HOW TO DO BALI FOR LESS THAN RM1000!

2:07 AM

I admit, I'm a living cliche. 

I say "It's not you, it's me" when rejecting someone, wish for world peace, and tell people that my goal in life is "to be happy". Paris is still one of my top holiday destinations, and I booked a ticket to Bali right after watching Eat, Pray Love. 

Honestly, it was an impulsive buy, and with return tickets priced at RM350, who could resist such a steal? My New Year's resolution was to travel more (again, another cliche), something that I don't really do due to 1) the difficulty of getting people to go with me, and 2) the lack of finances (due to myself spending on clothes I only wear once) 

The catch was, I was going to go to Bali alone. Solo, lone ranger, obamaself, whatever you choose to call it. And everyone around me was puzzled. "Why would you go there alone?" "What are you going to do all by yourself?" "Isn't it dangerous?" "Aren't you scared?" "That's so sad, going alone."

Today I answer all your questions, and give you a little glimpse of what Bali has to offer. 

Located just 2.5 hours away from the +60, it's a wonder that I haven't been there. It was definitely a long overdue trip, and I couldn't have picked a more perfect destination to go solo to in terms of entertainment, price, currency exchange rate and the people. 

When's the best time to visit Bali?
After religiously doing my research (I don't even bother this much for my APA papers, just kidding), I found that the best time to visit Bali is between May-June. Come June-August throngs of Aussies will be heading over due to their winter break, and any given period towards the end of the year would be Asia's holiday season and Bali's rainy season. With this knowledge, I booked to go in mid-May. 

Is it dangerous?
Personally, absolutely not. In Malaysia, I'd feel a little apprehensive walking down small alleys alone, what more in the middle of the night. In Bali, after ubering home post La-Favela nights, I would have to walk down small alleyways to get to my hostel (roads and streets in Bali are narrow and dark), and I had zero fears doing that. In broad daylight in Malaysia, you'd get harassed by bums catcalling and shouting out "amoi". On the contrary, in Bali, they'd just ask you if you wanted a taxi every 5 minutes. 


Where did you stay?
I stayed in 3 places throughout 6 days in Bali. The first 2 nights were spent in The Island Hotel hostel in Legian, just a 30 second walk from the main street, Jalan Legian, where there are endless of sights and sounds to experience. The third night was spent in my friends' villa in Canggu, named Brawa Groove. At 400+ a night for a whole villa it was definitely worth it if you split between a group of friends. It had a stunning pool in the middle of the villa and the amenities were top notch. You can't have the whole Bali experience if you don't have a dope swimming pool. The last 2 nights I travelled to the centre of Bali, zen central Ubud, and stayed at Puji Bungalow, where they have the most hospitable staff ever. 

Personal review of my accommodations?


 The amazing group of friends from all over the world that I met at The Island Hotel

I've linked them to their respective listings so do feel free to click on them and see if they tickle your fancy!


The Island Hotel 
Pros: free breakfast, beautiful swimming pool and lounge area, super relaxing cafe, and convenient location as it's not directly on the main street but close enough so that it's easily accessible. Instagram worthy for sure. They play super relaxing Balinese instrumental music in the morning, and popular hits in the afternoon through some central speakers. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and one of them even gave me lifts to town and went all around looking for a Maybank for me even though it was out of his way. 

Cons: Didn't like how they didn't have plugs on the top bunks, so you couldn't charge your phone and use it before you sleep. Had to charge all my appliances on the plugs located near the ground. Also, toilet has no bidet????? How do white people do this????

Zero complaints, such a lovely experience staying here. If you're willing to splurge a bit more, a villa is the place to be. Located on the edge of Seminyak, Canggu is such a chill area as well, exuding a calming surfer beach town vibe. Best part is it's located to the popular beach clubs like W, Potato Head, Finn's, Canggu Club and Ku De Ta.














Puji Bungalow
Pros: The super hospitable staff! I actually left my glasses on the bed in Bali and only realized it upon returning to Malaysia. Thank god that one of the staff, Wayan, actually added me on Facebook. Initially he couldn't find my glasses as I think it must've fallen off but he went back to the room a couple of times to recheck. You're probably thinking, what's the point of him looking for my glasses since he's all the way in Bali. There's a coincidental story I must tell you guys later. Also, if you like dogs, the hostel has its own pet dogs for you to play with. Location wise it's perfect as well as it's similar to Legian, up an alleyway but off the main street so that it's certainly convenient if you were to pop out to walk around or to grab a bite real quick. The top bunks have plugs!!! I loved this fact. 

Cons: No complimentary breakfast. Rooms were a bit plain, although I really liked that they had a privacy curtain around every bunk when you want to block the world out. No in-hostel cafe (most hostels would have one) 

How much did you spend there?
Being a solo traveler means that you bear the costs all by yourself, unless you're able to find people with the same itineraries who want to go along with you, and then you could split the costs evenly from there. In my case however, the friends I made at the hostel had already visited the locations I wanted to head to. Since I was by myself and I'm not picky about having a private room, eating expensive food and luxuries, I obviously spent less. If you're looking for something abit more posh then this budget wouldn't be relevant to you, so take it with a grain of salt. This is a rough idea of how much I would budget.

Accommodation
Hotel: upwards of RM150 a night for a private room (it ranges, check it out on Booking.com, Expedia or Agoda)

Hostel: 
The Island Hotel, Legian. (IDR 331,000+) for 3 nights (forfeited the last night to stay at my friends') = +/-RM110.
Puji Bungalow, Ubud. RM70 for 2 nights. 
Total spent on accomodation: +/- RM180

Transportation
I have to say, I definitely used the most money on transportation. They have this super amazing feature in Bali... Uber/Grab Bike!! It's seriously so useful as the roads are small and hard to get around by cars, so bikes are the cheapest and most convenient way to navigate. I'm not too sure how much I spent in total on Uber/Grab bikes but they were so cheap that I felt bad paying close to nothing, so I tipped them extra as well. 





One thing I didn't like however, was that one of the Uber drivers actually charged me an extra fee to fetch me to Ubud on top of the stated fare. His reasoning being that it's hard for him to get customers in Ubud, and has to travel all the way back and spend his petrol, bla bla bla, he was so nice about it that I felt bad for him. Ended up spending more than I should have on that journey. Kind of regret it now. 

Also, chartered a driver for a day (12 hours) to bring me to all the tourist spots out of town. He stayed with me the whole way, and was helpful in answering my questions about the history of the places. Also he helped me take tons of Instagram worthy shots. I think I've trained him to be an Instagram husband now. It's definitely going to be cheaper if you're sharing with a bunch of friends as the MPVs that these drivers use can fit up to 6 people.

Some recommended drivers (some of them are Grab drivers who you can charter for yourself as well)
Oka Setiawan (link)
Baduda Bali Tour (link)
Bali Sweet Ride (+6281237204878)


In Ubud, I used this app called Go-jek. It's similar to Uber & Grab except that it's Indonesia based, and you can get them to deliver food and send beauty services to you as well. I hired a bike rider through Go-Jek and made a deal with him seperately to bring me to the tourist spots in Ubud and accompany me throughout. I offered him more than I should have paid if I were to use the app, but I'm also counting in the fact that he was escorting me and explaining things to me the whole way. 

Estimated cost on Uber/Grab Bikes in total = RM30
Estimated cost on Uber/Grab Cars (to/fro hotels, faraway places) = IDR 90,100 = RM50
Total spent on driver: IDR600,000 = RM160
Total spent on Go-Jek rider: IDR120,000= RM40
Total spent on transportation= RM280

Total spent so far: RM440

Food & Drink
Honestly speaking, food in Bali isn't as cheap as in Malaysia. In Malaysia, you could get a plate of fried rice for RM6 max (KL prices). In Bali, it's upwards of 30,000 IDR (RM10), so it's definitely slightly more expensive. These are warung prices, so if you're eating at more high-end restaurants I'd definitely say budget more.

RM10/meal x 2 meals a day (I don't really eat breakfast) x 5 days (on my last day I splurged) = RM100
Miscellaneous (splurge food, alcohol, water, snacks, et cetera) = 600,000IDR = RM200
Total spent on F&B and miscellaneous ingestions: RM300

Total spent so far: RM740
Shopping & Miscellaneous
My advice for going to Bali: pack nothing and buy everything there. Seriously, the clothes there are super cheap, super pretty & beach Instagram worthy, and super stylish as well. There are little shops on every corner selling maxi dresses, rompers, pom pom shorts, and crotchet bikinis are EVERYWHERE in Bali. Bargain, bargain, bargain, these are tourist prices and you don't have to feel bad about paying less. If they can sell to you at a lower price, they're still making reasonable amount of profit. I bought a maxi slit skirt, a really cute halterneck romper and a couple of items for my parents.

Bought this super cute romper there for 70,000 IDR (RM22)

Also, I visited a spa and paid 100,000 for the flower bath which was to die for. A whole new experience as I've never done anything quite like it. Wanted to go for their massage as well but time was of the essence. 

For the tourist spots, some of them would require you to pay an entrance fee which isn't much, usually just a couple of ringgit at most. If you're heading to the Uluwatu temple, you have to go see the Kecak dance, which is a traditional dance based off Balinese mythology, and it would cost you IDR100,000.


You'll definitely need a local SIM card if you're not on roaming, and I'd say the best telco provider in Indonesia has to be Telkomsel. I got my SIM, some credit and a 4GB data plan at around 200,000 IDR.

Total spent on shopping: RM100
Total spent on spa: IDR100,000 = RM30
Total spent on tourist spots: approximately IDR150,000 = RM50
Total spent on telco: IDR200,000 = RM60
Total spent on shopping and miscellaneous:  RM240

Total spent so far: 
RM980

You could definitely save more if you're travelling with a bunch of friends as you could split the transportation costs, as transportation bore the brunt of my expenses. 



And now, for the part you’ve all been waiting for… I mean, who doesn’t love looking at photos right? Here’s a galore of VSCO-filtered, sharpened, contrasted, perfect looking shots.

Legian/Seminyak/Kuta




 Legian, Seminyak and Kuta are located right beside each other and it’s definitely walkable between these 3 places (if you don’t mind the heat, of course). Kuta is party central, gets super lively and crowded, and maybe a little rowdy. Seminyak is where the crème de la crème stay, and as we Malaysians would say, super atas. You can tell from the shops, as most of them are high street, curated boutiques. Legian, I would say, is a nice blend of the two. Not as densely populated as Kuta, yet not as expensive as Seminyak. If you’re looking for middle ground, Legian’s your best pick.

Everything in Bali looks better. The weather is cooler, the sky is bluer, the shops are prettier. They have a whole bunch of O’Neill, Quiksilver/Roxy and Hurley shops to cater to the wave of surfers (punny, get it?), and they’re all done up beach style with wooden signboards and greenery everywhere. There are tons and tons of shops along Jalan Legian that would definitely meet all your needs. If you have the extra cash to splurge, I say go for a massage or a mani/pedi. Where else can you have your nails done for only IDR50,000? That’s less than RM20!

Canggu



I’ve grown very fond of Canggu, and for good reason too. A surfer town, it exudes this relaxing, calming, chill vibe, and is filled with adorable cafes serving up both the best local fare as well as healthy food choices. Everything’s more quaint over in Canggu. I’m for sure going to stay there the next time I’m in Bali. The best and most famous beach clubs are located in Canggu as well. I’m sure Finn’s Beach Club, Ku De Ta, W Bali and Potato Head Beach Club might ring a bell. It was merely a stone’s throw from my friends’ villa.


Tanah Lot






Tanah Lot hosts a series of shrines and temples and is located on top of rock formations. The temple isn’t open to tourists, however you can observe and visit it from the outside. When you’re there, you’ll probably notice people wearing white traditional Balinese garb. I was told by my driver/tour guide that the white is mainly worn by holy people/ priest/ priestesses. I heard that during high tide, tourists aren’t allowed to cross over to the main temple area. Fortunately when we were there, it was low tide and we could cross over no problem! You probably would wanna wear slippers and walk barefoot as the water would seep through your covered shoes.


Uluwatu Temple



 Our next stop for the day was the iconic Uluwatu Temple. After seeing so many blog and Pinterest posts, I just HAD to see this place for myself. Located in the South of Bali, this temple is perched on top of a cliff, which, according to Google, is 70m above sea level! As per custom and with any other Balinese temple, one must rent a sarong and a sash to be tied around your waist at the entrance before entering. One of the must-dos here at Uluwatu is to watch the Kecak dance. It’s based on Balinese mythology and is performed to the beautiful backdrop of the setting sun. Tickets are priced at 100,000 IDR (RM30). Make sure to reach early, as the dance starts at 6pm and it’s almost impossible to find a good seat. The view of the sunset from Uluwatu is a sight to behold and something you definitely don’t want to miss.

Ubud





Cheers to new friendships in Ubud!

My friends snickered when I told them I was going to Ubud. “Your Eat Pray Love journey, is it?” True enough, the famous movie was indeed filmed in Ubud, and everything was depicted as so peaceful and serene, I had to go experience it myself too. Besides a swimming pool, you can’t really have the full cultural Bali experience if you don’t step foot in Ubud. Everything’s just so wholesome and zen there, I went to bed at around 10pm for the two nights I was there because there’s close to zero nightlife. Ubud is a place you’d go to to capture the true essence of Bali and indulge in cultural activities. If you wanna party it up, Ubud’s not the spot for you. This is where I had the best spa experience of my life in a beautiful spa resort overlooking paddy fields and lush greenery, dined at quaint Balinese restaurants and warungs, and visited more tourist spots which I will talk about in a bit. I stayed off the main road of Ubud, Jalan Raya Ubud, and there was just a lot to see throughout that whole stretch of road, the Ubud Art Market being one of the famed tourist spots.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace



 If you’re alone, hire a motorcycle driver to bring you to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces because that’s exactly what I did. Along the way you can catch glimpses of the beautiful Balinese architecture that’s everywhere. I met the sweetest group of children in the terraces. They charge IDR5,000 to take a photo at this photo spot, and if you want to support these adorable children do donate a little.



Pura Tirta Empul/ Tampaksiring




The Tirta Empul temple is one of the most famous temples in Ubud. It’s also known as the Holy Water Temple and throngs of people flood here to bathe in the mystical holy water. The temple grounds are huge, encompassing many shrines, gardens, the holy spring and even a little market outside. Again, you would have to rent a sarong and sash outside as it’s customary to do so before entering Balinese temples.





Well there’s the end of my blogpost. Possibly the longest I’ve ever written in my life! Hope this manages to help you plan your itinerary for Bali or just to know a little more about it. I would 100000% recommend this place for a solo trip, I've made so many good memories here. The locals were all super pleasant and kind, and some of them working at the hostels even offered to take me on their bikes for free! One of the ladies I bought clothes from even threw in some free drinks as well. Their hospitality is really heartwarming. Everywhere you go they're always greeting you and always smiling, their happiness is really infectious and they're just so genuinely nice. 

And the company I made there in Bali, I would have never in a million years imagined that I would have such random spontaneous plans with people I've just met! So one of the guys I met there, Dave, told us about a huge beach party that was supposed to go down. We took a supposed shortcut to the beach, which was quite a daunting experience because of the terrain and also the fact that the alleyways were like 3 feet wide! Halfway while we were making our way to the beach party, we stumbled upon an alcohol truck (it's like a food truck but they serve drinks instead) and they had their own little makeshift party by the beach with a really talented DJ, cushions and umbrellas! So we decided to stop by the mini party and ended up having a really good time! The DJ was playing so many R&B and hiphop songs which really made my night. 

Coincidentally my friend from back home, Arnold, DMed me on Instagram saying he was in Bali too! Needless to say, we just had to meet up and those few nights spent partying together with the Hitz and Fly boys were the best! We had way too many drinks and danced a little too much at one of the coolest clubs in Seminyak, La Favela. Don't bother with anywhere else, La Favela is the place to be if you want to turn up. On the third night we had so many long islands (do not underestimate this drink, it kicks in much later on), and the boys even had a bottle before that, and everything else was a blur!

It was a twist of fate how I met my friends in Ubud. I stumbled upon this cosy looking restaurant and it was dinner time, hence it was super full and there were no available tables for a single diner! Decided to share a table with this other guy who turned out to be from Penang but works in Singapore! Another solo traveler came along and she had to share a table with us too because space was so sparse there in the restaurant! She's from Vancouver, and what was supposed to be a quick dinner ended up with us spending 2 hours in the restaurant and proceeding for drinks after! Also, unfortunately, my clumsy ass left my glasses in the hostel in Ubud. Puji Bungalow's staff were super helpful to help me look for them! And I asked my new Penang friend if he could help me get it and I couldn't believe he went all the way to my hostel to get it for me! 


Maybe it’s because I never really got to travel much in my life, or maybe it’s because I was there alone and had a whole different experience, or maybe it’s just the beauty of Bali, this beautiful island stole my heart right from the start. Bali, I’ll be back!


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