top of page
  • Writer's pictureBil

Money Matter$

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

So far we are doing pretty well with our budget. Of course the biggest expense is usually airfare and flying from Raleigh to San Jose, San Jose to Oahu, and Oahu to Bali was pretty expensive. But we plan to stay in southeast Asia for quite a while so no more long-haul flights in the near future. And we got a Visa card with travel rewards several years ago and used that exclusively which built up a lot of miles.

Indonesian currency is called the Rupiah (IDR). The name "Rupiah" is derived from the Sanskrit word for silver, rupyakam. Current exchange is about 1 USD = 14,250 IDR, so as soon as we changed some money we were Indonesian “millionaires”! Takes a bit of getting used to when you get the check for dinner and it is 195,000!

Before arriving in Denpasar Susie had researched on Airbnb for homestay places and found a “superhost” in Ubud where we wanted to go first in Bali. It was a lovely compound with 5 guest rooms owned & run by a wonderful family. This cost about $23 per night including a delicious breakfast every day. They picked us up at the airport in Denpasar for $20.

We typically would only get a small snack during the day such as a gelato and then find a nice warang (restaurant) in the evening. Full meals could be run from $3 to $7 excluding drinks. Of course, there are higher end restos with higher prices, but we had excellent food every time. Usually Indonesian style food but killer grilled cheese one night. Water & juice are not expensive, but alcohol can easily double the price for two glasses of wine or cocktails. The exception is the local Bintang beer – which we don’t drink. At the grocery a fifth of Bacardi was about $86!

The little shops and stores pretty much expect people to bargain. Some advice says to end up paying about 70% of asking price. Kinda fun once you get used to it. Many eateries have a 5% service charge included and may have a tip jar at the counter. Any wait staff appreciates a little extra. You will probably sit all day if you wait for them to bring your bill – just walk over to the counter & pay when ready.

Next we were going to the Nusa islands close off the SE shore of Bali. Our hosts in Ubud arranged a driver to take us down to Sanur and a “fast boat” to carry us over to Nusa Penida. About $37 total for both of us. The place we stayed here was more expensive – around $45 per night, also including breakfast. Meal prices were about the same but our fave resto had great lime-based rum drinks & we just happened to be there for happy hour a few days!

We hired a driver 2 days to see the island & they cost about $35 for 7 hours. Some of the more popular attractions like famous beaches or overlooks charge a fee to enter the area – maybe about $2 or $3. Supposedly the money goes to the closest local village. Many of the public toilets in these places charge 5,000 to 10,000 IDR – and are often only a hole in the floor with a nearby bucket of water with a scoop. Bring your own TP if required – you’ll be glad you did.

One afternoon we went out with a dive boat, and it cost around $65 for one dive, with Susie snorkeling & me on SCUBA. I wanted to go on the Manta Point dive which cost about 1,200,000 IDR (84 USD) but the seas were too rough. Next day we took a small boat for the 15-minute ride to Nusa Lembonga for $5.

Our current room here on Lembongan is upstairs in a 2-uit bungalow for $30 per night. No breakfast. Rented 2 motorbikes today for about $6 each. Susie laid hers over and cracked the floorboard, so we had a 20,000 IDR repair bill!

Went to the nearby money changer today (Saturday) and ended up costing 10% to get 2,000,000 IDR from a credit card. And so it goes….

41 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page