Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for many reasons. With its lush jungles, beautiful beaches, and amazing culture, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to the island. But one of the main attractions is that Bali is surprisingly cheap to visit! Once you arrive in Bali your money stretches much further than say Hawaii or even Thailand.
Though costs have increased over the past few years Bali remains an affordable destination in 2023. But, why is Bali so cheap? Let’s dive in.
Why is Bali so Cheap?
First, let’s go straight to the root and look at the country Bali belongs to which is Indonesia. It’s a common misconception that Bali is its own country but as different as it is from its other siblings the Island of Gods proudly waves the Indonesian flag.
Indonesia is a developing country with an average annual per capita income of around 4,600 dollars or $383 per month. Therefore it’s no surprise that prices are significantly cheaper than in many countries in the West.
When the cost of goods and labor is less this equates to the cost of living being low. This means your money will stretch much further and you can get more bang for your buck when it comes to activities, accommodation, and food.
The Currency Exchange Rate in Bali
Another contributing factor to making Bali affordable is the exchange rate. Indonesia uses the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and in comparison to other world currencies, it has a very low value.
On average in 2023, US$1 is equal to around 14,500 IDR. This means that even if something appears a little pricey at first glance once you consider the exchange rate it’s probably more affordable than you think!
This is great news for foreigners looking to visit Bali and not break the bank.
Cheap Hotel Accommodations in Bali
Why are the hotels in Bali so cheap? Bali is incredibly popular with backpackers and digital nomads which means affordable accommodation options are abundant. From homestays to hostels, the demand for budget-friendly lodging is alive and well in Bali.
And with land and labor still so inexpensive, Bali is brimming with investors looking to cash in by building more affordable accommodations.
Best Budget-Friendly Stays in Bali
Airbnb is always a great option if you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodations in Bali. Check out these Bali stays for under $38 USD per night. With so many villas, apartments, and guesthouses to choose from it’s easy to find something that works within your budget.
If you’re feeling adventurous then hostels are also an excellent option. Not only do they offer private rooms, but many of them also have shared rooms and dorms.
Plus, most hostels come equipped with common areas, free breakfasts, and shared kitchens so you can save money on food as well.
It’s totally reasonable to stay in decent hostels for under $ 300 USD a month!
Here are some of the top hostels in Bali based on traveler type:
- Best Hostel in Ubud – Arya Wellness Retreat
- Best Hostel in Canggu – Kos One Hostel
- Best Hostel in Nusa Penida – Nuansa Penida Hostel
- Best Party Hostel – Capsule Seminyak
- Best Beach Hostel – Captain Coconuts Gili Air
- Best Digital Nomad Hostel – Lokal Bali Hostel
- Best Hostel For Surfing – The Farm Hostel
Is Food and Drink Cheap in Bali?
Yes and No. Food and drinks are incredibly cheap in Bali compared to western countries. If you want to eat at a restaurant expect to pay around $2 USD for an Indonesian meal or less than that if you opt for street food.
However, Bali has a strong western influence on the food scene so you can expect to pay more at international restaurants-at least double. Drinks are also slightly higher in price compared to other items on the menu but they’re still pretty cheap.
Overall, the cost of food and drinks is incredibly low compared to many places in the world so it’s easy to keep your daily budget in check.
Transportation Costs in Bali
Bali is a relatively small island and easy to get around. As with lodging accommodations and food/drink, the cost of transportation is flexible. If you have a group and are looking to explore the island you can rent a self-drive car for around $10 per day.
Or if you’re flying solo and looking to get around town you can use GoJek or Grab bikes (like Uber with motorbikes) for around $1-$2 per lift.
If you’re experienced with bikes, hop on a scooter and get anywhere you need to go. The cost of the scooter rental depending on the year and size of the bike will run you $2-$10 per day.
How Much Spending Money Should I Bring to Bali for 10 Days?
This completely depends on what kind of experience you are after. It will look much different if you’re a backpacker versus a luxury Four Seasons-type traveler. But the good news is that smaller budget travelers can totally be in the game in Bali.
On the low end, you can get away with just $100 USD per day for a comfortable stay. This will allow you to eat out twice a day, grab some drinks, and take part in some activities.
If you’d like to splurge more on dinners, drinks and activities then you can easily increase your budget to $150 – 200 USD per day.
Since it is fairly simple to access cash and most larger establishments take credit cards in Bali I suggest bringing about $250-$500 USD cash for a 10 day trip.
But, whatever amount you decide to bring, one thing’s for sure – you can have a great time in Bali without spending a fortune!
Tipping in Bali
This is a confusing subject but one to consider when you calculate your costs for Bali. Do you tip in Bali? If so, how much? We cover everything in that article but in short, tipping is not required or expected in Bali.
However, it is a nice gesture to show appreciation for great service. A small tip of 5-10% in restaurants and bars is appreciated but not necessary. In taxis and other transport, you can round up the bill to the nearest Rupiah amount or give a few thousand Rupiah each way.
I tend to make sure to tip a driver or a tour guide when their service is half or full day and they add more to the experience.
Is Bali Cheap to Live?
Yes, absolutely can be! Bali is one of the most affordable places to live in the world. Depending on your lifestyle, you can easily get away with spending less than $1000 USD per month for a comfortable life. $2000 per month will have you living high.
Especially if you work remotely or are running a digital business, there’s no reason why you can’t make it happen in Bali. With low living costs and stunning natural beauty, it’s easy to understand why so many people are flocking to the island in search of a more affordable lifestyle.
Check out our list of Bali Pros and Cons for more info about the costs of living in Bali.
What Should I Bring with me to Bali?
In general, you should be able to find everything you need for a reasonable cost in Bali. However, a few things are hard to find and quite expensive. If you have a little extra space make sure to pack.
- Sunscreen – This can be quite expensive on the island so make sure to stock up before you come.
- Prescription Medication – If you need a specific medication or brand name drug, best to bring it with you as it may not be available in Bali.
- Tampons – These are not widely available in Bali so make sure to bring enough for the duration of your stay. Western brands are a pretty penny.
Wrapping Up: Why is Bali so Cheap? 
Bali is a great place to visit or live because it is affordable. Once you get over the sticker shock of the flight to get to Bali, you can easily save money in a variety of ways.
Accommodations are cheap, transportation costs are low and most activities are reasonably priced. You can easily find delicious food for just a few dollars, from street stalls to high-end restaurants.
For all of these reasons, Bali is a great destination for budget travelers and those looking to stretch their dollars further. With its stunning landscapes, friendly locals, and laid-back atmosphere, there’s no question why it continues to be such a popular travel destination. So pack your bags!
Thanks for reading. I hope that I’ve answered your question about why Bali is so cheap and helped you be a little bit more prepared for your adventure.
Feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions about Bali.