Bali Budget: Ranking the cost of living on the island of paradise

Photo: Unsplash/arty.
Photo: Unsplash/arty.

Bali, the enchanting Indonesian island, beckons with its emerald rice paddies, turquoise waters, and vibrant culture. But beyond the postcard-perfect beaches lies a crucial question for aspiring residents:where’s the most wallet-friendly place to settle in? Fear not, budget-conscious travelers, for Coconuts is here to crack the code on the cost of living in different Balinese havens.

1. Canggu: The Trendy Trailblazer (Cost of Living: $$$$)

Outpost Canggu
A scene at coworking and coliving space, Outpost Canggu. Photo courtesy of Outpost

Canggu, the undisputed surfer haven (as well as the ‘it’ place for digital nomads, influencers, fitness aficionados, and cryptobros), pulsates with a youthful energy. Trendy cafes, co-working spaces, and sleek boutiques line the streets, offering a taste of the cosmopolitan. However, this convenience comes at a price.

Canggu’s rent can be eye-watering, with basic studios starting at around US$500 per month (mind you that soaring prices occurred now that the island has “recovered” from the COVID-19 pandemic). Groceries and dining out also lean towards the pricier side. But hey, you’ll be sipping lattes with influencers and catching waves with the cool kids.

Canggu is the ‘It Girl’ of the Island of Gods, after all. For now, at least.

2. Seminyak: The Luxe Lifestyle (Cost of Living: $$$$)

A scene taken in Seminyak. Photo: Pixabay

If Canggu is the “It Girl” then Seminyak is perhaps the established “Queen Bee.”

Seminyak, Bali’s crown jewel, glitters with five-star resorts, designer boutiques, and upscale restaurants.

Think private infinity pools, gourmet degustation menus, and in-villa spa treatments. While luxury comes at a premium (think US$1,000+ for a decent villa), Seminyak offers an air of exclusivity and undeniable pampering. Budget-conscious travelers can find solace in chic homestays and warungs (local eateries) tucked away from the main drag.

3. Legian: Bali’s Beach Budget Paradise (Cost of Living: $$)

Legian whispers “savvy sister” rather than “glam queen.” Sure, you won’t find private helipads here, but skip the designer duds and step into Legian’s laid-back charm. Think breezy beach shacks serving Bintang for a dollar, budget-friendly spas with sunset massages, and surf lessons so cheap you’ll be catching waves, not credit card debt. Accommodation swaps five-star infinity pools for charming guesthouses with sun-drenched patios, and while your Instagram story might lack infinity pool envy, it’ll overflow with local markets, hidden warungs dishing up babi guling, and enough smiles to fill a Balinese temple.

It’s not Seminyak’s glitz, it’s Legian’s warmth – and your wallet will thank you for it.

3. Ubud: The Cultural Oasis (Cost of Living: $$)

Bali, Ubud, Rice Field
Photo: Coconuts Media

Nestled amidst verdant rice fields and ancient temples, Ubud is the spiritual heart of Bali. Yoga studios, art galleries, and traditional healers paint the town with a bohemian charm. Compared to Canggu and Seminyak, Ubud offers a more affordable haven. You can find charming homestays for under US$300 per month, and local warungs dish up delicious meals for a fraction of the price of Seminyak’s cafes

Keep in mind, however, that nightlife options are limited, and the pace is decidedly slower.

4. Sanur: The Family-Friendly Haven (Cost of Living: $$)

File photo of a deserted Sanur beach during Nyepi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Sanur’s wide, sandy beach and gentle waves make it a haven for families and retirees. Budget-friendly resorts and guesthouses line the coast, offering comfortable accommodations at reasonable rates. Warungs and local markets cater to a more traditional palate, keeping dining costs down. While nightlife is limited, the laid-back atmosphere and family-friendly activities make Sanur a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.

5. Uluwatu: The Cliffside Escape (Cost of Living: $$)

Uluwatu, perched on the rugged cliffs of Bali’s southern coast, offers a unique blend of luxury and bohemian vibes. Picture stunning ocean views, world-class surf breaks, and ancient temples all within reach. You can find comfortable guesthouses for around US$200 per night, and delicious seafood warungs dot the coastline. Plus, Uluwatu’s iconic Kecak dance performance, held at an open-air temple overlooking the ocean, is an unforgettable experience.

6. Amed: The Off-the-Beaten-Path Gem (Cost of Living: $)

Amed, Bali. Photo: Unsplash/ Bernard Hermant.

Amed, nestled on Bali’s east coast, is a hidden gem for budget travelers. Traditional villages, untouched beaches, and world-class diving await at a fraction of the price of other areas. Basic bungalows start at around US$100 per month, and fresh seafood from the local market is a steal. Amed may lack the trendy cafes and nightlife, but its charm lies in its untouched beauty and laid-back vibe.

The Verdict:

Bali’s cost of living varies like its diverse landscapes. Canggu and Seminyak offer luxury and convenience, while Ubud and Sanur charm with affordability and cultural immersion. Amed emerges as the budget champion, offering an escape to paradise without breaking the bank.

Ultimately, the “best” place depends on your priorities and lifestyle. So, grab your sarong, pack your bags, and get ready to discover your perfect Bali on a budget!

Bonus Tip: Consider shoulder seasons (April-May and September-October) for lower accommodation rates and fewer crowds. Renting a motorbike or scooter is a budget-friendly way to get around, and don’t be afraid to haggle at local markets!

Remember, Bali is a land of endless possibilities. So, choose your adventure, embrace the local spirit, and discover your own slice of paradise on this magical island.


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