Bali Shopping Fun
It is said that shopping is a serious hobby, might be. To some, shopping sometime is considered a way to alleviate stress or just a fun. In fact shopping is everyone’s need, but Bali is a place where one can examine or to practice one’s personal bargaining skills. Unless the product is price-tagged, bargaining is the “habit or the tradition”. Bali is a shopper’s paradise. Hundreds of boutiques and roadside stalls have been set up all over the island, and thousands of artisans, craftspeople, seamstresses, woodcarvers, painters, etc are kept busy supplying the tourist demand.
Sometimes swarms of vendors crowd the beaches and streets offering you T-Shirts, sarong, necklaces, friendship bracelets, drinks and watches. Go out from your hotel and then stroll along the road which is lined by myriads of shops and kiosks, soon the taxi drivers, shopkeepers and the restaurant’s staffs wave their hands and say the common word “kemana” means where are you going?, have a look. Sometimes they want to shake hand and take you into his shop. Smile and say hello to them, keep walking, but if you see something that you are looking for stop and enter, ask the price. Try not to accept the first price that you are given, as most vendors add on anything between 30%-50% extra.
Bargain or go to other shops. The most common word said by the Balinese vendor is “bangkrut” means bankrupt, if the price you make is thought to low. Usually if the vendor cease to smile, it’s mean you got the price. If you spent good enough money in one shop, try to ask him/her a souvenir, he/she will be very glad to offer you one for free. You’ll get more for your money, if you are prepared to spend time and smile whilst bargaining. Although tempting, try not to make any major purchases for the first few days. Look around, take your time, bargain hard and then buy….and so to shopping. A fun isn’t it? Where and what to buy is the next step. The variety is literally endless.
Most of the handicrafts and paintings can be found in the district of Gianyar. The village of Mas and Kemenuh is famed of its best and talented wood carvers, you can visit a workshop where artisans in work, they produce either masterpieces or mass productions. Ubud is famed of its talented painters either classical, traditional or contemporary style. The best thing to do is to go to the major galleries, see which artist you like and seek them out at their home (if you have enough time). Remember bargaining is a “norm”. Textiles in Gianyar, Klungkung, Karangasem (Tenganan), Kuta and Denpasar. Kuta has the best shopping, but you have to deal with the crassness (sometimes) of the shopkeepers. If you do not stay in Kuta during your vacation in Bali and wish to shop there, take a cab, stop and down in Kuta Center, this is the appropriate place to reach the neighboring sites like Legian and Seminak by taxi, there are hundreds of good shops. At Kuta Center you can find many quality shops, arts market, supermarket and department store (Matahari and Centro applied fixed prices). Antiques: The “antique” business in Bali is booming.
Carve a split piece of wood, paint it and bury it in the ground for a month and wow! an antique. You need very careful when buying antiques. Mind you, you can find all sorts of interesting items in the shops in Batubulan, Kuta, and Klungkung, but there’s no guarantee as to their age. Ceramics: The village of Pejaten in Tabanan has whimsical and serious tiles as well as stoneware plates, bowls and the like. Good quality of stoneware can be found also in Kapal. Ceramics shops can be found also in Sanur Jl. Tamblingan, Kuta and Ubud. Gold & Silver: Celuk, Kamasan and Bratan are the center for metal working, where all such ornaments are on sale at reasonable prices (bargaining is a must). The craftsmen will also produce pieces and settings to order, just bring them a drawing or a sample to copy.
If you don’t like it, they’ll smelt it down and start over. Handicrafts and souvenirs like bamboo implements, puppets and ornaments made of coconut shell and teakwood, hats and baskets, wooden earrings, keychains, clothes, pen and ink paintings are sold at most souvenir shops as well as in all the major tourist areas. Pasar Sukawati and Ubud is a good place to visit, chockfull of these things at rock bottom prices. Leather goods can now be found in all the shops in Kuta, Sanur and Ubud. Batiks: The spiraling designs and geometric patterns of Javanese batik are seen everywhere on the island as part of the daily dress of the Balinese. Buffaloes, birds, masks, and puppet figures are some of the motives entwined in characteristic compositions. Most of what is being sold on the street by vendors is not batiks, but printed materials which the Balinese use for tablecloths. High quality of hand made batik paintings are produced now. The center of batiks is the village of Tohpati.