First and foremost, have a currency converter app downloaded for quick on-the-spot reference and know some simple denominations. This will be a time saver to assess the Bali currency.
At 13 USD to 1 Rupiah (Ru-pee-ah), learn the equivalency for the following amounts. For example: 100,000R (~$7.00 USD); 200,000R (~$21.00 USD); 300,000R (~$21.00 USD); 400,000R (~$28.00); 500,000R (~$35.00 USD).
You’ll be ahead of the game if you have this preliminary set down as a lot of daily spending is around those amounts. Yes, Bali is that cheap. 🙂
Answer this: How much in USD for 50,000R? Answer at the bottom.
Cash is Still King & ATMs are Your Lifeline
Select places accept credit cards transactions in addition to cash while there are some places that only accept cash. With that said, paying with cash is the usual method. The most common way people get money is through ATMs. There are plenty of them here. Certain ones work for my bank/card, others don’t. So, check ALL options if you can’t pull money from one.
How Much Money To Pull
So, what if you’re here two months or a long weekend? I get asked often the average amount of money to pull and the expected costs. The spending habits of someone on holiday here will vary from someone who is looking to stay long term. Those on holiday tend to be ready to splurge while others want to manage the reasonable budget and take advantage of the low-cost Bali living.
With that, here is a breakdown of some of the average cost for things below. Keep in mind, a lot has to do with the types of places you choose to consume. If you really wanted to, you can find cheaper and more expensive options. Note averages are listed in Rupiah.
Average Meal: ~100-150K This would include a non-alcoholic beverage and a meal. Local warnings are much less. Average Coffee beverage: ~20-40k
Average Alcoholic Beverage: ~100-150k
Average Happy Hour Alcoholic Beverage: ~50-100K (Buy 1 get 2 or Half-off)
Average Sunscreen Spray (Western Brand) ~220-350K
Average Bali Massage: ~75-120k
Average Go-Jek Ride (one-way): ~10-30k
Average Scooter Rental: ~25-60k per day – ~800k per month
Average for Airport Drive (one-way): ~250-350k (depending on your location)
Average Drive between Towns/Cities: ~250-300k (depending on your location)
Average Gym Membership: ~25k (no ac) -300k (with ac) per day. Per month, ~800k (with AC)
Tours can have a wide range which is hard to estimate. They may or may not include a driver, a boat or lunch. It also depends on how many stops you’re making or if it will be a flat rate. For us, getting a driver with an outlined list of stops for 6 cost us about ~800k (not including tip).
The same goes for accommodations. The online resources provided in how to find your accommodations should give you an idea what is out there. Once again, it is as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.
Living here, I usually pull out about R1.5-2 million per week. I try to get more but not all ATMs will allow it. If you’re only here for two weeks, 3-5m will be enough depending on your habits.
Caution: Card Skimming
Unfortunately, we can’t avoid ATM skimming here in Bali either. I always check (finger) the card reader before inserted my card. Also, check the keyboard. I don’t know too many people that have been skimmed, but it’s best to be aware and proceed with caution. If you see someone sketchy hanging by the ATM, skip that machine. Here is a video on how to assess an ATM for anything mounted on the register.
Digital Banking: the New Trend
One new trend is digital banks where banking services are delivered over the internet. This is ideal for international travelers that want the cheapest exchange rate, open multi-currency accounts with the ability to pull money at any ATM without fees globally. Look into Revolut for personal or business. You have the ability to close your account instantly at any time, unlock your card, and send free national and international transfers. Not to mention, you can buy, store and exchange cryptocurrencies.
At the Airport
You will want to be sure you have Rupiah readily available to pay for airport incidentals, but, most importantly, to pay your driver when you get to your final destination. An airport drive could range between $200-400k ($14-28) depending on your location.
If you need a driver, I have plenty. Shoot me a request and I can set you up with one.
If you forgot to exchange money before getting to Denpasar (DPS) Bali airport, then you have another chance to pull money at the airport. There are a set of ATMs for those arriving from an international flight. You’ll know you’re near these ATMs when you enter a BIG EMPTY FEELING BALLROOM to get to Immigration/Passport Check. These ATMs will be to the far left within an enclosed room. Below is a series of images that show you what the ballroom look like and the ATM room. Scroll over the pics for captions.
If you still need more direction when you get to this ballroom, spot a lonely counter in the middle of that ballroom. This is the Visa Extension counter. Ask them and they will tell you it’s behind them against the wall, in the enclosed room. 😊
In Case of An Emergency
Emergencies do happen. I’ve heard a number of horror stories of grave scooter accidents. The biggest surprise I hear is how Bali hospitals can and will reject you if you are unable to provide payment upfront – with your broken limb standing there. With that, the best safeguard is to have a credit card on hand at any time to pull out for such cases. If you have health insurance, this can be cross-checked later and reimbursed.
Answer: ~$3.50 USD