Bali On A Budget
Bali is one of the most popular islands of Indonesia. From beautiful beaches, wonderful hiking, surfer's paradise, friendly locals and incredible landscapes. It is no surprise Bali is known as "The Island of the Gods". Bali was at one point a popular honeymoon destination, but more and more people are flocking to this island to discover its beauty, enjoy its charm, and take advantage of the inexpensive options! During our stay in Bali, we focused on Kuta and Ubud. Kuta was great for beaches and Ubud was great for everything else!
Kuta is the hotspot for surfers and party go-ers. We spent a total of 3 days in Kuta and I can honestly say this was a good amount of time to discover this area. In order to get around cheaply in Bali your best bet will be to rent a scooter. The daily rate for a scooter rental ranges from 40,000-60,000 Rp ($2.91-$4.36 USD). If you rent the scooter for many days, you will get a better price. This will give you the flexibly to plan your days and move around the island. Many of our plans revolved around Bali weather. Bali weather is unpredictable, so definitely plan for a random rain shower here and there.
WHAT TO DO IN KUTA
People go to Bali for its beautiful beaches and of course the surfing! The best and most beautiful beaches of Bali are found in the south. Watch out for water conditions as Bali has very strong current and riptides.
Kuta and Legion Beach are within walking distance from the center of Kuta. For the rest of the beaches, we grabbed a scooter for 2 days and went beach hopping all around the south. We visited Nusa Dua, Green Bowl Beach, Balangan Beach, Binging Beach, and Seminiyak Beach.
EXPERIENCE A BALINESE DANCE
Bali has incredible culture and one of the best ways to experience it is by watching a traditional Balinese Dance. There are many shows you can attend, but one we highly recommend and experienced was the Dance Performance at Uluwatu Temple. You have to dress modestly when planning to attend. The temple staff also offers clothing in case you forget. Men and women should cover their knees and shoulders. The traditional dance is performed right before sunset (6pm). This makes it for an incredible sunset with a gorgeous show! Get there earlier so you can visit the temple and stay for the dance.
Fee for motorbike parking (2,000 Rp/$.15 USD)
Fee to enter temple (30,000 Rp/$2.18 USD)
Traditional Dance Show (100,000 Rp/$7.27 USD)
Kuta is filled with souvenir shops that basically sell the same thing. If you are making a visit to Ubud, I would recommend you wait and do your shopping at the Ubud Market located on Monkey Forest Rd. Don't forget to bargain! Never take the first price they offer you. They also have lots of nice boutiques where you can shop for unique accessories and clothes!
WHERE TO EAT IN KUTA
We always look for the local spots! We mostly ate at warungs when in Indonesia. A warung is a small family-owned business which mostly sells authentic Indonesian food. You can find these all over Indonesia. In Kuta, we found a delicious spot named Rumah Makan Ibu Sri, which was always filled with locals at any time of day. We ate Ayam Bakar with Nasi (Grilled Chicken with Rice) which was finger licking good! You will get a good portion for only 17,000 Rp ($1.25 USD).
WHERE TO STAY IN KUTA
We highly recommend the guesthouse we stayed at Pondok 3 Mertha. This place was complete with A/C, shower and a spacious clean room and bathroom. The place looked like a boutique hotel and even had a little area for you to lounge around and sip your coffee in the mornings or afternoons. The best part about our stay were our hosts. The guys at the reception area were incredibly flexible and accommodating. They allowed us to keep our scooter in the garage and even accommodated one of our bags while we were away in Ubud.
Book via Booking.com using link below, and you’ll get $25USD after your trip!
Ubud was made popular by Julia Roberts and the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. This was our absolute favorite in all of Bali. Here you will have access to a lot of the things Bali is known for. The lush tropical jungles, gorgeous waterfalls, beautiful temples, and access to the volcanoes!
WHAT TO DO IN UBUD
Since we had a scooter during our visit, we divided our must see’s based on areas around Ubud: North, Central, and South. The following is what we would recommend:
VISIT PICTURESQUE RICE TERRACES
Tegallalang Rice Terrace - North
This rice terrace was one of the most beautiful and picturesque sights in Bali. The rice terraces offer a walking route with a starting point for you to visit the rice terrace. Make sure to follow the signs as it is easy to get lost and go the wrong way. We ended up in dead ends plenty of times, but you can easily make your way back to the trail. I highly recommend you bring shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty as the rice terraces can be muddy during monsoon season. Ladies leave your flip flops at home or bring sturdy ones as it gets very uncomfortable to walk with them and can be very slippery.
The terraces are located only 20 minutes on scooter north of Ubud. We arrived between 8-9am. It is suggested you get there early to avoid the crowds and the intense heat. It does start getting very busy after 10am. Parking is a bit tricky to find, but there is a designated parking area for motorbikes. There is a donation fee of 10,000 Rp ($.73 USD). There seem to be multiple entrances to the rice terraces and as you walk you might be asked by others to donate again. Just make them aware you have already donated and you should be fine. You should not be forced to donate if you do not want to, but it is highly encouraged. We spent an estimated 2 hours at the Rice Terraces.
EXPLORE ANCIENT TEMPLES
Holy Temple Pura Tarta Empol - North
We visited this temple after our visit to the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. This temple is very unique and very holy to the people of Indonesia. It is recommended you visit during the week to avoid the crowds. We visited on a Sunday and it was busy with locals praying to the Gods. It is also very beautiful and picturesque. Ladies and men need to dress modestly in order to be allowed in the temple. If you do forget, they do either rent or allow you to borrow a scarf to cover your knees/legs. Foreigners and locals alike, are allowed to participate in the cleansing rituals. This temple is only 15 minutes on scooter from the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. The entrance fee is 15,000 Rp ($1.09 USD). We spent an estimated 2 hrs, but we did take our time here.
Gunung Kawi Temple - North
This temple is close to the Pure Tarta Empol Temple. This was by far one of our favorite temples! You have to go down quite a few steps to reach it, but it is totally worth it! There are 2 temples in this area. I believe the temple close to the waterfall is the most beautiful. This temple is carved into the side of a cliff. We were also able to walk to the small river and enjoy the cool water on our feet. (The entrance fee is 15,000 Rp/$1.09 USD). On our way up, I sat down by the stairs/shops to talk to some ladies when suddenly I hear some locals screaming from the top of the stairs. Apparently Ricky saw a snake and made them aware. I had no idea what they were saying and I continued to sit by the stairs until the ladies I was talking to jumped up. Only then did I realize Ricky was screaming at me to get up. If you visit just keep an eye out for the snakes!
Goa Gajah Temple - Central
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Temple Cave. The outside was handmade and shaped like an elephant. The inside of the cave is very small and you can be in and out in 5 minutes. There are many other temples and structures to check out. Make sure you walk the entire grounds! There is an unbelievable tree with huge roots that is nothing like we’ve seen before. Definitely worth checking out. The entrance cost to this temple is 15,000 Rp ($1.09USD) and parking was $2,000 Rp ($0.15USD).
Saraswati Temple - Central
This temple is free to enter and also walkable from the center of Ubud. It is next to the Starbucks on one of the main roads of Ubud. It is filled with water lilies and very picturesque like everything in Bali.
TREKKING IN UBUD
Campuhan Ridge Walk - Central
If you are staying in central Ubud, you can easily walk to the Campuhan Ridge Walk. It is completely free to enter. We highly recommend doing the Campuhan Ridge Walk early in the morning to avoid the humidity and the heat. This walk is beautiful, peaceful and oh so green! The entire walk is an estimated 2km walking so bring your comfortable shoes! The walk is paved, but hilly. We made a visit to the Karsa Kafe to cool off with a smoothie. This is one of the most beautiful coffee spots we visited. The walk itself was under an hour (depending on how much you stop for pictures). We spent another hour relaxing and taking in the beauty of the rice terraces surrounding the coffee shop.
MONKEY AROUND AT MONKEY FOREST
Monkey Forest - Central
This is also walkable from the center of Ubud. There is an entrance fee of 50,000 Rp ($3.63 USD) per person. If you decide to take your scooter, keep your entrance ticket to get FREE parking. The Monkey Forest is very big so if you want to cover the entire area make sure to allot 1-2 hours for this activity. There are monkeys everywhere in Monkey Forest. You are allowed to buy bananas to feed to monkeys and take pictures with them. Always keep in mind that the monkeys are wild animals and are in their natural habitat so they might act irrational if provoked. We saw quite a few people being chased away by monkeys. They do have guidelines to help you have a better experience.
Tegenungan Waterfall - South
This waterfall was one of the largest waterfalls we saw. It is only a 30 minute scooter ride from Ubud. The entrance fee is 15,000 Rp ($1.09 USD) per person. There is staff working around the waterfall to ensure everyone stays safe. They also help with taking pictures of you. There is no parking fee here.
Tibumana Waterfall - South
This waterfall is a 30 minute scooter ride from Ubud. This one was by far the most beautiful waterfall out of the two we visited. We took snacks and had a small lunch by a hut located at the bottom of the stairs as you walk down to the waterfall. The entrance fee to this waterfall is 10,000 Rp ($.73 USD). There was no motorbike parking fee for Tibumana Waterfalls.
WHERE TO EAT IN UBUD
Ubud is filled with many westernized restaurants, but since we rather stick to the local spots we managed to find 2 warungs that became our home for dinner. One was a local shop run by two boys. The name of the warung was Warung Goyeng Udah. They spoke very little English, but we managed to communicate by signs and body language. Waroeng Adji was very similar in price and very delicious too! Both highly recommend if you want delicious local food!
WHERE TO STAY IN UBUD
We stayed in a very simple guesthouse in Ubud, but it had everything we needed. It was equipped with a comfortable bed, air conditioning, and hot water. The best part was the price of only 152,000 Rp ($11 USD) and it included breakfast everyday. Purmana Guesthouse is owned by a family of really nice brothers that make you feel like family. Highly recommend this spot.
Book via Booking.com using link below, and you’ll get $25USD after your trip!
So can you pull off visiting Bali on a budget??? Heck yessss! Bali caters to all types of budget ranges from the most luxurious to the super affordable. If you are looking to explore Bali on a budget put into good use the tips above and see how far you can stretch your dollar!
Need more Bali inspiration? Check out the photo gallery below!
BALI QUICK FACTS
Indonesian, Balinese & English
Indonesian Rupiah (Rp)
Download the XE Currency App to get live exchange rate info anytime, anywhere!
Credit Cards and Banks:
Cash is king in Indonesia so make sure to have it handy all the time. ATMs are readily available.
None required for U.S. passport if staying less than 30 days (Make sure to check with your local embassy for latest visa updates.)
Tap water is not safe to drink, but can be used to brush teeth. For drinking, stick to bottled water.
Stay away from drugs! Indonesia has a very strict law on drugs. You will get a lot of drug offerings specially in Kuta, some of these guys might even be undercover cops. You can get life imprisonment for possession or the death penalty if you’ve are convicted of trafficking with drugs.
Very limited on the island of Bali. There are plenty of taxis on the island, but charge a very high price. Beware of taxi’s that will try to scam you. Blue Bird Taxis are the most trustworthy. Uber and Grab are available on the island as other options. We will warn you, the taxis do frown upon these new modes of transport since it cuts into their earnings. To be fair, the taxis charge double and at times triple the price of Uber or Grab. For this reason we decided to use Grab when getting to and from the airport. To give you an idea, from the airport to the center of Kuta our total cost was 52,000 Rp ($3.78 USD) and taxis wanted to charge 80,000-100,000 Rp ($5.82-$7.27 USD). From our guesthouse in the center of Kuta to the airport was 24,000 Rp ($1.74 USD).
PIN FOR LATER
First time here? Thank you for stopping by! We invite you to join our journey as we immerse ourselves in new cities, cultures, ideas and spontaneous adventure. In this space we show you how we are traveling the world, maintaining a budget and visiting countries and cities that at one point we had only dreamed of. Leaving everything behind to travel the world and indulge in a travelmoon. We are no expert travelers...yet, but we are happy to share all of our tips, tricks and experiences in hopes the information you find here inspires you to buy that plane ticket! We are firm believers that traveling is one of the best investments you can make!