Shannon is the creator of Lives Abroad, a travel blog that inspires readers find educational opportunities abroad. She writes about workshops, classes, volunteer opportunities, unique experiences and gives a dash of personal stories from her travels.
Southeast Asia is a generally cheap area of this world to travel. However, while visiting Ubud, it is easy to get carried away with the artistic cuisine, unique shopping opportunities, educational classes and spa treatments. In my first week living in Ubud, I couldn’t believe how fast my money was going and was feeling a little disappointed in myself for not paying better attention. Since having my budget busting realization, I reined it in and started my hunt for the cheapest way to both live and enjoy Ubud without breaking the bank. Here are my tips for spending $25 per day or less in Ubud, Bali.
Ubud has quite a few hostels that will help you keep your daily budget. Check out:
- In Da Lodge Hostel: About $9 a night for a dorm bed.
- The Happy Mango Tree: About $6 for a dorm bed.
- Nema Problema Hostel: About $7 for a dorm bed.
Luckily for budget travelers in Ubud, walking around the small town is easy. Everything is close together and the interesting shops are sure to distract from the fact that you don’t have any wheels. However, if you want to visit some of the attractions outside the city or some of the villages that border the main town, it’s better to rent a motorbike than pay for drivers.
- Motorbike Cost: 40,000 RP per day (About $2.89 USD).
- A full tank of petrol: About 20,000 RP ($1.45 USD).
- One short taxi ride: Between 30,000-50,000 RP one way ($2.16-$3.60 USD).
Food and Drinks
The restaurants in Ubud serve some beautiful food. The town is filled with unique and artistic, healthy cuisine and raw/vegan specialty restaurants. While you can still do one meal a day at one of these places specializing in cold-pressed juices and raw/vegan pizzas, frequenting them for every meal can eat into your budget without you realizing. The Balinese traditional food tends to be the cheapest and the restaurants labeled “Warung” tend to be the ones serving up the most affordable food.
Make sure to always check the prices because many restaurants labeled “Warung” are still more high end. Try….
- Dewa Warung: Located right in town, this simple restaurant offers fresh fruit juices for around 9,000 RP ($.65 USD) and meals for as low as 15,000 RP ($1.08 USD).
- Biah Biah: Located on the same road as Dewa Warung, Biah Biah has more of a social vibe. The presentation is a little bit nicer and they serve small plates and skewered meats for as low as 9,000 RP ($.65 USD).
- Ijo Warung: Also located in town, this small Warung offers a menu as well as a buffet. Meals from the menu run as low as 20,000 RP ($1.45 USD) , fruit juices as low as 10,000 RP ( $.72 USD) and a plate at the buffet that can run between 15,000 to 20,000 RP ($1.08 USD-$1.45 USD).
- Warung 9: A little farther out of the city, this Warung and community center runs off of trust and donations. There is a buffet of vegetarian food laid out at all times and you serve yourself and leave the money you owe in a jar on the table. The only catch is that you must wash your own dishes afterwards. The price list of each item is on a wall by the buffet and most things are listed as 3,000 RP ($.21 USD per scoop).
Drinking in general can be a budget buster but luckily for you, the convenience stores sell bottles of beer. Grab a couple to drink inside your room or at your hostel for about 15,000 ($1.08) RP a piece. Other things you can do in the evenings:
- Bar Luna: Free open Mic Nights. Check their website for dates and times.
- Paradiso: This cinema is located in town and often runs free movie specials. Just check their schedule to see what’s going on.
- Betelnut: This venue often has performances, many costing about 50,000 RP (About $3.60 USD)
- Mingle: A bar and restaurant in town that does two for one cocktail specials. The cost is between 40,000 RP and 60,000 RP ($2.88 and $4.33 USD) but the cocktails are strong. You may only need one or two!
- The Onion: Grab a beer for about 25,000 RP ($1.80 USD) and listen to some free live music that happens on most days of the week.
Since Ubud is so beautiful and interesting just on its own, you could spend the entire day walking around and observing without spending a penny.
Some free or cheap activities include…
- The Ridge Walk: This is a free walking trail near the edge of the main town that overlooks some beautiful views.
- Outside of Monkey Forest: You can pay to get into Monkey Forest or you can just hang around outside where many of the monkeys are lounging around and willing to say hello for free.
- Walk The Rice Fields of Penestanan: This residential neighborhood, right outside the town, has a maze of rice fields that you can walk around during the day. It’s absolutely free, beautiful and authentic.
- See a Balinese dance show at the Saraswati Temple: The temple is right in town and this cultural display costs 85,000 RP ($6.50 USD).
- Get a traditional massage: Getting a Balinese massage is a lovely experience and can cost as low as 40,000 to 80,000 RP ($2.88-$5.77 USD).
Between mixing and matching the free activities, cheap activities, authentic Balinese meals and artsy dishes, you can enjoy each amazing day in Ubud spending under $25!
What would you do in Ubud on a budget?
Oh, and if you’re fluent in French you may find some great tips on what to do in Bali here.