Shopping tips for getting the best buys in Bali
Shopping in Bali can be an amazing experience, with so many beautiful homewares and fashion items at great prices. It can also be overwhelming and stressful if you aren’t prepared! Here’s the low-down on how to get the best buys and stay sane while doing it.
Browse for the best price...
Hit the streets of Kuta and Legian for cheap boho fashion, brand name rip offs, sandals, homewares and jewellery galore. Many street stalls sell the same things, so remember you can always walk away and tell them you’re going to look somewhere else if you’re not happy with the price they’re giving you.
There’s a definite art to browsing in these stalls! If you give an item more than a sideways glance, chances are you’ll be pounced upon straight away. My advice, try and shop in groups or shop somewhere where people are already browsing. You'll then have more time to think about your purchase decisions.
Be ready for the big numbers...
Before you hit the streets, familiarise yourself with the conversion rate (see below) and keep this fresh in your mind so you don't get frazzled when the big numbers are being thrown at you.
Think about what price you would expect to pay for a certain item before you ask how much it is. Keep in mind the rough guide of how much a fair price (for shop-keeper and tourist!) is, so you don't go into the negotiation blind. This will empower you to get the best price and walk away feeling satisfied you’ve not been ripped off.
Keep comfort in mind...
Make sure you’re physically comfortable - wear solid sandals that will be comfy enough for you to pound the cracked pavements and cramped side streets in the heat. Take a break to compose yourself. Go get a foot massage at a roadside spa (roughly 500,000 IDR/ $5 for half an hour), or kick back in a bar with a refreshing Bintang!
Start early for good luck...
Shop in the morning. The Balinese believe that it’s good luck to make sales in the morning as it sets them up for a lucky day ahead. You can often barter for cheaper ‘morning price’. The mornings also tend to be cooler and less hectic on the streets.
Take a break...
Struggling with the haggling? Look out for ‘No Bullshit’ street stores, which will give you a fair price that generally isn’t up for negotiation. This is a good way to re-connect with how much prices should be, if you feel you’re losing your way with haggling. These stalls advertise “No Bullshit” on their signs (for real)!
General price guide:
Leather sandals: $10-$25
Cheap singlet (Bintang, fake brand etc): $4-$8
Girls dress: $3-$10
Batik print bag with leather handles: $6-$12
Ladies boho sundress: $8-$20
Rough conversion rate (which at the moment is quite easy to work out):
20,000 IDR = $2
50,000 IDR = $5
100,000 IDR = $10 AUD
200,000IDR = $20 AUD
300,000 IDR = $30 AUD
400,000 IDR = $40 AUD
500,000 IDR = $50 AUD
1,000,000 IDR = $100 AUD
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