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Indonesia - Cost of Living

Bali is cheap and the livin’ is easy.

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Overall, rent in Bali is almost 80 per cent lower than in Sydney, restaurant prices are about 70 per cent lower, groceries more than 50 per cent lower.

Just comparing supermarket prices - bread is 56 per cent cheaper in Bali than Sydney; chicken 60 per cent cheaper; eggs 60 per cent cheaper and tomatoes 77 per cent cheaper.

A beer is 64 per cent lower.

And if you have a few too many to drive, taxis are really cheap. In Bali the per kilometre charge of taxis is 79 per cent lower than in Sydney while the waiting time is 95 per cent less. The cost of utilities, including electricity and gas, even though seen as expensive in Bali, are still 34 per cent lower in Bali than Sydney.

Internet usage is 32 per cent lower in Bali than Sydney while mobile phones (one minute pre-paid) are 90 per cent cheaper.

However, activities and items of a strictly European nature, like Levi jeans, a new VW Golf, a cappuccino (at $2.80 instead of local coffee at $0.25), dining or drinking in tourist bars and membership of a sports club are not much different.

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Western food is also readily available. In Bali, more, and larger, Western supermarkets are appearing; more restaurants are opening and, away from Kuta and the tourist bars, there is not the binge-drinking type culture that exists in Australia. Eating out is very much part of the local life and, like Michael and Geoffrey, many expats revel in the large choice on offer—at minimal cost.

Dining out in an inexpensive restaurant costs 80 per cent less in Bali than in Sydney. At a warung—a local restaurant—you can get a meal for less than than A$3. For example, noodles, lemongrass chicken, green beans, chicken satays and a spring roll can be had for about A$2.25. Not only cheap, it’s very high quality. If you like going out for breakfast, you can enjoy a healthy egg-white omelette with mushrooms and tomatoes, two slices of wholegrain toast, mango juice, and yogurt with fruit and granola for A$2.75. This beats A$25 (or more) in Sydney.

Almost every warung-styled meal is less than A$5. A beer is 70 per cent less in Bali than in Australia. And you can wander out for coffee every day if you like—the local Balinese coffee is excellent and at just 25 cents a cup, it’s a steal.

For anyone on a tight budget, these savings make a massive difference to lifestyle. Suddenly, you are free to do things you would simply find prohibitively expensive in Australia. If you prefer eating at home, the savings are also massive—especially if you shop in the local market and not the supermarket. The local market, or pasar, is the best place to buy fresh produce cheaply. But markets require bargaining and a bit of local knowledge and for the Westerner, who is new to Asia, this can be confronting. 

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