved it! I stayed along the main road, but in a huge property so although access was at the main road which was convenient, our actual living area was deep into the property and far away from the road. Didn't really hear any honking or much noises at all, except for the soft thumps of the club music which is just a block away. Staying in Kuta at my location was great. Beach, clubs, bars, massage, convenience stores, restaurants, everything was really near and accessible! Our private room with ensuite toilet, balcony and breakfast included? $32 a night. Nice big private swimming pool, personal balcony area to dry your damp clothes and free wifi in the communal areas. It's not anything fancy, but it was basic with all the main comfort perks. Hostels with shared rooms and no extra facilities are $20 a night, so why not pay a bit more and stay somewhere nicer, yeah?

Sightseeing / Activities

As mentioned before, hiring a driver is flat rate $50 a day. You'd need a driver as long as you're planning to leave the town that you're staying in. If it's your first time in Bali, I'd recommend definitely getting out and exploring Bali.

View from the top of Mt Batur

 A monkey in the monkey forest

 The rice terraces

One of the temples at Tanah Lot

There's hiking, the monkey forest, the rice terraces, the seafood restaurant beach, water sports and TONS of temples. Honestly, don't be put off by the temples, I actually really enjoyed the cultural experiences that I had there. One of the temple minders even taught us how to pray in the temple and all, it was very interesting to have such an upclose view to the Hindu religion! Most of these attractions have an entrance fee, which is anywhere between $1-3, which is really cheap I felt.

Water sport activities were not as cheap as I imagined, but nevertheless, I took the opportunity to try some activities that I have never done before. I rode the jet-ski, revved up and was rocketing off at top speed of about 100km/h, so that was really cool and fun! Gotta remind myself to buy one of those when I'm a billionaire. It was 30USD for about 10-15 mins just chionging and burning fuel on the jet ski with an instructor sitting behind you, just in case.

There was also parasailing, which was pretty cool, but much too short in my opinion. It was just 1 round a tiny lagoon, so it was maybe less than 5 minutes? It's an interesting experience though, but not value in my opinion. It was 40USD for 1 round.

Finally, the last activity that must be done in Bali is surfing! The beach is nice and long, the water is not very deep, there is not much debris and rocks on the beach and the waves are not too strong or too weak. I think as a beginner, learning surfing in Bali was a very good experience for me! One of the local guys manning their area gave me surf lessons. There are many of these areas along the beach, and all you have to do is to buy a beer from these guys, then you can grab a chair and just chill on the beach. If you ask them for surf lessons, they'd look after your stuff too, so that's pretty good. Local lessons from a good local surf teacher? $20. The guys were awesome.

If anyone is heading to Bali and looking for a good guide / driver / surf teacher, drop a comment and I can give you the info and contacts of the guys I know!

Food and Drinks

The bread and butter of Bali is really Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng, either Ayam or Seafood. Prices vary widely and it depends on the place you're eating at. Eating deep inside at one of the places much less touristy, local dishes were between $1.50 - $2.50, very reasonable in my opinion! The beer that they drink there is called Bintang, and it goes for about $1.50 - $3 for a small bottle, again depending on the place you're at. Even at the bar with live music and dance, a beer was only $2! So, yeah for all you heavy drinkers, Bali is very reasonable place to go out and drink, since they don't mark up their drinks so much.

On average, most of the restaurants that we went costed less than $10 per person for a main and a drink. More likely between $6-8 actually. Most of the restaurants also have free Wifi too, so ask for the password, so you can search and plan your activities after your meal! At Kuta, there was all sorts of food for everybody, so it's really easy to suit a lot of difference preferences!

My Bill

Airfare: $360
Hotel: $160
Cash spending (Sightseeing / activities / food & drinks): $525

Total: $1045

Honestly though, I think I could have done 6 days in Bali for less than $600 if I really was having a lazy beach bum holiday. But considering we hired a driver for 2 days, saw so much of island and did so many activities, I think that I paid a really fair price and had a really good time. However, the next time I go back to Bali, perhaps a little less activity for me, and a bit more lazing around and soaking up the sun. I want to put my newfound surfing abilities to the test!


  1. Hi GMGH,

    I really like Bali and went there two consecutive years. Like what you say, you ought to get outside the beach area to see the cultural and natural Bali. I seen it and like it.

    I have never been to Langkawi so my next stop plan.


    1. Hi Rolf,

      2 consecutive years, very nice! I have never been to Langkawi either. I am planning to do more travels around Asia for the next few years, more friendly to the wallet :)

  2. Hi GMGH,
    Work hard, play hard, not necessary spend hard.....but enjoy


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