How To Bargain Like A Local In Bali

This article is a continuation from the previous on Bali Visa Information, for those investigating their retirement options on the island of Bali, Indonesia.

Acquiring an ability to haggle will significantly contribute to keeping your expenses down not only as a visitor to Bali, but as a retiree. 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 you may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed engaging in the practice however by learning to master this skill you will demonstrate your ability to adapt to the local way of life. Coupled with a basic knowledge of the local language, life will be much easier to navigate as you settle into your new lifestyle. There are a few golden rules to apply when haggling though, these include:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Tourist Centers

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, for the most part you can find the same product elsewhere at a cheaper price.



Services often times can also be negotiated, including for contracted services to employment contracts. Consider what the market is dictating when you consider entering into negotiations for any type of service on offer.


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.

Sandra Hawkins

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