Welcome to Money Diaries, a new blog series inspired by Refinery29 where we share with you how BigPay users spend their hard-earned money — and we're tracking every last ringgit.
We’re kicking this series off with a 24-year-old marketer in Kuala Lumpur, J, as he accounts his spending on his weekend trip to Bali.
One of my close friends is about to get married in October this year, so a group of friends and I decided to fly to Bali to have some pre-wedding fun. Here’s what went down. 👇
Trip location: Bali, Indonesia Trip length: 4 days Days of annual leave: 18 (too little)
Travel companion: My partner, C
- Round trip to Bali: RM327.70
- Hotel in Canggu: RM78.80
- KLIA Express ticket to KLIA2: RM48
- Airport transfer: RM100.70
- Pink dye: RM35
Total pre-trip spending: RM590.20
7.00 am — I woke up early to pack. C had already left for work and was going to join me at KLIA2 later that afternoon. Most of our friends had taken the day off and were already on their way to Bali. 😭
12.00 pm — I saw a notice by Malaysia Airports asking passengers to arrive at KLIA2 three hours before their flight because they were expecting crowds due to the Merdeka weekend. 😱 I panicked because C missed a flight two weeks ago because of that. Texted C to get to the airport ASAP!
4.00 pm — Left early for the airport. I took the MRT from work to KL Sentral to catch the KLIA Express train. RM1.30
5.15 pm — Arrived at KLIA2. Surprised that there were no crowd. I got through immigration swiftly and met up with C. 😑
5.40 pm — I wasn't hungry but I wanted to have dinner before boarding. Not a fan of airplane food. But options for food wasn't great either. I had to choose between fast food and some sad looking hawker stalls. I settled for McDonald's and ordered a 2 piece ayam goreng. 🍗 At least that was tasty. RM12
7.30 pm — We boarded the flight. We watched two episodes of Street Food on Netflix to keep us awake.
11.00 pm — Three hours later, we touched down at Bali airport. 🛬 We met with our driver, he was friendly (as expected of Balinese hospitality) and thank god he wasn't the talkative type. The ride to our guesthouse in Canggu was comfortable.
12.30 am — We arrived at our guesthouse and the check-in was swift (I already paid for the hotel in advance). I wasn't happy when I saw the state of our room, it was dirty and the toilet had a weird smell. I looked under the bed sheets and there were stains everywhere. 😰 I laid the bath towels on top of it before going to bed. 😴
Daily total: RM13.30
8.30 am — I woke up early and didn't want to get back to bed so I started packing. I just wanted to get out of this place ASAP.
9.15 am — We left our guesthouse to get breakfast but first we went to the nearest ATM to withdraw money with our BigPay card. The exchange rates were amazing. I was only charged a withdrawal fee of RM10 which was great considering how much more I would have lost at the money changer. RM10
9.30 am — C suggested to go to Green Guru smoothie bowl bar for breakfast as it was recommended by many travel bloggers. I ordered the pina colada bowl and C got the peanut butter chocolate bowl. It definitely lived up to expectations, and we were shocked how huge the portions were! 😋 RM21
10.15 am — I texted M, the bride-to-be 👰 to see what our friends were up to. They just woke up so we agreed to meet them later that evening for dinner. Since we had more time to ourselves, that means we could shop more and squeeze in time for a massage as well. 😉
10.45 am — I saw a poster for Old Man's market. It said it only opens every last Saturday of the month so we were in luck! We walked along the black sandy beach to get there. The market was pretty busy but we understood why. There were rows and rows of stalls selling local crafts, clothing and food. We bought a cute pineapple scarf for our friend’s poodle (RM30). RM15 each
12.00 pm — Arrived back at the guesthouse for check-out. We then walked to our next destination in Canggu, Bungalow Living Bali! 🙌 I found the store on Instagram some time ago while scrolling through a travel influencer's feed. I knew I had to visit there myself as soon as I saw it.👌
12.30 pm — It was a long walk there with our heavy bags but at least the weather was pleasant. We were in heaven the moment we stepped into Bungalow Living Bali. 😇🤩 We went on a frenzy at this place! We had a difficult time choosing what to buy because we wanted everything. Eventually we settled for a Kantha patchwork quilt (that we had been searching for the entire year) and a turquoise beach scarf (RM476). RM238 each
1.15 pm — Satisfied with our purchase, we stopped by Milk & Madu for lunch. I ordered a tuna poke bowl and coconut 🥥. Lunch was amazing but the toilets were the real winner! 🤣 Weird I know, but check it out if you are ever in the area. RM30
2.30 pm — Time to leave Canggu to our hotel in Seminyak. 😢 We had trouble getting a taxi on Grab so we hailed a local taxi. Grab quoted us RM23 to our hotel so we used that as the benchmark. We refused many taxis because they quoted us double the price! 😱Luckily, we found a taxi that ran on meter so we immediately hopped in. It ended up costing us only RM18 for the 25-minute journey. 🤘 RM9 each
3.20 pm — We checked in at Grandmas Plus Hotel. I paid for the rooms with my BigPay card but it was declined twice! It was quite embarassing but I soon found out that I didn't have enough money in my account. Oops...😜. C paid instead, and we split the bill later with BigPay. RM135 each
3.50 pm — Remember the massage we said we wanted earlier today? Well, we got one because our shoulders were sore from carrying our heavy bags earlier this afternoon. We both had an hour Balinese massage. 💆♂️ The masseuse did her best to get rid of my muscle knots and cracked my head at the end. It was euphoric! 🤩 RM45
5.00 pm — We walked out of the massage parlour feeling refreshed. We went back to our hotel to shower and get changed for dinner at 7 pm. Because it was a themed dinner party, we had to dye our hair pink. I was looking forward to it because it was the first time for me. Anyway... it was an epic fail, the colour didn't show up the slightest in my jet black hair. 🙄
7.00 pm — We arrived at Motel Mexicola and met up with our friends. Everyone had pink hair except the two of us. 🙄🙄🙄 We had lots of tacos, and the night went pretty wild soon enough. 🕺RM71.50 each
Daily total: RM574.50
9.00 am — We woke up pretty early despite going to bed at 2.00 am. We got dressed and our plan was to head to The Junction House for breakfast as it was recommended by Google Maps.
9.40 am — I didn't feel like walking so I got a taxi. We got into one thinking it ran on meter and realised when we arrived at our destination that it wasn't. The driver demanded we pay RM45 for a 5 minute drive. No freaking way! 😡 We argued with him and eventually, we settled for RM14. RM7 each
10.00 am — We asked to be seated outside in The Junction House but moved inside soon because of the noisy traffic. We ordered eggs benedict 🍳 and a coconut ice cream pancake 🥞 to share because we wanted something savoury and sweet (RM44.50). The food was okay… but I don't think it deserved a 4.7 rating on Google. RM22.25 each
11.20 am — The next business of the day, Tropicola! Our friends were already at the beach club 🏖 so we power walked there as fast as we could because we didn't want to miss out on the fun.
12.00 pm — We finally got there and I gulped down a glass of pina colada🍹 to quench my thirst. Everyone else was sun tanning on an inflatable in the pool. We joined in.🧴🕶
3.00 pm — We spent the rest of the afternoon here. I had a falafel salad and we drank RM740 worth of pina coladas. What a great way to spend a Sunday! RM112 each
5.00 pm — After spending much time in the sun, I achieved a nice bronze tan 💪 but C got a sunburnt. LOL. 😦 We parted ways with the group and head back to our place to freshen up for dinner. Hailed a taxi (RM10.40). RM5.20 each
6.30 pm — We went to a Warung nearby for dinner since we hadn't eaten any Indonesian food the whole time we've been here. The two of us shared a gado-gado salad, fried bee hoon 🍝, fried kuey teow and kangkung 🥬 (RM45). The food was meh. RM22.50 each
7.30 pm — Our friends wanted to stay in at their villa for the night so we got a Gojek 🏍 to their place. The 15-minute ride was so frightening 😖, I held on the seats for dear life. My fingers and legs were sore afterwards. RM5.30 each
10.00 pm — The house party wasn't happening. Everyone was pretty tired even though we did nothing. 👰 M was in the mood to party so I suggested we head out to the clubs to dance.
11.00 pm — Many cancellations later... the taxi arrived. Apparently, many drivers don't want to come to the Umalas area because of the mafia (what dodge place were my friends staying?). The 6 of us head out to a club 5 minutes from where our hotel was. RM8.90
11.20 pm — Finally, we arrived at the club. We all head straight to the bar to 'hydrate'. We danced our heart out, it was another great night! 💦 RM59.60
1.30 am — We decided to call it a night. C and I walked back to our hotel, it was only a short walk down the road.
Daily total: RM242.75
9.00 am — Sad times. 😕 It was the last day of our trip. Our driver was scheduled to pick us up at 1.15 pm to the airport so we had a few hours left to explore more of Seminyak. We quickly packed, took the free bikes out and cycled around.
10.15 am — Stopped by a rustic cafe for breakfast. Had a coffee ☕️ and a breakfast burrito. RM17.85
11.30 am — We window shopped after breakfast and soon got a call from our friends to join them for lunch. We weren't full from breakfast so we said yes. As we cycled to the lunch place, I was yelled “b*tch” by a group of people who drove past us. I realised soon after that it was my (uncivilised) friends. 🙄
12.30 pm — Had an amazing lunch at Neon Palms. Shared a salad 🥗, some deep-fried cauliflower bombs and a coconut. (RM59.60). RM29.80 each
12.45 pm — We said our goodbyes and head back to our hotel. Just before we got onto our bikes, I spotted a home store, Kim Soo, so we popped in for a quick look. Bought a blue gradient pillow cover seconds after as I laid eyes on it. It was the quickest purchase I had ever made. 👍 RM74.50
1.15 pm — Our driver was already waiting for us at the hotel lobby. We grabbed our bags from the reception and leave to the airport. Sad times.
2.00 pm — We arrived at the airport and head to check in. I’m always impressed how automated and seamless the airport is especially compared to KLIA2. 🙄 Just don't eat anything at Bali airport, the eateries charge you extortionate prices!
4.00 pm — Met up with a friend who was on the same flight back with us and we boarded the plane. More Netflix to entertain us for the next three hours.
7.40 pm — We landed safely. I was quite grumpy that the vacation was over then I quickly went mad when our luggage took forever to come. 🤬 Traffic was terrible outside so we took the KLIA Express instead. The three of us got our tickets together so we only paid RM40 each instead of the RM55. From KL Sentral, we took the MRT home. RM44.30
Daily total: RM166.45
End of diary.