This trip to Bali was not about shopping. It was a time and place to relax, recharge and rejuvenate but you know I can’t miss a chance to explore local markets and find unique global goods to bring home so I did pick a few items (wink, wink) while I was there.
We stayed in Ubud for our entire 10 day visit to Bali which allowed me days to scope out shops and markets, compare pricing and then do all my shopping at the end of our journey. I’m going to share with you where I found the best deals and my top tips for shopping in Ubud.
Ubud is a haven for wellness, yoga and healthy living and a lot of the little shops on the main streets cater to this, selling bohemian fashion and accessories. While I appreciated their offerings they reminded me a lot of what can be found in Los Angeles, where I live. I love to search out items unique to a destination when I travel and this wasn’t it. I like to find items that are locally made, handcrafted and speak to the traditions and culture of the place I am visiting and the best place to find that is in the local markets, so off I went!
Ubud Traditional Art Market
Smack in the center of town, this market is full of a mix of local goods and touristy souvenirs. There are stalls selling art, though a lot of it is the same so I am pretty sure it’s just reproductions. Not my thing.
You’ll also find stalls selling everything from masks and clothing to incense and handbags. There is junk mixed in with some beautiful handmade items. You have to keep your eye out for magic and bargain hard. If a seller isn’t willing to meet your price there are 20 more stalls selling the same items and you can get it elsewhere. The amount of stalls selling the same items definitely puts the bargaining power in your hands.
At this market we picked up 3 of the straw handbags that I lusted after the entire trip, bags of incense and postcards (great gifts), some hand painted wooden bangles, a couple of Bintang beer t-shirts (husband’s purchase) and a few wooden masks.
We went to this market on recommendation from some locals and I really liked it. It’s about 15 minutes drive from the center of Ubud and it just has a more laid back, local vibe. One side of the market is more touristy with clothing, jewelry and wood carvings while the other side is definitely for locals with home goods, food items and daily offerings being sold.
We didn’t spend long here but I was able to pick up some sarongs and tops. Keep in mind there are beach style, cotton sarongs which are cheaper and the more elaborately patterned, traditional sarongs that will cost you a little more. I bought 5 of the traditional sarongs to give as a gifts and some for myself as well as matching cotton bolero style tops.
In addition to these two markets I wanted to tell you about a few other spots where I was able to get some great items while shopping in Ubud.
This is the street that travels from Ubud center to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. It goes on for at least a couple miles with both sides of the street are lined in shops selling all types of handmade goods. You won’t find a lot of clothing, but home goods, furniture, interior decoration, lighting, shell items abound. The shops sell wholesale and retail and it’s a great place if you are looking to purchase larger items than need to be shipped home.
I was blown away by how many shops lined the street and the variety of unique designs to be found. We came to this street looking for a bead shop, which we didn’t find but I did find a clothing store that had a small section of beaded pieces from different tribes in Indonesia. I was in heaven as these were pieces I hadn’t seen anywhere else in Ubud.
I ended up getting a beaded collar necklace made on Kalimantan Island in Borneo as well as a beaded collar and belt from the Toraja Tribe on the island of Sulawesi. These pieces are so special to me because of the time put into them and the tradition they represent. They are my favorite finds of the entire trip.
This street runs from the Monkey Forest to the main drag in the center of Ubud and it is lined with tiny shops. It was here that I bought my amazing shell collar necklaces, handmade kites, essential oils and beads for my sister.
Be sure to pick up some of the essential oils of Bali as well. Cempaka is a flower native to Bali and the essential oil made from this flower is the most divine perfume. Wearing it takes me right back to Ubud.
Lastly, Bali is known for it’s coffee and teas so we of course wanted to bring some home. As we do in many countries, heading to local grocery store is the cheapest way to stock up on items like this before coming home. There is a small grocery store on Hanoman street right next to the Dirty Duck restaurant and we bought a variety of coffee and teas for gifts and ourselves here.
~ Bargain hard. I was told merchants start their prices at 5 times the price they actually want. We negotiated most items down to less than half of the asking price.
~ Compare prices. Remember, a lot of the vendors are selling similar items so if you don’t get the price you want, start walking to the next stall and more than likely they’ll close the sale with you.
~ Bundling items is a great way to negotiate a better price. I did this pretty much everywhere I shopped.
~ Small items like incense, coffee and essential oils make great gifts for those back home and won’t take up a ton of room in your luggage.
~ Use cash for shopping as it didn’t seem like most places accepted credit cards.
Have you been to Bali? Tell me what you bought when you were there in the comments below!