Life

The ultimate guide to Bali on a student budget

It's the constant uni struggle. You're dreaming of a holiday on uni break but you can barely afford that ridiculously expensive textbook for that subject you don’t even like anyway. Then there’s the train fare, rent, food and you know, those new shoes you just had to get. Let’s just say, life gets in the way.

Well, the good news is, you can still have a good time on a budget. This guide will show you how to do Bali on the cheap for only a couple of hundred dollars after flights and accommodation. Sounds too good to be true, right? It’s possible. Here’s how to get the most out of your Bali holiday while sticking to a budget.

Flights

First thing is first, flights.  Get in early with these, they’re super cheap on off-seasons, like February to March. If you fly at night, you can often save a few hundred off the price too. For flights to Bali, you're looking at a few hundred dollars total for a return flight, which definitely beats that exxy Euro flight. Keep an eye out for package deals that include flights and accommodation and you might get it even cheaper.

Where to stay

Unlike anywhere else in the world, hotels in Legian offer a five-star standard of hotel for dirt cheap prices. If you’re willing to splurge a little more, it’s still not that expensive for hotels that include rooftop infinity pools and free buffet breakfasts. Uh-mazing.

Looking to go even cheaper? Airbnbs and hostels can start from as little as $3 AUD a night. Maybe not pure luxury, but a total bargain. Many airlines do flights and accommodation packages starting at $500 return, so it’s worth looking into the package deals and doing your research.

What to do

Don’t just hit up the night clubs, try to check out some of the beautiful temples at sunsets, and marvel in the spiritual atmosphere that places like Ubud and Tabanan have to offer. If you want a more spiritual adventure, head over to the majestic, Ubud. It might look familiar because it’s where the movie Eat Pray Love was filmed. You can get a private car there for around $40 and that includes a tour guide. While you’re there, white water rafting in the tropical forest and seeing the majestic rice fields in Ubud is a must. 

The more day-trips and adventure packages you buy at once, the cheaper you can barter down the price. If you chuck in day trip to Tabanan to see the Hindu Tanah lot temples at sunset, it could only cost you around 90 Aussie dollars. Barter that price down low and you’re set for a jam packed holiday of adventure.

Also be sure to take advantage of the super cheap day spa at your hotel and treat yourself to the amazing beaches in Kuta, and Legian. Relax on the beach, sip on a $3 coconut, and get a full body massage and facial for under $20.

Meet locals, make friends with them, and you can get the inside knowledge on places to go. They make the best tour guides and will most often be happy to help. 

Money and conversion rates

Bartering is alive and happening everywhere in Bali. Definitely don’t take the first price you are offered. Most locals are almost expecting you to barter so they put up the price a little to cover it.

Balinese currency is Indonesian Rupiah, and it usually stays around one Aussie dollar to 10,000 Rupiah. $120 Aussie bucks gets you one million Rupiah, which believe me, will cover most your meals, adventure time and transport for four days.

Food

If you’re not eating at the luxurious restaurants, fill up on the free hotel breakfast and get down to the food stalls on Legian Road. They’re virtually everywhere and you can get a meal for around 10,000 Rupiah, which works out to be about $1. That’s insane considering you can’t even get a cup of coffee for that price down under.

From the majestic sunsets, to the adventurous activities, and nightlife, Bali is a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime, and you can do it for super cheap. From the monkey forest in Ubud to the majestic rice fields and scenic views, Bali has so much to offer. And the good news is, it’s all within a budget.

Zena Chamas

Zena is a final year Master of Journalism student, who is enthusiastic about the Middle East and foreign affairs. She has peviously been published at ABC, Maggie Journal of Live Art, and The Australian Times. She also runs her own blog called Haq News.