Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Haggling and Money Tips Bali Shopping in Legian

Haggling is a way of life in Bali and they seem disappointed if you do not join into the spirit of it. At first haggling if u are like us { first timers, tired, hot, sweaty and jet lagged } can be a chore. Try not to buy anything on the first day you arrive, wait until you have had the chance to understand the prices and until you are confident to engage in bargaining and don’t be tempted to buy anything on the beaches as the prices can be more expensive compared with the small stalls in the streets of Kuta. When buying anything, anywhere, market stalls, transport or places that sell tourist goods, if you do not haggle you will pay to much.

In the fixed price shops ask for discount as there is a good chance you will get one. Haggling should be done in good humor and do not get to serious as the difference between a shirt or transport that costs Rupiah 55,000 or Rupiah 45,000 is only about $1.20 Aus. Check the Currency images below. When haggling i start at less than half the asking price and knowing it is unlikely that i will get what i want at that price i work up.

Sometimes if you buy more than one you can get it at half price and remember during haggling to say ” i brought one yesterday at this price ” or ” i can buy one down the road at this price. If the haggling was done in good humor by both parties and the price is agreed on i give a tip to the merchant and this can be part of the Bali experience. Some street merchants can be a bit aggressive and if so just walk away or if you want to buy get what u want as cheap as u can and no tip.

Some market stalls promise various things at very cheap prices to get you to enter, then when you look, whatever you look at is suddenly “really good quality” so is double the price they enticed you in with. If you want to buy start the haggling process by looking at various things in the market stall first even if you have already decided what you want.

Take your time – being on holiday u should have lots of that and Balinese people are generally in no hurry , then ask for an opening price. Depending on this and how much I want to pay, I’ll generally offer either half or less than the opening price. When you have reached the maximum price you are prepared to pay, if they don’t budge, walk away slowly. Usually (thought not always) they’ll run after you to agree to the price. Some find haggling with men easier than women who are hard bargainers.

Money Tips

Bali, being part of Indonesia, uses the Indonesian currency, the Rupiah (abbreviated, Rp.) as its monetary unit. Banknotes come in a range of denominations, including the commonly available Rp.100,000, Rp.50,000, Rp.20,000, Rp.10,000, Rp.5,000, Rp.2,000, Rp.1,000, there are coins but they are basically worthless. I put our coins in the hotel donation jar.All of the notes and coins are reasonably distinctive, but take care while you are getting used to dealing with the cash as there are a mix of old and new styles in circulation. Click on the four images to see what the major notes are and approx Aus Equivalent. Any notes below Rp.20,000 are used for change and/or tipping.

Exchange rates have run up to around Rp.10,000 to one U.S. dollar, or around Rp.8,000 to one Australian dollar ( exchange rates vary day to day currently we the are same as the US dollar ). Every Hotel clerk , merchant or street hawker know the current rates but expect a lesser rate when converting to Rupiah, as commissions will be charged on the conversion transactions. You will get a better rate from a bank but finding a bank can be a pain so we went to a local shop called Circle K { these are all over Denpasar } and are like a Aussie Deli, you can also buy supplies of Bintang there .

Foreign money can be exchanged at most banks in Bali. Banking hours are usually from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday and until 1.00 p.m. Saturday. Money can also be changed at the airport, at hotel cashiers, and at authorised money changers (found in almost every medium to large village and city). The exchange rates are published daily in newspapers and are usually posted prominently wherever money can be changed. Most authorised money changers operate seven days a week, and remain open daily until about 10:00 p.m. Most major credit cards are acceptable at hotels, large restaurants, department stores, travel agencies and many businesses that cater to the tourist trade, including galleries, arts and craft sellers.

* Money Changers
Be careful when changing your money. Always check the exchange rate and commission (if any) the money changer is taking. Remember to count your money before you leave the money changer, a reputable money changer will let you count your money before you hand them yours and give you a receipt and ask them to show you the calculation on their calculator. For online currency converter click on the flag.

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