Bali Best Villas
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If you have just arrived, get a general idea of how much people are paying as the sellers are very quick to know who is new in town and who isn't. This way you will help avoid the first day rush to buy and then find you paid 2 or 3 times what you should have. Before you start bargaining, always have your maximum price in your head. (Usually 1/3-1/4 of the first price offered by the seller) Don't be too shy about bargaining when shopping, it's expected.
The first rule is 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 (the counter offer should generally be 1/5 to 1/4 what the seller is offering) They will of course, claim that this is too low (which it is) and that they will not make any money from the sale. They will then make a counter offer lower than their starting price, and away you go. As a guide, if the seller drops the price in amounts of Rp 20,000 you should increase up in amounts of Rp 10,000. 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 buy it and both buyer and seller will be happy!
Note: If a price is offered in $ (dollars) it is always US$ unless otherwise mentioned. If buying something small, always double check before you hand over your money as the street sellers are very good at sleight of hand and you may end up buying a watch that isn't working or your finest silver bracelet is now a piece of tin. (This is not common practice, however it does happen)
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.
Bali Traditional Markets
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, CD's and DVD's, Tshirts and sarongs are a few of the items laid out to tempt you. Generally the T-shirts are copies and therefore bring a cheaper price than the originals but they do make great last minute gifts for friends at home. For as little as Rps 50,000 each, you can bring a dozen home and the quality is good. As well the Kuta Art market has a multitude of shops selling a wide variety of goods including, sarongs, handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, furniture and leather goods.
Mall & Designer Stores
Stores like Reebok, Nike, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, are just the tip of the iceberg for what's available at these branded apparel shops on Bali. They can be found in Seminyak and with the biggest concentration of them at the Kuta Square area. These shops have to compete with the markets just outside their doors, you will find specials and sales on all year round. Some of the sales are up to 50% off and in some cases for old stock, 70% off. There is no bargaining involved with fixed prices marked on all goods. The prices offered are 1/4 to 1/2 what you would pay abroad. 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.
Kuta Art Market has a multitude of shops selling a wide variety of goods including, sarongs, handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, furniture and leather goods. You can find some good pieces if you look carefully and smart bargain.
Sanur's main shopping street is Jalan Danau Tamblingan and it is more peaceful then shopping in Kuta. Sanur has an interesting variety of shops with lots of nice restaurants. There are still a few hawkers but they are not as aggressive, except at the beach market. You can find woodcarvings, sarongs and other handicrafts in Sanur Art Market.
Sukawati has a new art market and a traditional market on the main road and side streets. Set in a two-floor building, the market sells everything from statues to dance costumes, all at reasonable prices. A large assortment of woven baskets can be found here along with Balinese ceremonial items made from colorful "Prada", gold painted cloth. These include dance costumes, fans, umbrellas and clothes worn at tooth filings and weddings. Bargaining is a must.
Duty Free shopping
Plaza Bali and DFS have duty free shopping outlets in Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua and the airport in Bali. 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.
Situated on Jalan Sunset halfway between Seminyak and the Airport, you will find a large Carrefour super store where you will be able to by almost any everyday item. Stocking everything from electronic equipment, fridges, Microwave ovens to noodles, beer, soft drinks, water, fruit and vegetables all at Indonesian prices.
Once you leave Kuta or Sanur, you will find that each small town you visit produces its own type of goods. A small selection of these small towns and factory outlets can be visited in a days Trip to Kintamani (Bali's still active volcano ) The tour driver will no doubt take you to one of his family or friend's shops(as they will get commission if you purchase) so if you would like to visit a particular area or shop its best to advise him before you start your journey.
Traditional Bali Villages
Once you leave the center of Seminyak and Kuta you will find that each small village you visit produces its own type of goods. Some of these can be visited in a day Trip to Ubud and the Kintimani volcano.
Batubulan - The carving center for traditional stone sculptures carved from soft volcanic rock. If you have the time they will even carve your own design.
Ubud - The place for painters and the center of the artistic scene in Bali. Originally the home of only artists in Bali but a walk along the main street of Ubud today you will find stores selling clothing, antiques, jewelry, homewares and handicrafts. There are also numerous temples, ancient sites and of course, great restaurants around Ubud. You may need a day or two just to relax away from the bustle and take it all in.
Celuk - Home of Silver and Goldsmiths large stores hosting a wide variety of intricately designed pieces of jewelry. Bargaining is a must however the best deals can be found in the side streets where the silver and goldsmiths work and live. Earrings, bracelets rings and brooches are just some of the pieces on offer.
Tegalalang - Home of the Woodcarvers, this village specializes in the carving of soft woods into sculptures. Spend some time watching these very talented craftsman at work using only chisels and sand paper, they create statues from a few inches high to several meters.