Bali Haggling Tips

Legian Street in Kuta

Since i first wrote this Blog things have changed a bit in Bali, haggling is giving way to set prices in some shops but i will leave this page as it is a usefull guide for haggling.

Haggling is a way of life in Bali and they seem disappointed if you do not join into the spirit of it. At first haggling if u are like us  { first timers, tired, hot, sweaty and jet lagged }  can be a chore. Try not to buy anything on the first day you arrive, wait until you have had the chance to understand the prices and until you are confident to engage in bargaining. Try buying from the small stalls in the streets of Kuta or the markets on the beach front to get the feel of it . When buying anything, anywhere, market stalls, transport or places that sell tourist goods, if you do not haggle you will pay to much. In the fixed price shops ask for discount as there is a good chance you will get one. Haggling should be done in good humor and do not get to serious as the difference between a shirt or transport that costs Rupiah 55,000 or Rupiah 45,000 is only about $1.20 Aus. Check the Currency images below. When haggling i start at less than half the asking price and knowing it is unlikely that i will get what i want at that price i work up. Sometimes if you buy more than one you can get it at half price and remember during haggling to say  ” i brought one yesterday at this price ” or ” i can buy one down the road at this price. If the haggling was done in good humor by both parties and the price is agreed on i give a tip to the merchant and this can be part of the Bali experience. Some street merchants can be a bit aggressive and if so just walk away or if you want to buy get what u want as cheap as u can and no tip.

Bali Haggling

Some market stalls promise various things at very cheap prices to get you to enter, then when you  look, whatever you look at is suddenly “really good quality” so is double the price they enticed you in with. If you want to buy start the haggling process by looking at various things in the market stall first even if you have already decided what you want.  Take your time – being on holiday u should have lots of that and Balinese people are generally in no hurry , then ask for an opening price. Depending on this and how much I want to pay, I’ll generally offer either half or less than the opening price. When you have reached the maximum price you are prepared to pay, if they don’t budge, walk away slowly. Usually (thought not always) they’ll run after you to agree to the price.  Some find haggling with men easier than women who are hard bargainers. WHAT TO WEAR?
Light clothing, sandals or flat shoes, sun glasses and a bottle of water. For the middle of the day sun screen and hat.

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  2. Never, never change money at small street side money changers. We had two people who were ripped off by these crooks. They count out the money in front of you, ask you to recount it and while you are doing so talk to you to distract you and also handle the piles of notes. The end result is that a pile or more disappears in the process.

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