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10 budget-friendly things to do in Bali

Bali is a beautiful province in Indonesia with a lot of budget-friendly things to do. It comprises the main island of Bali as well as a few smaller neighboring islands, like Nusa Penida. And of course, it is one of the most Instagrammable places in the world!

Bali is a great place to be in nature. From relaxing beaches and luscious greenery to epic surfing waves and waterfall adventures. You can visit beautiful Balinese temples, go snorkeling with manta rays and sea turtles, and even get a back massage from a beach bed. No matter what you do, you’re gonna love Bali and all its beauty!

After spending 3 months living there, these are 10 of the best budget-friendly things to do in Bali

10 budget-friendly things to do in Bali

1. Since Bali is an island, go to the beach!

Canggu, Bali beach
📍Canggu Beach

There are plenty of beaches in Bali. Some are at the bottom of a cliff like the beaches in Uluwatu, some are perfect for surfing like the beaches in Canggu, and some are great for swimming like the beaches in Jimbaran. You could spend a few days visiting different beaches in Bali and finding your favorite ones. 

2. Eat at a local restaurant called Warung


Warungs are local restaurants where you can find real local food. They are not always easy to spot, but they are usually packed with locals and tourists alike and offer the best price for food. Be sure to try some Nasi Goreng (fried rice) or Mie Goreng (fried noodles) with a few local side dishes, like my favorite, corn fritters.

Warung food

3. Visit the Monkey Forest in Ubud

Monkey forest

Ubud is located around 1.5 hours away from Kuta/Seminyak/Canggu areas and is home to a Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Inside, you’ll discover a little forest with over 340 long-tailed Macaques up in the trees and down by the trails. Usually, they mind their own business and should be left alone. But if you pay 50,000 IDR, a local animal keeper will take photos of you with a monkey on your lap that looks like the monkey is taking a selfie with you.

4. Participate in a cleansing ritual at Tirta Empul

Tirta Empul

Tirta Empul Temple is an active water temple with a holy spring built around 900 A.D and it’s located around 30 minutes away from Ubud. Here you can participate in the water cleansing ritual with the help of a local guide, which you can hire at the temple, or just watch locals and tourists alike do the ritual. Your guide will explain what each fountain means and what to do during the ritual. 

Tirta Empul

5. Go shopping in Ubud’s street markets

Ubud market

Ubud’s street markets are the perfect opportunity to buy a few souvenir items for yourself or your friends and family back home. The markets open daily, even when it’s raining! Here you can buy things like clothes, figurines, incense, knives for some reason, penis-shaped bottle openers, and a lot more quirky and touristy things. While in the market, I highly recommend haggling to get a lower price for what you’re buying. Things aren’t expensive per se, but the first price they tell you is way higher than what they’ll accept. Just remember to keep it friendly and respectful. 

6. Visit a nearby island like Nusa Penida or Gili Trawangan

Kelingking beach
📍Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida

While Bali offers a lot to do, taking a day trip to Nusa Penida or staying a night in Gili Trawangan is a great way to explore some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. Nusa Penida is a small island east of Bali, and is home to the Instagram-famous Kelingking Beach. You can book a day tour that includes a fast boat to the island, snorkeling around the island, and then visiting a few breathtaking beaches like Kelingking Beach.

Gili Trawangan
📍Gili Trawangan or Gili T

Gili Trawangan is the biggest of the Gili Islands, and is known for scuba diving and its lively nightlife. It is only a 3-hour fast boat ride from Bali, and the perfect addition to your itinerary. Here you can learn how to scuba dive, snorkel with sea turtles, or simply paddle board around the beach. There is always something going on at night, so you’ll be sure to find a bar to enjoy a few Bintangs. I recommend checking out Sama Sama for live music and a great vibe!! 

Gili T
📍Gili Trawangan or Gili T

7. Explore a few waterfalls

Bali waterfalls

Bali has plenty of waterfalls so be sure to visit at least one. You can spend a day or two visiting multiple waterfalls since a lot of them are close together. Or you can book a day tour that includes going to one or two waterfalls. Tripadvisor has a few budget-friendly tours I recommend to visit waterfalls as well as other cool things to do in Bali (like Tirta Empul or The Gate of Heaven). Be sure to add one of these waterfalls to your itinerary: 

Tegenungan Waterfall

Tegenungan waterfall

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Tukad Cepung waterfall

Munduk Waterfall

Munduk Waterfall

Kanto Lampo Waterfall

Kanto Lampo waterfall

Suwat Waterfall

Suwat waterfall

8. Go to the most Instagrammable spot, Lempuyang Temple

Lempuyang temple

Lempuyang Temple, also known as The Gate of Heaven, is arguably the most instragrammable place in Bali. And rightfully so because of its magnificent views of Mount Agung, and the opportunity to take breathtaking pictures between the “gates”. To capture the picture with the reflection at the bottom you must grab a number and wait for your number to be called. There will be a few local guides sitting in the perfect position to take your photos with a mirror under your camera to make that effect.

Lempuyang temple

The best times to visit are in the morning during sunrise, or in the evening before sunset. These are the times were there are fewer people, and the temperature is a little cooler. But still, be prepared to wait 1 to 3 hours (sometimes more!) for your turn.

9. Have a photoshoot at a Bali Swing

Bali swing
📍Uma Ceking Swing and Resto

Bali has plenty of Bali swings, mostly in the Ubud area or nearby. These are long swings where you get safely hooked to your seat and swung by local guides overlooking a rice field. It sounds scary, but it’s perfectly safe, and an unforgettable experience. It is also a great photo op! Some places offer to rent a long dress for those dramatic photos you’ve seen on Instagram (and in the photo above!). My favorite was Uma Ceking Swing and Resto around 15 minutes away from Ubud. It had 2 swings, multiple nests and flowery beds to take more photos in, and even a restaurant with budget-friendly local and western food and drinks. 

10. Take a surfing lesson

Surfing lesson in Canggu Bali

Bali is known for its surfing, so why not take a surfing lesson? I took my first-ever surfing lesson at one of the beaches in Canggu and had a great time. Along the whole beach, you’ll find little shacks and bars that offer surfing lessons at an affordable price. My lesson was 2 hours long, included a bottle of water and wetsuit, and I actually got up on my board towards the end, for about $20-25 USD per person. 

There are a lot more budget-friendly things to do in Bali, but these are a few of my favorites and the ones I highly recommend adding to your itinerary.

And if you want to learn more about the cost of living in Bali and my experience living there for 3 months, check out the blog: Cost of living in Bali as a digital nomad

Heads up: As a way to earn passive income, this post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you buy something through one of those links, I might get a commission at NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support! 💕

Lempuyang temple

March 16, 2023

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