Everything you need to know about shopping in Bali
Our ultimate guide to shopping in Bali will show you how to bargain, where to shop, and what to buy. Here’s everything you need to know about shopping in Bali… and more!
The ultimate shopping guide for Bali
Bali has a reputation as being something of a shopper’s paradise, and rightly so! It seems you can get everything here – Handcrafted local products, artworks, cheap DVDs, clothes, jewellery, bags, shoes and more.
This Bali shopping guide is designed to help you find not only the best things to buy in Bali, but also the best markets in Bali, surf shops and even shopping malls. Not only that, we’re also going to give you some great tips and advice when it comes to bargaining so you can get the best prices. In short, this is the ultimate guide to shopping in Bali, crammed full of useful information.
We’ve divided this Bali shopping guide into the following sections:
What to buy in Bali:
- Local handicrafts
- Surf wear
- Souvenirs and trinkets
Where to shop in Bali:
- Handicraft, art and tourist/souvenir markets
- Street markets
- Night markets
- Fresh markets
- Shopping malls
Areas to shop in Bali:
- Kuta square
- Kuta walking street
- Discovery shopping mall
- Jalan Legian
- Poppies Street
- Garlic Lane
- Seminyak Flea market
- Jalan Raya Seminyak shopping street
- Petitenget walking street
- Jalan Raya
- Monkey Forest Road
- Tegallalang Handicraft Centre
- Ubud Traditional Market
Before we get started though, there’s a few things you should know about shopping in Bali.
Best bargaining tips for shopping in Bali
You’ve probably heard a little about the bargaining culture in Bali when it comes to shopping. It might seem strange if you are coming from a country where prices are fixed, but it’s part of the way of life here. Some visitors never quite get the hang of it, whilst others embrace it fully. Here’s some key tips and advice when it comes to bargaining when shopping in Bali.
You can’t bargain everywhere in Bali
Perhaps 20 years ago, you could bargain for prices in Bali everywhere, but things have changed due to the island’s development. Two areas you won’t have much joy in bargaining are shopping malls and boutique shops. Typically, the price is the price in these places. If you try bargaining in a mall store, the chances are the assistant will pleasantly smile and then get back to the urgent task of checking their mobile phone!
Our rule of thumb, is that if you are shopping at a place and talking to the owner, bargaining is likely to work. In places where employed assistants are present it’s far less likely to work.
The game of bargaining in Bali
If you are new to the concept of bargaining for prices when shopping, we’d suggest you think of the whole concept as a game. The objective of the shop owner is to get as much money as possible from you. The objective of yourself, is to get the price down as low as possible. A satisfactory result is arriving at a price where both teams are happy.
There’s no hard and fast rule at what price you should aim for. Depending on the goods you want to buy, it might be 50% of the original asking price, 90% or sometimes as low as just 10%. Remember, it’s in your power to simply walk away if you are not happy with the price, just as it is within the seller’s power to stop lowering the price.
Our tip here, is the longer you engage with a seller, even in idle chat, the lower the price will become often without asking. Try it and see!
Go for the maker not the middleman
A commonsense guideline, is to shop where a product is made, rather than a middleman who is acting as a reseller. The middleman obviously has to put his own markup on the product, so shopping directly with a maker can lead to lower prices. This also helps the maker of a product. They will still be able to extract a better price from you than selling to the middleman, whilst leaving you feeling that you had a bargain. A win-win!
Avoid shopping tours and go alone
Our final tip for bargaining for the best prices in Bali, is to avoid shopping tours, and be cautious whenever a guide takes you into a craft shop or store during a day tour. Tour guides and operators often have side deals with stores and businesses, where they have commission or other incentives. This is totally cool (everyone has to make a living!), but at the same time, you will be the one paying for the commission, meaning you can’t negotiate a price down past a certain level. Don’t worry – the chances are you’ll find similar items to buy in Bali elsewhere at a fairer price. It’s a big island!
The best things to buy in Bali
It seems you can literally buy anything in Bali, from phallic bottle-openers to lovingly handcrafted wooden furniture. So, it really depends what you are after. For example, some visitors are simply happy picking up a few tourist souvenirs in Bali to take home for family and friends, whilst other seem intent on replacing their entire wardrobe.
These suggestions of what to buy in Bali include handcrafted items unique to the island, jewelry, furniture, and yes even fridge magnets!
A Bali sarong makes the perfect gift
If there’s one thing you should buy in Bali, it’s the famous Bali sarong. Perhaps you want to use it during the vacation itself, or take a few home as gifts. Whatever you decide, the multipurpose Bali sarong is the perfect lightweight accessory. With different patterns, styles and materials available you can go cheap or expensive as your tastes desire. You can buy sarongs almost anywhere in Bali, and you’ll be virtually tripping over them in Kuta and Seminyak, as well as seeing them sold at the beach. One place we suggest trying is Krisna on Sunset Road, which is also a haven for cheap souvenirs.
Silver jewellery with gemstones from Bali
Bali has a long tradition of silversmithing, and talented designers combine traditional and contemporary influences to produce some beautiful pieces. Jewelry that includes natural stones and gemstones stand out in particular, so something will definitely catch your eye. You can pick up silver jewellery in most places in Bali. The village of Celuk is particularly renowned as a place where you can both buy and learn about the items and how they are made.
The intricate patterns of beautiful Balinese Batik
The art of Batik has been part of the culture for centuries in Bali. The best way to discover what Batik is all about, is to take a day tour in Bali that includes a visit to people still using the traditional methods. The resulting, intricate patterns produced on fabrics are then made into dresses, shirts, and sarongs. You’ll find Batik everywhere, with Ubud being a focal point.
Buy cool surf wear in Bali
With Bali being something of a Mecca for surfing, it’s hardly surprising that you can pick up some excellent surf wear whilst on the island. There’s a few of the ‘big chain’ surf wear shops around, as well as smaller, local businesses who would love your support! Drifter in Seminyak, Single Fin, Surfer Girl and Deus Ex Machina are all places to head for. Along Sunset Road, Ripcurl offers a wide selection, with BOS, OSO, and Billabong offering gear at incredible discounts.
Do you want to buy stylish Balinese furniture?
We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve heard from people who visited Bali on a vacation, and ended up getting furniture shipped back home! The level of personalised craftsmanship shown in the woodworking in Bali is an art that has died out in many countries, if it ever existed at all. The woodworking craft is alive and well in Bali, with stunning and unique furniture ranging from cabinets to tables available to choose from. You’ll need to get shipping organised of course, which many places are more than accustomed with. Saya Gallery in Seminyak is one starting point if you’re keen to see what all the fuss is about. The real centre for Balinese furniture though is Ubud.
Search local markets for Bali handicrafts
There are numerous other Balinese handicrafts to choose from as well when shopping in Bali. Take your pick from crochet pieces, wood carvings, ceramics, pottery and more. Every market you pass by seems to have stalls that sell something more intriguing than the next. More about the different markets and the things you can buy there later on!
Indulge yourself with rare Luwak coffee
This is one for next-level coffee addicts! Luwak Coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world, so being able to buy it in the land it’s produced can help you save a little. If you don’t know how Luwak Coffee is produced you might like to take a tour to a farm in the Ubud area to find out. When you do find out, don’t let it put you off though! It tastes really incredible, and is available in many grocery stores, markets and of course coffee shops throughout Bali. May the Luwak Coffee hunt begin!
What to buy for souvenirs in Bali
Yes, you can still find plenty of knick knacks and small trinkets to take home as souvenirs as well! Some ideas of gifts to take back from Bali for family and friends include Barong masks, sarongs, coffee, chocolates, t-shirts, and fridge magnets! As mentioned above, if you need a one stop-shop for souvenirs in Bali, try Krisna on Sunset Road in Kuta for cheap bargains.
The best places to shop in Bali
Now you know what there is to buy in Bali, the question is, where do you shop for it? To be fair, you can’t go far without someone selling something, but certain types of shops or markets are more suited to some types of product than others.
Here’s a brief description of the types of places to shop in Bali, and what you are likely to find there.
The best art markets in Bali
Quite a few markets in Bali describe themselves as Art Markets. At these places, you are likely to find many locally made handicrafts, with products such as wall paintings, silk scarves, batik and similar being sold. As you might expect, these markets are mainly, although not exclusively, aimed at tourists. The most popular art markets in Bali include Ubud Art Market, Sukawati Art Market just outside Ubud, Kumbasari Art Market in Denpasar and Kuta Art Market at Kuta Beach.
The best street markets in Bali
Moving on to street markets, and at these you will find a collection of stalls and sellers all offering various things. Some street markets seem to be themed, others are more random collections of sellers such as those found along Garlic Lane in Kuta. Two other suggestions include the Taman Sari Market, Seminyak, where you can find fruit, vegetables and household items. At Badung Market and Kumbasari Market, in Depansar you’ll find locals doing their weekly shopping, and tourists seeking out souvenirs. Think of street markets as places where you might not find what you are looking for, rather what you are looking for finds you!
Tasty food in the night markets in Bali
In a similar vein to street markets, night markets tend to have more of an emphasis on food. Souvenir hunting can be hungry work, so picking up some tasty snacks along the way helps! The best night markets for food in Bali include Gianyar Night Market in Gianyar (try the bakso meatball soup), and the Sanur Night Market.
Colourful and fresh markets in Bali
Typically, these markets are where you can pick up your fruit, vegetables and other produce. Ideal if you want to go shopping for food in Bali when staying in a rental villa. If you want to take spices home, try Pasar Badung in Denpasar that is a buzz of scent and colour. For something a little different, try Kedonganan Fish Market on Jimbaran Bay. You can buy cheap fresh seafood, and then get someone to cook it for you on the beach!
Shopping malls and boutiquesin Bali
Bali may not have gone full-on Singapore (thankfully!), but there are a few shopping malls and boutique stores for more upmarket buyers. Whether you want to pick up the latest designer fashion from international stores, or take a walk around in air-conditioned bliss, visiting a mall will round off your Bali shopping experience. If you only visit one, try the huge Beachwalk in Kuta. If you feel ambitious, spend some time at Discovery and Galeria malls as well.
Best areas to shop in Bali
And now on to the fun bit! These are the best areas to shop in Bali, and the type of things you can find there. No matter where you stay in Bali, you’ll be able to visit at least one of these regions or towns during your stay.
Where to go shopping in Kuta
Kuta has a pretty varied shopping scene, ranging from art markets through to shopping malls. You can pretty much find everything you need in Kuta, but the handicrafts a lot of people like to buy in Bali can be more expensive here.
Some shopping suggestions for Kuta include:
Worth a trip to, just to see how un-Bali like it is! Local and foreign visitors alike flock here for the international stores and entertainment centres within the complex. It’s a monumental place, taking inspiration from other Asian complexes with a slight Bali twist. Open every day from 10.00–22.00 on Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta.
A popular shopping arcade on a street lined with shops. Here, you can expect fashion and department stores, designer brands, but also a few high-end local jewellers and batik sellers thrown into the mix. The shops have varying opening hours, and you can find it at Jalan Bakung Sari, Kuta.
Kuta walking street
If you fancy a stroll, just carry on along Jalan Pantai Kuta. And on, and on. The shops include surf, designer, restaurants, cafes, money changers, souvenir shops and almost everything else you can think of. If you ever wanted to buy a fake Rolex, keep an eye out for Super Watch!
Discovery Shopping Mall
One more shopping mall for you in Kuta until we move on to the next area! This is another huge mall, second only in size to the Beachwalk in Kuta, with all you might expect a mall to offer. In addition, you can find a lot of boutique stores here selling quality but slightly pricey items.
Where to go shopping in Legian
More or less an extension of Kuta, Legian does have some interesting shopping options of its own. Along Jalan Legian, you can hone your bargaining skills in the small art shops dotted in between larger stores such as Rip Curl. Poppies Street offers more art shops with bracelets, shirts, and other souvenirs along with surf shops such as Boardhouse Surf Shop and Sion Surf Shop. And on Garlic Lane you can find an eclectic mix of DVD stores, wood carving shops, and more souvenirs at more reasonable prices.
Where to go shopping in Seminyak
Seminyak doesn’t really go big on markets, but is heavy on lifestyle and boutique outlets. There’s an upmarket feel to the area with accompanying prices to match. Sure, the quality of most goods is slightly better, but not always. Even so, visitors from more expensive countries around the world may still find prices, even for branded products, cheaper than back home.
To find out 10+1 best things to do in sophisticated Seminyak click here.
Seminyak flea market
For a feel of shopping at market stalls, the flea market in Seminyak is worth spending time at. If you are planning to visit other parts of Bali to go shopping, we’d suggest using the prices here as a barometer to measure other prices by. You can try bargaining, but many stall owners realise they will get their asking price sooner or later even if they are still a little pricier than on other parts of the island.
Jalan Raya Seminyak shopping street
This walking street in Seminyak has a fun mix of shops. Local stores squeeze between against international shops, boutique stores are opposite galleries, and it’s a good place to pick up jewellery.
Petitenget walking street
Mixing fine dining with boutique stores, you can also throw in a beach club or two along the way. Try Namu at Jalan Petitenget 234x, Seminyak for clothes, jewellery and hip objects showcased beautifully in a Javanese styled building.
Shopping in Ubud
If you only want to spend one day shopping in Bali, and want to find everything in one place, Ubud should probably be your number one choice. It has enough of a mix of local feeling markets, boutique stores, retail outlets, and art markets to keep everyone happy. Our recommended shopping haunts include:
To find out 20+1 top things to see and do in Ubud click here.
Ubud Art Market
This artisan market in Ubud is the best place to pick up local Bali handicrafts such as bags, scarves, and paintings. You can find the Ubud Art Markets at Jl. Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud.
Monkey Forest road
A street of curiosities, knick knacks, antiques and textiles, this road feels a world away from Kuta. You can find the start of Monkey Forest Road at Jalan Wana Wenara, Padangtegal Village, south of the main Ubud centre.
Jalan Raya Ubud walking street
Running through the centre of Ubud, the main street pretty much has it all. Arty shops, branded retail outfits, handicrafts and souvenirs. Spend an hour or two, and we are sure you’ll find plenty of things to bring back home!
For more information on things to do in Bali click here.
To find out the 10 must do day trips in Bali click here.
If you are looking for accommodation in Bali click here.