Bali and Tulum have quickly become a bubble for jet-setting millennials. Both filled with expats, influencers, and models enjoying an insta-worthy lifestyle fuelled by yoga, delicious açaí bowls and amazing nightlife. 

Debating on which tropical paradise to call home this year?

In this article, we’ll be comparing living costs in Bali and Tulum; best beaches, nightlife and our top tips for budgeting in both locations.

ic: Tulum via @voyagefox_ 

What are the living costs in Bali vs Tulum?

Living costs in both Tulum and Bali are vastly cheaper than in Australia and many other parts of the world. Most expats claim that they live comfortably in Tulum with just around A$ 2000 per month, whilst nomads in Bali suggest with only A$ 1200 — generally it all depends on how boujee your lifestyle and habits are, as this can quickly add up to double and even triple ones average spend. 

ic: Bali via @catchagypsea

Here’s our quick comparison based on minimal budget:


  • Budget Monthly rent
    Bali: A$ 500
    Tulum: A$ 650
  • Single Meal Cost
    Bali: A$ 5-8
    Tulum: A$ 13-20
  • Transport 
    Bali (Motorcycle): A$ 50 (per month, excluding gas) A $4 (renting per day)
    Tulum (Bicycle): A$ 129 (one off cost) A $6.50 (renting per day)
  • Laundry
    Bali: A$ 2
    Tulum: A$ 3
  • Co-working space (Daily)
    Bali: A$ 15
    Tulum: A$ 12
  • Phone Data/Sim cost
    Bali: A$ 15
    Tulum: A$ 32


ic: Tulum via @professionaltraveler


How To Budget in Bali and Tulum

As we mentioned, all living costs vary on how affordable your lifestyle is.

Will you be drinking 1942 tequila at a stylish beach club or be keeping it lowkey with budget-friendly beers?

Here are some of the ways we recommend you minimise spending and budget in Bali and Tulum:

  • Book your accomodation/rentals long-term
  • Stay in shared villas/shared accomodations
  • Stick to beers rather than spirits and cocktails
  • Sacrifice air-con for a fan
  • Use your own transportation
  • Eat more local food
  • Stay in town, away from hotel zone (Tulum)


Best Beaches in Bali vs Tulum

ic: Tulum via @michellimarques

Both Bali and Tulum are blessed with the best when it comes down to stunning white beaches. As an island of its own, Bali has way more options when it comes to jaw-dropping beaches. Our favourites being anywhere along the south in Uluwatu and Nusa Dua area, or echo-beach for the sunset and surf session.

That said, Tulum also has its own collection of pristine beaches, namely Playa Paraíso, Playa Ruinas, Akumal Beach, Las Palmas Public Beach, and Secret Beach. 


Popular Beach clubs in Bali vs Tulum

ic: Finns Beach Club via @adrian_halis

Bottoms up! Last but not least, Bali and Tulum are both filled with luxurious beach clubs that supply the best of the best in food, drink and leisure.

A few of the usual suspects in the Bali beach-club game are The Lawn, La Brisa and Mrs Sippy. Meanwhile, Paraíso Beach Club and Coco Tulum are the go-to in Tulum. 


Should you live in Bali or Tulum?

ic: Bali via @galagonzalez

If you’re on a tighter budget, Bali is always going to be the better option for you. You can live like the insta-queen or king you've always dreamt of in Bali at just a fraction of the cost of living in Tulum. But if costs aren't an important factor, you'll find that there’s no exact way to distinguish between the two.

They're both incredibly aesthetically pleasing destinations that will soothe your soul and beautify your social feeds as much as you desire!