For the month of July we stayed in the beautiful, but very touristy town of Ubud, Bali and then at the end of the month we flew to Melbourne, Australia. By the end of our stay in Bali, we really had mixed feelings about the island. We enjoyed exploring the rice fields of Ubud and we were able to meet up with some other traveling families. We also absolutely loved the beauty of the countryside and found the people to be incredible kind from being invited in for coffee to being invited to see the villager’s local festival celebration. However we found Bali, especially Ubud, to be way too touristy. It was nearly impossible to walk on the sidewalks in Ubud due to the crowds and the traffic through town was absolutely horrendous. Also the prices for accommodations were more expensive than what we have seen in other SE Asia countries.
So how did we do spending a month in Ubud and then flying to Australia? Excitingly, we came in under budget spending a total of $2677.61. This further breaks down to $86.37 per day or $28.79 per person per day. Not too shabby considering $614.80 of the total cost was for our flight to Australia. For the month of July, $1 USD was equal to about 11,656 Indonesian Rupiah.
Our biggest expenditure was for lodging for a total of $881.85. We found our house in Ubud through Airbnb costing a total of $851. In Melbourne we had a house sit lined up through Trusted HouseSitters, so we did not have to pay for accommodations while in Melbourne.
Thankfully our house in Bali was located outside of the town of Ubud, which meant we were mostly able to avoid the insane traffic and hoards of tourists. Our house was in the traditional Balinese open air style surrounded by rice fields. We really enjoyed sipping coffee in the morning and watching life in the rice fields go by. But I especially enjoyed listening to the night noises of frogs and crickets. One drawback to the house was that being in the open air style also meant that we had the wildlife coming into our house such as frogs, shrews, and bats but fortunately no snakes. We also had a very friendly cat named Nipey that liked us so much that she brought us several “presents” of rats and such during our stay. One of those presents Nipey so kindly brought us was at 2 am resulting in Jason and I waking up to blood curdling screams from our daughter.
Our house sit outside of Melbourne was nice and consisted of taking care of 3 dogs, 2 cats, 4 horses, 1 sheep and a chicken. Being able to house sit really helped us save money in a country that is renowned for being really expensive.
During the month of July, we also had the miscellaneous expenditures for water, laundry, and cooking fuel for a total of $30.85.
Our next biggest expenditure was for transportation for a total of $778.90. For the month we went native and rented a scooter for $132.84. The cost also included insurance for the month. One of our friends was able to find a scooter rental for $50 for the month, but that did not include insurance. Lesson learned, before committing to a rental ask around. There is definitely no shortage of scooter rentals and everyone seems to know someone who rents scooters.
Getting around by scooter was definitely very economical. The fuel for our scooter for a month cost a total of $5.35. This was even with us actually scootering quit a bit around since we were staying outside Ubud. During the month of July, we also had the miscellaneous cost for parking of $0.87.
Included in our transportation costs this month was our flight to Australia for a total of $614.80 and $25.74 for transportation to the airport.
Our next biggest expenditure was for food for a total of $723.33. We spent $575.19 for groceries and $148.14 for eating out. While in Ubud, we took advantage of eating out given the cheap prices and availability of some really good food, as our next stop was Australia. Ubud is definitely a mecca for vegans and vegetarians with tons of really tasty options. We even found a great restaurant with tasty American cuisine at a reasonable price called Paula’s Rice Terrace café. The restaurant also has a great view of the rice fields and is a cozy place to watch the sunset.
Our next biggest expenditure was for visas for a total of $108.12. We spent $51.48 total or 200,000 Indonesian Rupiah per person to exit Bali. Yes. You have to pay both to enter and exit Bali. The visa to enter Australia cost $56.64 for the 3 of us. Just as an FYI, the Australian visa needs to be obtained before arrival and is online. The process is very quick and easy to do.
We spent $65.06 on entertainment. Entertainment costs included a library card and ceramic class for Sydney, seeing a Balinese Dance, and a tour of the UNESCO Jatiwuluh rice terraces and Bedugul.
For those who love to read, there is an expat library called Pondok Pekak located in the center of Ubud. This is small library with donated books. But after being on the road for close two years, it was really nice to have access to actual books versus ebooks even if many of them had seen better days. Pondok Pekak also offers art and language classes. However, we never took advantage of these classes.
I highly recommend the ceramic class. One of our friends suggested meeting up at Sair Api for the ceramic class for kids. The class cost 60,000 IR and included all materials. Sydney really enjoyed the class and even got the opportunity to throw on the wheel. My only regret is that we were not aware of the classes until the end of our stay.
As for the Balinese dancing, we saw a performance at the village temple near where we were staying. Although it was not as polished as I am sure many of the ones in Ubud, we still enjoyed it, as the children from the village were the dancers. We felt that it was well worth the cost.
During our time in Ubud, we also took a tour of the Jatiwuluh Rice Fields and Bedugul temple. The tour was on the pricey side costing $42.90. It was nice to get outside of Ubud, but am not convinced the tour was worth the cost.
We spent a total of $60.65 for miscellaneous items including a gift for a friend, clothing for Sydney, pencils, tape and videos.
Our total expenditures for entrance fees were $34.82. This included bird watching at Petulu village, entrance to the Monkey Forest, Arma, Gunung Kawi, the Royal Temple, Jatiwuluh Rice Fields and Bedugul Temple. All the things we saw this month were nice, but we especially liked visiting ARMA. ARMA has a nice collection of Balinese art both traditional and modern and is set in a lovely garden.
We spent a total of $24.88 for communication. This was for postcards and stamps.
- Shop around for a scooter rental as prices vary dramatically.
- Scooters are very economical and easy way to get around. Fuel for the month cost us $5.35.
- There are very few signs for many of the tourist attractions. Make sure you have a really good map or GPS.
- If you choose to stay around Ubud, I really encourage that you stay outside the city to truly appreciate the beauty of the area.
We enjoyed our time in Bali and found the country to be a beautiful place with genuinely nice people. However if we were to go back to Bali, I think that we would try to spend time on the north part of the island in hopes of seeing more of the traditional side of Balinese life.
$614 for three tickets from Denpasar to Melbourne sounds quite reasonable. What airline did you use? I suppose I’m used to the round trip price, whereas yours was one way. I’m also curious why you chose Melbourne vs the other Capitol cities of Australia.
We live in Perth, plus my husband speaks indonesia, so Bali is a quick (and relatively affordable) getaway for us. We too stay outside the cities…..and in general, find Bali very relaxing (even though we have 2 young children).
I did get bitten by a stray dog once though, so that was a big logistical nightmare. It came in our villa at night looking for food, so I got up to kick it out, and it jumped and bit me out of excitement.
Oh my gosh Lisa. I can just imagine the logistical nightmares of getting bitten by a dog in Bali! Bali would be a great place to get away especially since it is one of the closer countries to Australia.
We got our tickets through Virgin Australia. We just kept on watching the prices and then bought them when it seemed to be on the cheaper side. How much do you all usually pay for tickets from Perth?
The reason we choose Melbourne versus another city in Australia was due to the house sit. We were really open to going where ever, but felt like we couldn’t afford to stay in Australia unless we were creative.
Great post; I’m super-jealous of your Melbourne house sit, we loved that city but found it so expensive! I share your mixed feelings about Bali, it was a bit too touristy for us too although Ubud was our favourite place partly because of the cooler weather and veggie restaurants. I think house sitting is definitely the way to go in Australia, when we make it back there one day we’ll do the same to lower our costs.
Thanks Amy! Yes, we couldn’t have afforded to stay in Australia without either doing house sits or other things to help off set the cost. It has been a great way to Australia and especially places that we wouldn’t normally go.
Everyone keeps talking too well about Bali that really makes me want to go, we missed on our first round in Asia which it means we have to go back. I’d love to visit the monkey’s forest and also to learn how to throw on the wheel.
Yes! If you do go to Ubud definitely take the time for a pottery class. The cost is very reasonable! Happy travels.
It was great reading about your time in Bali. Thanks for sharing with us out here in cyberspace. 😉 Ive been there before myself, but this will be the first time with our kids, 13 and 11. How did you feel riding a motor bike around with your kids? Im feeling paranoid about it, especially because the internet is full of horror stories about riding there. I rode all over the place when I was there, but again, Im wondering about doing it with our kids. I know taxis are everywhere and cheap, but it doesn’t compare to just being able to hop on and take off whenever to wherever!
We felt perfectly safe riding the 3 of us on one scooter in Bali. But I also have taken motorcycle training courses, I have my motorcycle endorsement, and I owned a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle before leaving to go travel full-time. A lot of the scooter horror stories are from people who don’t know how to ride and just hop on and go and don’t wear helmets. I highly recommend taking a basic motorcycle safely class to build your confidence. Scooters are a great and inexpensive way to explore Bali and for use as daily transportation. And when the cars are stuck in traffic, it feels so good to be able to keep going up the side!