Naomi Soman
Naomi Soman

Nov 02. 3 mins

DIVER’S GUIDE TO TRAVELLING TO BALI ON A BUDGET

Between the sun-swept panoramas and the underwater worlds, there is no shortage of extraordinary things to discover in Bali. While you can easily spend thousands on a flight and resort stay in Bali, you shouldn’t forgo a vacation there just because cash is tight.

If you’re a savvy traveler, you can plan a diver’s vacation for far less than what you’d imagine. Here are some of our best tips for travelling to Bali on a budget.

Airfare:

Because Bali is mostly isolated from the rest of the world, it’s not very accessible to anyone outside Eastern Asia and Australia. However, if you search strategically, you can find reasonable flights. Ticket prices are at their lowest during monsoon season. The monsoon season in Bali stretches from December to March, but if you can stand the humidity and late afternoon rainstorms, you’ll appreciate the discounted fares.

You can also find reasonably priced tickets in April and May. These months receive relatively little rainfall but still enjoy pleasant temperatures. However, make sure not to come too early. Most divers complain that diving in March is miserable because the heavy rains wash all of the trash from the beach, roadways, and fields into the ocean.

Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaMake sure to book a flight with a stop-over in either Singapore, Bangkok, or Kuala Lumpur. Tourists from Australia and Eastern Asia flock to Bali when on vacation to catch the large waves, so flights leave regularly from these hubs. AirAsia, in particular, is known for their affordable flights to Bali. You could even make an excursion out of it and extend your trip a few days to make the most of your time.

When you’re packing, don’t forget to bring your dive gear with you. You’ll have to pack lightly if you bring your own supplies, but you’ll save some money once you arrive since you won’t have to rent equipment.

When you touch down in Bali, you should look for the fixed-fare taxi tickets in the arrivals terminal. These tickets will buy you a ride with an allocated driver. More importantly, these tickets will save you the hassle of haggling with local drivers who know they can easily rip off naïve tourists. If you do take a taxi, make sure not to accept any price higher than 180,000 IDR-300,000 IDR (~12-13 USD). Anything higher than that is unreasonable. Alternatively, your hotel might offer a free shuttle service, so make sure to ask ahead of time so you can book a seat.

Lodging:

There are all sorts of luxury diving resorts and villas scattered across the island, but you can also find plenty of budget accommodation without sacrificing on value.

While you’ll find plenty of affordable lodging in Seminyak, Canggu, or Sanur, diving packages here can cost up to 250 USD. Worse still, you’ll have to drive 2-3 hours just to get to the site. As a diver, you’ll want to make sure to book a room in Padang Bai, Nusa Penida, or Amed.

AmedYou can easily find a place to stay for 25-35 USD in any of these locations, and your dive site won’t be more than 20 minutes by boat. Also, take note that in Amed and Tulamben, many of the dives are shore dives. If you come with your own gear and a buddy, you’ll only need to purchase a tank of compressed air, which costs about 5 USD. You won’t have a dive guide with you, but you will save a chunk of change.

Nusa PenidaIf you plan to stay in Nusa Penida, we highly recommend Kulkul Bungalow. At only about 25 USD per room, you’ll receive excellent value for your money. The staff members are both friendly and helpful, and they’ll be happy to arrange day trips and transportation for you.

While the hotel is secluded in a quiet area, it’s easily within walking distance of the shore and many local restaurants. Finally, if you’re in Nusa Penida anyway, you can check out Nomads Diving–one of our favorite local dive shops.

Activities & Transport:

There’s no end to free ways to keep yourself occupied while in Bali when you’re not exploring the ocean floor. If you’re not relaxing on any of the drop-dead gorgeous beaches or showering under towering waterfalls, you should participate in any of Bali’s many cultural festivals.

After a long day in the ocean, you’ll also want to make sure to book a waterfront massage. Masseuses on the beach generally charge less than those working in hotels and spas. If you’re willing to haggle, you can get one for less than 7 USD.

You can hike through the terraced rice paddies and dense green jungles in Ubud for free, and yoga classes pretty much anywhere on the island will only cost about 5 USD if you buy them in bulk. Temples often ask for a donation, but unless you’re on an organized tour, you can wander around most of them for free.

Ideally, you should choose a room in proximity to the beach so that you have easy access to Bali’s many popular diving sites. However, if you need to make your way around the island, you can take a scooter. Whether you choose to rent your own or jump on the back of someone else’s scooter with GO-JEK, the Indonesian version of ride-sharing, you can save money zipping from place to place by travelling with the locals.

Tell Us Your Best Tips!

Have you ever been to the island of the gods? How did you cut costs? Comment below to tell us your best budget-friendly tips for diving in Bali!

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