To those in other parts of the world, Bali is an exotic paradise where people go on spiritual journeys to find themselves. Or at least that’s what Eat, Pray, Love led everyone to believe. Singaporeans, on the other hand, are more likely to be hitting up fancy resorts, luxurious spas and chic bars in the belief that the rupiah is so low it won’t cost them a thing.
If you spend all your time in upmarket areas like Seminyak, you can expect to fork out a pretty penny for a destination that can actually be enjoyed on a shoestring budget. Here’s how to enjoy the beauty of Bali without the hefty pricetag.
Over public holidays, air ticket prices to Bali undergo particularly drastic inflation, so forget about going when everyone else is. On the other hand, if you book your tickets well in advance and avoid flying on Fridays or Sundays, you should be able to get return flights for about $180 to $200.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you should book a return ticket on one single airline. Often, the cheapest way to get to and from Bali will involve your purchasing a combination of tickets from two different airlines. Be sure to factor in the cost of booking and admin fees.
Cost: 200 SGD
Accommodation in Bali can be as luxurious or as simple as you want it to be. You can pay thousands of dollars a night to stay in an ultra luxe villa with your own personal stretch of beach, private infinity pool and your own dedicated team of butlers. Or you can pay 10 SGD a night for a basic room in a hotel or guest house.
If you want something a little more luxurious but aren’t prepared to pay top dollar, you’re in luck, as you can get a night’s stay in a very nice bungalows close to the beach or a reasonably fancy resort for as little as 40 SGD a night. If you’re travelling as a couple, that works out to just 20 SGD a person. Agoda tends to offer good prices and discounts.
Your biggest challenge when choosing accommodation is deciding which area to base yourself in. Seminyak is where all the chic, tourist-filled bars, clubs and restaurants like Ku De Ta and Potato Head are located. Kuta is where you’ll find backpackers in the middle of their tenth beer. Uluwatu is close to the sea and filled with upmarket resorts.
I tend to prefer Ubud, which lacks beaches but has temples, a nice if rather touristy town and accommodation with jungle views.
Cost: 20 SGD a day / 140 SGD for a week
Most people get around in Bali either by taking taxis or hiring a driver. If you insist on using the meter, you’ll find taxi rides to be quite affordable. A 10km journey should cost about 45,000 IDR (4.60 SGD).
You can also rent a scooter, although it is only advisable to do so if you’re travelling short distances as riding in Bali can be challenging. Your resort might have scooters for rent, otherwise you’ll be paying about 50,000 IDR (5 SGD) to 100,000 (10 SGD) per day.
If you’d like to see multiple sights in a day, hiring a guide with a car might be the most convenient option. Many tour companies provide guides for hire. Don’t forget to bargain. You should expect to pay about 400,000 IDR (40 SGD) to 600,000 IDR (60 SGD) a day, depending on your itinerary.
Any of the above options instantly becomes cheaper if you’re travelling in a group. If you take around four cab rides a day and are travelling with one other person, you can expect to spend about 20 SGD a day.
Cost: 20 SGD / 140 SGD for a week
The only sightseeing many Singaporeans in Bali do consists of staring into the depths of their cocktails as they listen to Buddha Bar music. Well, there are actually tons of scenic and cultural sights to enjoy in between lazing around on the beach or luxuriating at the resort. Ticket prices tend to be affordable thanks to the weak rupiah. Here’s a sampling of some of Bali’s more well known sights.
- Monkey Forest – 15,000 IDR (1.50 SGD)
- Tanah Lot – 30,000 IDR (3 SGD)
- Uluwatu Temple – 20,000 IDR (2 SGD)
- Elephant Safari Park – 80,000 IDR (8 SGD)
- Kintamani Volcano and Mount Batur – Free
Cost: 300,000 IDR (30 SGD) should be more than enough to keep yourself occupied for a week
Bali is an island that relies heavily on tourism, so most eateries are going to be geared towards tourists and more expensive than what you would find elsewhere in Indonesia. In fact, if you’re eating in upmarket restaurants in Seminyak, you might find yourself paying upwards of 20 SGD for a meal and a cocktail.
On the other hand, if you head to smaller restaurants serving Indonesian food, you’ll save a ton of money and probably end up eating better food as well. A meal in a nasi campur restaurant should sent you back no more than 50,000 IDR (5 SGD) per person, probably even less.
If you’re really on a budget, a bowl of noodle soup at a street vendor can cost about 15,000 IDR (1.50 SGD) or even less.
Cost: 15 SGD a day / 105 SGD for a week
While Bali is generally safe, you’ll probably be spending some time in the great outdoors, whether you’re attempting to surf or mountain bike down the side of a volcano. Some element of risk is present, and this increases manifold if you’re daring enough to rent a scooter.
Don’t forget to buy travel insurance to protect yourself in case of mishaps. Use MoneySmart’s Travel Insurance Wizard to compare policies within minutes.
Cost: 30 SGD for one of the cheaper policies
Total: 645 SGD
Have you ever been to Bali? Tell us how much you spent in the comments!