In addition to being a tropical paradise framed by white-sand beaches, Bali is also something of a dream destination for shoppers. Over the years, the island has established a reputation for itself as one of Southeast Asia’s shopping treasure troves, where it is possible for shoppers to get their hands on everything from designer clothing and antique furniture, to locally crafted jewellery, carvings and other handicrafts. Bali is home to a selection of luxurious air-conditioned malls, open-air markets and a selection of quaint “handicraft” villages, where it is possible for shoppers to barter with the artisans that actually made the merchandise on sale. Haggling over the price your purchase is all part of the fun in Bali, and shoppers that stay smiling and remain light hearted throughout the process get the best deals.
The Treasures of Ubud
Ubud is one of the best places on the island for visitors who want to pick up a few souvenirs to take home for family and friends. The majority of Ubud’s shops and boutiques are situated along the road adjacent to Jalan Monkey Forest. A plethora of local outlets, stalls, restaurants, spas and guesthouses line the road offering an eclectic range of handicrafts, antiques and hand-woven textiles gathered from across Bali and the surrounding Indonesian islands.
The side streets that branch off Jalan Monkey Forest offer visitors even more quaint shops to explore, particularly for those in search of fashion – whether for men, women and children. These quiet alleyways are known to have a more relaxed atmosphere than the busier shopping areas in the resort towns of Kuta and Legian, but a number of brand label stores can also be found in Ubud, including local brands such as Uluwatu and Animale, in addition to products with international labels such as Ralph Lauren and Billabong.
Shoppers in search of a real bargain should head to the wholesale area of town, located east along Jalan Raya Ubud towards the large statue of the archer. The street to the left of the statue is where many of Ubud’s wholesale retailers can be found, and it is easier for shoppers to knock down prices if they are buying goods in bulk. Items on sale in this area often come for as little as one third of the price they are sold for in outlets on the more touristy Monkey Forest Road.
As the unmistakable tourist centre of Bali, it is no surprise that Kuta offers a wide range of shopping experiences for visitors looking to indulge in a little retail therapy. Kuta boasts a whole host of shopping outlets, from traditional Balinese open-air markets to luxurious air-conditioned shopping malls that are also ideal for visitors looking for a place to escape the heat.
The Discovery Shopping Mall boasts an ocean view and is located right at the centre of the town. Discovery comprises a range of facilities, including shops, banks, restaurants, amusement arcades and pharmacies. A range of goods are on sale at the mall, and shoppers can browse designer fashions, home accessories, jewellery and electronics to their heart’s content.
Mall Bali Galeria is another of the island’s indoor shopping complexes, and one of Kuta’s largest. In addition to an impressive range of shops, other facilities include a Hypermart, souvenir outlets and a Cineplex. The main atrium of the shopping centre is often the site of various exhibitions and entertainment.
Shoppers that want to branch out from Bali’s westernised shopping malls should head to Kuta’s Art Market, where a sparking array of locally produced handicrafts are on offer. The prices of the goods vary from stall to stall, so it is always best to barter in order to get the best price possible.
Kuta Art Market is also positioned close to Kuta Square. Designed in a boulevard style, Kuta Square is home to a multitude of small shops that sell both international and local brands, restaurants and a hypermarket. International designers to look out for include Billabong, Quicksilver and Giordano, while local brands Milo’s and Animale are also very popular with shoppers.
Shoppers tired of haggling at outdoor markets may prefer the high-end boutiques peppered through the streets of fashionable Seminyak. The majority of outlets are concentrated on Jalan Laksmana and in Jalan Raya Seminyak, where shoppers can get their hands on everything from designer clothes to original pieces of artwork.
Seminyak’s fashion boutiques have become a real highlight of the trip for visitors who enjoy clothes shopping, and the quality and detailing of the handmade pieces on sale, many created by well known local designers, is second to none. Additional tailoring services can also be arranged and usually completed overnight.
Customers that like to support eco ventures whilst holidaying on Bali should stop in at Puravida, where a wide range of light, locally-produced cotton clothing is on offer. Meanwhile, shoppers in search of handmade leather goods can find them at Aura. The outlets situated near the intersection of Laksmana and Raya Seminyak are packed to the brim with statement homeware, from chandeliers to handmade lace accessories. This area is also a great place to unwind after a hard day of shopping, as it is home to a number of cool cocktail bars and chilled out cafes.
The best place to pick up high quality hand crafted souvenirs on bali is undoubtedly at one of the multitude of small villages sprinkled generously across the island. Visitors that head straight to the source can expect to find goods of a higher quality, and often at more reasonable prices.
Celuk village is situated along the road from Denpasar heading towards Ubud, and is renowned as a village of gold and silversmiths. Visitors can purchase a number of hand made marvels, including rings, bracelets, earrings and brooches, some of which are even embellished with mother of pearl.
Other villages, such as those surrounding Tegallalang, specialise in woodcarving. Typical merchandise on offer includes brightly painted wooden flowers, animal figures and sign boards. A number of the shops in the area also feature ceramics, glass and shell goods, many of which are of a much higher quality than the those on sale in the outlets of Ubud.
Shoppers looking for Balinese pottery should make their way to Jengala Keramik, the most distinguished pottery shop in all of Bali. Situated in Jimbaran, the shop began as a small boutique in 1979 and now produces pottery and glassware for the international market.
Alternatively, visitors keen to get all of their handicraft shopping done in one go should make time to visit the Sukawati Art Market, one of the biggest markets on the island. Located on Sukawati’s main road, this two-floor market is packed to the rafters with handicrafts and souvenirs, and is crowded with locals and tourists alike every weekend.
For the last ten years, surfers from around the globe have flocked to Bali in droves. As a result, a number of surf factory outlets have sprung up across the island. Two of the biggest outlets can be found along the Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, and surf-shoppers can browse a range of discount board shorts and surf brand shirts. A selection of surf boutiques are also spread across the island and dedicated surfboard shaping rooms are even available, in addition to the usual premium surf-brand items.
Posted by Wayne Hue