Budget travel is a must at least once in your life. Backpacking is a rite of passage, and where better to cross that passage than in Bali?
The island is PACKED with all different types of activities, experiences and cultures – it’s a pretty easy and safe way to start a world backpacking adventure.
With any budget, you can have a memorable time!
Flights to Bali, or at least Indonesia, are available from all over the world.
Stop wondering and start to planning your backpacking in Bali holiday.
Here is EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about exploring Bali on a budget.
Why Go Backpacking in Bali?
The island of the Gods is famed for being budget friendly for travelers and backpackers.
You can easily have a comfortable, and fun, day spending as little as USD$25 a day – including accommodation and food!
The cost of living in Bali, and many parts of Indonesia, is incredibly affordable for those on a Western budget. However, for local Balinese and Indonesians it will still be considered expensive.
Warungs will be your best friend when you’re looking for affordable food. At some traditional food spots in Bali, you can pay as little as IDR50,000 (USD$3) for a FULL meal with a drink!
Save money where you can on accommodation, food and transport to be able to splash out on night’s out, activities and experiences.
Backpacking in Bali is an amazing introduction to the world of backpacking and budget traveling. Don’t miss out!
Where to Backpack in Bali
First things first, knowing WHERE to go in Bali.
Everywhere in Bali is welcoming to backpackers. You’ll be able to find affordable accommodation just about anywhere. There are some well-known spots and some hidden gems!
Check out these places to stay in Bali.
Backpacking in Canggu
Canggu is a hotspot for Bali digital nomads and backpackers.
To live it up Canggu style you could spend up to USD$50-60 a day – including accommodation in a hostel and motorbike rental.
You can live on less than half of this, but say goodbye to beach clubs, fancy restaurants and hipster cafes.
Many of the must-see sights in Canggu are free, or affordable, like the small USD$4 to visit Tanah Lot. The beautiful beaches are obviously free. Although you could end up spending money at a beach bar for drinks and a rental bed. Save a little and set up a sarong on the sand with beverages from home.
A home for surf lessons, yoga classes, gyms sessions and sports, make sure you add a little extra to your budget if there’s something you REALLY want to try.
Hostels in Canggu are a dime a dozen. From amazing coworking hostels to chic, Mediterranean style spots, there is something for every budget and location preference.
Overall, Canggu is a must-stop for any good Bali backpacker. Pick up some friends to continue your journey with, set up camp for your entire stay or stop by on a day trip, Canggu is a prime Bali area!
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Canggu:
Backpacking in Ubud
Further from the airport then the other tourist towns, Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali.
It’s easy to get around the town on foot, however if you fancy driving in Bali, Ubud is a great place to start with smaller, more local roads.
Attractions like the Monkey Forest, Campuhan Ridge and Tegalalang Rice Terrace are a little further out from the center, so a driver, taxi or bike will be needed. Hit many spots in one day to do it the real backpacker way!
Ubud is shrouded in nature – forests, rice fields, gardens and jungles. A lot of the accommodations in Ubud boast luscious, treetop surroundings or tricking Ayung River views.
It is becoming increasingly more popular among digital nomads, with coworking spaces and coliving spots dotting up around town.
You can find just as many luxurious restaurants as you can local warungs and cafes. Depending on your budget and travel style, Ubud has it all!
Immerse in nature, culture and local life all in one place.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Ubud:
Backpacking in Seminyak
Seminyak is often called the new Kuta. Both areas are filled with boutiques, bars, cafes, restaurants and spas, but Seminyak is the newer, trendier one.
There is a myth that Seminyak is the most expensive place to stay for backpackers in Bali. Luckily, we have the secrets.
You don’t really need a motorbike to get around, Seminyak is pretty walkable. You’ll find ‘main’ streets filled with restaurants, shops, and markets. Make sure you wear sunscreen, even just walking around you will catch the sun.
The area is party central, with some of the best clubs and bars in Bali. After a lazy day lounging at a beach club, you can party the night away sipping fruity cocktails or local beers. With top hits blaring and people letting loose, a party in Seminyak is unlike any other.
For those who need to watch the pennies, there are many local warungs, affordable hostels and quaint market stalls where you can shop without worrying about your wallet.
Even if you decide to stay elsewhere in Bali, be sure to hit up Seminyak for sunset sips, shopping, partying and dining.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Seminyak:
Backpacking in Uluwatu & the Bukit
Stunning ocean and cliffside views are iconic to Uluwatu. With so many luxurious beach clubs, villas and beaches, it’s known as a luxury-seekers haven.
That being said, we are here for the budget backpackers in Bali. Can you do Uluwatu on a pinch? Absolutely!
Uluwatu and the Bukit have many hostels and villas with reasonable prices, just a short drive from the town’s best beaches, bars, restaurants and amenities.
Transportation in Uluwatu is quite limited compared to other areas in Bali. The best way to get there with your luggage is GO-JEK Car or taxi. Once in Uluwatu, you will need a motorbike as everything is pretty spread out, especially from the budget accommodations. The roads are pretty winding and steep, take it easy or ask for help from your accommodation!
The obvious draw to Uluwatu is the magnificent beaches. Spend days soaking in the sun, try out surfing or stop by for sunset, the beaches are outstanding.
Also, don’t miss out on Uluwatu Temple and the Kecak dance for something more cultural.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Uluwatu:
Backpacking in the East of Bali
Nearly a two-hour drive from Seminyak, the East of Bali is filled with amazing sights and things to do.
Away from the crowds, it is a perfect place for the backpackers who want something a little more chilled, local and rural.
A full week’s stay here may be a little too low key, but stopping by for a night or 2 will give you a chance to see another side of Bali that many tourists don’t bother venturing to.
With one of the best coasts for diving in Bali, affordable places to stay, an inside look into local life and STUNNING landscapes, the East of Bali shouldn’t be skipped on your Bali itinerary.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in East Bali:
Backpacking Other Parts of Bali
Sanur and Lovina aren’t common Bali backpacking areas, but still deserve an honourable mention.
Sanur is a hub for families with easy walkable streets, plenty of villas, calm beaches and amazing water sports. Backpackers will find some affordable villas (even more affordable when shared with friends) and epic activities.
Lovina is a one-stop-hop for seeing dolphins in Bali. A super local and rural area, there isn’t much to do other than scour the waters for the intelligent creatures.
And let’s not forget the smaller islands dotted around the archipelago!
Nusa Penida is a renowned backpacking destination with a whole host of magnificent, natural sights and affordable hostels.
Just an easy boat ride over from the mainland, it can be a few days trip or extended stay.
The Gilis are also nearby, with some of the most picturesque and tropical beaches you’ll ever see. Hostels and guesthouses are buzzing on each of the small paradise islands.
Places to Stay:
Best Accommodation for Backpackers in Bali
The biggest part of saving money while traveling is knowing the best types of places to stay.
Bali is FULL of amazing accommodations from super budget to ultra, slap in the face luxury.
Here are some of the best spots for your backpacking Bali adventure.
After weeks of backpacking, sometimes you want to treat yourself to a resort.
Bali has many luxurious and modern resorts at affordable prices.
To really find great deals, look for resorts outside of the main tourist areas – especially if you are going to be driving yourself.
Grand Kesambi Resort and Villa in Kerobokan is an exclusive retreat on a budget. Just 10 minutes from the center of Seminyak, you can have easy access to amenities and save money on accommodation!
Many private villas can be found in Bali for less than $50 per night!
Choosing to stay in a villa is not only super comfortable, it is often the most cost-effective solution when traveling with backpacker friends.
If location is not a major concern, a spot like Karana Villa in Denpasar is ideal with a range of different sized villas.
Any good backpacker will have some consideration for their environmental impact.
Choosing a place to stay that helps the environment and has sustainable practices will ease some of that traveler guilt.
The number of eco lodges in Bali are slowly increasing, usually located away from the crowds, among nature.
Green views, quiet atmosphere, dim lights, rural nuances are what you can get at some eco lodges like Pondok Sebatu Eco Lodge.
Cheap, simple, and located in touristy areas, there are hundreds of hostels in Bali.
The rooms are usually dormitories with lockable drawers, bunk beds, reading lamps and power outlets.
Most hostels have a garden, swimming pool, friendly staff and on-site restaurant or cafe. Honestly, you won’t ever have to leave!
Tribal Bali is the best hostel in Bali. It is a digital nomad dream AND is affordable, just a short drive from the hotspots of Canggu – win, win, win.
Want hotel facilities without the hefty price tag? Guesthouses are a great compromise.
Often run by friendly local families, they are perfect for long stays and having your own home away from home.
With private rooms within a shared space, you can get to know your neighbors and have a cozy place to return to after each adventurous island day.
Guesthouses are found across Bali. A great option is Pecatu Ubud Guest House in Ubud. It is a mini version of a hotel, with an exclusive location.
- Pack light – packing for Bali isn’t an exact science. Since you are going to be carrying it on your back, you’ll want to have a little self-control. Laundry services are widely available and affordable, you can have everything washed and rewashed – save yourself some back pain!
- Avoid carrying too much cash – check out travel cards like Wise and Revolut. They are widely accepted across the island, you can take out cash at local banks and ATMs and save yourself from carrying too much cash. Be sure to use indoor or bank based ATMs. Card skimming has been an issue on the island.
- Luggage storage – island hopping isn’t as much fun when you are carrying months worth of stuff on your back. Luggage storage facilities are available to keep your belongings safe while you explore. Your hostel or hotel may even be able to hold onto things for you! Just don’t leave behind any valuables.
- Do your research – knowing where you want to go, what you want to see, and how to get around is important before you even land in Bali. A little online research through blogs (*cough* Balipedia *cough*), Facebook groups and Youtube will help you get a lay of the land and make your stay all the more successful.
- Figure out how to get around – obviously motorbikes are the most popular way of getting around Bali. However, it’s not for everyone! It’s SO easy to hire a private driver or order a bike taxi. Don’t feel pressured into driving if you aren’t 100% confident!
Well, what do you think? Will you be backpacking in Bali soon?
Whether you are on a tight budget or have saved up some serious coin to REALLY enjoy the island, you can explore Bali no matter your bank balance.
Check out affordable accommodations, meet other backpackers and visit some real hidden gems.
Bali is a stunning place to start your backpacking lifestyle.