Smart shopping: the island’s weekend markets, art bazaars and garage sales
Markets are a huge part of everyday life for Balinese people – a fun part of it; shopping, socialising, gossiping, meeting neighbours. And now the expat community has brought their own market tradition to the island – the culture of weekend bazaars, where all the liveliness of the local markets happens. Just in English.
Every market feels like a little celebration, and that’s why we love them oh-so-much.
Samadi Sunday organic produce market
The Canggu neighbourhood is booming, with more and more cool places popping than you can possibly fit into your schedule. Samadi , a beautiful space with a yoga pavilion so modern it would compliment any design hotel and a cosy open-air vegetarian cafe with an eco Ubud style pile of young coconuts in the corner, is worth cramming in.
As the owners are very serious about their healthy lifestyle, the idea of the farmer’s market came…well, organically. Every Sunday, the independent farmer’s from the emerald hills of Bedugul bring their just-off-the-veggie-patch young asparagus, cherry tomatoes, beetroots, strawberries and even mulberries, down to the south.
There is also a fresh fish stall, where shiny bouncy snapper and silky squid can be found in all their salty glory. A homemade jam stall complete with baked scones, brownies and the most delicious hummus on the island is also a draw card; this stall’s goodies made even sweeter by their charity profit share.
But the most popular market maker at Samadi is the one selling organic chicken, eggs and goat milk. There is always a line of regular customers waiting, happy to fork out the steep prices for good quality.
To round it all off, there’s vintage clothing aplenty, a paint-a-tee activity stand for the little ones, and some homemade, all-natural cosmetics up for grabs. The trade opens up at 9am, and you need to get in early as all the best foods sell out like hot cakes.
39 Jalan Padang Linjong (Echo Beach)
Old Man’s Canggu mix bag market
On one sunny Saturday of each month, everyone’s favourite beachfront beer garden at Batu Bolong transforms into a whirlpool of small stalls where everything from homemade ‘Granny’s’ Oreo cookies to odd bric-a-brac can be found.
The biggest hit is the corner where Kevala Ceramics, Bali’s original fine-pottery studio that collaborates with Australian designers, sell off their samples and leftovers. Nobody can go past them without buying a couple of zigzag patterned bowls or tea cups or a vase…or all of them! And how can you resist when they cost around 50k (while the same would cost you a minimum of 250k in their official outlets)!
Old Man’s market is the favorite playground for the Canggu community; so if you wish to make some new friends or catch up with the old ones, don’t miss it!
Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu
Deus’ weekday farmer’s market
Yet another food bazaar in Canggu, but this one completely ignores the weekend, daytime staple and pops up weekly on a Wednesday night. Deus stands out in everything they do – be it their custom bikes or trimming of beards – so why should their market be a mundane event? Trade is organized in a cozy inner yard and, being in its early days, is still fairly simple. Let’s face it; you’re here to mingle more than meander the markets anyway.
Twice a month on Saturdays, the most famous art space in Seminyak, Biasa+, becomes a market meeting spot. The main gallery area remains intact, while the inner yard with the spacious green lawn transforms into a cozy bazaar square. Everything about this market is artistic – even the posters announcing the events are cool enough to be sold at an auction.
The atmosphere is uber sophisticated and the crowd is a melting pot of the noble ‘first wave’ expats and their children and even grandchildren, almost all of them artists or designers of some sort.
At the Biasa+ Market you can find greens and vegetables straight from the farm; potted plants, ready to go to their new home; scrumptious meat pies (that are alone worth a visit); a little sushi corner; well brewed coffee and some extras, which vary at each event.
This one gets a tick for its lovely laid-back environment and the eclectic mix of people to make friends with while lining up for your hot pie.
Jl. Raya Seminyak, 34, Seminyak biasagroup.com
Sanur Sunday Market
The spacious restaurant, Sand, hosts this weekly market in quiet, residential Sanur. It’s quite a drive for those coming from the Canggu and Seminyak regions, particularly given similar markets can be found much closer. But if you’re based in Jimbaran or Ubud, this might be the perfect way of spend your Sunday.
Apart from the batiks, neon Buddha statues, wild-patterned kaftans and homemade brownies, you can find some curious artisans presenting their works; fixed and vaccinated puppies waiting for adoption; and various fun activities for the little ones such as mask painting, bracelet making and even exotic snake patting.
The vendors change every week, a rotation that keeps the market attractive to its regular visitors. Live music performances start from midday – a nice opportunity to listen to some young local talent while doing your grocery shopping.
Sanur Sunday Market at Sand
Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Sanur
Black Market creative gathering
The regular gathering of the local and expat hipsters: rock stars, indie jewelry makers, graphic designers, vintage collectors and other young bright things. The risk of creativity overdose? Very high. An alien visitor might feel uncomfortable being not-so-cool in this pond: you’d better check if you have enough random tatts on your skin and holes in your clothes before you step in. Intimidation aside, this is probably the best way to catch all the creative forces in Bali at one time.
The location varies. It was tucked away in the patio of t-shirt store on Jalan Drupadi for a while, but has now relocated to the Warehouse 82 space at Jalan Mertanadi, close to the legendary Kerobokan Jail. Check their facebook page for the relevant info regarding the next event.
Jalan Mertanadi, Seminyak-Kerobokan
Pasar-Pasaran art market at Hubud, Ubud
This is a stray event that is really going places. The next installment is set to happen in Hubud, a popular co-working space in the centre of Ubud. Organized by local Balinese artists, this market is the most original of the lot: it’s the free spirit of Yogyakarta (the artistic capital of Indonesia) that reins in Bali. Crafts and more crafts, all beautifully displayed by the creators themselves who are always open to a friendly talk. Paradise for the kids, as there is so much to do. The next one is November the 7th – mark it in the diary!
The Western tradition of a garage sale is quite new to Bali. The ‘all must go’ and ‘moving sale’ kind of trade is happening mostly online in expat Facebook groups. But flea markets and their variations are starting to pop up around the island. Locations are quite varied, from the small Hotei warung in Umalas, to the parking lot of Blue Glue bikini store, and Chat cafe at Sunset road, you just never know where you’ll spot one next. The Bali Expats and Bali Unlimited groups on Facebook are the best place to hear about them.
The little cafe Drop.The Coffee Spot at Jalan Petitenget in Seminyak is probably the only one that keeps a regular schedule: their Garage Sale event happens on the last Sunday of the month religiously. Bali residents bring clothes and shoes they don’t wear, children’s clothes that their kids have outgrown, books, DVDs and handmade jewelry.
Every time the Garage Sale happens, the Drop cafe transforms into a joyful mess of coffees being delivered, kids running around, beers being sipped, patrons sitting on bikes when there isn’t enough space inside, and clothes being tried on within public view. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, it’s definitely worth stopping by.
The Drop folk even host a special event from time to time called Bling Bazaar; jump onto their FB page or Instagram account and they’ll keep you posted.
There are two street market spots you don’t want to miss when looking for obligatory souvenirs for extended family and must impress friends: one sits on that curve of Jalan Petitenget right in front of Hu’u Bar and Baba restaurant and the other, which is way bigger, occupies the square next to KuDeTa Beach Club, at the foot of Townhouse – the clubbing giant of the hood. The assortment is the same: bright-colored, perfect-for-beach-strolling tropical caftans, breezy dresses, exotic-skinned pouches and belts and some silver jewelry.
The quality is not top-notch, but it’s bright and fun and will make you (or your friend/mum/nonna) happy for at least one season. These markets are actually a smart choice for the bargain-seeker as some shops in Legian, Seminyak and Kuta sell all the same goods but their prices are almost twice as high. Our suggestion? Start your shopping route from here just to check out what’s available.
More markets and market tips
While some of the markets in this guide have fixed prices, the street bazaars are still a haggling free for all. Stay calm and smile, even if the vendor is stubborn and make a joke or two. Ask for the ‘morning price’ if it seems you’re amongst the early birds or an ‘afternoon price’ if it’s later than 3pm. When all else fails, drop the line ‘Saya minta harga local‘, which means you’d like a price that locals get.
If all that doesn’t get you at least 30% off the initial price, walk to the next stall where you will more than likely find a similar garment with a more flexible seller. Use this technique at any local market, from the seafood stalls in Jimbaran to Ubud’s central bazaar.
The traditional markets of Denpasar are worth visiting too: for fruits and vegetable shopping, searching for the perfect piece of batik, sampling the original street food, observing the colorful everyday life of Balinese, practicing your Indonesian (even very basic knowledge will be much appreciated by the locals) and understanding more of the island’s culture and traditions.
Find more about Denpasar’s daytime and night marketshere, and find more info about shopping in Seminyakhere.