Haggling can be fun and in Bali, it’s a way of life. Most shops and stall on the island expect customers to bargain. If you are doing a lot of souvenir Shopping in Bali and you are hoping to score great deals, here are our haggling tips:
#1 Learn the Game
Haggling is a game played differently, depending on the cities or countries you visit. In some countries, haggling for at least 40% the actual price of an item is considered acceptable, other countries aren’t into haggling at all. For instance, you are likely to get more than 50% discount off a scarf in Thailand or Bali but you are unlikely to get any discount when you are shopping for the same item in Peru.
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Lots of tourists in Bali swear by cutting the initial price from the seller in half and then meeting somewhere in the middle. Just remember to make sure the price is fair for you and the seller.
#2 Be Friendly
One of the easiest ways to score a great deal in Bali is to simply wear a smile. Being friendly with the locals and cracking a joke or two to break the ice creates a lighter mood that’s perfect for getting a good deal!
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#3 Avoid Shopping While on a Tour
You are better off shopping on your own than with a large group of tourists if you are serious about getting a great deal. Most tour agencies and guides get pretty hefty commissions (up to 50%!!) when they bring tourists into stores. When you shop on your own, you are more likely to score better deals.
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#4 Go for Mom and Pop Shops
Again, haggling is expected in smaller shops and stalls, so shopping in local stores offer the best deals on the island. Of course, make sure to keep the haggling at a minimum because these shops are run by families, not large companies. The Balinese work very hard for their money and they can always use the extra profit.
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Unless the item is tagged or you are shopping at a mall, prices aren’t always fixed in Bali. That doesn’t mean you should negotiate for a 75% discount, but you are always generally welcome to make an offer. From there, you and the shop owner can negotiate for a better price.
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#6 Be an Ethical Haggler
When negotiating, make sure you are committed to paying the price you offer. Once you throw a number out there, if the seller meets it you can’t change your mind. If you aren’t totally sure you want the item don’t even start negotiations. Say you need to think about it and walk away. You can always go back if you decide you want it.
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#7 Don’t Pounce Right Away
If you like a certain item, don’t pounce on it right away especially if the vendor is not receptive to haggling. Chances are, there are dozens of other shops that offer the same item and if you’re patient, you are bound to find better deals. So go ahead, explore and go around the block several times. As you explore other stores, you’ll learn the average cost of that item, which is important if you are a hardcore haggler. Once you checked the stores and found what you need, choose the vendor that offers the most reasonable price.
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Shopping in Bali: Do a Little Haggling
Some people love to haggle and see it as a bit of sport, but just remember that the price should always be good for you and the seller. It will never hurt you to spend an extra few thousand Rupiah, but it could mean a lot to someone selling goods in Bali. Make it fun and keep smiling and joking with the sellers and you’ll find the prices are good and you can do your shopping in Bali at the same spots again and again.