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Shopping in Bali was AWESOME. There was no shortage of eye-catching, affordable clothing, accessories, and collectibles. Plus, everyone is nice and helpful which made the shopping experience easy and comfortable. Here are a few tips to help navigate the stores and save some coins in the process.
I found there were two types of stores: market-like shops with shopkeepers and untagged items -AND- contemporary retail stores with tagged items. For the latter, I didn’t try haggling since the prices were marked. However, for the former – where you have to ask the shopkeeper how much items are – haggling is expected and it’s completely okay to do.
Keep in mind: things are generally inexpensive anyway. So if you’re uncomfortable with haggling / fine with the prices as is, then don’t feel compelled to bargain (plus that’s better for the shopkeeper :)).
I recommend having Rupiahs (local currency) on hand because they are much better received than credit cards. In fact, pulling out a credit card may be received with a frown and you may be asked if you have cash instead. Actually, some shopkeepers will offer you a lower price if you split payment between card and cash. ATMs were quite accessible in town and are safe and easy to use.
Besides my hotel (which was an American brand – SPG), American Express credit cards were not not accepted anywhere. If you need to use any credit card, bring VISA or Mastercard.
I was surprised at how plentiful the shopping was in Bali. With there so being so much unique, high quality, inexpensive merch, I would have bought alot more if I had more space in my luggage. If you’re going with the intention of shopping, bring an extra bag just in case!
Any time I travel to a new destination, I try to buy things that I can find only in that particular place. Things Bali is known for: rattan bags, silver jewelry, hand-printed sarongs, beaded accessories and homegoods, wooden crafts.
Disclaimer: I didn’t visit this market myself, but it was recommended by both tourists and locals. I would have gone but ran out of time. Visiting the market is a cultural experience and a good place to bargain shop for traditional pieces, like the ones I mention above.
All the boutiques had sectioned off fitting areas for trying on clothes. Remember – there’s no option for returns (assuming you’re not a local), so take the time to make sure you really like and can fit whatever you’re planning to buy.