Travel to Bali with an empty suitcase and you risk returning with enough souvenirs to fill an empty house. Bali is an ideal place to do a spot of shopping, with outlets ranging from high-end shopping centres to tarpaulin-covered traditional shopping markets.
1. Kuta Art Market
One of Kuta’s most popular attractions is the beachside bazaar that is the Kuta Art Market. Officially a compound of six smaller shop houses and a longer building filled with market stalls selling bric-a-brac of all descriptions, the Kuta Art Market is a great place to pick up small souvenirs or something more substantial, without straying too far from the standard tourist trail.
2. Sukawati Art Market
If it’s bargains you’re after, you’ll find plenty at the Sukawati Art Market in Gianyar. With a reputation for wholesale bargains and a dizzying array of traditional Balinese handicrafts on display, it’s easy to get lost for hours in this two-storey market. It’s routinely packed with locals and holidaymakers eager to purchase some authentic Balinese products, from woven textiles, hand-made kites and Balinese ceremonial trinkets.
3. Monkey Forest Road
Ubud’s unforgettable Monkey Forest attracts plenty of visitors in its own right, but leading the way to this popular attraction is a one-way thoroughfare known as Monkey Forest Road. Lined with several boutique stores selling traditional Balinese souvenirs and jewellery, as well as some high-end international fashion outlets, it’s the perfect place to combine a spot of shopping with a some nearby cultural activities.
4. Beachwalk Mall
Though not the first beachside mall in Bali – that honour goes to Discovery in Tuban – the thoroughly modern Beachwalk Mall is a great place to beat the heat on a hot summer day. Relax in air-conditioned comfort after a long day at the markets and indulge in a spot of upscale shopping on the side, with plenty of big-name outlets represented in this thoroughly modern shopping centre.
One of Bali’s best known exports is its pottery and Jenggala Keramik has long enjoyed a reputation for producing exquisitely refined fares. Both its workshop and the boutique outlet which houses its wares are mainstays of the Jimbaran shopping scene, with Jenggala the place to go to pick up some genuine locally-produced pottery.
6. DFS Galleria Bali
When it comes to duty-free shopping, you can get your hands on everything you desire under one roof at DFS Galleria Bali. Luxury brands abound and you won’t find any cheap knock-offs here, with the best in jewellery, haute couture, perfume and personal electronics on offer in one of Kuta’s flagship department stores.
Silver smithing has long been a profitable art form in Bali and the village of Celuk is the centre of Bali’s lucrative jewellery trade. Lined with stores of all shapes and sizes selling a range of silver products, one of the best is undoubtedly Prapen. Its popular studio is a no-fuss, no-pressure affair selling a fabulous range of ornately-designed silver products.
If it’s some serious shopping you’re after, a drive out to Tegallang on the northern outskirts of Ubud could well satisfy your urges. Not so much a market as a long stretch of wholesale shops, most of the products on offer are larger scale items designed for the export market. Though prices are generally fixed, it’s well worth a visit for discerning shoppers with an eye on a traditional Balinese centrepiece.
9. Kumbasari Market
An illuminating example of a traditional Balinese market, Kumbasari is located in Denpasar, not far from the Badung River and adjacent to the neighbouring Badung Market. Its basement houses a traditional, non-air-conditioned market selling locally sourced produce, while above you’ll find an eclectic assortment of kitchenware, printed Balinese batik and hand-woven textiles.
10. Ubud Market
High in the hills of Bali’s lush interior, Ubud is a calm oasis in the midst of Bali’s hectic coastal fringes. The town’s popular market welcomes tourists from far and wide, and this multi-storey bazaar sells the usual assortment of market fare, albeit at reduced prices from those found elsewhere across the island.
Words by Mike Tuckerman