First and foremost, Bali Travel Tips!
1. Bring enough rupiahs
2. Bargain Bargain Bargain - shopping is king!
3. Bring enough rupiahs....
I went for 2.5 days and it wasn't enough by a stretch! Because shopping is tantamount with me, I had to even Skip My Massage session in order to do a bit of last minute shopping on Sunday morning. Since I had already missed the 'Morning Price'for all previous days, I might as well make use of this one eh?
What is morning price then? Well, just as the Chinese have their customs of definitely making the sale to the first person who walks into your shops - so do the Balinese - or maybe it's just the Ubudians - that's where I was.
Ubud is a lovely chock-a-block town of artisans so you get the most beautiful (and not so nice) paintings, metal art, batik, silver work etc. The moment, you walk into a shop or near one, they call out to you, these friendly lovely (CUT THROAT) people. Especially early in the morning because they believe that once you make the first sale of the day, luck will follow and they WILL have roaring business forever......and a day.
Generally, bargaining is expected so the Ubudians start the process by quoting a price about 200% what they will/can sell the item to you for. So, unless you're Donald Trump (but then you don't get to be Donald Trump by buying stupidly), chop the price suggested in half and lower it a bit more. Then, as they come down, you go up - but you should be getting, in the end, at least a 30% discount!
Some kind hearted consumers might feel, gosh! they're so poor, we can't take away too much of their profit. P-shaw! These are seasoned business people, used to the tourist market and making money! If we ever found out their capital for business, we'd be shocked and appalled at how we've been cheated - albeit willingly!
However, I do hold that mantra in mind when dealing with artists - of the painting kind. I find it a bit distateful to negotiate too low a price because it is actually insulting to the artist in question - especially if he's the one selling you the painting. It seems to mean, you don't think too much of his work and will only part with a measly amount of money for the hard work, sweat, blood and tears he's put down to eke out a living! So, my acquisition in that area was a painting on velvet of the Buddha's face - a bit larger than an A4 size piece of picture for RM40-50. I love the picture and think it is my treasure of the trip!
And of course, me being the earring queen - DIDN'T buy any earrings. Seem to have found them too expensive - what with MegaMall selling 3 pairs for RM10 - I didn't see the need to spend RM20 for one pair of delicate silver work. (You know, they won't sell to you when you walk away and they don't keep calling out lowering prices after you!)
Did buy sequined sandals and slippers though - one other person on the tour bought 8 pairs and I thought I was a shoe freak. But it turns out she had friends to give them to. Anyway, I'm not so much into flattie shoes. Me like the high stilleto heel!
Then of course, we have the fun beachy dresses and I bought a lace kebaya and sarong for RM100....think I got mighty screwed on that one but it was my first buy of the trip and I was a greenhorn........
Got souvenirs as well, some carved coconut monkeys that were quite hard to cart around, a bag that D bought for me for an altogether much too high price, went on a Tanah Lot tour for Rupiah 80,000 (Rupiah 50,000 = RM20). I hear the Kintamani Tour is a must-do to see the Black Volcano - but hey, D doesn't relish being told what to do and we decided to strike out on our own to check out the different tours. The thing about Bali is that no matter what you want, there are always at least 5 different vendors who are offering the same thing - for different prices. So check around!
One final note, about Bali, if you're looking for magnets, buy them at the airport - buy them at this souvenir shop near Gate 4 - the Mas departure gate cos I didn't see a piddly piece of magnet anywhere else in Ubud or Seminyak. (Notice I didn't talk much about Seminyak - that's how much I really liked the place - a lot of high market boutiques if that's what you're into). I got my magnet - a slipper - for Rupiah 3000 I believe it was.
Final final note about Bali - Puri Wulandari Boutique Spa and Resort costs RM800 a night, is set about 20 minutes drive away form Ubud town centre in the middle of padi fields. It's gorgeous and luxurious and the service is impeccable - I was Ibu Tan Sen Luang....hehehehehehe. Anyway, I kept thinking to myself, "THIS is how the Rich live!"
So, from now til my next adventure - Bali Hai ...................................
(What DOES that mean anyway?)