Budget: Bali

This is one of our Budget series of posts to give you an idea of how much we spent traveling around the world. Here we will look at Bali. Check our posts to see what kind of activities we did and where we stayed!

In Bali we used the Indonesian Rupiah. We converted to US dollars using the current conversion rates at the time of our visit. It was approximately 12,500 Rupiah to $1.00.


Total Spent (7.5 days): $757.32

Accommodation: $224.37

We stayed in two Airbnb apartments which Phill paid for and we paid him back for through food…

Activities: $98.21

This included entrance fees for a lot of temples. The largest expenses were for a dance performance, massages, and a tour guide for two days in Ubud.

Alcohol: $0

This is misleading – we did drink in Bali, but we never purchased alcohol on its own. It was always with meals or other food…

Food: $264.85

We ate out for lunch and dinner every day. We purchased one breakfast from Payogan Homestay and the others from the grocery store. There was also alcohol consumed with most dinners!

Miscellaneous: $32.76

This includes one postcard… and a large airport exit tax. blargh.

Transportation: $64.15

This includes several taxis as well as a day we took a car and driver around near Seminyak.

Visas: $73.67

We purchased our visas on arrival. We should have paid in Rupiah as it would have been cheaper than in dollars. Oops.

This divides out to $100.98/day which is just about $100/day budget! We were expecting that we might go a little over in Bali as it was a special occasion and we were traveling with others. We have to give a HUGE shout out and THANK YOU to Phill and Izaak for being understanding and supportive of our budget. Thanks!

How to Accidently Dance Onstage with Drag Queens in a Temple in Bali

Step 1: Stay at the wonderful Payogan Homestay with amazingly gracious host Ketut. You can find this place on Airbnb. It is slightly outside the town of Ubud and is within the complex of Ketut and his family’s home. Ketut makes sure that you are comfortable and well cared for! He also is an excellent tour guide for sights surrounding Ubud. Make sure to ask for his special pancakes for breakfast! Payogan Homestay is not to be missed!

Step 2: Accept Ketut’s invitation to visit his village temple’s “birthday” celebration. The Balinese calendar has a 210 day year, so every 210 days, the village celebrates the anniversary of the temple. It is an amazing celebration with big processions, tons of offerings, and great music. The celebration lasts for several nights, with a large “dance show” on Thursday evening.

Step 3: Dress in appropriate clothes for the temple. This consists of a covering your upper arms, wearing a sarong (for both men and women), wrapping a sash around your waist, and donning appropriate headgear (just men).

Step 4: Shyly hang around in the temple for an hour or so waiting for the promised dance performance. Look awkward enough that many of the villagers attempt to make you more comfortable by giving you good seats or letting your sit right next to the orchestra (Gamelan) while performing. Make sure and enjoy seeing your host Ketut perform, but also make sure to wait for the second Gamelan to come in with very elaborate and fancy instruments: they will add a keyboard, bass guitar, a didgeridoo, and a tambourine to the traditional ensemble.

Step 5: Enjoy the Titanic song My Heart Will Go On as people from a neighboring village process out and Payogan villagers get ready to pray.

This dog is waiting too

This dog is waiting too

Step 6: Watch and listen as an entire village gets together to pray and be blessed together.

Step 7: Settle back as the promised dance performance finally begins!

Step 8: Begin to get a little confused as the dance performance seems to be primarily geared toward humor with two little boys inhabiting costumes of a monster and a monkey playing together. Become even more confused as two clearly male, but dressed as female, dancers comes out and dance quite suggestively before doing an apparent comedy show for the audience. Everyone else will laugh a lot… You will laugh because they are laughing, but will understand nothing.

Step 9: Continue to enjoy small snippets of dance and song in addition to the comedy show. Relax as the dancers pick on another foreign couple – asking them a lot of questions.


Step 10: Panic when the male of the aforementioned couple refuses to come to the stage and as they spot you in the crowd.

Step 11: Think “shucks, I only travel around the world once… YOLO” and approach the stage along with your friend who also thought he was being pointed out, simultaneously.


Step 12: Watch your friend learn to dance Bali style which means waving jazz hands, wiggling fingers, and standing on one foot.


Step 13: Stand up to learn and perform your part of the dance, which basically seems to be doing a deep squat (frog style??) and hopping around like a monkey… for a very long time. Try not to pass out as your thighs begin to ache.




Step 14: Smile as the crowd goes wild! Return to your group of friends and have Ketut congratulate you on a job well done.

There you have it! 14 steps to have one of the most unique cultural experiences of your life =)

Eric Experiences His First Ever Massage in Bali

Eric got his first ever massage during our holiday in Bali! What were his ultimate impressions?

I had never gotten a massage before. The closest I had come to getting a massage was our trip to the Turkish hamam in Fethiye, but that was a bit rough. It’s not that I actively dislike them, but it didn’t seem like something that was worth paying for.

During the second half of the week while we were in Ubud, Phill and Izaak decided they wanted to visit Jaens Spa. I certainly wasn’t going to sign up for one of the long treatments, but under some general pressure from the others plus a bit of curiosity, I decided to sign up for a 1-hour traditional Balinese massage. Della loves getting massages, so she agreed to join me.

The experience started off with a nice welcome drink as we filled out some paperwork. We could request a certain level of pressure, and I went with “Light” since I was envisioning the hardcore treatment I had seen in Turkey.

We were then taken into a back room and given a quick foot scrub. My feet were pretty sweaty and gross after having walked an hour and a half to get to the spa, so I was feeling a little self-conscious about how bad they must smell! I think that’s one reason I don’t like massages: I assume it must be weird for the masseuse to have to deal with someone else’s body. But in my head I told myself to get over it. At this point we also chose our oils for the massage. I went with a frangipani-scented oil, which they said was good for relaxing, while Della went with a ginger-scented oil for energy.

We were then lead into a massage room with two different massage tables. On each table was a shrink-wrapped piece of underwear, that was basically just some black mesh with elastic – seriously the skimpiest thing we had seen! We squeezed into these and hopped up onto our respective tables.

Our attendants then came in, draped towels over us, and began the massage. I have to say that the time flew by! The hour was up before I knew it. It was definitely a full body massage – head, shoulders, back, legs, feet and hands. There wasn’t really any improvisation in the massage – I could hear Della’s masseuse and we had the exact same things done to us at the same times.

It wasn’t as awkward as I had thought it could be. The back portion of the massage did go a little lower than I was expecting, but nothing inappropriate.

In the end, we got to take a quick shower and then relax with some fruit while we waited for Phill and Izaak to finish their spa treatment. At the end, I felt very calm and relaxed, so I think the massage did its job! I’m not sure if I am going to make getting a massage part of my normal routine, but if I see a cheap one I may just consider it!

Eric refreshed and relaxed after his massage

Eric refreshed and relaxed after his massage

A Holiday in Bali

We were quite excited to have the opportunity to meet up with one of our old college friends, Phill, in Bali for his birthday. He currently lives in Australia, so we don’t get too see him too often. Therefore, when we heard he was planning a weeklong birthday trip to Bali along with another friend from Sydney at the same time we would be just a few hours by plane away, we shifted our itinerary so we could meet up with them.


What a wonderful holiday it was! Holiday because we had to do neither the planning nor the organizing – Phill took care of it all!

We spent 3 days in Seminyak and the remaining 4 in the lovely town of Ubud. Phill planned Airbnb lodging for us the whole week. All that was left was seven days of fun!

While in Seminyak, Phill had his birthday dinner at a Mexican restaurant (of course!) and it was actually quite good. We enjoyed lots of good food and several good drinks… and then a slightly silly walk back to our apartment.

We also did a scenic walk along the beach in Seminyak, did a day trip to the Bukit Peninsula where we enjoyed the Bali version of Mt. Rushmore, several lovely beaches, and an exciting adventure at the Monkey Temple, Ulu Watu. We also experienced a gorgeous Bali sunset.

In Ubud, we saw a traditional dance performance, did an amazing (if super hot) hike above a river valley, and played in a Monkey Forest. We drove through scenic rice terraces, tried Luwak coffee (made from coffee beans eaten and then expelled by civets), and cleansed ourselves in the lovely “spring temple” where cool spring water bubbles up from the earth and then is piped into different pools where you can purify yourself in the water. We visited Big Tree Farm where we learned about how chocolate is made and got to taste almost every step of the process. We went on a day-long search for lingas and found a nice waterfall. And finally, we accidentally participated in a local village temple’s birthday party and Eric got his very first massage!

Stay tuned for some more stories from our holiday in Bali!