No holiday to Bali would be complete without a shopping trip to explore the local crafts, markets, designer clothing, well-known retail outlets and boutique stores that the island has to offer. Bali is a shopper’s paradise, with something to suit bargain hunters as well as luxury buyers.
The local markets are a treasure hunters dream, and the market stalls are the best place you can go shopping in Bali. Not only do you get to see all the culturally designed artefacts within a few select locations, you get to haggle with the salesperson over the price you want to pay. While haggling can make some newbies uncomfortable, it can be a lot of fun once you get into the swing of things and is a great part of the Balinese shopping experience.
The Balinese crafts, furniture, clothing and artwork available at the local markets are unique, distinct and incredibly affordable, so make sure you bring an extra suitcase for all your souvenirs and purchases. For those interested in having large items shipped, there are plenty of recommended shipping companies for the job. If you decide to leave your Bali Luxury Villa and venture out to go shopping in Bali, read the guide below to get an idea of what to expect.
Shopping in Bali: Kumbasari Market
Kumbasari Market is a market in Denpasar selling locally made clothing, art and handicrafts at a relatively cheaper price than those sold in the shops on Gajah Mada Street, where most stalls are owned by the Chinese. Kumbasari Market is within easy reach of Kuta, Sanur, Seminyak and Legian and is popular with visitors hunting for bargain and wholesale prices. You’ll find typical Balinese market-wares here, with over 200 stalls spread over four levels. Kumbasari Market is also a great place to shop for traditional Balinese ceremonial items and kitchenware, including:
- Gerabah /jar like pot pengedangan
- Cubek (plate made from land)
- Paso (pail made from land)
- Caratan (water jug made from land)
- Jeding (barrel made from land)
- Penyantokan (mixer made from land)
- Coblong (cup made from land)
- kekeb (rice cover)
The market was originally called Peken Payuk (“Pot Market”) as this was Bali’s go-to shopping destination for handmade pots, but the name was changed to suit the more varied offering that’s available. With such a diverse range of goods now on offer, the Kumbasari Market has become one of most popular shopping destinations in Denpasar.
Shopping in Bali: The Kuta Art Market
Situated close to the Kuta Beach on Jl. Bakung Sari, the Kuta Art Market is a beachside bazaar selling a wide variety of merchandise, with some great food stalls also selling an assortment of mouth-watering snacks. You’ll find all the typical Balinese wares available here, including:
- Leather goods
You can find some good pieces if you look carefully, at decent prices if you’re prepared to haggle. As a rule, always act polite and smile when you are bargaining for a good price at Bali’s markets – not only will this help you get a better price but it’s the much more respectable way to shop and promotes better relationships between the locals and tourists.
A lot of western travellers go to the Kuta Art Market to stock up on cheap inventory for their businesses abroad. Here you can even be put in direct contact with the artists if you would like to carry out custom orders. If you are buying Balinese goods for wholesale purposes, I suggest bringing a local friend to ensure you get the best rate for your items and it also helps to speak a bit of Bahasa Indonesian.
Shopping in Bali : The Candi Kuning Market
The Candi Kuning Market (known by the locals as Pasar Merta Sari Candi Kuning) is one of the best destinations for shopping in Bali if you want to get a taste of local life. Located in Bedugul in central Bali, away from the busy southern Beaches, here you can find a wide variety of locally grown produce, including colourful fresh fruit, spices, vegetables and flowers. Here are just some of the beautiful local products available, which I highly recommend you buy if you get the chance:
- Fresh fruits
- Jeruk bali (pomelo)
- Strawberries (the prize product of Bedugul)
- Delicate orchids
You’ll also find the standard Balinese souvenirs available, but it is the fresh produce that really makes the Candi Kuning Market worth the trip when shopping in Bali.
Shopping in Bali: The Badung Market
If you’re looking for a market in Bali that’s open 24 hours a day, this traditional open-air market, located on Jl. Gajah Mada. The Badung Market is the largest and oldest market in Bali and provides such local needs as:
- Tropical and subtropical fruits
In addition to consumables, you can also find:
- Betel leaves used in Balinese Hindu prayers
- Household supplies
Although the Badung Market isn’t the cleanest, this tent market attracts many local shoppers and wholesalers for its comprehensive array of products available at competitive prices. Vendors can be found setting up their stalls at the crack of dawn, while the peak hour is in the afternoon, which is when the big transactions occur.
I have had so many exciting, positive experiences when shopping in Bali’s local markets and it’s something I strongly encourage other visitors to the island to try out. It’s not only the shopping that captivates me, I also love observing the different ways of getting a good price. Shopping in Bali isn’t like in the west – you don’t simply walk into a shop, pick something from a shelf and pay for it. Shopping in Bali is an art form and bargaining is a must. The most effective bargaining strategy is the “walk away” tactic, which has always worked like a charm for me. The shop owner will always reconsider your bottom price. However, it’s important to remember that their work is their livelihood, so you should never walk away upset if you end up paying a little more than you think you should have.
Shopping at Bali’s local markets is a treat for the senses, and needs to be experienced whether you are a regular shopaholic or not. Load yourself up with some IDR, strap on your comfortable walking shoes and throw yourself into the fantastic chaos of Bali’s lively markets to score yourself a bargain.