BALI MONEY TIPS & TRICKS

So before I get into writing all about my Bali adventure, I thought we’d start off with a post about money which is obviously one of the most important things you need to know before travelling to a foreign country! Scroll down to see my guide on prices for accommodation, food and the wonderful markets.

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First of all, the currency used in Bali is Indonesian Rupiah and I don’t know about other countries but if you’re leaving from the UK, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get them because they aren’t massively popular here. When I looked in Sainsburys and the Post Office, neither did them. In the end I ordered mine online from John Lewis and got them delivered to my nearest Waitrose which only took a few days.

It was quite difficult to know how much to take for a whole month but I started off with £500 and took a card to withdraw money if I needed it whilst there.

My £500 got me 8,200,000.00 Indonesian Rupiah which made me feel like I was balling! From this I knew that the cost of living out there would be pretty cheap but was flabbergasted at just how cheap! The best way to get your head around this huge amount of money is that 20,000 is just over £1.

Bronte and I did a guided tour for 12 days whilst there so a lot of our accommodation was included and I’m unsure how much each worked out to be, but if you want to have a look at the tour which was across the whole of Bali and the Gili T islands for just £849 then click here. That may sound a lot for such a short amount of time when I’m saying how cheap it is but let me tell you that included SO much!!! (But I shall go into more of that in my upcoming posts.)

Aside from the tour, as we were initially going for the whole month we also had a few nights in places we booked ourselves so lets start with prices for the hotels we stayed at. Thank god we booked stuff as we went along because if we had been organised and had planned it all, we probably would have lost a lot of money thanks to Covid 19 ending our travels 2 weeks early. However, we won’t dwell on that right now!

Accommodation

Amazingly, you can expect to pay as little as £10 a night for a decent private double bedroom with a bathroom and a swimming pool which is absolutely mental.

As we were flying into Denpasar airport (the main airport on the island) we decided to get a cheap hotel in Denpasar as we were arriving at night. Makes sense right? However, after a 30 minute taxi ride we swiftly realised the airport isn’t actually in Denpasar and it would’ve taken the same amount of time in the taxi to Canggu which is where our tour actually started a few days later hahaha! Nevertheless it was still lovely but just not really a touristy spot. It was nice to explore another area of Bali without really meaning to though!

Quest San Denpasar by Aston was the name of the hotel and cost us only £8 a night! Our attraction to the hotel was the pool which was beautiful and so peaceful. I don’t think it’s a massively touristy time in Bali in March so we had the pool to ourselves for the whole time we were there.

It was a really nice hotel and we were very well looked after throughout the time we spent there. One thing I will say though (and this goes for other cheap places) that although it was a nice hotel, don’t expect the standards to be the same as somewhere in Europe. It’s a lot more dated but you’ve got to remember it is a reasonably poor area of the world. Our balcony door didn’t shut when we first arrived but they had technicians on call to fix it and it was fixed within half an hour so it really wasn’t anything major but just bear in mind it may just be a little rough around the edges/basic but you can’t complain for the price.

The other place we booked for ourselves was an amazing guesthouse in my fave place, Canggu – and it was where we spent our last few days in Bali. Canggu is quite an expensive place to stay because it’s incredibly touristy so we hit the jackpot finding this gem just a short walk from the centre of the town. Again can’t really fault it for just £12 a night, we had the best location and a lovely pool which was wonderful! Our room was incredibly spacious, maybe a little basic but everything we needed and the staff are the cutest people ever who will do anything to help you. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

Food

Again, food is so amazingly cheap in Bali. You can expect to pay around 120,000 for a really nice steak and drink which is just over a fiver! On the menus you will nearly always see their national dish which is Nasi Goreng (fried rice with an egg on top, its delish try it!!) and Mee Goreng (the same but with noodles) which are usually the cheapest dishes on the menu around 55,000. I always compared these dishes at different restaurants because if it was a bit pricier I knew the other dishes would be a bit more too but as a whole you’ll pay less then £10 for food in a nice restaurant.

really poor quality photo of Nasi Goreng usually served with a fried egg, not boiled.
most delish steak ever for just over a fiver!!! probs my most expensive meal out there
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Tips

  • Drinks on the other hand can be expensive (basically very similar to our prices) so watch out for that and also watch out for tax which is added onto the bill. I can’t remember exactly how much it is but I think it’s around 12%.
Markets

The markets were one of my favourite things to do in Bali! You can find so much unique jewellery, bags and clothing amongst many other bits and bobs.

With the markets, you are expected to haggle. They will often start with a really ridiculous price that you can knock at least half off. Also you’ll find that every stall pretty much has the same thing so don’t be afraid to compare prices. Sometimes I felt bad haggling really low prices because it equates to very little in pounds and I thought they may not get much business but you’ve got to put that to the back of your head and think about the quality of the product and how much you’re willing to pay.

For the classic shell bracelets/ anklets you can get them for as cheap as 35,000! Bronte and I were a bit clueless and initially paid 65,000 on our first trip which is defo more expensive then you need to pay but we got better at haggling as the days went on.

For the beautiful woven bags I paid 100,000 for a regular sized one in the Ubud markets. I think that’s maybe slightly cheaper then they would in a busier time but like I said it wasn’t really peak times and they were desperate for business. I think you’d expect to pay max 150,000 for these bags.

I also got a clutch bamboo bag for my mum which you’d usually pay a good £15 from Zara here but got it again very cheaply for 150,000. I actually saw one of these bags in a fixed price shop for 300,000 so was chuffed to find one so cheap. Again from the Ubud markets.

The crotchet tops that you can see below are about 65,000 and come in a whole array of colours! Very Bali and v cool! I ended up getting 3 different ones. Also worth noting that you’ll find random market stalls near touristy attractions like water falls so you can often get stuff a lot cheaper at those ones during this time of year because they get even less business then the main markets.

Tips

  • Business was pretty quiet for the markets around the time we went so it meant that you could go pretty low with prices. Don’t feel like you’re being cheeky, have a price in mind that you would be happy to pay in your own currency and go in low!! But also if you are saying 40,000 for example and they say 45,000 or even 50,000 you are best just to accept because the difference between 5000 and 10000 in Indonesian Rupiah is nothing to us but will make a lot of difference to the sellers!
  • A lot of the time I would say a price and it would be declined so I’d say I was going somewhere else or that I would come back later and immediately they would accept the price I had said. Usually it is way below what they say their lowest price is so don’t be fooled by their ‘lowest price’.
  • The market in Canggu (called Love Anchor) is more boutiquey and is slightly more expensive then the market in Ubud. That being said I much preferred the Canggu markets because they were smaller and had nicer clothing and jewellery. The rings are soooo cute and proper silver. If you’re looking for more souvenir bits/ elephant trousers and bags then Ubud is better and cheaper.
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I hope that was a little bit helpful for anyone looking at going to Bali! Obviously there is so much more to Bali then just how cheap it is but I just wanted to highlight the crazy prices because I know I was shocked.

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