Shoestring budget, maximum value: Get better bang for your buck in Bali

Bali is being discovered by droves of newcomers as many Australians postpone more expensive international jaunts.

Recent interest rate rises and sharp increases in flight costs have squeezed travel budgets and prompted many to reconsider long-haul flights.

The average flight from Melbourne to London cost $1412 from 2017 to 2018. Prices for that same flight in 2023 have more than doubled, to an average of $2677.

Flights from Melbourne to Bali are much more affordable, hovering between $500-$700.

The Australian dollar goes further in Bali, particularly for food and accommodation. Even though prices have risen recently, tourists can expect to pay $100- $150 a day for meals, accommodation and private transport for a mid-range level of luxury.

For those who are new to Bali’s shores, here’s what you should know:

Before you go

Pack a small medical kit of essentials, advises Stacey Daley, managing director at Helloworld Hobart.

“I always take a high-level DEET insect repellent, and a medical kit with Hydralyte, Gastrolyte and Buscopan just in case you get Bali belly, because it is common,” she said.

“You can get it eating at your hotel restaurant.”

Travel immunisations depend on the advice of your GP, but at the very least make sure your tetanus vaccinations are up to date.

You’ll need a tourist visa and these can be paid for on arrival with cash or by card. The queues at the Denpasar Airport are usually lengthy, so prepare yourself for at least an hour’s wait. Ms Daley also highly recommends travel insurance.

Bali has a wide selection of accommodation types and locations. Photo: Getty

Where to stay

Bali is awash with accommodation choices. Depending on how much you want to see and do, you may decide to stay in more than one location or for a more relaxing holiday, you may want to stay put.

Kuta and Legian are home to some of Bali’s best beaches and both are a 25-minute drive from Denpasar Airport. Seminyak is equally as popular and offers lots to do, while Nusa Dua is favoured by families and couples.

“Seminyak is lovely and there’s a lot of restaurants and boutiques, but what I will tell people is a lot of the restaurants in Seminyak are westernised and they charge westernised prices,” Ms Daley said.

“Nusa Dua is great if you just want a big resort stay and is really good for families who want to be looked after with kids’ club and activities.”

Other regions worth exploring include the less touristy options of Benoa and Canggu, both in Bali’s south. With its lush rice paddies and rainforest, Ubud is a popular place to explore for a change of scenery.

What to do

The beaches of Bali are sensational, and travellers can usually find a way to upgrade their beach experience by hiring lounges and ordering cocktails or massages while there. For a less crowded beach visit, check out the secluded Nyang Nyang Beach and Thomas Beach, both in Uluwatu.

There are also plenty of private tours to take – Instagrammer Christina Iskander, from Best in Bali, recommends the pretty islands that can be reached by boat.

“A must see is Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, a 30-minute boat ride from Sanur and the Gili islands in Lombok, a two-and-a-half hour boat ride from Bali,” she said.

Balinese temples date back as far as 960AD and many have been well preserved. Lempuyang Temple is a sacred cluster of seven temples in eastern Bali, while the Gunung Kawi is a complex of courtyards and cliff-carved shrines near Ubud.

Australian tourists have made the headlines in Bali recently for all the wrong reasons, so be sure to respect the culture and dress appropriately at sites of cultural significance.

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