Alright, guys. Let's put all preconceptions aside and get down 'n' dirty with some real Bali prices - is it really as cheap as everyone raves on about?
Forgive me for being cliché AF but I have to throw it out there. Bali can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. Of course, if you don't budget carefully and have zero self-control like we do when it comes to things like food, coffee and cute animals - then you're gonna have a hard time. But, if you can set aside your glutton temptations and firmly say "hell naw" to the most delicious looking food you've ever seen in your life, then you're good.
I'm not even gonna lie - I never really understood what all the hype about Bali was and why literally everyone keeps returning each year despite having been there 55 million times already. Not that that's scientifically possible, but it makes me think - is there an addictive substance in Bali's humid air? Are the people ridiculously good-looking? Or, is it just that cheap?
Well, after popping my Bali cherry earlier this year, safe to say - I got hooked. I was ready to pack our lives up and move to this happy island. You will be, too.
NOTE: All dollar values stated are in USD
Looking for more travel cost guides in Asia? Take a look at these posts.
Bali: The Must Knows
When is the Best Time to Visit?
March and September are the best months of the year to visit if you want optimal weather (as in, won't melt into the ground from the heat) and somewhat fewer crowds.
October to November gives you the best Bali prices for hotels and tours. BUT, be aware that this is also rainy season, so prepare for some potential downpour. Or, you might get lucky.
June to August is peak season - avoid. Unless you bask in blistering heat, inflated prices, and mosh pit-like crowds (as in - the wild Aussie ones), then there's no problem there.
If you're visiting Indonesia for less than 30 days and you belong to one of these 140 nationalities - you won't need a visa. Otherwise, check your local Indonesian embassy for visa requirements.
I know living life on the edge is exhilarating and all, but don't be that person (or family) who goes on holiday without travel insurance. I worked at a travel agency for 2 years and have heard enough horror stories to direct a sequel to the Final Destination movie franchise. So, make sure this is the first thing you do before booking anything else for your trip.
We use and recommend World Nomads, because, quite frankly - they're the cheapest and cover a large variety of incidences. They've covered my derriére on numerous occasions from stolen iPhones to damaged suitcases.
Get a quote below - you won't be disappointed!
Ever heard of the notorious Bali Belly? Well, I can confirm that it's not a myth - it's real. And, it's nasty. And, much more common than you think.
Our youngest fell victim to this unpleasant bug which lasted for a good 4-5 days. In most cases, it's harmless and just a matter of waiting for it to pass. Still, not something you want to deal with on your much-anticipated vacay.
The best thing you can do is read up on reputable eateries in Bali and check their reviews. Also, avoid drinking tap water and buy bottled water (even to brush your teeth).
Best Areas to Stay in Bali for Families
Sanur offers an affordable east coast experience, drawing fewer party crowds and more family travellers. The area is home to a diverse range of accommodation ranging from private villas to guesthouses and apartments. Although the beach is nothing spectacular, it's perfect for kids due to its calm and shallow waters.
Nusa Dua is a stunning secluded beach resort complex in the south of Bali comprising of a strip of 5-star resorts. Located away from the craziness of Kuta, it's the ideal place for families who seek to solely relax and chill.
Jimbaran is famous for breathtaking sunsets and some serious legit seafood restaurants. It's great for families who don't want to be completely isolated from the hustle and bustle of Kuta, but don't want to be too close to it either.
Legian is a central place to stay for a myriad of food and shopping options. Nestled between Kuta and Seminyak, Legian has fewer crowds and a variety of hotels to accommodate all budgets.
Ubud is for the ultimate nature lover and families who aren't all too fazed about being by the beach. Afterall, Ubud has some ballin' villas and resorts that come with swimming pools anyway. The area is home to ancient temples, waterfalls and the famous Monkey Forest - a definite hit for the little ones.
Amed is, arguably, the prettiest beach town in Bali. Laid-back resorts, black sand beaches, snorkelling and breathtaking views of Mount Agung - this is the perfect area to retreat with the family. For more on this area, take a look at this list of blissful things to do in Amed.
How long to spend in Bali?
Bali is the perfect destination for short or long holidays - it all depends on how much of the island you intend on exploring. If you're only planning to base yourself in one area (eg. Seminyak), then one week will probably suffice. If you're looking to explore more areas, and perhaps even take a day trips out to other islands, then you'll probably need 10-14 days, or more.
If you're planning a longer holiday to Bali, take a look at this 2-3 week Bali itinerary to plan your trip.
Bali Prices: Our 2-Week Expenses
Our expenses in Bali are based on a family of 4 over a 2-week travel period outside of peak season. And.. We like to eat, a lot.
|Indonesian Rupiah (Rp)||AUD||USD|
Just to make things clear - I'm trapped in a life with 3 perpetually hangry boys (hence the name of the blog), so in essence, our life savings go towards food. I mean, not gonna lie - I love to eat, too. So, most of our Bali expenses went towards accommodation and food.
We also had to make two trips to international doctors when our 3-year old came down with some kind of mosquito-borne virus which required blood tests and medication, hence the $152 that went towards healthcare.
All in all, Bali prices are still significantly lower than most western countries, which is what makes the island one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Getting to Bali: Flight Route & Costs
If you're flying in from Europe or North America, sorry folks - there's no direct route to Bali. You'll most likely face at least one or multiple stops before reaching the island. The most direct route from Europe is with Garuda Airlines departing from Amsterdam.
Luckily for us Aussies - Bali is one of the easiest destinations to get to from our shores, which is why you find our friendly faces and wild (questionable) antics all over Bali. Jetstar, Qantas and Garuda offer direct flights to Bali from major cities in Australia.
Average cost of flights (off-peak) to Bali from:
- Sydney to Bali - $305 return per person
- Los Angeles to Bali - $900 return per person
- London to Bali - $640 return per person
- Hong Kong to Bali - $320 return per person
Cost of Accommodation in Bali
We did the accommodation 'works' in Bali, staying at villas, apartments and resort during our 2-week stint. Here's a breakdown of how much each place cost us.
|Villa Alam Surya Ubud||7||11,090,000||$1,027||$731|
|Green Studio Apartment Sanur||5||2,991,170||$277||$197|
|Kokonut Suites Seminyak||4||3,682,271||$341||$243|
If you can afford it - or, if you have another family travelling with you, villas are a top option in Bali. The villa in which we stayed at in Ubud could've accommodated 2 families, so if we had friends travelling with us, we could've easily saved half the cost making it super affordable at $52 per night a family. And trust me, a villa experience is definitely one you want to have at least once in Bali.
Take a look at all the villa options in Bali.
If amenities, such as a fully-equipped kitchen and washing machine are important for you, then choose apartments. In most cases, they're cheaper than resorts or villas and are a great option for families who need to whip up quick meals for young kids or do loads of laundry. The apartment we stayed at in Sanur came with a pool, 24-hour security, and even housekeeping. It's like living at home but with luxury services.
Browse all the apartments in Bali and find the perfect one suited for your family.
If you're all 'bout dat buffet breakfast, room service, and wellness facilities, then you can't look past the #ResortLyf. Afterall, that's what a tropical beach vacay is all about, ain't it? Bali is home to a myriad of mid-range to luxury resorts, so even if you're on a budget, I can guarantee there's one out there to suit your family budget. We stayed at a moderately priced resort in Seminyak, which came with all the luxuries we needed as a family - large swimming pool, buffet breakfast, and even a fully equipped kitchen. All for $60 a night - say what!?
Compare the best accommodation deals in Bali below:
Cost of Food & Groceries
Food is cheap in Bali. It all comes down to where you eat - the key is to stick to local eateries called 'Warung' where you can get tasty and authentic. But, you can also blow your family budget on food if you constantly eat at western restaurants or you have a fetish for brunch and specialty coffee (eg. me).
How much does it cost to eat out?
While it might seem like a good idea to cook your own food, it's actually much cheaper to eat out than to buy ingredients to whip up a meal. For the most part, supermarkets in Bali stock imported goods at inflated prices, making them even more expensive than products back at home.
Warung (local eateries)
Hit up a Warung in your local neighbourhood for authentic and crazy cheap food. Prices for a single dish will usually range between 70 cents to $5, easily feeding a family of 4 for less than $20.
If you're unsure of which Warungs to visit, take a look at Mark Wiens' Street Food Tour of Bali for some of the best and cheapest Indonesian food. Alternatively, if you're based in Seminyak, make sure to check out these Western and Indonesian eateries that won't break your budget.
Western & Seafood Restaurants
Although Balinese and Indonesian food is delicious - there's not a whole lot of variety. Let's be honest, there's only so much Mee Goreng and Crispy Duck you can eat before you start craving more diversity.
Don't hesitate to try that Italian joint or Japanese restaurant - they are really good and seem to be able to whip up some pretty authentic food (better than many in Australia even, go figure). Although prices are dearer, it's usually worth it. Expect to pay between $6 to $27 a dish for pizza, pasta and seafood.
Breakfast & Cafés
I'm calling it - brunch is better in Bali than in Australia. Guys, that's a huge call because coffee and brunch is, like, Australia's pride and joy. The Balinese have everything down pat from artisan coffee to some of the prettiest smoothie bowls and breakfast dishes your eyes have ever seen. You'll feel bad ruining the aesthetics of your dish by eating it.
Of course, if you do this on the daily - it could potentially hurt your budget. Artisan coffee will cost around $2 and breakfast anywhere between $5-12 per dish.
For ideas on where to eat with little ones, take a look at this list of kid-friendly restaurants and cafés in Bali.
Average daily food expenses: $13 per person
Supermarkets & Baby Essentials
For the most part, we ate out or had food delivered to our accommodation - the only grocery run we did was for breakfast when we stayed at an apartment. Bear in mind that most of the supermarkets and convenience stores in Bali are made for foreigners, meaning that most of their products are imported and expensive.
We also had to buy some baby essentials for our 1-year old - all of which you can acquire from a supermarket so you don't need to pack an entire suitcase full of diapers for your trip. One thing I would suggest bringing is pouch food for your baby if he's on solids because there's very little variety in Bali.
Below is a table outlining the average costs of basic groceries and baby necessities.
|Avocado (per kilo)||20,000||$1.85||$1.30|
|Local Bananas (per kilo)||18,000||$1.70||$1.20|
|68-Pack Diapers (Imported)||131,000||$12||$8.60|
Cost of Transport
When it comes to transportation in Bali, you're probably going to get ripped off at least once. Unless you can avoid taxis and private driver altogether in Bali, then you're totally winning at life.
|Scooter Rental (Per Day)||50,000||$4.60||$3.30|
|Petrol (Per Tank)||45,650||$4.20||$3|
|Grab (Short Trip)||15,000||$1.40||$1|
|GoJek (Short Trip)||10,000-15,000||$0.90-$1.40||$0.65-$1|
|Taxi (Per KM)||6,500||$0.60||$0.45|
|Bemo (Per Trip)||5,000-15,000||$0.45-$1.4||$0.35-$1|
|Bicycle Rental (Per Day)||25,000||$2.30||$1.65|
|Private Driver (1-Day)||600,000-700,000||$55-65||$39-46|
Renting a scooter is by far the cheapest and most convenient way of getting around, but not everyone is comfortable doing so, especially if you're travelling as a family. We maybe sorta completely embraced our Asian and squeezed our entire family of 4 on a single scooter.
Grab or GoJek was our next best choice because we had some trust issues with taxis in Bali based on what we had heard from others. The price is set and you can either choose to prepay with your saved credit card details via the app or pay in cash. Just be aware that some hotels, restaurants and central areas don't allow ride-sharing services to pick up from certain locations (or at least you'll be the recipient of some serious frownage). Take a look at this guide to transportation in Bali for more details.
The notorious T-A-X-I is not known to have a good rep in Bali. In fact, it has a terrible rep. Kind of like how the world feels about Kanye. Your safest bet is to try and find a Blue Bird as they are the most reputable and known for turning on the metre. If you're stuck out in Woop Woop and have to resort to a private taxi, just make sure you put your haggle pants on and pitch at least half the price of what they're calling out to you.
HOT TIP: When jumping in a cab - insist the driver turn on the metre. If not, be prepared to haggle your pants off.
Bemo is kind of like a throwback to before ridesharing apps existed - it's the O.G. way of hitching a cheap ride. You'll spot them as yellow or orange painted vans - they mainly operate in rural areas and are a super cheap option for short distance trips.
Renting a bicycle can be a very cheap mode of transport, but as you may be aware - Bali is butt-sweat-drippin' hot, so if you don't fancy arriving at your destination a sweating mess of a human, then go for gold.
Hiring a private driver is one of the best ways of exploring the island for a day or even multiple days. Hiring a driver for one day costs between $40-60 USD and you get to bask in air conditioning from one sight to the next.
Cost of Activities & Leisure
A trip to Bali is an exhilarating blend of culture and touristy fun that truly is for all members of the family. There's an endless number of things to do in Bali with kids, from animal parks to beach clubs - you won't even find enough time to experience them all. That's why most visitors keep making return trips to this happy island because you never run out of activities.
|Safari & Marine Park||720,000||$66||$47|
|Treetop Adventure Park||380,000||$25||$35|
|Manicure & Pedicure||76,000-152,000||$7-$14||$5-$10|
Some temples are free to enter, but the popular ones, such as Tanah Lot and Gunung Kawi charge a very small entry fee. The same goes for nature parks in which you'll find some of Bali's most breathtaking waterfalls.
The more popular tourist attractions in Bali come at a higher price, but they are so worth a visit. Most of the time, we found it cheaper to purchase tickets online than at the door, sometimes saving us up to 20% on entry. We pre-purchased all of our tickets from Klook who seemed to have the best deals for Bali Zoo, Waterbom and even Bali Safari and Marine Park.
For a rough idea of how to make the most of Bali's best attractions, take a look at this comprehensive 10-day itinerary for inspiration.
Save BIG on entry tickets & book online:
If you've got the time to spare, I would highly recommend going on a day trip. Bali is a lot bigger than most people think - it's also home to diverse landscapes - rugged coastlines, dense jungles and volcanic mountains. You'll return umpteen times just to explore more of what the island has to offer.
Cost of Phone & Internet
If you're planning to use apps like Grab and GoJek on the fly, it's best to get a SIM card. Although WiFi can be found in most cafés, restaurants and even some shops, there were times we found ourselves stranded and needing to book a Grab but we couldn't because we didn't buy a SIM card. Derp.
The safest place to purchase a SIM is at the airport in the arrivals hall. A basic plan for calls, texting and 4gb of data to blow should cost between Rp 70k-150k ($5-10) valid for 30 days. Be wary of buying from independent shops as they tend to overcharge. Like, by a lot.
Some shop owners we encountered in Ubud claimed that the cheapest SIM only serviced a certain area and they'll attempt to persuade you into buying a more expensive option covering all of Bali. Just.. don't fall for those mind games.
Book a hassle-free Bali SIM card & pick up when you arrive:
Health & Medical Expenses
A visit to the doctor or hospital is definitely way cheaper than most western countries. You'll probably even get better service. Our doc in Seminyak even let us eat Nasi Goreng inside his office while waiting for blood test results.
You'll find international medical clinics in most major tourist area where staff and doctors speak fluent English and you'll feel at ease knowing that you or your family is in the best possible care. A single consultation can cost anywhere between Rp 400k-600k ($27-40), with prescription medicine and blood tests incurring extra costs. Some clinics even offer free pick-ups and drop-offs as part of their service.
South East Asia is renowned for cheap dental work - you just need to find a reputable one based on reviews online. If you've been holding off that filling back at home - get it done in Bali. For the same kind of work back at home, you'll pay between Rp 450k - 1m ($30-66) per filling, usually including X-rays, pain relief, and sometimes even a clean.
Average Daily Cost of Travelling Bali as a Family
We suck at budgeting, which is why budget travel doesn't usually work for us, as hard as we try. We just have zero self-control when it comes to, well, food. But, then again - who does? In all honestly, Bali can absolutely be done on a tight budget, but you can also ball out hard and live it up. It's all possible in Bali.
Our average daily expenses: $39 per person (inclusive of accommodation, food, transport, attractions and other things)
Looking for ideas on how to spend your time in Bali? Take a look at this adventure-filled one week itinerary.
Tips for Saving Money in Bali
- Plan your trip for low season to snap up airfare bargains and accommodation deals.
- Eat at Warungs in your local area for authentic and cheap Balinese food.
- Shop at fresh food markets for fruits and vegetables as opposed to supermarkets.
- Purchase tickets online on sites like Klook where you can save up to 20% on entry tickets.
- Haggle your pants off because there's always room for a bargain. Pitch half the amount of what the vendor is offering.
- Stay in guesthouses or apartments - they are the most cost-effective accommodation options in Bali.
- Download the Grab or GoJek app to get around and avoid having to haggle over cab fares.
I hope this article has provided you with a little more insight into Bali prices and roughly how much monies you're going to have to splash out for a family trip. It's definitely possible to spend much less than we did - it really all comes down to the type of accommodation you choose and... how much you enjoy eating 😉
Are you a ball-out-hard type of traveller or are you more conscious of budget? Tell me in the comments below.
WATCH: How Expensive is Bali for Families?
Looking for more travel cost guides in Asia? Take a look at these posts.
Travel resources to help save you money for your Bali trip
Visit our Travel Resources to find the best deals on flights, accommodation and attractions. We love and use these services ourselves to plan all of our family trips - they save us a ton of time and money.
Sweet deals for you:
For ideas on what to pack for a family trip, check out gear and accessories we take with us on every single trip.