I've been trying to write about some specific thing about Bali that would interest many future students. One of them is of course the question about shopping in Bali. What you can shop? Where? How much it costs? I wrote already about the prices earlier in this blog but I think it's still good to write a short collage about this subject :)
- Shopping Malls. There's quite many of them and almost each of them is located either in the centre area of Denpasar, Kuta and Seminyak or at least in the side of the main "highway" Sunset Road which connects these areas to each other. Discovery Mall in Kuta, Carrefour and Bali Galleri Mal at the side of Sunset Road and Beachwalk at the beach road of Kuta are the ones that are most familiar to me. The malls in Denpasar aren't that familiar because I'm not normally going there without some specific reason.
You can find stores of the most well-known brands, for example Billabong, Quicksilver and Converse, from at least one of these malls. There's also many of the big clothing stores (even Zara since this autumn) in Bali. The quality of clothes are precisely the same as in anywhere else. Unfortunately also prices are quite similar as the western prices so there's no reason to buy a lot of things here because it's not that much cheaper. You can't bargain the prices in malls.
- Street shops, booths and sellers. All of these things are going to become really familiar to you if you spend even a couple of hours in the centre of Kuta, the biggest tourist area in Bali. The main streets in Kuta have uncountable amount of street shops and booths and you can buy almost anything there. If the shopkeeper doesn't have something, then he's going to get it to you if you're ready to pay reasonable price. Unfortunately most of the shopkeepers can be really irritating and actually those guys are one of the biggest reason why I couldn't live in Kuta too long time. On the other hand it can be really fun to stop by at those shops and buy cheap sunglasses, flip flops, shirts etc. The most fun part is of course bargaining: you can get stuff with a really cheap price if you're a good bargainer and especially if you can speak Indonesian language.
Unfortunately most of the things that are sold in these stores are fake copies of well-known brands and the quality of these things can be really bad. I've been trying to avoid buying fake Nike/Adidas/etc. flip flops but unfortunately they're not selling any shoes that doesn't have some kind of fake logo in them. After all, shopping at these places can be really fun or then really irritating - depends on both you and the shopkeeper. Also be prepared for the fact that the same guys are trying to sell anything to you when you're hanging out at the beach.
- Buying food. First I have to say that I've never really made dinner here in Bali so I may not be the best person to write about this topic but luckily I still have gotten some kind of experience during three and a half months. There's numerous little or medium sized shops in Bali. You may call them grocery stores even though there's almost none of real food (like meat, vegetables etc.) sold in those places. Maybe they're more like a convenience store. Anyway, there's four shop brands that you can't avoid here. Those are Minimart, Indomaret, Alfamarket and Circle K. There's not any specific differences between these four. There's no 7/11 in Bali. In addition to those four there's also for example Coco Mart and Pepito stores. Especially the latter one sells real food etc.
There's also uncountable amount of tiny boutiques which sell for example petrol, credit for prepaid, drinks, small pastries and many other basic articles. The selection and prices may differ a lot. These tiny stores are mostly owned and run by one family. Then of course there's really big supermarkets where you can buy anything (also real food). Some of them are located inside of the malls that I mentioned earlier but there's also some others like Bintang Market (named after the local beer brand). You still may not want to buy meat or especially vegetables and fruits from supermarkets because you can get cheaper and most of the time better ones from local markets. There's many of markets all over in Bali.
- Special stores. These are completely own area and of course I don't know every specific store from Bali. One of the biggest type of special stores is of course surf stores. You can buy surf boards, surf shirts, surf shorts or anything else connected somehow to surfing especially near to the beaches but there's also some big stores selling surfing stuff. The most popular may be RipCurl. Besides of surf shops there's for example electronic stores, art shops, furniture stores and even DVD stores. Unfortunately, once again because of Indonesian way of doing things, the authenticity of DVDs is really questionable. And these are only some examples. For example, we found even one costume rental place before Halloween.