Even if you’re not “planning” to make your Bali trip a shopping bonanza, chances are you will leave with more in your suitcase than when you arrived. Whether you’re just after a couple of cheap souvenirs to take home for the kiddies or you’re seeking some unique designer threads – there is a perfect destination for all discerning shoppers in Bali. The trick is to know your shopping style, and to then find the right destination to match.
A modern authentic Bali experience – a little rough around the edges perhaps, but chock full of vibrancy and local charm.
If you want to get intimate with the Balinese shopping culture – get thee to a market asap. The markets are a good place for travellers to meet the locals and get to know a bit more about Balinese culture. Pros: A modern authentic Bali experience – a little rough around the edges perhaps, but chock full of vibrancy and local charm. An opportunity to get your bargaining strategy sorted so that a good price is yours for the taking. Cons: Balinese markets can be intense. There is often a lot going on at once, including foot traffic, music and sneaky pedestrian potholes. If you are looking for a relaxing shopping experience, the markets may not be your cup of tea. Here are our market hot spots:
Sukawati Art Market, Jalan Raya Sukawati, Gianyar
The Sukawati Art Market is Bali’s most well-known and long-standing art market. If you are looking for traditional handmade products for your home or as gifts, then this two-story market is where you want to be. It has everything from wooden sculptures and paintings to handicrafts, textiles and accessories. You will find it on the Jalan Raya Sukawati main road in Gianyar.
Ubud Art Market
The Ubud Art Market is located opposite the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace and is open daily. Ubud is well known for its artistry and here you will find everything from silk scarves to baskets, woven goods and clothing such as shirts and sarongs. Known for featuring items of high quality and variety, this colourful and intoxicating market is perfect for finding special mementos – just make sure that you are getting a fair price that works for both you and the seller.
If haggling at the markets for the best price on a Bintang singlet isn’t your idea of a happy shopping experience, perhaps a western-style shopping experience might be more up your alley. Here you will find the at-home comfort of price tags and brands you know and recognise. Pros: Air conditioning and decent public toilet facilities. Cons: Bargaining for a better price is not really appropriate here. Prices may be a little better than they are at home, but don’t expect to pay next to nothing, particularly for imported merchandise. Here are a few department stores you shouldn’t miss in Bali:
Bali Collection, Nusa Dua
If you are looking for some high-end retail therapy, then make your way to the Bali Collection. Set over eight hectares in the same ‘hood as Bali’s best international five-star hotels, the Bali Collection offers luxury fashion brands, exotic souvenir gifts, spa facilities and restaurants. It’s advisable you get changed out of your beach towel and thongs before venturing into this department complex.
Mal Bali Galeria, Kuta
This large shopping complex is located right near the Simpang Dewaruci landmark. This self-proclaimed ‘family mall’ is popular with both locals and tourists. It features the Planet Hollywood Bali restaurant (yes, they still exist), the DFS Galleria Bali duty free shop and the Galeria 21 Cineplex, Bali’s premier cinema complex. The cinema is a great place to kill a few hours before heading off to the airport for an international flight.
Discovery Shopping Mall, Kuta Beach
This three-story shopping destination is one of the largest shopping malls in Bali. Here, you will find a load of recognisable retail brands and food franchises. If you have a hankering for Pizza Hut or a Starbucks coffee, you will find it here. The mall is located on the Jalan Kartika Plaza, but you can also access it from the beach.
If you are looking for something a bit different or unique to clothe the bod or enhance the home – boutique shopping might be your perfect match.
If you are looking for something in between the massive retail complexes and the heady hustle of the markets, Bali has some great boutiques featuring both local and international designers. If you are looking for something a bit different or unique to clothe the bod or enhance the home – boutique shopping might be your perfect match. Seminyak is well known as Bali’s designer hub. You will find knots of shop fronts on Jalan Laksmana and Jalan Raya Seminyak. Kerobokan, north of Seminyak, has a lot more to offer than the infamous Kerobokan Prison. JI Raya Kerobokan in particular has a great selection of home-wares to explore. Legian offers a bit of a reprieve from the hectic shop fronts of Kuta; try the main Jalan Legian for fashion boutiques and art shops. Don’t be afraid to explore little laneways and streets off the main drag. Some of the best treasures are often found of the beaten track. Pros: Locate something distinctive among the crazy mass-produced tourist market finds. Something that you would actually wear when you return home. Cons: Bargaining is subjective here. There is no harm in trying your luck, but be prepared for a shut down of epic proportions.
Main street shop fronts
This is where you will find boulevard-style shop fronts boasting everything from low-grade designer fakes and pirated DVDs to beachwear and sarong shops. Here, you are pretty much expected to haggle for the best price. A friendly note, however: if a local business is blatantly selling designer knockoffs such as handbags, sunglasses and jeans, you have some room to bargain. A shop that stocks boutique and original stock? Proceed with respect and caution. Pros: Lots of tourist merchandise and souvenirs if you are looking for those knock off beauties such as Ray Bans, leather goods and anything with the name Bintang emblazoned on it. Bargaining required. Cons: See ‘pros’. We suggest Kuta Square, which offers a bit of everything and is 50 metres from Kuta Beach. The two-way avenue is full of fashion stores and places to sit and grab a bite. Any main city street near the beach or tourist attractions will usually serve you well.
There are a number of villages in Bali that are dedicated to certain arts and crafts that sell locally and export internationally. Here you will get long roads filled with Balinese artistry and handiworks that are often a stop on tourist tours. Pros: If you after that certain something special, then going to an area that specialises in it should skew the odds in your favour. Cons: Seeing streets upon streets of traditional handicrafts can be overwhelming. Here are a few amazing village shopping experiences not to miss:
Celuk Gold And Silversmiths, Celuk Vill
If you are hunting for some unique holiday bling, the main road of Jalan Raya Celuk is lined up with galleries and workshops filled with high quality and intricately designed gold and silver jewelry and Balinese ceremonial adornments. If window-shopping is more your thing, then you can check out how the artisans actually make their wares by having a sticky beak at the production processes.
Tegallalang Handicraft Centre, Ubud
Tegallalang handicraft centre is famous for arts, crafts and curios. Located in the district of the same name just several kilometres north of the main area of Ubud. Numerous shops feature assorted ornaments, jewelry, furniture, and traditional souvenir bits and pieces. If you are looking for stone carvings, then Batubulan Village, situated in west gate of Gianyar Regency, is well and truly worth a visit. Batuan has great paintings and Mas is famous for its woodcarvings.
Main photo by carmenandnatasha.