Bali on a budget: Everything you need to know about backpacking in Indonesia!

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

Planning a trip to Bali? Read this blog post full of travel tips and save yourself a few bucks! In this blog, I tell you everything about travelling on a budget and how to travel between hotspots. Besides, I share insights on religion and tell you what a good month is to travel to Bali. These tips make sure you have a great time in Bali! No matter if you are a backpacker or flashpacker!

Rice terraces of Bali with Charlotte Plans a Trip Bali Indonesia


Bali tips: All you need to know about travel and transportation in Bali

How does travelling around Bali work? Is there good public transport? And what kind of taxi service do you use in Bali? I will tell you more about transport and travelling around Bali!

How do you travel around Bali? – by car

There is no public transport on Bali that will take you from place a to b easily. During your trip, you therefore often use taxis or cars with drivers. You can easily arrange this through your hotel. The same applies to transport from and to the airport. A taxi or private driver sounds very luxurious and therefore expensive, but the prices are generally not so bad. A ride from Canggu to the airport (90 minutes one way) costs for example 250,000 IR, about 15 euros. When you travel on a small budget in Bali, try to share you taxis in a way to save some bucks!

Uber, Grab or Gojek taxis in Bali

We really advise against using Uber and Grab in Bali. In many places, these services are prohibited (for instance in Canggu, Seminyak and Uluwatu) and we also had a bad experience with an Uber driver at the airport. If you want to order a taxi, use the Blue Birds, an official taxi company. Agree on a fixed price in advance (you drive on the meter, but an indictment of what you will have to pay isn’t bad) and watch out for ‘fake’ bluebirds.

Bali travel tip: what is allowed on Bali is to use the Grab scooter taxi! Especially if you don’t ride a scooter like me, this is very handy!

Diamond Beach more Travel Guide Nusa Penida Bali

What transport do you use at your destination in Bali? – The scooter!

At your destination itself, a scooter is the best transport on Bali. Often it is very warm to walk long distances. A scooter on Bali gives you enough freedom, is quick and to be honest, the breeze you will feel when driving is not bad at all!

How do you rent a scooter on Bali?

On every corner or street, you will find a scooter rental company in Bali. Renting a scooter is also very easy. You often pay a small deposit, sign a form and test the scooter yourself. Scooter rental in Bali is 50,000 IR to 70,000 IR per day, converted € 3 to € 5 including a helmet. Important to know, you officially need a motorcycle license and an international driver’s license to drive a scooter on Bali. Not so much to be able to rent the scooter, but when you end up in an accident, you are not insured if you do not have a motorcycle license. Most people don’t follow this rule though.

Do you need gas? Along the side of the road, you see small stalls in many different places where glass bottles of gasoline are sold.

The boat to the Gili islands, Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida

We usually arrange the boat trip to the Gili’s, Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida at our hotels. This way you can also immediately transport to and from the port. The boats usually depart from Sanur or Amed towards the Gili’s or Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.

How much does a boat ticket in Bali cost?

The price of boat tickets from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida is 250,000 Ir per person (around €15) one way.
The price of boat tickets from Sanur to Gili Trawangan, Gili Air or Gili Meno is 350,000 Ir per person (around €25) one way.
Bali travel tip: bear in mind a rougher crossing when you go to the Gili Islands. The travel sickness pills that you can get in the pharmacy on Bali work well against seasickness!Broken Beach Travel Guide to Nusa Penida Bali


Bali tips: Everything about money, costs and budget in Bali

Cash is king in Bali. Nowadays, paying with a credit card is often possible, but at most restaurants and shops you will have to pay an extra fee for using a credit card. Fortunately, there are many ATM’s in Bali.

Currency on Bali

In Indonesia, the currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). At the moment 1 euro, is just under 14,000 IDR (March 2020). For foreign cash withdrawals always take into account the costs that the bank charges extra for this. This applies to your own bank as well as to the local bank where you pin money.Travel guide Canggu Indonesia on a budget Bali

ATM’s on Bali

In the villages in Bali, you will find many ATMs. If you go to Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan or one of the Gili Islands, don’t worry there are several banks there too. The maximum withdrawal at banks in Bali is between 2 and 3 million IR, converted € 135 and € 200.

Bali travel tip: In the weeks after your visit to Bali, keep an eye on your credit card or debit card. A lot of skimming is going on in Bali, and that could easily be a few hundred euros! We have had this a few times ourselves, not very pleasant.


Curious about the newest hotspots in Bali? Then read our Bali 2020 hotspot guide, full of restaurants, hotels and great beach clubs!


Budget and costs on Bali

Bali is a cheap destination. So you can easily travel through Bali on a small budget. To give you an idea, here are the prices on Bali:

  • For a simple Balinese meal, you pay around € 2 – € 4.
  • For a cheap overnight stay, you pay €10 euros. Looking for a hotel with pool, think of €20. Luxury stays start from €50
  • Coca Cola costs € 0.60 just like a bottle of water.
  • Bintang (beer) costs € 2.
  • A glass of wine costs around € 6.00
  • Delicious breakfast in a trendy tent costs € 5
  • Western dinner for two costs around € 35.

Restaurant Amok Travel Guide Nusa Penida Bali

What is a realistic daily budget for Bali?

Are you travelling through Bali as a backpacker? Then a budget of €30 per person per day will do. For this budget you sleep in simple guesthouses, you often eat outside the door, but simple meals. You usually travel by scooter or shared taxi. A beer now and then will be fine with this budget but you will skip expensive wine or cocktails.

Are you travelling through Bali with a bit more budget? Then a budget of  €40- €50 per person per day will do. This budget includes a nice guesthouse with a nice swimming pool. You can have breakfast and lunch in trendy tents in Canggu. A few massages or surf lessons and a glass of wine in its time also fits in perfectly with this Bali budget!Beach club the Chill and pool Nusa Penida Bali


Looking for a travel itinerary for Bali? Click here for the ultimate Bali two and three-week itinerary.


Bali tips: Do you have to plan ahead and record everything in Bali?

No, travelling on Bali can be done very spontaneous without a fixed itinerary. The first time in Bali we booked our overnight stays well in advance, but the next times we didn’t do this anymore. There are more than enough hotels in Bali, so you’ll always find a place to sleep. If you have a specific hotel in mind that you want to go to and you are travelling in the high season, booking in advance may be wise.

Also activities such as climbing Mount Batur, visiting temples or diving trips you do not have to book far in advance. We usually booked our activities, just like transportation, at our hotel. This may be slightly more expensive, but for us, the convenience definitely outweighed the slightly higher costs.Wondering around on the rice terracces of Bali Indonesia

Bali tips: Wifi, internet and SIM cards on Bali

Wi-Fi is offered almost everywhere in Bali, in restaurants, hotels and sometimes even on the beach. The WiFi is generally of good quality. If you go a little further inland, or if you visit less touristy places, then the internet sometimes fails. Are you always and everywhere available? Then consider buying a local SIM card.

We have purchased a SIM card from the Telkomsel provider upon arrival at the airport. You pay for both the SIM card (which is valid for 30 days) and the credit you put on it. The SIM card itself cost about 50,000 IDR and I have 10GB for it for +/- 120,000 IDR. In total this cost +/- € 10.

If you have run out of data or would like to have your credit deposited, visit one of the many small convenience stores such as Circle-K or M-mart, where it is sold.


Not only vacation in Bali but also work? Click here for the best work-proof cafes and restaurants in Canggu and Berawa!


Religion on Bali

Bali is almost entirely Hindu with 90% of the population, in contrast to the rest of Indonesia, which is mainly Islamic. The Gili Islands, which officially belong to Lombok, are also Islamic.

You see Hinduism everywhere in Bali, in the form of many beautiful temples, small colourful offerings and special ceremonies. But we also really noticed Hinduism in how the people act. They are incredibly sweet, hospitable and with a lot of attention for nature. Coming out of your hotel room in the morning, often you will find a small colourful basket with incense, a few coins or some biscuits. A small and beautiful offering.

National holidays in Bali

Various holidays are celebrated in Bali, but one of the most important holiday for Balinese is Nyepi, a day of purification equal to New Year according to the Saka calendar (the Hindu calendar). This day often takes place in March or April, and on this day it’s completely silent and extinct on Bali. The day before, evil spirits are chased away with music, fireworks and parades, but on New Year’s Day, everybody stays indoors to keep the evil spirits out. Even tourists are expected to stay inside. Try to avoid travelling on Nyepi.

Another important day is Independence Day on 17 August. This is celebrated with large parades throughout Indonesia.


Bali tips: Climate and travel period for Bali

Bali has a tropical rainforest climate with two seasons: the dry season from April to September, and the rainy season from October to April. The temperature is about the same every season. In the rainy season, take into account a daily downpour. We went to Bali twice in December, in the middle of the rainy season. The first time we did not have a single shower, the second time a bit more often, but that also went wrong.

High season in Bali

High season is in the months of July, August, and December. It is busier on the island. Prices are higher, especially with Christmas and O & N, when many ‘Aussies’ come over.

Shoulder season in Bali

Shoulder season is in the months of May, June, and in September. These are great months, especially for diving. The weather is also good in these months.

Low season in Bali

Low season is from January to April, October and November. The prices are a lot lower. There is a little more rain, but this is usually not extreme.

Sunset Barawa beach Bali

Clothing: what to pack for Bali?

Take a lot of light clothes with you. Only when you climb Mount Batur (one of the three active volcanoes) is it convenient to wear gym or mountain shoes and multiple layers of clothing. On top of the volcano, it can be cold. Keep in mind when you enter a temple, to cover your shoulders and legs.


Bali tips: What kind of visa do you need in Bali?

Upon arrival in Bali, you will receive a free Visa on Arrival (tourist visa), which is valid for 30 days. If you want to stay longer (up to 60 days on a tourist visa), you can request an extension from the Indonesian embassy in advance.

Visa extension in Bali

Such an extension of your tourist visa to 60 days in Bali is also possible in Indonesia itself. It is a cumbersome process that already starts upon arrival in the country. It is important that you indicate this immediately upon arrival and purchase a $ 35 grant. You then have to go back to the immigration office three times to make this visa valid.

Bali travel tip: Start by visiting the immigration office on time. Due to the many holidays and systems that can sometimes be broken, it can easily be four weeks further before the visa extension is complete.

Visa extension on Bali via an intermediary

We hired a local company that arranged this process for us for around $60. We could have done this ourselves, but then we had to go to the immigration office three times instead of just once. In total, we stayed in Bali for 6 weeks and in week 2 we started the visa transfer process. Three days before we left Bali again it was finally finished, just in time!

More than 60 days in Bali? A visa run!

As a tourist, you cannot stay in Bali for longer than 60 days. You can, however, temporarily leave the country and come back again a ‘visa run’. If you stay illegally longer than your visa is valid, then you have to pay extra for every day when you leave the country. Not recommended because it seems to be a very unpleasant process where it is very difficult to do.


All my travel blogs on BaliClick here for all my blogs on Bali!


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