Shopping. Ah, what a wonderful word. Who doesn’t love to shop? Well, certainly not us.
Though, admittedly, it’s one of the most fun and somewhat therapeutic things to do in the world; especially when you’re on a holiday.
Seriously, one of our favorite thing to do during a vacation is to go to the traditional markets and just bask at the things they sell; from delicious street food all the way to yards upon yards of beautiful and colorful fabrics.
However, it’s no secret that shopping in a foreign country can be quite a strain; and if you don’t do an initial survey beforehand, you could easily ended up buying well over-priced things just for you to realize you were being scammed when you see the same things for much cheaper the next day. Yes, shopping in a traditional market needs some skill and practice. A lot of it. This applies to Balinese Markets, too, of course.
If you are planning to go and spend your money at the Ubud Art Market any time soon, then this article is just what you need.
Below, we compile seven shopping tips from our expert shopping guides that will protect you (and your wallet) from falling victim to greedy sellers.
First and foremost, you better play it cool. Act like you don’t care and don’t need what you’re trying to buy, or that you don’t really want it. Playing cool can trick seller into the opposite situation where it is them trying to convince you to buy their things; and in doing so, they tend to keep the price at a quite reasonable level.
The second tips for buying art pieces is definitely check them out beforehand. If you can tell pinewood from plywood, you’re already in a better place than those who can’t. This knowledge is useful to determine how much a piece is worth; that way you can set a specific range of money you are willing to spend for something, and not a penny more -or, should we say, not a perak more?
Speaking of knowing a thing or two about the things you are meaning to buy, it’s sometimes good to point this out when you get an unreasonable price from a seller- which is tip number three.
For example, if someone is trying to sell a sun-dress made of cheap rayon for IDR.200K, saying something along the line of “that’s really expensive for a rayon dress, you know,” is surprisingly a good trick to have them lower the price. Most of these sellers will give you more reasonable price if they realize you know what their pieces are made of.
The fourth and most common way to get cheaper price is of course to have a native speaker with you. Even when they are not Balinese, people talking in Bahasa Indonesia will definitely get a cheaper price than those who do not. If you are travelling with a guide, bring them along and ask them to help you shop. You can always get them something nice for their help, of course. Who doesn’t like a gift, right?
On the other hand, if you are travelling solo or guide-less with some friends, the fifth trick can help you get a cheaper (though, admittedly, not so much) price in the art market: learn the language. For all of you who are planning to stay in this island for well over a month, it will never hurt to learn some simple and basic everyday words in Bahasa Indonesia.
The magical “halo, berapa, tolong, dan terima kasih” are usually sufficient to make them look at you with an appreciative nod. Everybody loves seeing a foreigner trying to speak in their language, and Balinese sellers are no different. It’s even better if you know your numbers and words like “terlalu mahal, masih bisa turun, and saya ambil banyak.” Trust us, you’ll fill your shopping bags in no time.
Speaking of which, we are now on the sixth tip to get a lower price: shop in bulk. Just as you do in your home country, it’s always cheaper to shop in bulk. If you can, try asking your travel mates if they want to buy the same things you are going to buy and tell the seller that you are “mau beli banyak.” The price point you get from buying in bulk will be much more ressonable than if you only buy one thing.
Finally, the last shopping tip that we want to share, is to just walk away when you feel like the price is not going any lower. Chances are, they will try to lure you back into their stalls by bargaining; lowering the prices just a little. You can always walk slowly while saying something like, “masih terlalu mahal, saya cari di tempat lain aja (still too expensive, it’s okay I’ll look somehere else).” If the place is relatively empty, you’ll end up getting some pieces at a really good price since they need to sell something anyway. Be informed that not every seller will do this, but most of the time, they will.
So, there they are, the seven expert tips to shop at a good price at Ubud Art Market: Don’t forget to find out about the things you want to buy beforehand, bring your guide with you, learn simple Bahasa Indonesia, and of course, play it cool. We guarantee that you will leave the market with beautiful things inside your shopping bags.
Are you ready to shop?