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Page 19

Harga Biasa

I was enjoying my breakfast

in a roadside warung

when two girls approached me selling sarongs

only 14 000 rupiah

our sarongs will you buy

I shake my head slowly

your price is too high

it’s worth only 10 000

I firmly reply

she looked so dejected

her pretty face grim

confers with her sister

who accepts with a grin

harga biasa she quips

as they depart

7 000 rupiah, nyonya is the usual price


Most everyday purchases made in Bali require bargaining. It is not difficult to do, and with a little practice you will enjoy it, almost as much as the Balinese do. The first thing to establish is the staring price, by asking the seller how much? Then it’s up to you to make a counter offer. Of course, you have the tactical advantage if the seller lowers the price before you start to haggle. Simply ask for the best price and start the counter offer lower than what you intend to pay.

Bargaining is fun and enjoyable, so always remember that it helps to have a sense of humour; the Balinese love the drama and theatre involved. When an offer is accepted, the goods must be purchased. The ‘morning’ price is the best price of all, for the seller thinks that the first sale of the day will bring them good luck throughout the day.

Don’t feel embarrassed or shy because with practice you will certainly acquire the art. Bargaining is an intrinsic part of Balinese culture, remember to join in the fun! The Balinese respect anyone that can obtain a fair price when making a purchase.

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