PRICES AND COSTS
Accommodation in Bali is very reasonably priced compared to other top tourist destinations around the world. Rooms in basic 2-star hotels (perhaps US$20 or so in Bali) can easily compare with Travelodge accommodation which can cost e.g. in North California US$150 per night, and there they don't provide ANY service at all.
At the high end, the accommodation offered at the RITZ CARLTON BALI, FOUR SEASONS and BVLGARI BALI resort for instance can be US$800 or US$1,200++ per night. At the new ST.REGIS BALI resort, 1-bedroom suites and villas are between US$950 and US$2,500++, and 2- ond 3-bedroom residences can be around US$5,000 and more but the same standard of accommodation would cost you somewhere else still more.
Generally speaking, hotel rates in Bali range from about US$20 for a basic but clean, air-conditioned room with private bathroom and a small terrace to US$2,500 + 21% tax & service charge per day for beautiful Balinese 1-bedroom cottages and villas with private plunge pool set in a walled tropical garden and offering stunning views and polished 5-star service around the clock.
The bottom line is that accommodation of any kind in Bali is still a great bargain, and in every category you get more than you pay for.
Transportation in Bali was always cheap by any standard. The metered radio taxis start with a flag fall of 5,000 Rupiah (plus 4,500 Rupiah per kilometer), and most trips cost Rupiah 20,000 to 90,000. Most reliable and polite are the drivers of the blue taxis, and you should avoid most other taxis as they often refuse to use their meter and over-charge foreigners.
If you brought an International Driver's License, you can rent motor bikes from Rupiah 55,000 to Rupiah 85,000 per day, and five to ten year old self-drive cars (Jimmy or Toyota "Kijang") cost from 250,000 Rupiah to 400,000 Rupiah per day. Newer models are more expensive, and luxury cars such as a Volvo limousine or a new Toyota "Land Cruiser" will cost US$150 to US$250 and more per day. Gasoline prices have been raised several times in the past, and Premium leaded gasoline is now 6,000 Rupiah per liter (per May 24th, 2008).
Everywhere in tourist areas you'll be offered "transport, transport", and the rates are negotiable. However, the cars of many of these guys are quite old. Radio, tape and even the air-conditioning are often out of order. Although most drivers initially seem to be very friendly some are real con artists and waste hours of your precious vacation by bringing you to shops you never wished to visit because they want to earn a commission on your purchases.
We think, however, it's much more relaxing to have someone who knows his way around behind the wheel than to drive yourself through Bali's traffic. You can fully enjoy the sights, don't have to worry about getting lost, and there's always somebody to watch the car and your belongings when you go for a meal or sightseeing.
Food and drink at Bali's top hotels cost about the same as in the same category of hotel anywhere else in the world. Breakfast is US$8 to US$45, lunch and dinner US$20 to US$100 and more per person – and that does not include any wine which can be very expensive. On the other hand, restaurants outside the large hotels are often 40% or 50% cheaper, and at the open food stalls you can still get a tasty meal for a few thousand Rupiah.
If you've rented a private villa for your stay in Bali, your house staff will do the shopping at the local "warungs" and supermarkets and prepare delicious meals according to your instructions. Your savings on food and beverage will be about US$40 to US$60 per person per day compared to what you'd spend in a good hotel. This way you can enjoy delicious meals and all your favorite snacks and drinks – at unbelievably low prices.