Spreading all over Bali are some wonderful shopping areas that you can spend days at browsing the many different shops. Most of the popular hotels and resorts are situated in the south of the island and Kuta has long been the hub of tourist activity, so it is natural that the most commercial and popular shopping area has been developed here. The other area in Bali that offers a different shopping experience is Ubud. Ubud is the cultural and artistic center of Bali and this is where you will find exquisite art works and Bali home decor to take home. Bali shopping is not just a matter of going into a store, picking something and paying for it, it is meant to be more fun than that and bargaining is a great way to enhance the experience.
Kuta is definitely a Mecca for all tourists and locals alike that want to be dressed in the latest trends offered by international as well as local Balinese designer brands. Kuta beach is lined with shops selling all types of swimwear, surfing gear leather goods, pirated CD’s and DVD’s as well as handmade handicrafts. Even the side alleys have small shops that you can buy souvenirs normally at a reduced price.
Prices can vary dramatically from store to store and location to location, so it is a good idea to browse around before buying anything. Quality of items can vary as well and you need to make sure you are paying a reasonable price for the item. The shops are full of Balinese crafts that are not really unique and are mass produced, for original arts and crafts it is better to take a trip up to the mountain and visit Ubud. Towards the end of the peak season, many of the stores will have clearance sales where you can get massive discounts.
Haggling when Shopping
Apart from the more commercial shopping centers there are many places that you can find what you are looking for and these places can be far more interesting and exciting. Kuta art market is a great place to hone your haggling skills while shopping for locally crafted souvenirs. In Indonesia it is accepted to try and haggle for an item, the shop owners won’t get offended if you try to get a reduced price. Haggling is a way of life here and done in a polite and friendly way, you will soon be having a good laugh with the shop keeper claiming you have no money and waving your arms around.
Haggling takes a bit of patience and is intertwined with friendly chatting, start off with offering a third of the marked price and wait for the owner to drop the price. Before you start, have an idea of how much you are willing to pay for the item, and if the cost is still too high after a while, slowly walk away. Most of the time the shop owner will call you back and offer you a much lower price. Once you have successfully negotiated and won your first purchase you will find that it can become very addictive and probably end up buying more that you wanted, just for the thrill of the haggle. You will find this market next to Kuta Square. Even though there is so many different recreational activities in Bali, if you intend to buy a lot when on holiday then learning the finer skills of the art of Bali shopping can be as exciting and rewarding as any of the more extreme sports.
Recommended Shops in Kuta
Not far from the art market you will find Kuta square, which is full of international brand name fashion stores like Billabong, Hurley, Reebok, Levi’s etc. Two of the famous Balinese brands; Milo’s and Animale also have shops in this complex. There is also a supermarket and various restaurants and coffee shops, and is located at Jalan Bakung Sari.
Discovery Shopping Mall
The only shopping mall in Bali with a beachfront view is the Discovery Shopping mall that is located in Kuta’s prime local situated at Jalan Bakung Sari. Facilities that you will find here are banks, bookstores, opticians, pharmacies. Arcades, hardware stores and more brand named clothing and jewelry shops. Entertainment is provided on Saturday and Sunday night with lives bands for you to enjoy.
DFS (Duty Free Shopping) Galleria
For the tourist with more refined tastes and a larger budget, DFS (Duty Free Shopping) Galleria offers many of the luxurious and most sought after brand names of fashion, jewelry and alcoholic beverages. The staff is fluent in English and various Indonesian languages and is always delighted to help you. Some of the brand name products that you will find are Chanel, Gucci, Cartier and Tiffany to name a few. There is also a supermarket that has a wider range of delicacies and a department store that is mid-range in price. To find DFS Galleria go to Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai.
Opposite the Memorial Statue in Kuta is 69 Slam that offers lingerie and underwear in funky and colorful assortments. Prices vary for men and women, but you can expect to pay anywhere from IDR100, 000 to IDR 250,000 for an item. There are other branches that you will find around the southern resorts.
A popular store that offers everything that ladies could want to wear while on holiday in Bali is Surfer Girl, they have everything from sandals to swim suits. The variety of clothes and accessories are targeted at the younger crowd, but do have something for everyone.
Camper shoes are a company that was first opened in the eighties. Their first shop was located in Barcelona, Spain and now they have branches worldwide including Bali. They offer the latest trends of athletic shoes, boots, sandals and many more. All their products are made to the highest standard from quality rubber, leather and suede. Camper shoes are located at South-side Hard Rock Store.
Recommended Bali Shopping Spots in Ubud
With Ubud being recognized as the center of Balinese arts and crafts, this is the best place to find authentic handicrafts and paintings that are brought from the nearby villages that specialize in various artistic works. There is not many of the massively commercialized brand named stores that you will find in Kuta, but the ones that are available are situated along Monkey Forest Road. You will be able to buy brands such as Animale (Renowned Balinese Brand), Polo, Ralph Lauren, Billabong and a few other surf brand shops.
Bali is hub of creativity and over the years the Balinese people have taken different aspects of various other countries art work and created some dynamic original artistic variations. When shopping in Bali for artistic work you will find that there is a lot of cultural influence in the pieces from Chinese Buddhism, Indian Hinduism, Japanese and the western countries. This is what makes Balinese artwork so appealing, is the way that they have embraced so many cultures and manages to create such wonderful masterpieces.
The traditional Balinese paintings depicted religious and mythological symbolism, but with the influx of western tourists and ideas, the paintings now have more freedom in creativity but still have that traditional Balinese feel about them. Before the commercialization of Bali in terms of the tourist industry, the Balinese artist created works that were merely another form of expressing religious beliefs and giving reverence to their deities.
Sukawati Art Market
The biggest handicrafts and traditional handmade products market in Bali can be found in Ubud. Sukawati Art Market is a two stores building that is full of the finest artwork to be found in Bali and incredibly reasonable prices. If you are visiting this market and are driving, make sure that you get there early as is it always packed every weekend all year round and finding parking can be a big problem if you arrive late.
All artwork that can be found in Bali is on sale here, everything from paintings, carved statues, woven textiles, shirts, sarongs, handmade bags, colorful kites, and many traditional Balinese clothes and ceremonial dresses. The best prices are available early in the morning when the market opens at 9 am. Pasar Pagi Sukawati (Sukawati Morning Market) is the other Bali shopping spot, which is open from 07:00 to 11:00 only, offers similar items to Sakuwati Art Market at wholesale prices. This is a great place to find cheap souvenirs that you are going to give as gifts.
Opposite Ubud Palace is Ubud Market another place that offers silk scarves, lightweight silk shirts, pashminas, handmade bags for men and women, handcrafted carvings and statues and many other goods that are made in the local villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan. The opening hours for this market are 08:00 to 17:00 daily. All the hand crafts that you will find in these markets in Ubud are Balinese made and if you are looking for something original it is better to shop here that try find something of quality and unique in places like Kuta where most of the artwork is mass produced.
Mas Wood Carvings
To find woodcarvings that are made by the Brahmin family casts you will need to travel about five kilometers south of Ubud. These wood carvings are some of the best that is found anywhere in the world. These Mas carvings can be made from any wood and are very smooth. Most of the carvings are made from high quality wood, but sometimes the carvers can take a twisted tree root or piece of driftwood and turn it into a turtle, eagle, fish, and lizard, basically anything that they want to. The Brahmin family is very well respected throughout Bali as being masters of their craft and taking the time to travel the short distance you will soon realize why.
These carvers are very skilled at carving with the art being passed down through many generation and will carve anything- intricate chess pieces, trees, small key rings, anything that you could think of. Many of these little shops that are situated along the main road will accept credit cards so cash is not always a necessity, but still use your bargaining skills to get the lowest prices. The shop owners are all very friendly and you can always go into the back of the store to watch the carvers at work, each and every item that is for sale has been carved in Mas and the statues and carvings are referred to as Mas carvings. It is easy enough to find this place; it is located at Jalan Rayan Mas Gianyar.
Threads of Life
For more than 2,000 years traditional textiles have played a fundamental role in the spiritual, economic, and social lives of the Balinese and Indonesian people. Textiles have been used as every day clothes, marriage gifts, trade goods and offerings to the Gods and ancestors for hundreds of years.
Threads of life is a unique place to by your clothes and textiles as all the products are produced using traditional Balinese methods, handed down from grandmother to mother and then daughter. The traditional textile industry is still mainly done by the women of Bali and Threads of Life help to protect the varied and honored traditions and designs. Although a lot of the designs you will find are very Balinese in origin, the influence of western culture has created some incredibly unique designs that incorporate Bali and western influences.
Recommended Cargo Shipping and Mailing from Bali
If you are purchasing a large quantity of goods, Tegallalang is served by several cargo companies, ready to deliver your items to any country around the globe. If you are going to be buying a large quantity of Bali homewares items, Tegallalang village is serviced by many cargo companies that will transport your items to anywhere around the globe.
Sometimes it is not only the items that you buy when doing some Bali shopping that you need sent, but sometimes there is something important that you forgot at home that you need urgently. This is not a cheap service, even for small items, but when you desperately need something, Fedex and DHL are the most reliable services.