While Bali is known worldwide primarily for its amazing beaches, shopping in Bali is also a top draw. In fact, there are regular tourists who come here to shop first, then go to the beach second. Tourists are astounded by the many available and cheap Bali handicrafts, antiques, paintings, wood carvings, jewelries, and fabrics.
Most of the shopping takes place in Kuta, which is considered the shopping Mecca in Bali. Situated on the southwestern part of Bali and very near the airport, Kuta is home to topnotch resorts, cheap restaurants, budget accommodations, lively nightlife, the Bali Bombing Memorial and Kuta Beach, which is popular among Western surfers. Kuta offers something to everyone – shopaholics, families, photographers, surfers, honeymooners, students and so on. A visit to Kuta when in Bali is a must.
On the streets leading to Kuta Beach, tourists are treated to an array of shops selling all sorts of goodies and beach accessories. Shops are lined along Kuta Sidewalk, Legian Street and on Kuta Beach selling local Bali shirts, internationally branded clothes, swimwear, bikinis, surf wear, leather goods, pirated DVDs, handicrafts, trinkets, and so on. There are also art shops that sell authentic Balinese art crafts that are perfect for souvenir. If the 3-km long Legion Street does not satisfy, shoppers may also walk to Melasti Street and Double Six Street, then down to the smaller alleys.
There are no fixed prices here. The price depends on the quality of the merchandise and the ability of the buyer to bargain. Western foreigners enjoy bargaining and haggling for the lowest possible price since this practice is alien in most Western countries. Bargaining is definitely part of the fun when shopping in Bali. One has got to practice this art and it always helps to tag along a local friend who speaks the native language and knows the price rates. A trick that always works is to pretend that the price is too high and so the tourist moves on to another shop. Almost always the vendor would quickly ask the customer to come back and settle for a lower price. Since most local shops can’t accommodate credit cards, it is important to carry cash in order to haggle.
July to September, which is Bali’s peak season, and during Christmas time are good months to shop since most stores offer clearance sales, dropping the prices to as much as 70%.
Here are just three of the many Balli shopping areas to check out. First is the Asia Line Handycraft on Legian street, which is now world-renown for its exports to the US, UK, Australia, France, Japan, the Netherlands. They sell all sorts of Balinese crafts from chandeliers to batik masks.
Second is the Nusa Dua shopping complex, an all-in-one shopping stop near Bali’s luxurious resorts. Nusa Dua houses a host of international shops, which includes the outdoor mall, Bali Collection. Bargaining is not encouraged here.
Third is the Mertanadi Art Market on Melasti Street. This traditional Balinese art market sells all sorts of souvenirs including the famous Bintang shirt and fake antique pieces of furniture. Bargaining here is a must.
Shopping in Bali is definitely not limited to these top shops. It extends from the white-sand beach shores to the tiniest and most obscure stores and stalls along narrow alleyways. Most shops are open from 10:00 Am to 11:00 PM. Balli shopping is definitely quite an experience between swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.