Bali On A Budget – How To Enjoy The Island Paradise Without Breaking The Bank

You dream of Bali’s stunning beaches and lush landscapes, but your bank account is giving you the side-eye. Fear not, intrepid traveller, for Bali On A Budget is not only possible but can be downright delightful! From savouring delicious warungs to exploring hidden waterfalls, this guide will show you how to make the most of the Island of the Gods without emptying your wallet. Get ready to experience the magic of Bali without burning through your savings – it’s time for an adventure that doesn’t break the bank!

Key Takeaways:

  • Local Eateries: Enjoy authentic Balinese cuisine at local warungs and street food stalls to save money and experience true flavours.
  • Accommodation Options: Consider homestays, guesthouses, or hostels instead of luxury resorts to cut down on accommodation costs.
  • Transportation Tips: Rent a scooter or use ride-sharing apps to explore Bali affordably and conveniently.
  • Free Attractions: Visit stunning beaches, rice terraces, and temples that are free or have minimal entrance fees for budget-friendly sightseeing.
  • Bargain Shopping: Hone your bargaining skills at markets and stalls to get souvenirs and clothing at reasonable prices.

Planning Ahead

When to Go: Avoiding Peak Season

Before begining on your budget-friendly trip to Bali, it’s imperative to consider the timing of your visit to avoid peak seasons. Peak season in Bali typically falls during the months of July and August, as well as over the Christmas and New Year period. During these times, crowds flock to the island, accommodation prices skyrocket, and popular attractions become overrun with tourists. To truly experience Bali without breaking the bank, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April to June or September to November. Not only will you enjoy better rates on flights and accommodation, but you’ll also encounter fewer crowds, allowing you to explore the island more freely.

Booking Flights and Accommodation on a Shoestring

Flights to Bali can often be a significant portion of your travel expenses. When looking to book flights on a shoestring budget, be flexible with your travel dates and consider opting for mid-week flights, which tend to be cheaper than weekend departures. Additionally, using flight comparison websites and setting up price alerts can help you snatch up the best deals. For accommodation, consider staying in guesthouses, homestays, or hostels rather than luxury resorts to save money. Websites like Airbnb and offer a wide range of budget-friendly options that cater to different preferences and budgets.

Understanding the currency exchange rates and bargaining culture in Bali can also help you stretch your budget further. When shopping at local markets or negotiating prices for goods and services, don’t be afraid to haggle for a better deal. Always remember to maintain a polite and respectful attitude during bargaining, as it is an accepted part of the culture. By planning ahead and making savvy choices when booking flights and accommodation, you can enjoy the beauty of Bali without worrying about breaking the bank.

Affordable Accommodation Options

Guesthouses and Hostels: The Budget-Friendly Way

Some travellers may overlook guesthouses and hostels when planning their stay in Bali, but they can be a great budget-friendly option. Guesthouses are often family-run establishments, offering cosy rooms and a more personal touch to your stay. Hostels, on the other hand, provide shared dormitory-style accommodation, perfect for solo travellers or those looking to socialise with other guests.

One of the advantages of choosing guesthouses and hostels is the opportunity to save money on accommodation while still enjoying a comfortable place to rest after a day of exploring the island. Many guesthouses and hostels in Bali offer basic amenities such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and sometimes even a pool.

For those looking to stretch their budget further, guesthouses and hostels are the way to go. With prices significantly lower than hotels and resorts, you can allocate your savings to other exciting experiences during your Bali adventure.

Airbnb and Vacation Rentals: A Cost-Effective Alternative

One cost-effective alternative to traditional hotels is Airbnb and vacation rentals. With a wide range of options available, from private rooms to entire villas, Airbnb allows travellers to find accommodation that suits their needs and budget. Renting a property through Airbnb can often work out cheaper than booking a hotel room, especially if you are travelling with a group.


When opting for Airbnb or vacation rentals, travellers can benefit from having access to a kitchen, enabling them to prepare their meals and save money on dining out. Additionally, staying in a local neighbourhood can provide a more authentic experience of Bali, away from the touristy areas.


Getting Around Bali

Renting a Scooter: The Cheapest Way to Explore

Now, when it comes to exploring Bali on a budget, renting a scooter is undoubtedly the way to go. Not only is it the cheapest and most convenient mode of transport, but it also gives you the freedom to roam around the island at your own pace. With scenic routes and hidden gems waiting to be discovered, hopping on a scooter allows you to experience Bali in all its glory.

However, before you rev up that engine, make sure you have a valid international driving permit and always wear a helmet. Bali’s traffic can be chaotic and unpredictable, so extra caution is crucial. Additionally, familiarise yourself with local traffic rules and respect the road etiquette to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Embrace the thrill of zipping through lush landscapes, coastal roads, and charming villages while soaking in the tropical breeze. Renting a scooter not only saves you money but also provides an adventurous way to uncover Bali’s hidden treasures.

Using Public Transport: Buses and Minivans

Bali boasts an extensive network of public buses and minivans, offering an affordable alternative for budget-conscious travellers. Travelling like a local on these modes of transport allows you to witness everyday life in Bali up close and personal. While it may not be the fastest option, it certainly adds an element of authenticity to your travel experience.

This mode of transportation is ideal for those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture and interact with friendly locals. Buses and minivans operate on set routes, making it easy to navigate your way around the island. Just remember to be prepared for crowded conditions during peak hours and exercise caution with your belongings.

Travelling by public transport provides a unique glimpse into Bali’s daily life and offers a budget-friendly way to get around. So, hop on a bus or minivan, strike up a conversation with fellow passengers, and initiate on a memorable journey through the heart of Bali.

Eating on a Budget

Not all dining experiences in Bali have to burn a hole in your pocket. With a plethora of affordable and delicious options available, you can savour the local cuisine without breaking the bank. From street food to cooking classes, there are various ways to enjoy the culinary delights of Bali on a budget.

Street Food: Delicious and Affordable

Food in Bali isn’t restricted to fancy restaurants; some of the tastiest dishes can be found on the streets. Offering a wide array of local delicacies like nasi goreng, satay, and bakso, street food vendors provide authentic flavours at budget-friendly prices. Embrace the vibrant street food culture in Bali, but be cautious of cleanliness and opt for stalls with a high turnover of food to ensure freshness.

Exploring the bustling night markets or ‘pasar malam’ is a great way to sample a variety of dishes at low costs. Dive into the local street food scene to not only satisfy your taste buds but also to experience the true essence of Balinese culture.

Cooking Classes: Learn to Make Local Dishes

Street food may be affordable, but for a more immersive and educational experience, consider taking a cooking class in Bali. Learn how to prepare traditional dishes like lawar, sate lilit, or pepes under the guidance of skilled local chefs. Many cooking classes offer a visit to the local market to purchase ingredients, providing insights into the fresh produce and flavours of Balinese cuisine.

This hands-on experience allows you to expand your cooking skills while gaining a deeper appreciation for the local food culture. Plus, you’ll have the chance to recreate these authentic dishes back home, keeping the memories of your Balinese culinary adventure alive.

Free and Low-Cost Activities

Exploring Bali’s Beaches: From Kuta to Nusa Dua

Despite Bali’s reputation for luxury resorts and high-end beach clubs, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the island’s stunning beaches without spending a fortune. From the bustling shores of Kuta to the tranquil waters of Nusa Dua, there is a beach for every taste and budget. For those looking to save money, you can simply grab a towel, lather on some sunscreen, and spend a relaxing day soaking up the sun and splashing in the waves.

For the more adventurous travellers, exploring Bali’s beaches also offers opportunities for surfing on a budget. Renting a surfboard for a fraction of the cost charged by surf schools and trying your hand at riding the waves is a fun and affordable way to experience Bali’s famous surf culture. Additionally, many local vendors offer delicious and cheap street food along the beaches, allowing you to enjoy a tasty meal without breaking the bank.

While some beaches may have entrance fees for certain facilities, there are plenty of free stretches of sand where you can unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of Bali’s coastline. Whether you’re watching a stunning sunset in Jimbaran or taking a leisurely stroll along Seminyak Beach, exploring Bali’s beaches is a must-do for travellers on a budget.

Visiting Temples and Villages: A Glimpse into Local Life

Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, Bali has managed to preserve its rich cultural heritage, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore traditional temples and villages without spending a fortune. For instance, a visit to the iconic Uluwatu Temple perched on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean not only provides breathtaking views but also allows you to witness a traditional Kecak dance performance at sunset.

An exploration of the Ubud region offers travellers a glimpse into the heart of Bali’s artistic and spiritual community. Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary to observe playful macaques in their natural habitat, or wander through the vibrant streets of Ubud to discover local art galleries and handicraft markets where you can purchase souvenirs at reasonable prices.

For those interested in immersive cultural experiences, many villages in Bali welcome visitors to participate in traditional ceremonies and activities. From learning the art of batik painting in penjor-making workshops, there are numerous opportunities to engage with local communities and gain a deeper understanding of Balinese traditions.

Budget-Friendly Water Sports

Surfing and Snorkeling: Affordable Options

Unlike many popular tourist destinations, Bali offers a range of budget-friendly water sports that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. One of the most popular activities is surfing, with instructors offering affordable lessons for beginners. You can catch some waves at Kuta Beach or Canggu Beach without breaking the bank. Snorkeling is another cost-effective option to explore Bali’s underwater world. You can rent snorkelling gear at a nominal price and discover colourful marine life just off the shore.

Diving and Kayaking: Worth the Splurge?

The diving and kayaking experiences in Bali may require a bit more spending, but they are worth the splurge for adventure seekers. The island is famous for its stunning dive sites such as Tulamben and Nusa Penida, where you can witness an array of marine species and maybe even a manta ray or two. Kayaking through the mangroves in the calm waters of Nusa Lembongan can be a memorable experience well worth the extra expense.

The diving and kayaking tours often include experienced guides, top-notch equipment, and safety measures to ensure you have a fantastic and safe adventure. The higher cost is justified by the quality of the experience and the beauty of the natural surroundings you get to explore.

Water sports in Bali cater to all kinds of budgets, from the thrifty traveller looking for affordable fun to the adventurous explorer willing to splurge for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. By choosing the right activities that fit your budget and preferences, you can enjoy the island paradise of Bali without worrying about your bank balance.

Yoga and Wellness on a Budget

Finding Affordable Yoga Studios and Classes

Keep your zen and your budget intact by exploring the plethora of affordable yoga studios and classes scattered across Bali. With the island’s reputation as a wellness hub, you’ll find numerous options to nourish your mind, body, and soul without burning a hole in your pocket. Look out for local community centres, beachfront yoga sessions, and even donation-based classes in Ubud, Canggu, and Seminyak.

Any traveller seeking budget-friendly yoga experiences can also turn to online platforms such as YogaTrail or MindBody for discounted class packages and special offers. Additionally, many guesthouses and hostels offer free or low-cost yoga sessions for their guests, providing a convenient and economical way to unwind and stay healthy while on the road.

For those on a shoestring budget, attending open-air yoga sessions on the beach at sunrise or sunset can be a truly magical experience. Take advantage of the natural beauty surrounding you as you stretch and strengthen your body, all without spending a dime. Bear in mind, wellness in Bali doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag!

Healthy Eating on a Shoestring

To ensure you stay healthy and energised during your Balinese adventures without overspending, opt for local warungs and food markets for budget-friendly meals. These traditional eateries offer a wide array of nutritious dishes at a fraction of the cost of fancier restaurants. Embrace the local cuisine and indulge in dishes like nasi goreng, gado-gado, and fresh tropical fruits for a truly authentic and affordable dining experience.

When choosing where to dine, look out for eateries that promote organic, locally sourced ingredients at reasonable prices. By supporting sustainable and ethical food establishments, you not only contribute to the community but also nourish your body with wholesome and fresh produce. Eating well in Bali doesn’t have to break the bank – it’s all about making savvy choices and exploring the abundance of budget-friendly dining options available.

Finding healthy and affordable food in Bali is surprisingly easy, with a variety of options catering to different dietary preferences. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or a meat-lover, you’ll discover an array of dishes that won’t strain your wallet. Indulge in the vibrant street food scene, visit local markets for fresh produce, and don’t hesitate to ask locals for recommendations on the best places to enjoy nutritious meals on a budget.

Shopping Smart

An important aspect of enjoying Bali on a budget is shopping smart. Whether you are looking for souvenirs, clothing, or local handicrafts, there are plenty of options to choose from without overspending. Here are some tips to make the most of your shopping experience in Bali.

Local Markets: Bargaining Tips and Tricks

  • When shopping at local markets, remember to bargain for the best price. Vendors often quote higher prices to tourists, so don’t be afraid to negotiate and haggle.
  • Start by offering half of the initial price and work your way up. Be friendly but firm, and don’t be afraid to walk away if you can’t agree on a price.
  • Inspect the quality of the items carefully before buying, and always have a budget in mind to avoid overspending. Knowing the fair price for similar items can also help you negotiate better.

Affordable Shopping Malls and Outlets

Tricks to finding affordable shopping options in Bali include visiting local outlets and shopping malls. These places offer a wide range of products at reasonable prices, making it easier to stick to your budget while still indulging in some retail therapy.

It’s worth exploring different areas of Bali to discover hidden gems and discounted items. From clothing and accessories to home décor and electronics, you can find a variety of goods without breaking the bank. Remember to compare prices and quality before making a purchase, and don’t hesitate to ask for a better deal if you’re buying multiple items.

Budgeting for Transportation

Fuel Efficiency: Tips for Renting a Car or Scooter

For those looking to explore Bali independently, renting a car or scooter can be a cost-effective option. When renting a vehicle, opting for a fuel-efficient model can help you save money on petrol costs. Look out for rental companies that offer newer models with better fuel economy. Additionally, consider renting a scooter instead of a car for shorter journeys around the island, as they are generally more fuel-efficient.

  • Choose a car or scooter with good fuel efficiency
  • Look for newer models with better fuel economy
  • Consider renting a scooter for short trips

After securing your rental, make sure to drive responsibly to further improve fuel efficiency and save on petrol costs during your Bali adventures.

Avoiding Taxis: Cheaper Alternatives

On an island like Bali, where traffic congestion can get quite intense, opting for alternative modes of transportation can save you both time and money. Instead of relying on taxis, consider using ride-hailing apps like Grab or renting a scooter for short distances. You can also explore the island using local bemos or buses, which offer a budget-friendly way to get around Bali.

Transportation in Bali can get costly, especially if you rely solely on taxis for your travels. By exploring cheaper alternatives such as ride-hailing apps, renting a scooter, or taking local transport options, you can stretch your budget further and make the most of your time on the island.

Saving Money on Tours and Activities

DIY Island Hopping: A Cost-Effective Alternative

All savvy travellers know that exploring Bali’s beautiful islands doesn’t have to cost a fortune. By opting for a DIY island hopping adventure, you can save a significant amount of money while still enjoying the stunning landscapes and crystal-clear waters.

Instead of booking expensive guided tours, consider renting a boat or joining a local boat trip. This way, you can create your itinerary, choose less touristy spots, and have the flexibility to spend as much time as you like at each location. Don’t forget to pack your snorkelling gear and a picnic to make the most of your day out on the shimmering waters.

DIY island hopping not only allows you to have a more personal and tailored experience but also gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace without the constraints of a group tour schedule.

Group Tours: Pros and Cons

Group tours can be a convenient way to experience Bali’s top attractions without the hassle of planning every detail yourself. However, before booking a group tour, it’s necessary to weigh up the pros and cons to ensure it aligns with your budget and travel preferences.

Pros Cons
Convenience Lack of flexibility
Cost-effective for solo travellers Potentially crowded
Opportunity to meet other travellers Less time at each location
Guided experience May not cater to individual interests


Hopping onto a group tour in Bali can be both a time-saving and social experience, but it’s crucial to consider the pros and cons before committing. While group tours provide convenience and a guided experience, they may lack the flexibility and personalisation that DIY adventures offer. It’s worth weighing these factors before deciding on the best option for your Bali excursion.

Pros Cons
Convenience Lack of flexibility
Cost-effective for solo travellers Potentially crowded
Opportunity to meet other travellers Less time at each location
Guided experience May not cater to individual interests

Recall, whether you choose a DIY island hopping adventure or opt for a group tour, the goal is to make the most of your Bali experience while keeping costs in check. Consider your travel style, preferences, and budget to decide which option suits you best. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, you can enjoy all that Bali has to offer without breaking the bank.

Budget-Friendly Day Trips

Despite being known for its luxurious resorts and high-end spas, Bali offers plenty of budget-friendly day trip options for travellers looking to explore the island without breaking the bank. From cultural adventures to scenic explorations, there are options to suit every taste and budget.

Uluwatu and the South Coast: A Day of Exploration

Any traveller looking to experience the rugged beauty of Bali’s coastline should consider a day trip to Uluwatu and the South Coast. Start your day by visiting the iconic Uluwatu Temple perched on a cliff, offering breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. Be sure to catch the traditional Kecak dance at sunset, a mesmerising performance against the backdrop of the sea. Take a leisurely stroll along the stunning beaches such as Padang Padang and Dreamland, perfect for surfing or simply relaxing.

Ubud and the Central Highlands: A Cultural Adventure

One cannot visit Bali without exploring the cultural heart of the island – Ubud and the Central Highlands. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Bali by visiting the Ubud Palace and the nearby Ubud Art Market, where you can shop for handcrafted souvenirs. Don’t miss the chance to visit the lush Tegalalang Rice Terraces and the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, where you can interact with playful macaques. Indulge in a traditional Balinese dance performance or a spa treatment using natural, locally sourced ingredients for a truly authentic experience.

Trips to Ubud and the Central Highlands offer a mix of cultural immersion, natural beauty, and relaxation, making it a must-visit destination for travellers on a budget. Explore the vibrant markets, dine on delicious local cuisine, and take in the serene surroundings of this picturesque region.

Staying Safe on a Budget

Avoiding Scams and Tourist Traps

With Bali’s popularity as a tourist destination, it’s important to be vigilant and aware of potential scams and tourist traps. One of the most common scams is the inflated prices for goods and services targeted at tourists. Always negotiate and compare prices before making any purchases. Be cautious of strangers offering deals that seem too good to be true, as they often are.

Another common scam is the money exchange hustle. Be wary of unauthorised money changers who may give you a poor exchange rate or even counterfeit currency. Stick to reputable places like banks or authorised money changers. Additionally, be cautious of pickpockets and petty theft in crowded areas. Keep your belongings secure and be mindful of your surroundings.

By staying aware and being cautious of scams, you can enjoy your time in Bali without falling victim to tourist traps and fraudulent schemes. Remember to trust your instincts and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Staying Healthy: Vaccinations and Precautions

The health and well-being of travellers should be a top priority when visiting Bali. Before your trip, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss necessary vaccinations and health precautions. Common vaccinations recommended for Bali include Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Tetanus.

Due to the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses such as Dengue fever and Malaria, it’s important to take precautions against mosquito bites. Use mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves and trousers, and sleep under a mosquito net if necessary. Additionally, avoid drinking tap water and opt for bottled water to prevent travellers’ diarrhoea.

The healthcare infrastructure in Bali may be different from what you are accustomed to, so it’s advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. In case of any health concerns or emergencies, seek medical assistance promptly. By taking necessary health precautions, you can safeguard your well-being and enjoy a worry-free holiday in Bali.

Budgeting for Miscellaneous Expenses

Entrance Fees and Taxes: What to Expect

After budgeting for accommodation and meals, it is imperative to set aside some funds for miscellaneous expenses during your Bali trip. One of the often-overlooked costs is entrance fees and taxes. When visiting popular tourist attractions, expect to pay entrance fees ranging from £1 to £10 per person. These charges might not seem significant individually, but they can quickly add up, especially if you plan to visit multiple sites.

Additionally, it’s common to encounter taxes at hotels, restaurants, and even on shopping purchases. Be prepared to budget an extra 10-15% of your total bill for taxes and service charges. While these charges may seem unavoidable, planning for them in your budget can help prevent any unpleasant surprises.

Remember to factor in these entrance fees and taxes when creating your budget for Bali to ensure you have enough funds to cover all aspects of your trip without overspending.

Tipping and Gratuities: A Guide

Miscellaneous fees also include tipping and gratuities, which are not mandatory in Bali but are appreciated. In restaurants, it is customary to leave a small tip of around 5-10% if a service charge is not already included in the bill. Similarly, when using services like taxis or tour guides, rounding up the fare is a common practice.

While tipping is discretionary, showing your appreciation for good service goes a long way in Bali’s hospitality culture. Remember that even small gestures can make a big difference to local service staff, so budgeting a little extra for tips can enhance your overall experience on the island.

By tipping appropriately and within your means, you not only show your gratitude for excellent service but also contribute to the local economy in a meaningful way. Including a modest amount for tips in your budget ensures you can reward good service without overspending during your Bali adventure.

Summing up

Considering all points, it is evident that Bali is not just a playground for the wealthy, but also a destination that can be enjoyed on a budget. From affordable accommodation options in guesthouses and homestays to delicious street food that won’t make a dent in your wallet, Bali offers a vast array of opportunities for budget travellers. By opting for local transport, exploring the natural wonders of the island, and taking advantage of free or low-cost activities, visitors can experience the beauty and culture of Bali without overspending.

Moreover, the article highlights the importance of bargaining and seeking out off-the-beaten-path locations to avoid tourist traps and save money. By interacting with the locals, travellers can gain valuable insights into the Balinese way of life and uncover hidden gems that may not be found in guidebooks. Additionally, embracing a laid-back attitude and immersing oneself in the island’s tranquillity can lead to a truly enriching and authentic Bali experience, without the need for extravagant expenses.

Summing up, Bali offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality that can be enjoyed by budget-conscious travellers. By following the tips provided in the article and approaching the trip with an open mind and adventurous spirit, visitors can create unforgettable memories without breaking the bank. So, pack your bags, book a budget-friendly flight, and get ready to experience the magic of Bali without worrying about the cost.


Q: How can I enjoy Bali on a budget?

A: To enjoy Bali on a budget, consider staying in budget accommodation options such as guesthouses or hostels, eat at local warungs (small family-owned restaurants), and opt for affordable activities like exploring waterfalls and temples.

Q: Is it possible to find cheap accommodation in Bali?

A: Yes, it is possible to find cheap accommodation in Bali. Look for budget guesthouses, hostels, or homestays in less touristy areas to save money on your stay.

Q: What are some affordable ways to get around in Bali?

A: Renting a scooter is a cost-effective way to get around Bali. Alternatively, you can use ride-hailing apps like Gojek or Grab for short distances, or join group tours to share transport costs for longer trips.

Q: How can I save money on food while in Bali?

A: To save money on food in Bali, dine at local warungs where you can enjoy delicious Indonesian dishes at affordable prices. Consider eating street food or shopping at markets for budget-friendly meals.

Q: What are some free or cheap activities to enjoy in Bali?

A: There are plenty of free or cheap activities to enjoy in Bali, such as visiting beautiful beaches, exploring rice terraces, hiking to waterfalls, attending local ceremonies, and joining yoga or cooking classes offered at budget-friendly prices.