Haggling can be fun for all involved and can contribute to keeping your overall holiday expenses down as a visitor to Bali. The general consensus in Bali is that unless the price is clearly stated such as at the supermarket, then it’s a given the product can be bargained for.
Initially visitors to the island may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed engaging in the practice however learning to master this skill cans save your money, while offering up an opportunity to mix with the loacals. There are a few golden rules to apply when haggling which include:
Don’t bargain unless you are prepared to purchase the product. Feel free to ask the price, however don’t enter into negotiations with the vendor unless you are willing to buy once the price has been agreed upon.
Know your product before bargaining. Vendors are business savvy and the first indication that you are an amateur is not knowing the product. It stands to reason if you don’t know the product, you won’t know the price.
Once the price is agreed and money has been exchanged, for the most part all sales are final. Remember there is no consumer watchdog in Bali.
Do not be aggressive or insulting to a trader. If you are unable to reach a price agreeable to you both then politely smile and say thank you, then walk away. The vendor may well call you back then again, he may not.
Once you become familiar with the markets and tourist areas, you will develop a keen awareness of the honest and dishonest operators. Only deal with vendors that return the respect you give to them.
Local Markets (Pasar)
Most market vendors set their prices realistically as there is so much competition within a confined market setting. Discounts though can be requested if the purchase is considered of a high volume.
Areas including Kuta and Legian know the key to doing business is having a keen ability to haggle. Vendor behavior can vary significantly so should the action be too hot to handle you can probably find the same product elsewhere at a cheaper price.
Services often times can also be negotiated. Consider what the market is dictating when you consider entering into negotiations for any type of service on offer such as private drivers or day tours.
Its considered bad form when attempting to haggle for the price of a meal. Prices are generally marked on the menu board so don’t demonstrate your new-found skill in this environment.