Touristic brochures and articles present the Island of Gods as a luxurious retreat, but hardly anyone ever says, “Bali is too expensive”.
Almost anything can vary in price, from your plane ticket to your bar drink. You can begin saving with your airfare if you book early, with choosing cheaper accommodation, eating where locals do instead of opting for hotel restaurants and so on. You can also negotiate prices at the market and even on the beach when purchasing water sports packages. The costs are in Indonesian Rupiah or IDR.
Twin and double rooms in hotels usually cost between IDR 300,000 and 550,000. However, if you’re a couple or traveling with friends/family, you can check local Bali villa rentals. Even if it’s a luxury home with all the amenities, the price per night can be economical. When sharing one such house with several people, it’s even better. You may also choose to stay with locals and rent one room.
Rice, veggies, pork dishes and other Indonesian specialties, like the amazing nie goreng or babi guling, tend to cost between 30,000 and 150,000 if you order these at popular, touristy restaurants. Regular beachfront eateries or warungs are cheaper. The most affordable dishes are found at fairs and food markets, where you can find delicacies in generous quantities at prices under 20,000. To give you a better clue, you can have a good meal for $1 or $2.
If you’re getting thirsty on the beach, merchants will give you a water bottle for IDR 20,000. A can of soda at the supermarket costs about 7,000 while restaurant non-alcoholic drinks are around 15,000 and more. The more exotic or fancy the drink, the more it costs. The location matters too, but even in the most casual markets you will find pricy local drinks.
When shopping for souvenirs, never take the first price. Locals actually expect some haggling. Therefore, you can easily walk away with a bargain. When purchasing more, you may also obtain a significant discount.
There will be no way around these if you’re planning to visit temples, art venues or enter cultural spots to witness a performance. Thus, a fire dance show may cost about 100,000 while visiting a temple will require 20,000.
Saving on transport
Don’t be stuck with the high fares. Fly to Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur and then opt for a cheap connecting flight. It will cost a lot less overall, especially if you’re lucky to catch a “piso sale”. While in Bali, you may hire a driver if you’re planning to travel a lot, which will get you a discount. However, the cheapest option is to rent a motorbike and ride it yourself. Taxis are rather a luxury. Stay away from drivers who are being extra friendly and trying to convince you at the airport or other touristic spots. These are usually scams or rip offs. Because metered taxis are not a frequent occurrence, try your skills at bargaining if you totally need a ride.
All in all, in Bali it’s better to follow the locals. Overly touristic places, Western style venues and other fancy locations are overpriced and will make you spend a lot more. Familiarity and comfort will get more money out of your pocket than venturing in search of the exotic.