Shopping in Bali is an experience in itself and if done the right way can be a lot of fun! I’ll be honest with you though, the first couple of times I went to Bali I hated the shopping experience. The thought of haggling the price down made me feel rude and had me breaking out in hives at the very thought of it. If you want to walk in, pay for your things and walk out, stick to the shopping malls. But if you want to get some local authentic merchandise at a cheap price, be prepared to spend a bit of time at each store.
Here are my 5 top tips for surviving the Indonesian shopping culture:
1. You Have To Haggle!
If you don’t haggle they tell their friends and you are the sucker they can make their fortune off. Start at one-third of the price and work up to a middle ground from there, if they aren’t budging enough start to walk out – their prices will drop faster than a rock in the ocean. I just keep refusing until they are happy to let me leave and then I know I’ve hit the spot.
2. Shop In The Morning
It is good luck in Balinese culture to make a sale first thing in the morning so you will have better luck getting a cheaper price. Ask for the “special morning price” or if you really want to send the message you’re not to be underestimated ask in Indonesian for the “Harga Pagi” with a cheeky smile and negotiate from there.
2. Do Not Let Them Put Anything On You
You try it, you buy it is the general motto of street merchants. If you’re looking at bracelets, and you try one on, you will have a hard time getting out of buying it. Best just not to look. Which brings me to my next tip…
3. Don’t Look At Anything They Sell On The Beach
Sure, it’s convenient to have them come to your beach towel, but if you look at what their selling you will also be approached by the other sunglass guy ten meters down the beach and by all other six ladies selling bracelets and sarongs – poof! There goes your relaxing beach time! Your best off saving the shopping for the actual shops.
4. Asking “How Much?” Is A Commitment To Buy
If you ask them how much an item is, you have started the negotiation process, and it is considered very rude not to follow through. Don’t do this until you are ready to make your purchase.
5. Keep it light
Haggling is part and parcel of Bali culture, as is their friendly nature. The whole experience is a game and one to be enjoyed, have a joke, have a laugh and hopefully come home with a bargain!
What are your favourite bargaining tactics? Comment below X