Bali lovers have been left reeling as prices rise across the island.
For decades Bali has been considered one of the world’s most affordable travel destinations but it seems like all that is changing, fast.
In a post shared on the Facebook group Bali Bogans, a page dedicated to Bali lovers from Australia, one traveler shared her experience paying the bill after a day out at Rock Bar Day Club in Jimbaran.
The Aussie tourist shared a photo of her bill to give a warning to fellow travelers budgeting their upcoming trips.
The post sparked a debate as to whether Bali is as cheap of a destination as travelers have been led to believe.
The receipt shows that the tourist was charged IDR 240,000 (USD 15) for two 380ml bottles of water.
For perspective, a 1.5l bottle of water at an Indomaret or Alfamart, or even a side-of-the-road stall is rarely more than IDR 30,000.
Similarly, the receipt shows two small bottles of Bintang beer charged at IDR 120,000, usually around IDR 30,000 from the shops, around IDR 50,000 in a cafe. These prices are before the added service charge of 10% and tax.
All this said, the prices shown on the receipt at Rock Bar are on par with the prices charged at similar beach clubs, resorts, and restaurants in the south of Bali.
The debate in the comments section was a fair even split. Around half of people shared the outrage at the hugely inflated prices, while others see it simply as part and parcel of being a tourist visiting busy destinations.
Frequent tourists to Bali commented that some of the big beach clubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes have become ‘tourist traps’ where guests are charged premium prices simply because of the prime location and reputation of the venue.
For many Australian tourists, Bali has long been an accessible and affordable vacation destination. But this does appear to be changing, or at the very least a little harder to achieve.
It is still very possible to have a budget-friendly vacation in Bali, it just requires looking a little off the beaten track and being savvy with spending.
The rising prices of vacation in Bali, from the rising costs of accommodation to the increasing cost of dining out, are starting to make tourists look elsewhere. In 2023, Japan became a top travel destination for Australian tourists, beating Bali as the most in-demand destination.
Surprisingly, this may not be something Indonesia is all too fussed about.
Leaders in Bali and high up in the Indonesian government are on a mission to promote more high-quality tourism to higher-spending tourists.
In 2023, badly behaved tourists hit headlines almost every week, with leaders identifying many of these individuals as low-quality tourists who were scrimping on their travel experiences.
This is partly why the new tourism tax will be introduced on the 14th of February. The new mandatory IDR 150,00 per person fee is set to help the government fund the protection and preservation of Balinese culture and landscapes.
However, many tourists see this as just another hike in the cost of a vacation on the island.
The introduction of the tourism tax comes as Bali’s most frequent international arrivals still have to pay for a 30-day visa.
Before the pandemic, it was the case that Austrian tourists qualified for visa-free travel to Indonesia. However, it is now the case that tourists from 97 countries must pay IDR 500,000 for a visa.
This means that as of 14th February 2024, a family of four who take their annual vacation to Bali will be paying IDR 4,400,000 (USD 285) more than before the pandemic and before they’ve booked transfers, hotels, day trips, and food; the prices of all of which are rising.
Indonesia’s Tourism Minister has suggested that visa-free travel may be reintroduced though no formal changes have been announced.
For tourists looking for a more budget-friendly experience in Bali in 2024, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Staying away from the busy, booming resorts of the south will surely see accommodation costs fall significantly.
Travel apps like First Table are great for finding dining deals at the island’s most popular restaurants. Using public transport where possible like the Trans Dewata Buses and the free SMART @Ubud shuttle are all small but significant ways to cut costs on vacation.
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