What I Bought In Bali

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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.

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Straw bag mecca! I mean look at all those cool shapes!

 

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Colorful sarongs at the Ubud Market.

 

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I wanted them all! So hard to pick with so many shapes and designs!

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.

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Incense, postcards, hand incense holder and oils I bought at a different shop.
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Hand painted bangles.
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My straw bag picks. 2 for me, one for my niece.
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Top: 2 Barong masks (He is the king of spirits in Balinese mythology, protector against evil spirits) Bottom: His and hers traditional painted mini masks to add to my collection from around the world.

Sukawati Market

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.

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Wind chimes, puppets and small gifts.

 

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Wood carvings, masks and home goods of all kinds.
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Daily offerings in the making.
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Blessed block covered in offerings to the spirits.

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.

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Beach sarongs.
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Traditional sarongs in batik prints.
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A few of the sarongs and tops I purchased at Sukawati Market.

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.

Andong Street

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.

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Stunning beaded necklaces and belt from Borneo and Sulawesi.  Similar pieces can be found at “Jolly Art Shop”, Andong Street, Ubud 80571m Gianyar – Bali
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In my negotiating for the necklaces I had him throw in the tote bag which I love. The small bag I picked up at the Sukawati Market.

Hanoman Street

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.

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The options are endless for these shell pieces. Though not traditionally Balinese they are handmade here.  They make an insane piece of statement jewelry or beautiful decoration.
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These are the three shell necklaces I ended up purchasing.
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Lots of cotton clothing to choose from. I bought a bunch of wide leg jumpsuits, perfect for traveling.
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Handmade kites for my nephews. I loved seeing the kites flying over Ubud everyday.
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Handmade beads from the island of Java.  I bought these and other beads at “Palito Beads Shop”, JI. Hanoman, Padang Tegal Ubud, Gianyar – Bali.
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They also had an amazing selection of beaded belts!

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.

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Cempaka Flower (photo credit: bibitbunga.com)
 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.

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Sheena’s Sidenotes:

~ 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!

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What I Bought In Ensenada

For many, Ensenada is town to get crazy in, drink a few cervezas (or 12), let your hair down and act a fool. I recently stopped in Ensenada on friend’s birthday cruise and while we were there to party, I am always on the hunt for interesting and unique items.

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The main street of Calle Lopez Mateos is chock full of tiny cafes, street vendors and small shops.  It’s short enough that you can stroll one side, browse the wares and come back to something you fell in love with, without having to go very far.

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These little masks are made from coconut husks, hand painted and decorated.

While some of the street vendors and shops are selling items that are traditionally Mexican,  like hand tooled leather bags, turquoise and silver jewelry and sandals, many are selling tourist junk. Jewelry and handbags from China, sarongs from Indonesia, etc. The more places I travel, I am noticing this is becoming a common trend and it breaks my heart.

As we walked down the street, a colorful window, full of dancing Day of the Dead couples and metallic skull banners caught my eye and I had to stop. Little did I know I had discovered the most amazing, two story shop, selling handmade art and wares from all over Mexico. Jackpot!!

Bazar Casa Ramirez, carries all handmade products crafted from the hands of Mexican artists. Different states and regional influences are found in the art dotting the walls, the dishes on the shelves and the bags hanging on the racks. This store is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

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store shots

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I was immediately drawn to these hearts, handmade in Michoacan. I loved the color and decorative metal pieces. It was explained to me that all the metal pieces are “Milagros” or miracles, used by the grateful to offer thanks for prayers answered. There are symbols representing fertility, health, happiness, safety, and you can rub the one you are in need of as you say your prayers. Being a person who lives in gratitude this piece really connected with me so I purchased it.

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I also loved these small straw bucket bags, which are made locally in Ensenada. It’s the perfect size to fit your essentials for traveling or a Summer music festival and I love the pop of color. I may change the strap to a longer one so I can wear it cross body.

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I fell in love with the coconut masks we passed on the street and they had a few in this shop as well. I’m a fire sign and a collector of masks so this little “Fire God” caught my attention and held it. He came home with me too!

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The last items I bought were these tin Day of the Dead ornaments, from Oaxaca, to add to my travel inspired Christmas tree next year.

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I bought all of these beautiful handmade items for less than $50 and couldn’t be happier with my treasures!  Bazar Casa Ramirez is located at Calle Lopez Mateos 498-3, Edificio Ramirez, Ensenada, Baja California. They don’t have a website, so you’re just gonna have to get there in person! I promise, it’s worth the trip!

Handmade in Jamaica

I love to shop when I travel.  Exploring the local markets and quaint boutiques for authentic items is one of my favorite activities.  I love the hunt, learning the stories behind the items, meeting the artists who craft them and most of all being able to bring back a tangible part of a far off place. I find all kinds of treasures when I travel and in this section, “Travel Treasures”,  I will share with you my unique finds.

I have traveled to the Caribbean many times. Sometimes for a week’s stay on one island and other times island hopping on various cruises.  I love the Caribbean.  The azul waters, the swaying palm trees, the warm trade winds that feel like a lover’s embrace. The jovial energy, the jammin’ music, the vibrant, sun-kissed people of the islands, all make me love traveling to the Caribbean.

On a trip to Antigua I picked up these beautifully scented travel candles from Starfish Oils.  They are handmade in Jamaica, with yummy scents like Sweet Jamaica, Love and Tranquility, all of which take you instantly to a hammock on a Caribbean beach.  I purchased all three scents and I didn’t burn them for years.  I wanted them to last forever. I would open them and take a whiff and be transported to the islands.

Photo credit: www.flightcentre.com.au
Photo credit: http://www.flightcentre.com.au
Photo credit: Starfishoils.com
Sweet Jamaica Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com
Photo credit: Squidoo.com
Photo credit: Squidoo.com
Photo credit: Starfishoils.com
Love Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com
Photo credit: travelagentcentral.com
Photo credit: travelagentcentral.com

 

Photo Credit: Starfishoils.com
Tranquility Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com

I did eventually burn them and they smell wonderful.  The small sizes are great for traveling or for giving as gifts.  They are sold individually for $12.50 for the 8 oz size or they have a set of all three scents for $24.00.  You’ll find them for sale on different islands but if can’t make it there, you can order online at www.starfishoils.com and they will ship to you.