Indonesia

LIVING IN BALI FOR 500€ PER MONTH: IS IT POSSIBLE?

LIVING WITH ONLY 500 MONTHS TO BALI: IS THIS POSSIBLE?

What is the cost of living in Bali?! This is a question that often comes up because it is true that it is an island that attracts more and more people, people who come on holiday but also many digital nomads who often stay several months or even years in some cases… It is therefore legitimate to ask whether the cost of living in Bali is now high compared to the rest of Indonesia or whether it is still affordable.

Our spending for both of us in one month

I’ll share all our expenses mainly while living in the North of Bali because this is where we have been living for 2 months. You should know that the North of Bali is much less touristy than the South and that, therefore, we have a more authentic Bali, with more locals than foreigners and that’s really what we wanted. You will see that it is also much cheaper compared to places like Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu or even Ubud.

ACCOMODATION

Lovina, less touristy but still touristy

Let’s start with the biggest expense: the accomodation. Deciding to come live in Bali is first about deciding where to settle because the island is bigger than you imagine. We found our apartment on the north coast in Lovina which is a pretty touristy place in the area, as there are hot springs, lots of waterfalls around and you can see dolphins offshore as well.

Many guides offer boat tours to see dolphins… What I do not recommend you to do because there are hundreds of boats that leave every morning and from what we have heard they literally hunt dolphins to please tourists. This is not yet an ethical and responsible tourism…

…Anyway, it’s not the topic of this article! Just to tell you that it’s far from the mass tourism of southern Bali and that’s cool, but that there’s still some entertainment in the area and that’s cool too.

Living in Bali in a dream apartment

So we found an apartment with living room/kitchen/separate bedroom/bathroom with outdoor shower and bathtub/shared pool with 4 other apartments/2 balconies on either side of the apartment (we are the only ones on the first floor), one with a view of the pool and the village and the other overlooking a field of banana trees. We also have wifi obviously, it’s not the fastest but it hasn’t bothered us too much so far.

For all this, we pay 4.5 million rupiah or 289 euros/month, which is unbeatable, knowing that in addition, they offer a cleaning service every day (but we ask for it every 4 days because honestly there is no need every day!), they change our water dispenser and also the basics like salt, pepper, soap, etc., for free, when necessary.

In short, an exceptional place, worthy of a 5* hotel. The place is called Lovina Oasis. I’ve put the Booking link here if you want to enjoy this heavenly place for a few days (prices range from 20 to 25 euros per night). If you want to stay longer (at least 1 month or 2), send them a private message to negotiate the price. I don’t guarantee they’ll give you the same price as us, we may have been lucky, but it’s worth a try.

GROCERIES

Second important expense item, not so far from the first, is the groceries. Since we have a kitchen and love to cook, we enjoy and eat almost every meal at home. You should also know that we are vegetarian so we buy a lot of vegetables, nuts, lentils etc… things that sometimes are a little more expensive than if we were just eating chicken and rice for example.

We go shopping in the local markets, for things like fruits / vegetables / tempeh / tofu and in a supermarket for what we can not find elsewhere like oats for the morning, coconut milk, pasta, peanut butter, chocolate and all that!

All in all, I calculated that for the two of us, we spent about 3 million rupiah in one month on groceries or 193 euros.

RESTAURANTS/CAFES

Then come the expenses related to restaurants and cafes.

As I explained just before, we cook more than we go out but when I counted, I realized that we still went to a lot of restaurants over the last month. As we had just arrived in Bali, we wanted to test a lot of places and also because I counted on December so there were our 2 birthdays, Christmas and New Year’s Eve for which we went to some nice places.

If my calculations are correct, we ate 18 times outside in the month, either in what are called warungs, thus small family restaurants, where meals cost like 2€, and also in more expensive restaurants, especially vegetarians, which cost around 7/8€ per person. We tested a Georgian restaurant that was delicious, lots of restaurants on the beach and if you follow me on Instagram, you know we ate a lot of pizzas too…

So all of this makes us a total of about 2.3 million rupiah or 148 euros for two.

TOTAL FOOD BUDGET IN BALI

So in the end, for the whole food budget, if we combine the groceries and restaurants, it makes a total of 5.3 million rupiah, or 341€. More than our accommodation!

WATER

For water, it’s simple, we spend absolutely nothing since our water dispenser is replaced for free in our accommodation and when we go out, we fill our stainless steel bottle, and we also have a filter water bottle that we can fill up with any water if necessary.

I was talking about the Water to Go bottle in the video

TRANSPORTATION

RENTING A SCOOTER IN BALI

For transport, we made the choice to take a scooter 150cc which is normally more expensive than a 125 but as the rental shop had nothing else available, he made us a nice discount, especially since we took it for a full month. So for the whole month, we pay 1050,000 rupiah which is about 68€ per month or 2.3€ per day, a very good deal.

Driving a scooter while living in Bali requires taking some precautions

WARNING FOR SCOOTERS DRIVERS

However, we crossed the island twice from North to South with the scooter 150cc and it was not the most comfortable for long journeys and a little dangerous when it goes down a lot… typically our front brake just stopped working on the way back from the South. It was fine because it wasn’t too steep at that time but the renter told us after the fact that it was better to stop every 40 minutes for about 10 minutes when it goes down a lot to let the brakes rest for a while…

…to avoid this, you can take a N-Max scooter which in addition to being more comfortable is also safer. On the other hand it costs more obviously, they told us 150,000 rupiah per day or nearly 10€, but we were able to bargain easily to 100,000, a little more than 6€. On the other hand, beware, most travel insurance does not insure scooter accidents with more than 125cc.

GAS COST IN BALI

For gasoline, it is between 8000 and 10,000 rupiah per liter and we did not ride much last month, and we paid 100,000 rupiah, which is 6.4€ to be precise.

If you don’t drive a scooter, know that there is very little public transport in Bali and that taxis take advantage of it and cost a lot. To pay a little less, you can use applications like Grab or Gojek that are widely used in Indonesia (less in the North of Bali than in the South though).

THE VISA FOR INDONESIA

You can enter Indonesia for free for 30 days on a simple tourist visa. But we have a Social Pass that allows us to stay in Indonesia for 6 months. We just need to renew it every month starting from the second month. I was talking about it in this article and in the video below, watch them if you’re interested.

It was in Bali that we made our first renewal after two months of travel in Sumatra and Java. We paid 500,000 rupiah per person which makes a total of 64€ for both of us.

TRAVEL ASSURANCE

Then come our travel insurance. The boring expense because it does not feel that it’s useful, until you get in trouble, so I really advise you to take one for your travels.

Emam has chosen an insurance company called SafetyWing that costs him 33€ per month (not 27 as mentioned by mistake in the video). As for me, I always take Chapka’s Cap Adventure insurance, which costs 47€ per month (not 36 as stated in the video, I took by mistake the price for the Europe area). They sponsor me on this trip and I thank them very much for it because it is a very good assurance that I already took before being a blogger and so I recommend it to you without any hesitation.

But for this calculation, let’s pretend I’m not sponsored, and that makes us a total of 80€ per month for both insurances.

INTERNET / 4G

And finally last expense, Internet! For us, having 4G on our phones is essential to consult maps, to post our stories, to look for information when we are outside etc. We chose Telkomsel which has the best coverage in Indonesia at the moment and we went to rather remote places during our trip and it’s true that we always had good coverage!

We share a package with Emam called Kota Keluarga. The principle is that one of us pays and then he indicates the phone number of the other and how many gb he wants to give. We take a 20gb package, so we each have 10gb for 150,000 rupiah a month, for less than 10€ for two.

With the Telkomsel app, we can top up our credit from anywhere

All you need to add is your activity expenses

I think I have gone through all the normal expenses to live in Bali, or at least in the North of Bali. You’ll just have to add your expenses in terms of activity if you go on an excursion or if you go to see waterfalls, temples or hot springs for example. I didn’t add it here because we did quite a few paid activities last month so it will be up to you to see what you want to do.

Living in Bali also means exploring the island and discovering the culture

So in the end, a month in Bali, how much does it cost?

By adding all this together, we get a total of 858€ for two or 429€ per person to live on the island of the Gods! I really didn’t expect to be able to live in Bali so cheap and yet I am the proof that it is possible. On top of that, we are in a very quiet place with very welcoming people and an incredible environment just a few steps from the beach, the centre, waterfalls, hot springs etc etc… we love it so much that we decided to stay 1 month longer than we had originally planned.

Breakdown of our spending in Bali

Accomodation: 34%
Groceries: 23%
Restaurants/cafes: 17%
Scooter: 9%
Visas: 7%
Insurance: 9%
Internet/4G: 1%

To conclude, do I advise to come and live in Bali when you have a small budget?

Living in Bali is a dream for many. It wasn’t necessarily for me but the fact is that life is beautiful here. So if you’re like me, looking for a cheap place under the sun to settle for a while, to work or just to have a base to explore the island, don’t hesitate and try! I hope this article will help you do that. For myself, I find a double interest: to be in an incredible place and enjoy this beautiful island while paying the cheapest possible to start my life as a digital nomad with peace of mind.

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If you have any questions, things I would have forgotten to mention, leave me a comment and I’ll gladly answer them!

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