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If you’re a frugal traveler, the most expensive thing about traveling to Bali is … getting to Bali. No matter your gateway from the U.S., a flight to this tropical island in Indonesia will typically cost you more than $1,000.

But that’s where the big spending ends. The cost of things once you’re physically in Bali, assuming you aren’t traveling like a goddess with demanding diva-like tendencies, are considerably cheaper than what you’d find in, say, New York City.

In fact, a stay in Bali could very well be cheaper than one in New York City. Don’t believe me? Here’s a breakdown of what I paid during a recent stay in Bali, versus what it would normally cost me in the Big Apple. It just might inspire you to click “Purchase” on a flight to Denpasar, Bali.



Bali: I paid $40 per night for a massive private room with en-suite bathroom in a gorgeous, centrally located villa in Ubud, Bali. It’s easy to score three- and four-star hotel accommodations here for less than $100 per night.

NYC: Good luck finding anything in the Big Apple for less than $100 per night. Three- and four-star hotels regularly fetch $250 or more.

Taxi ride to/from the airport

Bali: My first hotel arranged a taxi pickup after midnight for me for $16 (IDR 215,000) to my hotel in Kuta. (Although I’m sure I could have gotten a cheaper rate had I negotiated with a taxi driver on the spot at the airport – just didn’t want to deal with that after 30 hours of travel.)

NYC: It regularly costs $45-$50 to get to a Manhattan hotel from any of the New York airports.


Vehicle rental

Bali: Motorbikes are the way to get around in Bali because the roads are so narrow and congested in the bigger towns. You can rent them for $2 to $4 per day – the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere in the world.

NYC: Renting a car in the Big Apple – kind of crazy, in my opinion – will set you back at least $55 per day.

Private driver

Bali: I paid $50 (IDR 650,000) for a private driver to spend a day driving me to temples across Bali, which included a few hours of driving in between destinations.

NYC: It would cost more than $300 to do something comparable for the day in New York City, whether through a private service or a shared-ride service.


Biking tour

Bali: A full-day biking group tour, including breakfast and lunch, which took us through villages and rice fields, cost $40.

NYC: A guided group bike tour in NYC costs anywhere from $55 to $100.


Top attractions

Bali: Admission to most temples across Bali cost anywhere from $1.50 (20,000 IDR) to $2.30 (30,000 IDR).

NYC: Tickets to attractions such as the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock cost $32 and $26, respectively. Popular museums admissions run $25.


Yoga class

Bali: I paid $68 (900,000 IDR) for a 10-class pack at the world-famous Yoga Barn, which broke down to $7 per class.

NYC: Classes are regularly $20 to $30 in NYC.


Bali: Cultural performances at local temples, which involve dancing and fire-blowing, cost anywhere from $3.80 (50,000 IDR) to $6 (80,000 IDR) per person.

NYC: Popular Broadwayshows regularly fetch $100 or more per ticket, unless you go to the TKTS Booth and score a same day discount ticket at up to 50 percent off.)


Private surf lesson

Bali: I paid $26 (IDR 350,000) for a private, two-hour surfing lesson in Kuta, Bali.

NYC: The same private lesson would cost $175. (And yes, you can take surfing lessons in Rockaway Beach, just outside of NYC.)


Bali: I got an entire personal pizza for $3.40 (45,000 IDR) at Mamma Mia in Ubud, Bali.

NYC: While you could get a slice of pizza for that much in New York, an entire pizza will run you anywhere from $10 to $25.


Cup of coffee

Bali: Bali serves up some of the best, freshest coffee anywhere in the world. I regularly paid $1.50 (20,000 IDR), sometimes less. (The island does have a few Starbucks cafes, but I avoided those.)

NYC: A cup of coffee at Starbucks will cost about $2.

Bottled water

Bali: It’s typically $0.75 (10,000 IDR).

NYC: In the Big Apple, the same runs $2-$4, depending on where it’s purchased.


Sushi dinner

Bali: I paid $14 for a rainbow roll, chicken katsu, edamame and two sodas at an ocean-view Japanese restaurant called Sushi Tei Beachwalk in Kuta, Bali.

NYC: That entire meal would cost me more than $50 at my favorite sushi restaurant in New York, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill. (The rainbow roll alone costs about $14.)


Bali: It’s often free, if you can squeeze into a spot on the crowded streets.

NYC: Ranges $20-$30 per day in a parking garage.



Bali: I found amazing designer shops, such as Marta Valbuena and Pygmees, that sell one-of-a-kind dresses for $35 to $50.

NYC: Similar dresses in New York City boutiques would easily fetch $200 or more. (Which is why I stocked up in Bali!)

Tagged: Beach, Cheap Tips, International, Tips & advice

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