Sing Ken Ken is a Balinese phrase that means “no worries” and that’s exactly how I felt when this picture was taken during the purification ritual at the Holy Water Temple, after, realizing the water I was standing in had crabs, snakes and giant koi fish swimming around.😳 When you’re in Bali basking in the Balinese culture and feeling blessed to even have the opportunity to be in such an amazing place, you forget about all of that…kind of. Lol
Bali truly is one of the greatest places on earth. I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s true. And if you ask anyone that has ever visited, they will agree with me 100 percent. It’s quite magical and not to mention budget friendly. And you know I’m always down to save these coins! Also, you will get your ENTIRE life there, which is why I decided to write a blog post on all things Bali and because a lot of you have reached out asking for recommendations. So instead of keeping an email, I created about Bali in my inbox, which has been making its rounds to several of you, I wanted to create a blog post and share it with anyone else who’s thinking about taking a trip there.
Although Bali is a tiny Indonesian island thousands of miles away from the U.S., you can find flights that are really cheap. For instance, a friend visited us while we were in Bali and spent less than $500 on a round-trip flight from New York City to Bali. I found a similar deal for my mom, who purchased a round-trip flight from DC to Bali, for about $600. So it’s definitely possible to travel there inexpensively. (Read my post “The Secret to Finding Cheap Flights” to check out the cheapest flights to Bali.)
Housing in Bali is also relatively inexpensive. There are tons of options to choose from, it just all depends on your budget. When I was there in 2016, I went with two friends and stayed in a village in Ubud called Penestanan. We found an incredible three bedroom Airbnb with a private pool. It also came with free breakfast every morning and cleaning services every day. Our host, Eka, and his family were amazing. Penestanan is about a 15-minute walk from the city center. So if you’re thinking about visiting Ubud and you want to stay outside of the city center, I would recommend staying at Villa Pacekan – Cempaka. The average cost to stay here is about $45 USD per night.
The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah. At the time this was written $1USD converts to $14,849.00 IDR. This is a STEAL! I’ll put what this means into context for you. Most meals in Bali will cost you around $30,000 IDR, which is equivalent to $2 USD. The main dish in Bali and Indonesia is Nasi Goreng, which is Indonesian fried rice. You can find it at my favorite places: the Yellow Flower Cafe, Lala Lili, Made’s Warung as well as other restaurants throughout the island. The price for a plate of Nasi Goreng is typically around $30,000 IDR or about $2 USD. My other favorite place in Ubud is Taco Casa. (Yes, it’s Mexican food.) But THE FOOD HERE IS SO GOOD! Lol
If you’re wanting to check out healthier options there are great restaurants that cater to vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan dietary needs. A few of my favorites are Seeds of Life, Alchemy, and Moksa Plant-Based Restaurant and Permaculture Garden. While still cheaper than most healthy restaurants in Western countries, the prices at these eateries are more expensive than most places in Bali. The price of a meal at one of these restaurants will cost you around $60,000 IDR or $4 USD.
Getting around is pretty simple also. You’ll see a lot of people, even entire families, driving around the city on motorbikes. I was terrified of getting on one of these especially in Ubud because it’s always SO busy. I did eventually learn how to drive a motorbike, but it was in Canggu where the traffic isn’t as crazy. Tourists can rent motorbikes for about $3 USD for the day, $20 USD for the week, and $50 USD for the month. Don’t forget, you can always bargain.
There are a ton of local taxi drivers all over the city that are more than happy to take you around. Uber is another option I frequently used when I was there. Uber always came out to be the cheapest way to get around. I was going through my Uber receipts the other day and saw a bunch of $1 or .75 rides from my time in Bali. It’s super cheap!
As far as activities go, I would recommend the following:
- Check out a traditional Balinese Dance in Ubud’s City Center
- Day Tour of the Bali (There were three of us on this tour and it cost about $20/$30 USD per person.)
- Shopping in Ubud’s City Center
- Museum Puri Lukisan (According to Wikipedia, this is “the oldest art museum in Bali which specializes in modern traditional Balinese paintings and wood carvings.”)
- Day trip to Canggu (Canggu is a beach town in Bali about a 45-minute drive from Ubud. If you go here, make sure you stop by the Echo Beach bar/restaurant during sunset. Also grab dinner and drinks at Finn’s, which turns into a beach party at night.)
- Spa’s (Definitely take advantage of doing this while you’re here. The average price for a good massage is about $10. Some of the Spa companies will even come to pick you up from your hotel/Airbnb. One of my favorite spas I went to was called Jaens Spa. They’re a little on the pricer side for Bali with services starting around $20. They’ll come to pick you up from your hotel and take you to the spa)
- Monkey Forest (This is a must!! But I will caution you about the monkeys. They roam freely around the forest, so I wouldn’t carry food or any loose items with you because they will take things from you.)
Are you thinking about going to Bali? Or have you been? I’d love to hear from you if you’ve already been or are planning to go. If you’ve already been and there was something I missed, mention it in the comments section below!