High airfare to Bali is one of the main reasons that deters many from traveling to Bali. This factor has particularly influenced travelers' choices during the pandemic. However, it has passed, the island has already recovered and reopened, yet ticket prices still remain excessively high.
Moreover, this applies not only to international flights but also domestic ones. The Jakarta-Bali-Jakarta weekend route now also costs more compared to pre-pandemic prices. Yes, you can now find a ticket from Jakarta to Denpasar for 700,000 rupiahs. But that's at inconvenient times. For morning flights, for example, on a Saturday, prices start from 1,000,000 rupiahs.
What should a budget tourist do, who still wants to surf, live amidst rice terraces, and swim in Instagrammable waterfalls? Waiting for the Balinese government to take measures to increase the island's affordability is not an option. Firstly, because ticket prices depend on the quality and quantity of planes and the cost of fuel. Secondly, because now only truly financially capable tourists are getting to Bali. This is according to the head of the Bali Tourism Agency, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, who calls it "natural selection of tourists."
Tourists, he says, are needed for the island. Ideally, there should be fewer of them, but they should spend more. The high cost of tickets precisely filters out those who don't intend to spend too much on vacation. "In this way, we choose tourists who have money," added the head of tourism.
At the same time, the official emphasized that Bali has many different regions where tourists can choose vacation options based on their financial capabilities. "If exclusive offers are in the Nusa Dua area, then in the Kuta area, there are options for staying with a family [guesthouse]. Sanur is something in between. In Ubud or Lovina, there are also options for staying with a family. So, we have a combination of both," said Pemayun.
If we delve into it, the rating of Bali's districts based on the cost of living looks like this:
1. Canggu (Cost of living: $$$$)
A favorite spot for surfers, digital nomads, fitness enthusiasts, and crypto-businessmen. Perhaps the trendiest and most youthful district. The best cafes with cuisines from around the world, comfortable coworking spaces, elegant boutiques, and beach clubs. All of this is here, and all of this is what drives up the cost of living in the area.
The cheapest accommodation option offered by Booking in this area starts from 225,000 rupiahs per day. You can find cheaper, but it would be a bed in a shared room. And yes, prices have indeed risen after the island "recovered from the pandemic." Groceries and meals in restaurants are also becoming more expensive.
2. Seminyak (Cost of living: $$$$)
This district is called the pearl of Bali. It is well known to those who prefer five-star resorts, designer boutiques, and top-notch restaurants. It has everything that package tourists love - Instagrammable pools, a refined menu, and spa procedures right at the villa. And yes, this luxury comes at a high cost; the starting prices for accommodation on Booking are the same as in Canggu.
But budget travelers should not immediately dismiss these areas. After all, here you can also find options for staying with a family, and warungs (local eateries) are always open for breakfasts/lunches/dinners.
3. Sanur (Cost of living: $$$)
A paradise for family vacations due to its wide sandy beach and calm ocean. Retirees also love this place. Along the Sanur coast, there are affordable resorts and guesthouses offering comfortable rooms starting from 200,000 rupiahs per day.
You can save on meals in the area, as there are plenty of warungs and local markets with traditional dishes. Yes, there is no nightlife here, but there is a relaxed atmosphere and a feeling that you've managed to escape from the hustle and bustle.
4. Legian (Cost of living: $$)
Tourists call it a budget paradise. There are no helipads and designer clothing here, but there is an easygoing charm of a beach area. Small pleasant cafes, budget-friendly spas with massages, and inexpensive surfing lessons are located here. There are no five-star Instagrammable pools, but there are markets, warungs, and babi guling.
Booking already offers accommodation options from 166,000 rupiahs per day.
5. Ubud (Cost of living: $$)
The center of Bali's spiritual life, nestled among green rice fields and ancient temples. Here, you'll find yoga studios, art galleries, and healers from around the world. Living here is even cheaper, with guesthouses available for 143,000 rupiahs per day. If you search for homestay options, you can find even more favorable deals. The cafes here are simpler, with many warungs.
However, there is a downside. Nightlife in the area is almost nonexistent, and the overall pace of life here is noticeably more relaxed.
6. Amed (Cost of living: $$)
Perhaps the most beloved place among budget travelers. Traditional villages, untouched beaches, and world-class diving – all available here at a lower cost compared to other areas. Accommodation prices start from 146,000 rupiahs per day. Fresh seafood from the local market is a real find. While Amed might lack trendy cafes and nightclubs, its charm lies in its untouched beauty and laid-back atmosphere.
7. Uluwatu (Cost of living: $)
Located on the rocky cliffs of the southern coast of Bali, this area offers a unique blend of luxury and bohemian atmosphere. Stunning ocean views, world-class surfing spots, and ancient temples – all in one place. As a bonus, there are delicious and budget-friendly warungs with seafood on the coast. And all of this at a super affordable price. There are offers starting from 103,000 rupiahs in per day.
In Bali, you can truly choose the best for yourself, both in terms of interests and budget. And, of course, the cost of the vacation will differ for those who prefer luxurious villas and an active nightlife compared to those seeking solitude in bamboo bungalows. In any case, to save money, it's worth considering the low season, which is April-May and September-October.
As for getting a good deal on flights to Bali and not spending your entire budget on the way there, you can read about it here.