It seems all travelers are seeking for a place to hang out for a while (or to leave their heart there and move further): the people we met so far are changing their places just until they find their paradise. From all places we visited Bali seems to be my own paradise!
Balangan beach, Bali. Such a beauty!
There are many reasons: weather, people, food… But one of the most important things for a long traveller is budget!
A year ago I would say Bali must be one of the most expensive seaside destinations. Surprisingly, we see now it is much more comfortable and cheap even to compare with Goa! That is, I should say, almost a shock.
Some figures (and all the things in this comparison are very basic – the more you pay, the more you get):
1. Housing: our current place is a cozy guesthouse in Tuban – the quiet place in Kuta (yes, it exists!). No nightlife or restaurants around – only local houses. Yes, it requires a scooter. No, we don’t hear Ngurah Rai at all.
With cleaning, free drinking water and almost perfect wifi it costs 160 USD monthly.
In India (Goa, Karnataka and Varanasi), where local wifi is a story to tell (sadly), without any cleaning, usually no linen and poor hot water it was no cheaper than 300 USD monthly.
In Thailand (May – low season; Bangkok and Phuket) it can vary from 56$ for a week (simple but nice hotel Asialoop in Patong) to 18-20 USD per night (Happio hotel, Bangkok). The services are usually good, but some rooms have no windows or condition (or both) – don’t know who would survive there from March to September.
India, Goa, Palolem. This pretty hut is made from the thin lists of plywood weakly connected with each other, with almost no sound isolation from the outside, costs around 16 USD per night.
2. Scooter: all the scooters are more or less equal. In Bali we pay 45 USD monthly, versus 100 USD in India (Goa) and Thailand (Phuket).
The gasoline is also cheapest on Bali: here it costs 60 cents (7 400 IDR) against 1 USD in both India and Thai.
Thailand, Phuket. Sometimes it is possible to replace scooter by public transport or taxi, with some limits and foot work.
3. Food: this is a trick. Here, surprisingly, it is cheaper to eat in warungs (cafes) than to cook at home: the supermarkets are quite costy. Lucky me! 🙂 Warungs offer Indonesian food, which can be well adapted for European taste – I really appreciate that! The normal lunch will cost 2-4 USD per person. However, the same budget is required in India and Thai – if you are ready for the street food (small local rests or food markets).
The devil is in details, as usual: Indian food is quite specific (you should be ready for extra-spicy and odd masala – the common name for any flavoring) and the place to eat can look as it was never cleaned! In Thai, be careful with nice-looking fake shrimps on sticks 🙂 However, the food market on Patong, Phuket, where we were dining nearly each day, was always full of tasty treasures starting from barbecue fish and ending with fresh ice-cream with fruits. And, as important as taste, my stomach was always happy after these dinners!
Thailand, Phuket, Patong: food market on Prachanukhro street near the river. See the shrimp kebab? The shrimps are fake, yet yummi!
In a nutshell, everything we choose, we choose by heart. We choose to travel and sometimes we choose to settle in one place: to explore it from top to bottom. I never forget my time in India – so many treasures over the land with such interesting culture and history! And I hope to explore all Bali and many other islands of Indinesia during next months.