So you read our ultimate guide to living in Ubud and you’ve decided to come for an extended stay. What might the cost of living be like for a month in Ubud?
Here is our February 2015 breakdown. All prices are in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), with equivalent values in Australian Dollars (and occasionally US Dollars).
Breakdown of expenses:
We lived in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa with private pool, Wi-Fi, electricity, gas, cable TV, daily breakfast bought and prepared (fruit, toast or pancakes) plus daily cleaning. It cost 18,000,000 rupiah (AUD$1800, US$1400) per month.
There is quite a wide range of accommodation available in Ubud from as little as $100 per month for a single room up to $4000 for a large luxurious property including multiple staff. A comfortable villa tends to cost between AUD$1200 - $2500 depending on location and facilities.
Most meals cost around 50,000 rupiah (AUD$5) per person so our lunch and dinner for 2 adults and 2 kids would range between AUD$15 - $30. We ate most meals out, because it was cheaper (and easier) than cooking.
Large Salad at Alchemy - 52,000 IDR (AUD$5)
Fried Bananas from Dream Café - 20,000 IDR (AUD$2)
Quesadilla from Taco Casa - 40,000 IDR (AUD$4)
Gelato from Gaya Gelato - 25,000 IDR (AUD$2.50)
Magnum icecream from corner store - 8,000 IDR (AUD$0.80)
Chicken Satay from Bayu’s Kitchen - 45,000 IDR (AUD$4.50)
Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng (fried rice or fried noodles) - 25,000 to 40,000 IDR (AUD$2.50 - $4)
A really nice breakfast for 4 at Taksu set us back 230,000 IDR (AUD$23). We enjoyed a watermelon juice, omelette, 2 hash brown sides, eggs florentine, french toast and a bowl of porridge.
Lunch delivered from Bayu’s Kitchen was 220,000 IDR (AUD$22). We chose chicken spring rolls, chicken sate, stir fry chicken & cashew, mie goreng and nasi goreng.
Drinks are pricier and will often set you back the same price as your meals. You can save some pennies if you choose water or soft drink - those are cheaper.
We usually visited Bintang supermarket for milk, bread, fruits and vegetables. You can spend less on fruits and vegetables if you head to the local markets. Our weekly grocery shop would be anywhere from AUD$10 - $60. I also bought quite a number of cheap sketchbooks, pencils, and craft supplies for the kids from the supermarket.
A small canvas to paint - 18,000 IDR (AU$1.80)
1 litre of fresh milk - 20,000 IDR (AUD$2)
Half a loaf of bread – 9,000 IDR (AUD$0.90)
Weetbix (large box) – 80,000 IDR (AUD$8.00)
Vegemite jar (large) – 130,000 IDR (AUD$13.00)
1.5 litre coke – 10,000 IDR (AUD$1)
Packet of 5 instant noodles – 9,000 IDR (AUD$0.90)
Sour cream (small tub) – 20,000 IDR (AUD$2)
3 sausages – 80,000 IDR (AUD$8)
Lemons – 60,000 IDR (AUD$6.00) per kilo
1 whole green coconut – 9,000 IDR (AUD$0.90)
Yoghurt, butter and milk are often imported and therefore expensive. The local cheese is not very good so you want to buy the imported stuff and you do pay dearly for it.
Ubud offers a plethora of massage parlours and you won’t need to walk far to find one. Massages usually range from $6 - $15. Josh and I both had one several times per week. Sedona Spa located about 20 metres north of Bintang supermarket was our favourite. Josh usually went for a 1.5 hour Balinese massage for around AUD$12.
Scooter hire from a local shop cost 600,000 rupiah (AUD$60) for 1 month. Sometimes we hired a second scooter at $5 per day or hired a driver. To get down south to Kuta or Nusa Dua costs about 300,000 rupiah (AUD$30) one way. Scooter fuel costs were minimal - 15,000 rupiah (AUD$1.50) to fill the tank and that would last us 1 week.
This category was for the times we went to the cinema or took the kids to an indoor playground (like Kids World) or they spent time at the Reuse Centre (recycled craft activities). A lot of kid-friendly activities cost around the 50,000 rupiah mark (AUD$5).
Under this category was purchases made at the pharmacy or for new clothes, shoes, etc. The Flipper (flip flop) store offers thongs (flip-flops) at 79,000 rupiah (AUD$7.90). A sarong at Bingtang supermarket will cost around AUD$7.50, or you can find a bargain on the beach or at the markets. I managed to negotiate 2 for AUD$10 from a beach seller.
Our Total for February = AUD$2,895
This included AUD$316.00 for flights to Australia, so if you take away that cost then the month in Ubud, Bali cost us…
There are plenty of other options that would make living in Ubud even cheaper (and other options to spend more if you wish).
You can find cheaper accommodation and eat out for much less than we did. By no means is our life extravagant, but we aren’t paupers either. I’ve heard of solo backpackers living in Ubud for less than US$300 dollars per month!
But compared to our cost of living in places like Europe, US, Canada or Australia, we spent just a tiny fraction of that in Ubud, Bali. However Ubud provided other substantial benefits with much healthier eating options, a more relaxing pace of life and a supportive community of like-minded expats.
If you’re thinking of escaping the rat race and don’t know where to start, Ubud ticks a lot of boxes. I know we will be back soon. There’s a mysterious magnetic attraction about this town, and the cheaper cost of living is only the tip of this tropical iceberg.