Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Traditional Market in Ubud

Throughout Indonesia, there are traditional markets, where a variety of goods are sold by countless vendors who try to attract the attention of those willing to buy.  And of course, people go to the pasar to fine some of the finest ingredients for cooking traditional Balinese food. In Ubud, the traditional market  or pasar, is one of the highlights of the area.  Nevertheless, be warned that you will have to bargain or at least should bargain for your goods to get the best price available.  If not, you may regret paying too much for a souvenir or even a piece of fruit that costs half the price or even less!

I like to stay away from the traditional markets only because trying to bargain with the sellers can be one of the most uncomfortable aspects of entering the market, if you are unfamiliar with bargaining techniques.  I am one of those people who feels completely uncomfortable bargaining, but I attempted for the first time to barter while in Bali.

I am sure I got duped more than once, but I tried. I at least tried!  It was uncomfortable.  I bargained with an older woman for a shirt among many other sellers.  She wanted RP 150.000 for the blouse, but I bargained for less, but not for too less.  I should have went lower because I had stopped at RP 100.000, although I know I could have gotten it for less.  I felt weird about the situation, so I accepted.  The next day, she saw me wearing the blouse and said it looked nice on me, which put a smile to my face.   I'll always remember it as the first item I've ever had to bargain for...

I also had a lady grab my arm while I was trying to exit the pasar.  It was uncomfortable because she desperately wanted me to buy something from her and her grip was extremely tight!  I hadn't planned on buying any more sarongs, but I bargained with her and got an excellent deal that she wasn't too happy about it.  I felt terrible.  I always feel terrible while bargaining.  I never know how low to go or how much to settle for!  Most of the time, I get duped though, so I didn't feel too bad!

While the traditional market has a number of souvenirs, there are also fruits, vegetables, spices, and other goods that available at the pasar.  Here are some photos from the traditional market.

If you plan on visiting a traditional market, remember it's okay to bargain!  


  1. im horrible at bargaining! i'd be sure to bring someone good at it when i go to those type of markets in asia!

  2. Trish, I'm glad I'm not the only! It sure is tough to bargain, so it definitely does help having a friend.

  3. Oh, I'm terrible at bargaining! The only time I've done it was at a flea market, but I am ashamed to say I only saved $2; I was buying two items, one was marked $10 and the other $12, and I asked for both for $20. Trouble was that I only had 20 dollar bills on me, so I was thinking that if I asked for lower, I would still have to hand the guy the 20 and ask for change, which would be embarrassing. I made a note that in future bargaining I should have lots of small bills so I can always pay the exact amount I offer.

    But I know what you mean, about not knowing what a good price is, and feeling bad if you made the person go too low or something. But I think bargaining is a skill that we can improve :)

  4. It is more like a combat sport for some people to bargain! LOL. Those sellers are used to it so don't feel bad. :)


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