Hawkers and bartering

The feelings that most have when they hit the streets in Bali is "help". The street hawkers know there are new tourists in town and are out to do you a deal. You will be offered anything from caps and watches to perfumes and jewellery. You may also be offered illegal substances; our advice is to steer well clear. The hawker situation has improved in some areas as news laws prohibit the practice, but it is always good to be prepared. Some of us actually miss them!...

The key to dealing with the hawkers – listen kids! –is if you don't want to buy, don't show any interest in looking at their goods. Politely say "no, thank you" or in Indonesian "tidak mahu terima kasih" ( pronounced " tee duck mouw tremaa kasee"). It is good to take this approach until you have been on the Island for a couple of days and have gotten in to the swing of things.

Always be polite to these guys and remember they are trying to make enough money to eat.

The local currency is the rupiah or ‘rupe’, the rate for an Aussie dollar is currently volatile . For conversions in this booklet we have used a rate of $1 = 9000 Rp.

The market and street prices vary but a rough guide at the time of this publication are:

Don't forget when you are bartering to act like you don’t really need/want the item. Offer a low price - this varies but try about 25% of the original price. You will know if you have gone too low as the seller will not call you back when you walk off. Once you have agreed on a price you will be expected to buy it ! Allow the children a turn, they often do better than the oldies.

Always remember you will often be bartering over 20 cents so don't let the process stress you – relax and enjoy it.

You will also encounter many people offering you the chance to go into competitions , particularly around Matahari in Kuta . It seems that everyone's a winner, but as with everything there is a hitch. The competitions are a way to get you to go and hear a presentation from a timeshare company - normally at a nearby hotel. If your kids want to have a swim in a different pool and you have the time, you could give it a go. Don’t hold your breath for the prize !