Bali is a great market place in the entire Indonesia. It’s not only a place where traders from all the islands come to sell antiques and handicrafts, but it is also becoming a cultural crossroad where Westerners come to buy goods from Balinese craftsmen. It’s widely known for its wooden handicraft products that are spread all over the place. The markets offer an excellent overview of all the available crafts and souvenirs. Let’s have a look and wonder in the Ubud area.
In price, quality and variety the Ubud area offers some of the island’s best shopping. Shops are close together and you can wander up and down the Monkey Forest Road in a leisurely fashion. You will find boutiques and art shops selling every type and quality of souvenir, painting, carving, antique, jewelry, handicraft, clothing. We spent two weeks in Ubud and we saw the half of what it offers.
Well, I can tell you won’t find anywhere such a colourful markets as in Bali. You can start from the main market in Ubud which sells fruits & veggies for local in the morning (from 6 am to 9 am) and after that it totally concerts to souvenirs market for tourist. Therefore, you have to be an early bird if you want to get some fresh goods!
I remember one day feeling sick and only Justinas drove to the Ubud market. I couldn’t believe my eyes what I saw in his camera. Starting from freshly picked grapes, pine apples, snake fruits, bananas, watermelons, anonas, bananas, lemons and tomatoes (apparently it’s also a fruit!). Ending this feast with more regular object for our eyes like many greens, chilli peppers (a lot of it), potatoes and other tuber vegetables.
We both tried the snake fruits for the first time in Indonesia. There is a funny story behind that. Half of our time in Bali I thought it’s called a ‘snack’ fruit. Not only because it’s perfectly worked as a snack for us, but I also miss understood a lady at the market and thought she said ‘snack’ fruits. Only after a while Justinas explained it to me. However I still think that ‘snack’ fruits name suits better!
You Won’t See it Anywhere
Big markets have stalls with flowers petals. It’s not for weddings though. Balinese use petals to decorate offerings. Everyday women weave boxes from palm leaves. People leave offerings on the street in the morning. Don’t step on it on your way!
As I mentioned before the Ubud market turns into a big crafts & clothes street after morning. If you haven’t been there earlier it’s hard to believe how it changes. You will find souvenirs satisfying any taste. We bought our reusable bamboo straws in one the streets in Ubud.
Go and wonders around Ubud. No travel sites can show you all hidden gems in the town. Art and craft galleries. Paintings exposition in a courtyard. People with carrying poles. You will find many thing to decorate your home. At least we wanted to take a container with us back home!
When you see a piece you like, better don’t show you want it badly. It popular to bargain in Bali. Therefore the sellers double or even quadrupled the prices to get a good profit. You have to cut the asked price in half, then maybe you end up with a 25% discount.
It’s easy to bargain when a sellers know English. However when you head out of Ubud forget you know English. Use a calculator, your fingers or even better write the price on the paper! Locals usually laugh and always say no at first. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean they don’t want you to sell for the price you suggested. They eventually will sell you the thing and say only you get a special discount like this. It’s some sort of a game you have to play when you shop here.
Other great tactic if the seller speaks English. Ask the price and say it’s too much. Then start to walk away and you’ll see how the price will dopp 50% off.
You will find only few shops with fixed prices. But from our experience they have Western prices there and it’s better to support locals.
Balinese took an advantage of European colonisation. Now you see there antique things in new perspective. Sellers renew old bicycle wheels to make a lamp. Or transform an old crane to create a modern desk lamp. It seems people took a good care of colonials left things. You can even see old military cars drive in the city.
All words by Eisve Treciakauskaite and all images by Justinas Lekavicius, unless otherwise noted.