Bali Shopping Tips by cvilla007
Bali Shopping: 237 reviews and 312 photos
Inside Plaza Bali, downtown Kuta
Plaza Bali is the newest (as of August 2005) of the shopping centers catering to wealthy tourists. We got a package from our travel agency guide once we got to Bali that included many things, one of which was a brochure for Plaza Bali. It included coupons for a free taxi ride to Plaza from our hotel, a free gift of coffee, and a free lunch. Well, after witnessing what I'd seen in Kuta and Ubud the day before, I didn't expect much. But we decided to go, and I was a bit pleasantly surprised. For one, they don't get anyone but the Japanese tourists, so expect them to be shocked if you're a westerner. The free taxi we got, the free coffee, and the free lunch, which happened to be Chinese, and quite delicious. The shopping center has everything for the luxury traveler, expensive goods, name brands, etc. But I liked the handicraft store on the second floor. It had many of the things I saw in Ubud and Kuta, and not that much more expensive. I was impressed. And we didn't have to haggle. It's a nice experience for someone who just wants to shop without all the entrappings of shopping in Bali.
Also, Plaza Bali offers duty-free shopping. They also have stores elsewhere in Indonesia at the International Airports in Jakart and Surabaya.
What to buy: I can't afford the name brand goods, like Gucci etc., but if you can, you can buy them here. They have lots of souvenirs, and traditional Balinese goods.
What to pay: A bit more than average for Bali, but cheaper than Kuta, though probably much more expensive than Ubud. Again, you don't have to haggle. Souvenir trinkets (key chains, etc.) as low as 50 cents. Designer goods, well really expensive.
Oh, I suggest to bring AMERICAN DOLLARS! The counter exchange rate was a bit ridiculous and expensive. All the prices are in dollars, and if you wish to spend Rupiah or Yen, expect to get cheated on the exchange. Maybe this is how they account for their relatively cheap prices compared to Kuta.
Directions: Just a few minutes by taxi East of Kuta.
The Ubud marketplace
Ubud is about an hour north of Denpasar. It is the handicraft center of Bali. The best prices are gotten here. But you have to bargain and haggle, and walk away, and say no thank you, and then fight, fight, fight for the best price. I made a few of the sales women (most are elderly) upset (maybe they were putting on a show) to get the best price.
But again, beware of all the hawkers on the streets trying to stop you and buy stuff.
What to buy: Any souvenir you see in Bali is also available in Ubud. And many shops sitting right next to each other have the exact same goods. Mostly handicrafts, masks, handmade toys, and soaps, and rings, fake watches, fabrics, sarongs, etc. etc.
And then there are the remarkable, truly amazing and beautiful art carvings and paintings. These are much more expensive, but are truly show the heart of Bali culture.
What to pay: Always cut their offer in half if it seems too high. If you're like me, I offer maybe 25 percent of what they say. Then they say incredulously "what!". Well, they will come back with their best price and ask for yours. Really think about getting what you want and for your price. Don't go above it! Just politely say no thank you and walk away. Nine times out of 10 they will relent and give you your price. If not, then you can come back later or haggle at another shop.
Directions: About an hour or so by car north of Denpasar.
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