Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Bali, Indonesia

The Real Cost Of Living In Ubud, Bali For 1 Month

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:

 

1. Accommodation

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. 

 

2. Food

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.

Some examples:

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)

Breakfast with a view at Clear Café.

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. 

 

3. Grocery

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.

For example:

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. 

 

4. Leisure

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. 

 

5. Transport

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.

 

6. Entertainment

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). 

 

7. Personal

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.

 

Total

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…

AUD$2,579

(US$1,990)

 

Wrap Up

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.

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"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Vanessa on
That was a nice home you got there for a very reasonable price. Im sure it helped you make your stay there comfortable. I can see that its a lovely home. Really looks refreshing with that wide windows. And your budget! Incredible....and very tempting to try too. Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Amber on
I would recognize that tall green juice anywhere! Lemon, orange, mint ginger at Taco Casa!
Posted by Paula McInerney on
Great post with a very honest breakdown of the costs. Lovely villa that you had. You know that I agree about the "mysterious magnetic attraction " of Ubud. For some reason it keeps pulling us back too.
Posted by Jo (The Blonde) on
Bali was one of my favourite destinations and I am actually thinking of moving there one day...because...you know...why not?
Posted by Kerwin on
That's a pretty good deal for a family of four! I found Bali reasonable as well when I visited. I'd need a small one bedroom with Wifi and that's it :-) Erin.
It would be difficult for me to get around if I'm not central as I don't like riding scooters and I know they are everywhere. I'd have to get a bicycle :-). Do they rent bicycles?
I love the photo of the bike whizzing by! Really nice.
PS: I had trouble putting the chess pieces on the board and I'm human :-).
Posted by Paul (@luxury__travel) on
...and yet people still seem to like to ask the question "how can you afford to travel?". This example shows that it really isn't that expensive. Even if you stayed at home (and ate in) - depending on where you lived, of course - you'd still most likely be spending around this or possibly even significantly more...
Posted by alison @GreenWithRenvy on
Nice overview. We've been talking about spending a month overseas an this area is definitely an option. Now that i have some actual cost breakdowns it suddenly looks like a positive reality.
Posted by Kathryn Burrington on
One of the things I love most about staying somewhere so reasonable is being able to afford regular massages. Glad to hear you too made good use of this.
Posted by Ryan Biddulph on
Fab breakdown Erin!

We were in Ubud in Nov and in Jimbaran now.

Keep on inspiring.

Tweeting from Bali!

Ryan
Posted by Staceyjean on
The pictures alone were worth stopping by this page. Lovely. I am dreaming of Bali.
Posted by Aimee Gibson on
Did I read that right??? .80 cents for a MAGNUM??? Oh boy, can't wait until our trip in August!!!!!! What a great article, thank you.
Posted by Mona Coelho on
I accidentally found this page and I must admit I was impressed! Very refreshing...very informative! Thanks :)
Posted by Donna on
Great information, we are going to live in Ubud for a month in July but finding accommodation is a bit daunting. Any suggested links to use would be appreciated thanks>
Posted by Annette on
I am considering staying in Ubud for around 6 month's. I need a small furnished apartment on the cheap. I am a middle aged woman. That is tired of the extreme stress in the U.S. contact me via email
spiritsmama@gmail.com
Posted by Patty on
Thank you for the info. I will be in Bali March and April with one month in Ubud. I have been looking at hotels as they are so inexpensive and I am dependent on good internet for work. I understand there is a love vortex in Ubud which is the reason people feel so drawn to being there. I agree with Annette in wanting to escape the US for awhile. I am planning to travel extensively this year.
Posted by MIMI on
I would like to move there year round. I am Buddhist and own my skin care line. How do you refill your meds there?
Posted by Holly on
Great article thanks, any tips on where to find affordable villa or home stay accom for family online? Or best to find on arrival?
Posted by admin on
I have replied to you all privately.
Thanks for commenting!
Posted by Karyn Jane on
Thank you so much for this post! We are headed to Ubud in a few months and this info is going to help so much.
Posted by Ben on
I noticed you took off flights for $316, but surely that's is only for one person? Aren't you a family of four so you would need to deduct 1264?
Posted by admin on
Ben: $316 is flights for 4 people, not one! Crazy, right? I got them even cheaper this year. I did try to email you, but it bounced back.
Posted by Mike on
Thanks for a very informative page. If you don't mind, I'd also greatly appreciate any info you can provide regarding places to stay while in Bali. Initially, I'm looking to visit for several weeks up to a month. Ultimately, I'm looking for my ideal place to retire outside of the US.
Posted by Lisa on
Hi!
I'm thinking of taking a gap year to Bali and would appreciate it if you could send any information about finding a place to rent that's similar to yours, but one bedroom. I'd likely be renting for either three months at a time or for a whole year.

Thanks!
Posted by Meredith on
Hi! My husband and I are planning a few years of world travel with our 5 and 1 year old, starting in January 2018 (coming from Canada), and we plan to begin in Bali for a few months. Your accommodation looks amazing and perfect! Would you mind sharing where that is, and any contact info for possibly renting it? Your post was great and informative, and if you have any specific tips for making Bali work with two very active kids who need lots of activity with peers their age, I would really appreciate it. It's my one worry about travel - making sure our 5 year old has friends to play with regularly! We plan to put her in schools here and there if we are going to stay somewhere for a longer period of time (3 months or more), but it's hard to know in advance where that will be as our travel plans will be evolving as we go. Anyway, we see lots of other families making this travel dream work, so I know it's possible, but as a worrier and a planner (as opposed to my husband), I'd love to know how other parents kept their kids engaged and happy :) Thanks!
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