Shopping in Bali is not simply walking into a shop, picking
something from a shelf and paying for it. Shopping is an
art. In every traditional market and art shop around Bali
bargaining is a must.
This traditional way makes shopping in Bali a fun time,
where you can feel the warmth of human value in every transaction.
Before you begin your shopping tour on this island, please
obtain cash because most places do not accept credit cards.
Even if you are not a seasoned negotiator be prepared to
enjoy the bargaining process. It is a fun activity and be
patient and you will get the 'best (and maybe even local)
price'. In some places you can bargain until you get 50%
off. Always go in at less than a third of the price (maybe
even a quarter) and bargaining and even walk away, until
you get the price you want. Then make sure you pay the right
I remember seeing a man negotiating for an umbrella on Kuta
beach. He did well in the bargaining process and got the
price to Rp5,000 and paid up with a Rp50,000 note. But he
went away happy believing he had a bargain. Isn't that the
most important part of bargaining - to be happy with your
purchase. So where can you go to spend your Rupiah?
As the capital of Bali, Denpasar is the center of "market"
activity for local people. The biggest traditional market
stands near Badung's river, Kumbasari market. It can give
you an insight into the traditional Indonesia market where
local people do their daily shopping. Fruit, vegetables
and meat can be found in the basement; on the second level
is the place for spices and dried goods; while household
wares, clothing, art and craft is on the third level. Here
you can get a very good price if you're smart in bargaining.
In the northern part is Gajahmada Street, where you can
find handicrafts and some shoe shops and restaurants. In
the eastern part is Sulawesi Street, the place for all kind
of fabrics on its both sides with some shops providing household
ware in between. The area here is very colorful with all
types of material from the traditional 'songket' (cloth
woven with strands of gold or silver) to modern day stretchy
and shiny material. Why not buy your cloth by the meter
and have a suit or dress made up by a local tailor. In the
southern part is Hasanudin Street where you can see gold
shops, selling jewelry to local people but, of course, the
visitor is welcome to buy but please bargain. On the west
Side of the market is the place for people to buy coconut
leaf and ceremony supplies.
As an international village almost all of the shops and
restaurants here are for tourist market. You can find handicrafts,
clothing, jewelry, CDs, furniture and leather crafts on
each side of the road. But you can also see many street
hawkers with their various offerings along the road. If
you do not want to buy anything from them, do not make eye
contact and do not ever look at their products, for if you
do, they will follow you along the street and pester you
to buy something.
The shopping center in Sanur is on Jalan Danau Tamblingan
where the situation is almost the same as Kuta but with
very few hawkers. Many products are on offer in the shops
and nice restaurants.
The Bypass is the term for Ngurah Rai Street, perhaps the
widest road in Bali. If you travel from Nusa Dua to Sanur
you will see on the road has many antique, pottery, natural
stone and furniture stores. You can get excellent pieces
and prices if you look carefully and remember to bargain.
Batubulan, on the border of Denpasar and Gianyar, is the
home of stone sculptures. You can find various kinds of
style here, from traditional to modern, small to large.
The craftsmen can make up your order and even arrange to
ship it to your address back home.
On the way to Ubud you'll pass Celuk, the place for gold
and silver jewelry. The artisans in this area are well known
for their quality and various designs. Huge art shops along
the main road give you a chance to compare prices.
This area is popular because for its Art Market. If
you ask Balinese where to find art and craft with the cheapest
price, they will recommend Sukawati. Here you can find cloth,
paintings and statue, jewelry and also Balinese ceremonial
This well-known village offers you fine arts with an international
standard. Respected galleries such as Agung Rai, Sumertha,
Rudana, Sika and Neka are recommended visiting as well as
the big names of Hans Snel and Antonio Blanco.
Various woodcarvings can be found in this village and
its neighbors. Very colorful carvings of flowers, animals
and other designs are displayed along the road.
This village is the home of bamboo. The villagers create
furniture and mats from bamboo; they also make some articles
from lontar leaf.
This village in Klungkung is popular with its own style
of painting called Kamasan where a drawing is made in black
ink then colored by natural pigments.
Tenganan, the Bali Aga (the original Balinese people) village
in Karangasem, is the only place in Bali that produces Geringsing
fabric. All the material for Geringsing is taken from nature
and its process is very traditional. No chemicals are used
in the process. There is a legend that when dying the cloth
red, human blood was used. Nowadays a vegetable dye is used.
But the price of this fabric is expensive.
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