Bali’s shopping is legendary. Not only are visitors spoiled for choice by the variety of goods on offer, there’s also a rich array of shopping venues and styles. From sorting through hand-painted batiks at a local market to choosing designer outfits in air-conditioned malls, shopaholics are sure to find what they need in Bali.
If you have just arrived a good rule is not to jump in and buy the first day, at the first shop or you’re bound to be disappointed when you see the same item the following day for half the price in another store. The Balinese are very smart when it comes to selling to the tourists, they seem to know who is new in town and who isn’t. Before starting to bargain always have a maximum price in your head. Usually 50% or less than the first price offered by the seller is what you could expect to pay, and don’t be shy about bargaining it’s expected.
Never offer a price unless you intend to buy. Once you mention a price, no matter how small, you have started the process of bargaining and if the seller agrees on your price, it is considered very rude to then not purchase the item. Once you have found something you like and the seller has given you a starting price you can then offer a counter price. They will of course, claim that this is too low and they will not make any money from the sale. The best bargainer will walk away with the best price. Remember as you get closer to your intended purchase price, you maybe haggling over a few cents, but don’t let this worry you, as the Balinese are very good at bargaining. If it is a few cents over your intended purchase price and the seller will not relent, who cares just buy it, then both the buyer and seller will be happy!
If you do not want to engage in a bargaining contest and are not interested in the seller’s wares, do not make eye contact with the seller or stop and browse through a hawker’s offers. The best place to bargain is at local markets, you will find one of the largest outdoor markets in Kuta. Remember to bring cash as not many of the market stalls have credit card facilities. You will find that there are hundreds of small shops all selling similar things and a great place to try out your newfound bargaining skills. Wood carvings, silver wear, T Shirts and sarongs are a few of the items laid out to tempt you. Generally the T-shirts are copies and therefore command a cheaper price than the originals.
Stores like Reebok, Nike, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, are all here in Bali. They can be found in Seminyak and in Kuta and the areas nearby. These shops have to compete with the markets just outside their doors, so you will find specials and sales on all year round. Some of the sales are as high as 50% off and in some cases for old stock, 75% discounted. There is no bargaining involved with fixed prices marked on all goods. The stores are also air-conditioned and are worth a visit even just to have a browse and cool off. Bali now boasts some large shopping malls like the Bali Discovery Mall, located between the end of Kuta beach and the Bali Airport opposite the popular Waterbom Park and the new Seminyak Village Mall just off the restaurant street.
The Carrefour Store on Sunset road halfway between Seminyak and the Airport is a super store where you will be able to by almost everything. From electronic equipment, fridges, microwave ovens to noodles, beer, soft drinks, water, fruit and vegetables all at Indonesian prices. Factory Outlets are here as well on the Sunset Road and in Kuta.
You can find Duty Free Shopping at Plaza Bali and DFS in Kuta, and the Nusa Dua areas. They have a wide range of designer label boutiques. Bare in mind some products in Indonesia don’t have a high duty, such as cigarettes.
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