By Rosemarie John – Eclipsed with Frangipani trees everywhere that one would think its indigenous to the Island of the Gods, Bali is known for its hot spots such as Legian, Kuta, Sukawati & Ubud that boasts a variety of shopping experiences for those with a keen eye for the exotic and rustic design.
You would find most markets along the beach or a short walking distance away from the beach side. Restless waves and clear blue waters can sometimes seem pale in contrast to the tantric call and mesmerizing colours of these psychedelic bazaars. With a treasure trove of fine art, wooden and lime stone carvings, traditional and ceremonial masks, hand made jewellery, paintings, furniture and fabrics, Bali is nothing short of gaspingly amazing!
Arresting your attention, like a moth to a flame, the only advice to be heeded is – always bargain for a fifty percent discount off its original price to find a meeting price (or halfway price) of something more acceptable than what was initially offered.
Some may opine that the markets in Ubud (Central Bali) are much more costly than those in Kuta or vice versa. Possibly true, if haggling is not one of your best skills. Only cash is accepted at these street bazaars but many handicraft stores accept credit cards as well.
If in Kuta, visit the art market which has one end of its street located next to a small temple on Jalan Bakung Sari. Its holy ground in terms of beach wear, fabric sling bags, flip flops and trinkets. The Kuta market which also sits next to Kuta Square (designer labels stores) splits into two main lanes and spreads into tiny alleys on each side. Make sure to check the whole market out before settling for the kill. Some peddlers may even give you a far better discount as you venture further into the market.
Visiting at least two townships is enough as far as ‘shopping at markets’ go. Once you visit more bazaars or markets you will find that they carry identical items and could possibly be a waste of time. The only difference would be on how low a trader is willing to go in terms of price. If you’ve seen one or two markets… you’ve basically seen them all, in a way providing more time for adventure, mysticism and pampering.