While Bali may conjure images of expensive resort towns, this uniquely beautiful island is actually very accessible to those exploring backpacker style – you just have to know where to go. Head away from the expensive resorts of the south and the party-scene of Kuta to Ubud, the cultural and spiritual center of Bali. You’ll find a relaxed oasis of gorgeous landscapes and cultural wonders, all while avoiding the South’s extravagant prices.
Home Away From Home
The Balinese are famously friendly and hospitable, making a homestay in this welcoming country a very special experience. Homestays are plentiful in Ubud, and provide not only affordable accommodation but also a uniquely local experience. The best guides to any city are the people who live there, and homestays offer you a matchless opportunity to take advantage of local knowledge. Rooms run between $10 and $20 per night, often including a hearty, healthy breakfast of pancakes and fresh local fruits.
Grab a map, rent a motorbike, and spend your time in Ubud adventuring. Motorbike rentals run around $5 a day, or $2.50 each if you’re riding with a buddy. You may be able to get an even cheaper rate if you’re renting for more than a couple days. Ubud and the surrounding areas are resplendent in their scenery, including endless stretches of vibrantly green rice plantations. Enjoy the views as you ride to visit this spiritual area’s fascinating temples, for which entrance fees run around $1 or less.
All that exploring is bound to make any traveller hungry. Luckily, especially if you stick with local delights, you’ll be able to fill up your belly without emptying your wallet. Visit warungs, small, family-owned restaurants, for delicious rice and noodle dishes starting at under $1. You’ll not only find it easier to stick to your budget by frequenting local eateries, you’ll get an authentic experience diving into truly Indonesian cuisine. While warung prices tend to be comparable to cooking your own meals, self-catering can be a nice way to mix things up. Stick with non-imported goods for the most affordable and authentic choices. Local markets are great places to discover flavorful tropical fruits, locally grown vegetables, and Balinese staples like tofu and tempeh.
Relax and Rejuvenate
Ubud has always been a center for natural medicine and healing; in fact, Ubad is ancient Balinese for medicine. Take advantage of the local healing traditions to indulge in a little self-care. Treatments usually way out of backpacker budgets are affordable here – you can finish off a long day of adventuring with a massage starting at around $5. You’ll be aglow with wellbeing and falling into the laidback Ubud rhythm in no time.