Living in Bali on a Budget: Week 7 (Canggu Beach)

This week has been a lesson in AirBnB for us. We have learned what we love, what we can live with, and how to get some money back!

Canggu Beach is the hipster haven of Bali. It's located in hectic South Bali but is farther west than North Kuta, making it much quieter than the more touristy spots. It has lots of surf schools (and good surfing), gorgeous beaches, skate/surf shops, cool Aussie-style caf├ęs, Western restaurants, and clubs galore. Unfortunately, it's pretty much a requirement that you rent a motorbike, and as you may know we think this is an awful idea in busy areas.

Many people say Canggu is "quiet" compared to other South Bali vacation spots, but we haven't visited the others. From what I've read, it's way better than Kuta, but keep in mind that there are still lots of people (and therefore traffic). There are just more locals than tourists, especially if you get a bit away from the beach.

Anyway, on to the money!

Our goal: $50 per day total, including transportation, accommodation, visas, and bills back home. For two people.

In every budget update I will add a prorated estimate of our bills back home (loans, phone plan, etc. which may vary slightly by month), to include in our $50/day travel budget. I am not including travel insurance -- this would add about $5.75 per day to our total.

  • Days: 7
  • Location(s): Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
  • Avg. spending per day: $26.63
  • Splurges: Double-hotel for 3 nights
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $29.82
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $36.02 

Classic Canggu!
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So what are our living expenses in Canggu this week?
  • Conversion rate: 10,000 Indonesian rupiah (IDR) = US$0.75.
  • Accommodation: $119.28
    • OUCH! Why so expensive?!
    • We don't exactly love Canggu, so our accommodation is very important to us.
    • Our first AirBnB was dungeon-like and smelled like mildew unless you blasted the A/C, which was an issue but we could have gotten over.
    • We don't want to ride motorbikes, so we are spending our time in Canggu catching up on some work and reading. This means we are spending almost all of our time at home.
    • It's still nice to be outside, and our place was advertised as having beanbag chairs in a nice set-up on the patio... in fact, this was what we had:

Relaxing patio?
    •  Even worse, you couldn't open any windows, so unless you were in our dungeon room, the entire house had zero circulation.
    • We got a bit grumpy. Luckily, our hosts were nice and refunded the days we weren't there (after we told them we left). All we did was change our reservation dates in AirBnB, and they issue the refund once the host accepts.
    • We bailed. We moved into a proper homestay (not a Westerner-owned cash grab shared house) with a beautiful pool. Outstanding! Here's the TripAdvisor for Home 46 and the AirBnB link (and our referral link if you've never used it).
    • Our first night was about $12 but we then negotiated a cash deal so the final five nights are under $10 a night! I absolutely cannot guarantee this rate -- message the owner and ask if you can book one night but stay XX nights and pay the remainder in cash. He may be feeling friendly ;)!

Worth the move!
    • Alas, we had three days of overlap and double-paying. So, it averages out to $17.46 a night.
  • Transportation: $0
    • Canggu sucks without a motorbike, but once we realized that the whole area just isn't our style, we decided to use this opportunity to get a bunch of work done and save our cash for Malaysia.  
  • Food and drinks: $67.13
    • We don't have a blender so smoothies are out, and we are back to hard-boiled egg sandwiches, fruit, and oatmeal while at home. We picked up some popcorn for 8000 for evening snacks. This sounds extremely boring, but if you've ever traveled long-term, it's actually quite nice to have most of your meals ready so that you don't have to constantly figure out where to go to eat.
    • We have started grabbing some Tipat Cantok for breakfast because Warren was wasting away. Check out our updated restaurant guide if you're curious about what that is!
    • Every night we head out to a warung for dinner and usually split a Bintang or two. 
    • We wanted to check out the metal bar nearby, but it's on the other side of a very precarious shortcut road... which I'm not walking on!

Travel budget saving tips:

  • Check for deals on hotels in your area. We booked via AirBnB because we generally like having space and kitchen facilities, but in some places it's better to be where the hotels are. Agoda does massive promos so it's often super cheap -- even hostels can be cheaper on Agoda!
  • Don't be afraid to stay put. It's tempting to see ALL THE THINGS but it's also nice to settle in for a while.
  • Skip the dangerous stuff... like surfing for the first time -- you'll see tourists all around Bali with bandages on their bodies from e.g faceplanting into a pile of dead coral or stomping some spiky poisonous sea creatures after flying off your surf board. Not only is this painful, but your medical bills can add up.

Curious about Bali? Find out more below:


South Bali is generally not the best place for a Southeast-Asia type of budget, but it's still way cheaper than many Australian and Western destinations. Canggu has most creature comforts just steps away, and offers a beautiful beach as well.


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