Visitors can indulge themselves in buying various shopping goods from the large number of shops in Mali. There are even hawkers who sell products on bicycle and travel around the area. As in most cases in Western Africa, bargaining is a very common aspect of shopping.
Traditional crafts range from the striking masks of the Bambara, Dogon and Malinko people, to woodcarvings, original designs in ebony and bronze, woven cloth and mats, gold and silver jewellery and copperware. Excellent pottery is made in the Ségou region, while Timbuktu is a good centre for iron and copper articles, including swords, daggers and traditional household utensils. Buying some local music makes also a good souvenir.
The Bologan fabrics or the mud cloths are made in the regions on the banks of River Niger. The designs on the fabric are very beautiful and based on natural objects and figures.
ATMs are difficult to find in Bamako. BDM banks have ATMs for VISA cards. The only ATM for Maestro/ Mastercard is Banque Atlantique, across the river, on the eastern bridge.
Shopping hours for most shops are generally Monday to Saturday, 8 am-6 pm. Some also open on Sunday, 9 am-5 pm.
Bamako offers the best of shopping in Mali. Close to the neighbourhood of Bamako-Coura is the lively artisan market where traders from all over Bamako come to sell silver jewellery, leather, musical instruments and wood carvings. Prices are reasonable but the vendors expect their customers to bargain and enjoy it when they do. Once inside the market, the atmosphere is relaxed and pleasant but be careful in the busy streets directly surrounding as it's easy to lose a bag to a thief.
Prices are not fixed, and for many goods bargaining is expected. Beware, sometimes for common items (like food) the first price mentioned is just right. On the market it might be a good idea to first ask a couple of times at different stands before actually buying something.