For many people visiting Bali, prices on the island will seem ridiculously cheap, particularly to those coming from Australia or other Western countries. However, budget backpackers arriving from other spots in Southeast Asia may find Bali a little pricey, especially compared to places like Vietnam and Cambodia.
Fortunately, Bali has enough options to cater to every type of traveller. Whether you are trying to keep costs to a minimum, or travelling with a luxury budget, you’ll find accommodation, food, and transport to suit you.
How much you spend in Bali will depend on what regions you visit, how you choose to get there, and where you eat and sleep. Let’s take an in-depth look at the cost of visiting Bali, and where to find the lowest (and highest) prices.
Prices by Region in Bali
Bali is divided into 6 regions, and each attracts a different type of traveler. This will be reflected by the prices in that area, for everything from massages to drinks. To help you work out which part of the island best fits in with your budget, let’s take a look at the costs of staying in each.
South Bali: $$$
Includes: Kuta, Uluwatu, Canggu, Seminyak, Denpasar, Sanur, Jimbaran, Legian, Nusa Dua, Tanah Lot
South Bali is the most visited region on the island, and with large areas catering almost exclusively to travellers and tourists, you’re unlikely to find any places with ‘local’ prices. That being said, it is still possible to stay cheaply here. Budget hotels can be found all around Canggu, Uluwatu, and Kuta, and you can usually find warungs and street restaurants for cheap eats.
If fine dining and luxury accommodation are what you’re looking for, head to the upmarket town of Seminyak, home to Bali’s most expensive bars, beach clubs and boutique spas. The prices may be premium for the island, but for some travellers will seem very affordable.
Cost Rating: $$$
Central Bali: $$
Includes: Ubud, Bedugul, Tabanan, Gianyar
This region houses Bali’s central mountain range and Ubud, Bali’s cultural heart (and hippie-haven). This small town is the most popular tourist destination in Central Bali, and prices vary depending on where you stay. Hostel prices are typical of elsewhere on the island and start at around $5 USD per night. However, fancier (and more expensive) accommodation is also available. There are a few good warungs around town, but Ubud is better known for its boutique cafes and restaurants. Vegetarians and vegans will eat better here than perhaps anywhere else on the island, with many places offering a wide array of beautifully prepared plant-based dishes: such as the Sage Vegan Restaurant. Of course, such luxury comes with a price, and the costs of dining out may begin to add up.
Prices drop once you get out of Ubud, and you may be surprised to find that your Nasi Goreng costs half the price in the mountain regions of Bali. These areas receive fewer international visitors, so you are more likely to be eating – and paying – what the locals do.
Cost Rating: $$
West Bali: $
Includes: Negara, Gilimanuk, Medewi Beach, Pemuteran
West Bali is seldom visited, though the area is in fact home to some great surf spots, glorious landscapes, and sites of historical and religious interest. This serene part of the island doesn’t have nearly the same amount of tourism infrastructure as the more popular spots, and you’re likely to have fewer options for accommodation. Low-cost guest houses and cheap local restaurants will help to keep prices down, though you can expect to pay a lot more if you plan to stay in the West Bali National Park.
Cost Rating: $
North Bali: $$
Includes: Lovina, Singaraja
North Bali is a soothing bolt-hole from the hustle and bustle of the Southern areas, and visitors here are likely to spend their days trekking through the jungle to isolated waterfalls and beauty spots or relaxing on the beach. With a range of dining and sleeping options, it is possible to find both budget and luxury food and accommodation.
Cost Rating: $$
East Bali: $$
Includes: Amed, Besakih, Candidasa, Kintamani, Klungkung, Mount Agung, Padang Bai, Tirta Gangga
With black sand beaches and a wealth of cultural experiences on offer, the lesser-visited region of East Bali is the island’s hidden gem. Prices here vary, but if you spend your days exploring the region’s natural beauty and your nights in budget guesthouses, you can keep costs fairly low.
Cost Rating: $$
Southeastern Islands: $$$
Includes: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan
The islands off Bali’s Southeastern coast are well worth a visit, and all offer spots of secluded beauty, and excellent conditions for water sports. However, you should budget a little more for a trip to Southeastern Bali, as scooter rental (almost a necessity on the islands, which have no public transport) and daytime activities such as scuba diving, can get expensive. Budget accommodation is available but is a little more costly than on the main island. The good news is that there are plenty of cheap, local restaurants and warungs around, so food expenses can be kept to a minimum.
Cost Rating: $$$
Are cigarettes and alcohol cheap in Bali?
The price of cigarettes in Bali is comparable to most other countries in Southeast Asia, i.e. criminally cheap. Western brands (such as Marlboro) typically cost around $1.50 USD per pack, and Indonesian brands can cost less than one dollar.
Alcohol, although cheap compared to some Western countries, could be considered a little pricey by the budget backpacker. Expect to pay around $4 USD for a large bottle of Bintang, and as much as $7 USD for a mixed drink.
If you really want to get drunk on a budget, you could always try the local arak. A bottle of this strong local spirit can be bought for as little as $1.50 USD, but be wary – arak has been linked to a great many cases of alcohol poisoning over the years.
Is transport cheap in Bali?
There are few public transport options in Bali, and getting around can be expensive. However, there are a few ways to keeps costs down when moving from place to place:
Download Grab: Indonesia’s answer to Uber (which is also available, though less widely used), Grab is a great way to organize cheap transport around Bali. The pre-set price removes any need to haggle, and you can expect to pay way less than you would in a taxi.
Rent a scooter: Renting a scooter can be a very cost-effective way to get around Bali and gives you the freedom to take off and explore whenever you please. Daily rental starts at around $3.50 USD, but you can barter for a better rate if you plan to rent for longer.
Buddy up to share taxis: If you’re a solo traveller, try to find people going the same way as you and share the cab fare. This is easier than you might think – other solo travellers on a budget will jump at the chance to reduce costs and make friends.
Take an ojek: For a cheap way to get around town, get a lift from an ojek. These are motorbike divers with room for a passenger, and they’ll take you where you need to be for a very low price.
Shop around for boat tickets: When buying a boat ticket to a neighbouring island, don’t book it through the hostel if you’re trying to save money. For the best prices, go directly to the ticket stand at the harbour, and ask around to compare the cost if there are a few different options.
Is food cheap in Bali?
Food in Bali can be very cheap if you know where to eat. Local food is very inexpensive, and a meal from a warung (Bali street food spots) will typically cost you no more than a dollar or two.
If you’re craving Western food you can expect to pay more, with prices at Western restaurants usually starting at around $5.
Of course, there are also options for fine dining available, particularly around Seminyak where a meal can cost up to $20 USD.
Remember, these restaurants will usually charge a service fee, which usually adds 10 – 20% to your bill.
Is accommodation in Bali cheap?
Hostels are the accommodation of choice for the budget traveler, where a dorm bed in a fan room can set you back by as little as $5 USD.
If communal living isn’t for you, there are plenty of other cheap options for accommodation in Bali. Guesthouses and homestays usually start at around $15 USD per night for a double room, and there are also many cheap hotels on the island. For families or larger groups, check out accommodation apps like Airbnb and sites like Eats and Retreats to find great deals on villas.
Those who are looking for luxury experiences, there is a plenty of high – end hotels and villas with infinity pools, private chefs and other finer things in life. The prices for this type of accommodation start at approximately USD $200 per night.
Is living in Bali cheap?
Bali has a large population of expats and digital nomads, especially around Ubud and Canggu. Living on the island can be very cheap, with rent starting at a few hundred dollars per month for a room in a shared house. Other expenses can be kept to a minimum if you make use of your kitchen and avoid drinking, and many expats in Bali get by on a fraction of what they’d need to survive in their home countries. The low cost of living and relaxed pace of life on the island are two of the main reasons for Bali’s popularity among nomadic earners.