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Shaddow Puppets (Wayang Kulit)

Forget the idea of fixed prices while in Indonesia. The key word is BARGAINING

You will find that almost everywhere, apart from hotels and supermarkets, expects you to barter, this is the norm and to perfect the art of bargaining dosen't require either guile nor agression- just a little common sense and a lot of humour.

First ask the vendor the price of an article, then name a figure somewhat lower and considerably less than you are actually prepared to settle for and eventually the two of you will reach a compromise. If not, no harm has been done and you can move on to the next purchase.

Golden rule of bartering- always remember an item is only worth what you are prepared to pay for it. Once the vendor has agreed to your price it is considered very rude not to then make your purchase.


Indonesia offers a wealth of handicrafts and other products, including textile, (batik and ikat), silverwork, wooden carvings, painting, ceramics and puppets.

Early morning sales maybe the best for bargins as vendors often believe the first sales prepresent how well the day will go.

Antiques shops can be found in jakarta and other regional centres, but the best bargins are to be found hidden away in little out of the way shops. There are also many fakes around, you can see items being distressed openly in flea markets, then to be sold as antiques later the same day.

Batik making focuses on Java, Yogyakarta and Solo, as well as a good range on sale in Jakarta. Traditional hand drawn batiks are priced higher than the modern printed batiks.

Clothing is very reasonably priced especially in Bali, where there is a great deal of western style clothing on sale. Try the department stores as well as local markets.

Ikat is a dyed and woven cloth found in Bali, Lombok and Nusa Tenggara, it is not cheep and quality can vary.

Jewellery with locally mined stones, including diamonds and black opals from kalimantan and pearls from Maluku, can be bought. The best jewellery stores can be found un Jakarta. West Sumatra and Aceh are both known for their silverwork.




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