One of the best parts of vacation is always shopping for clothes, trinkets, and gifts to bring home to loved ones. In Bali, there is no shortage of excellent shopping opportunities. No matter what you are seeking, Bali likely offers it on sale. However, Bali is a great place for shopping precisely because it offers the very items you are not initially seeking.
The best places to shop in Bali are:
- Kuta Beachwalk
- Seminyak Village
- Ubud Art Market
- Kumbasari Art Market
- Sukawati Art Market
- Designer Boutiques
The best shopping in Bali can be found at various shopping malls, art markets, small designer boutiques, Balinese artisanal crafts, night markets, shopping districts, and tiny but charming little villages.
While haggling is a commonly accepted practice in Bali, it’s important to avoid overdoing it. In places like India, the seller might offer a lower price if you walk away. In Bali, they prefer to save face and will not act in the same way. We’ll cover everything you need to know before beginning your shopping extravaganza.
There aren’t shopping malls in places like Ubud, Lovina, and Nusa Penida. There are certainly zero shopping malls in the Gili islands. There are several online publications that are eager to inform you of a shopping mall in every large Balinese tourist hub – this is categorically false. If you want to shop at a mall in Bali, head to Kuta.
Kuta Beachwalk is certainly the most famous place to shop in Bali. It’s more than a mall – it’s a megamall. This mall is located just beside Kuta Beach and is filled with Western food options for your picky eaters. This is one of the only places in Bali to find real designer goods (other shopping districts are selling knock-offs).
Kuta Beachwalk also offers a large movie theatre so you can send your husband off to watch the newest Western film (complete with Indonesian Bahasa subtitles) while you shop all afternoon.
Seminyak Village is another luxury mall just a stone’s throw away from Kuta. You can be sure that this is a fantastic place for female boutique shopping because this male writer has heard zero of these boutique names before. If you want to shop in the air-conditioning, Seminyak Village and Kuta Beachwalk might be your best bets.
Art markets in Bali are really quite common. The most popular is located in Ubud’s city center. Thanks to its hyper-convenient location, the prices are a bit higher here. Even then, you can still find plenty of great deals on really artistic pieces that are highly uncommon in the United States.
You will know that you’re in the art market once you spot a common comedic tourist gift. Plastered all over the Ubud Art Market, shoppers can find colorful bottle openers in the shape of male genitalia. Once you come across these odd items, you can be sure that you have found the correct spot.
The Ubud Art Market has two sections – one where locals shop for groceries, clothes, sarongs, and cleaning utensils and another area where they sell actual artisanal goods. It’s here that Western shoppers can find any number of affordable Balinese dress shirts, traditional kites, leather bags, straw-designed accessories, and tons of colorful doo-dads.
Kumbasari Art Market is much closer for those staying near Kuta. This art market is quite large and sells just about anything you could possibly need (and a ton of stuff that you surely don’t need – but might want). You can purchase everything from electronics to religious offerings, from dress shoes to giant sculptures.
Balinese and Indonesian art and woodworking is really quite impressive. The sculptures, utensils, wooden chandeliers, side-tables, and paintings can be purchased at significantly lower prices than back home. The less cost-effective issue is learning how to bring such a heavy item home without breaking the bank. You are welcome to haggle in shops like these, whereas doing so in a shopping mall would be considered very taboo.
Sukawati Art Market is the queen of all the art markets in Bali. The particular village that houses the Sukawati Art Market is renowned in Indonesia for the impressive number of artists and craftsmen (and women) that are born here. It’s a fantastic place to purchase a traditional Balinese painting. If you book a cultural tour that specializes in art, it’s almost a guarantee that you will end up at Sukawati.
In the same vein that US citizens can find a Starbucks on every corner (or sometimes two on every corner), designer boutiques can be found everywhere in Bali. It’s almost as though a zoning chief decided to only allow designer boutiques to set up shop for the past 5 years. As Bali is home to thousands of yoga-loving divorcees and men with job titles like ‘spiritual life coach’, you can expect the boutique clothing options to closely reflect the aesthetic choices of these individuals.
Boutiques such as these might not be name-brand to the Western eye, but they often charge name-brand prices. The quality is high, and you can guarantee that nothing remotely similar is being sold back home. It’s less appropriate to haggle in places like these, but you can often strike a discount if you suggest purchasing two items from the shop’s attendee.
In Canggu, these designer boutiques cater to swimsuits and other beach-related fashion. In Kuta, these shops cater to all types. In Ubud, you can expect to find clothing that makes you look like you just left a 14-day Vinyasa Yoga retreat. After all, maybe you did just leave a 14-day Vinyasa Yoga retreat?
Balinese Artisanal Crafts
Some of the best homeware and furniture shops in the world can be found on the island of Bali. If you want to add an Indonesian flair to your kitchen or living room in the United States, make a point to seek out stores that sell these artisanal crafts.
The unique craftsmanship available here is unparalleled throughout the world. There is a level of creativity that is too bold to be sold elsewhere in Asia. The best part of shopping here is that you often get to meet the designer. In the Western world, the designers who sell their goods are often at home sipping Cosmopolitans on their $5000 armchairs. These designers are sweaty and making more crafts while you shop.
Although, this may be a sales tactic. More than once, I’ve walked into a store for my second or third time and looked at a specific piece. In each instance, the store’s salesman claimed to be the brains behind the piece. Unless the art was a group project, I’m thinking at least one might have been lying to increase the likelihood of a sale. Who really cares? If it makes a good story, more power to them.
If you want handmade ceramic bowls that are intricately designed, you can find them in Bali. If you want bright and shiny accessories for your living room, you can find them in Bali. If you want rare handicrafts that could become family heirlooms for your children’s children, you can find them in Bali.
One of my favorite artisanal crafts stores is named ‘Carga’. Another popular destination for shoppers is called ‘Jenggala Keramik’. There is any number of stores that are vying for your business. I find the best shops to be owned by Balinese citizens (and not the stores owned by European expats).
All in all, it’s easy to find great shopping in Bali. If you want a charming new shirt to impress people back home, you’ll find hundreds here. If you want a delicately carved ox skull, you can find those here, as well. However, it might be hard explaining that one to immigration.
What should I buy in Bali?
Bali is a great tourist destination for those that wish to purchase artisanal craft goods, traditional paintings, and various religious sculptures. They also have a high number of swimsuit boutiques and high-fashion stores for those that prefer to dress with an eccentric flair.
What is the main shopping street in Seminyak?
The main shopping street in Seminyak is named ‘Jalan Raya Seminyak’. Jalan literally translates to ‘walking’. You can find designer boutiques, art galleries, and plenty of artisanal craft stores along this road.