From manic markets to swanky boutiques: a comprehensive guide to shopping in Bali

Even if you’re not “planning” to make your Bali trip a shopping bonanza, chances are you will leave with more in your suitcase than when you arrived. Whether you’re just after a couple of cheap souvenirs to take home for the kiddies or you’re seeking some unique designer threads – there is a perfect destination for all discerning shoppers in Bali. The trick is to know your shopping style, and to then find the right destination to match.

The markets

A modern authentic Bali experience – a little rough around the edges perhaps, but chock full of vibrancy and local charm.

If you want to get intimate with the Balinese shopping culture – get thee to a market asap. The markets are a good place for travellers to meet the locals and get to know a bit more about Balinese culture. Pros: A modern authentic Bali experience – a little rough around the edges perhaps, but chock full of vibrancy and local charm. An opportunity to get your bargaining strategy sorted so that a good price is yours for the taking. Cons: Balinese markets can be intense. There is often a lot going on at once, including foot traffic, music and sneaky pedestrian potholes. If you are looking for a relaxing shopping experience, the markets may not be your cup of tea. Here are our market hot spots:

Sukawati Art Market, Jalan Raya Sukawati, Gianyar

The Sukawati Art Market is Bali’s most well-known and long-standing art market. If you are looking for traditional handmade products for your home or as gifts, then this two-story market is where you want to be. It has everything from wooden sculptures and paintings to handicrafts, textiles and accessories. You will find it on the Jalan Raya Sukawati main road in Gianyar.

Sukawati Market stall

Ubud Art Market

The Ubud Art Market is located opposite the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace and is open daily. Ubud is well known for its artistry and here you will find everything from silk scarves to baskets, woven goods and clothing such as shirts and sarongs. Known for featuring items of high quality and variety, this colourful and intoxicating market is perfect for finding special mementos – just make sure that you are getting a fair price that works for both you and the seller.


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Department stores

If haggling at the markets for the best price on a Bintang singlet isn’t your idea of a happy shopping experience, perhaps a western-style shopping experience might be more up your alley. Here you will find the at-home comfort of price tags and brands you know and recognise. Pros: Air conditioning and decent public toilet facilities. Cons: Bargaining for a better price is not really appropriate here. Prices may be a little better than they are at home, but don’t expect to pay next to nothing, particularly for imported merchandise. Here are a few department stores you shouldn’t miss in Bali:

Bali Collection, Nusa Dua

If you are looking for some high-end retail therapy, then make your way to the Bali Collection. Set over eight hectares in the same ‘hood as Bali’s best international five-star hotels, the Bali Collection offers luxury fashion brands, exotic souvenir gifts, spa facilities and restaurants. It’s advisable you get changed out of your beach towel and thongs before venturing into this department complex.

Mal Bali Galeria, Kuta

This large shopping complex is located right near the Simpang Dewaruci landmark. This self-proclaimed ‘family mall’ is popular with both locals and tourists. It features the Planet Hollywood Bali restaurant (yes, they still exist), the DFS Galleria Bali duty free shop and the Galeria 21 Cineplex, Bali’s premier cinema complex. The cinema is a great place to kill a few hours before heading off to the airport for an international flight.

Discovery Shopping Mall, Kuta Beach

This three-story shopping destination is one of the largest shopping malls in Bali. Here, you will find a load of recognisable retail brands and food franchises. If you have a hankering for Pizza Hut or a Starbucks coffee, you will find it here. The mall is located on the Jalan Kartika Plaza, but you can also access it from the beach.

Discovery Shopping Mall Entrance

If you are looking for something a bit different or unique to clothe the bod or enhance the home – boutique shopping might be your perfect match.


If you are looking for something in between the massive retail complexes and the heady hustle of the markets, Bali has some great boutiques featuring both local and international designers. If you are looking for something a bit different or unique to clothe the bod or enhance the home – boutique shopping might be your perfect match. Seminyak is well known as Bali’s designer hub. You will find knots of shop fronts on Jalan Laksmana and Jalan Raya Seminyak. Kerobokan, north of Seminyak, has a lot more to offer than the infamous Kerobokan Prison. JI Raya Kerobokan in particular has a great selection of home-wares to explore. Legian offers a bit of a reprieve from the hectic shop fronts of Kuta; try the main Jalan Legian for fashion boutiques and art shops. Don’t be afraid to explore little laneways and streets off the main drag. Some of the best treasures are often found of the beaten track. Pros: Locate something distinctive among the crazy mass-produced tourist market finds. Something that you would actually wear when you return home. Cons: Bargaining is subjective here. There is no harm in trying your luck, but be prepared for a shut down of epic proportions.

Main street shop fronts

This is where you will find boulevard-style shop fronts boasting everything from low-grade designer fakes and pirated DVDs to beachwear and sarong shops. Here, you are pretty much expected to haggle for the best price. A friendly note, however: if a local business is blatantly selling designer knockoffs such as handbags, sunglasses and jeans, you have some room to bargain. A shop that stocks boutique and original stock? Proceed with respect and caution.  Pros: Lots of tourist merchandise and souvenirs if you are looking for those knock off beauties such as Ray Bans, leather goods and anything with the name Bintang emblazoned on it. Bargaining required. Cons: See ‘pros’. We suggest Kuta Square, which offers a bit of everything and is 50 metres from Kuta Beach. The two-way avenue is full of fashion stores and places to sit and grab a bite. Any main city street near the beach or tourist attractions will usually serve you well.

Village shopping

There are a number of villages in Bali that are dedicated to certain arts and crafts that sell locally and export internationally. Here you will get long roads filled with Balinese artistry and handiworks that are often a stop on tourist tours. Pros: If you after that certain something special, then going to an area that specialises in it should skew the odds in your favour. Cons: Seeing streets upon streets of traditional handicrafts can be overwhelming. Here are a few amazing village shopping experiences not to miss:

Celuk Gold And Silversmiths, Celuk Vill

If you are hunting for some unique holiday bling, the main road of Jalan Raya Celuk is lined up with galleries and workshops filled with high quality and intricately designed gold and silver jewelry and Balinese ceremonial adornments. If window-shopping is more your thing, then you can check out how the artisans actually make their wares by having a sticky beak at the production processes.

Tegallalang Handicraft Centre, Ubud

Tegallalang handicraft centre is famous for arts, crafts and curios. Located in the district of the same name just several kilometres north of the main area of Ubud. Numerous shops feature assorted ornaments, jewelry, furniture, and traditional souvenir bits and pieces. If you are looking for stone carvings, then Batubulan Village, situated in west gate of Gianyar Regency, is well and truly worth a visit. Batuan has great paintings and Mas is famous for its woodcarvings.    

handicraft shopping bali

Main photo by carmenandnatasha.

Making the most of a short stay: how to spend 5 days in Bali

Bali is a spiritual center, an island paradise, a hub for people looking for yoga and a great immersion in Indonesian culture. A holiday to Bali can easily last for weeks, exploring the many places that this gorgeous island has to offer.

It is such a magical and special place that will undoubtedly hold a place in your heart for years to come.

If you have just 5 days to explore the island, you will definitely have to do your research to find out what it is you really want to see and do. You could spend 5 days in themselves enjoying one of the many beach towns lining the coast, or immersing in yoga in Ubud. But to really get a feel for the variety of the island, create a 5-day itinerary from some of these awesome places:


Ubud is the spiritual capital of Bali, made famous by the book “Eat, Pray, Love.” But don’t avoid it just because it’s got a bit of a touristy appeal. Ubud is a great place to experience an arts and cultural scene, try cooking or jewelry making classes and enjoy the amazing food that’s abundant in this town. Ubud is well-known as a yogi’s paradise, and you can join one of the many yoga studios here for daily classes. In the evenings, you can join a sound healing or group meditation to wind down your day. Spend at least a full day and night here in Ubud so you can experience some of the great organic cafes and healthy vegan and gluten-free treats available. At many cafes, you will find visitors chilling out and jamming on guitars or other instruments. It’s a great place to relax and just enjoy the vibe of Bali.

In Ubud, you can visit the Monkey Forest which is really just right in the middle of town. For just a few dollars, you can explore this monkey-filled jungle and even take a picture with one of the creatures on your shoulder.

A spa day can be a perfect way to enjoy luxury at a fraction of the cost you would pay at home.

If you’re into outdoor adventures, just outside Ubud you can take whitewater rafting tours or go bike riding through the mountains. You’ll find plenty of people advertising these sorts of excursions and you can rent a bus or van for quite cheap to take you there. In Ubud, you can also rent a motorbike for just a few dollars a day to take you around town. Don’t forget to indulge in a wonderful and cheap massage or reflexology treatment while you’re here.


After exploring Ubud, you might feel that you want to spend more than a day or two here, but it’s time to move on and see some more of the island. Hire a taxi or driver to take you to Seminyak, which should only cost you around $20 or even less. This is a great place to try the food at a local warung, or Indonesian cafe. Some local specialties include Nasi Goreng, or fried rice, and Gado Gado, a local specialty of steamed veggies with tofu, tempeh and sweet peanut sauce. The local cuisine is flavourful with lots of vegetables, and is very cheap at just a dollar or two per dish.

At night, you can explore some of the bars in Seminyak to grab a drink, although the nightlife here isn’t too crazy. The next day, head to the beach in the morning to catch sunrise and an early swim. You can even get a massage on the beach, enjoying the relaxing treatment while taking in the sand and the waves. After beach time, head to Seminyak Square to browse through the markets. Dinnertime can take you to one of the great seafood restaurants on the beach serving up freshly grilled fish, shrimp and squid.

South to Kuta and Uluwatu

After exploring Seminyak, hire a taxi or driver to drive you down south to Kuta where you can choose to stay if you’re into the party scene. Otherwise, continue south to Uluwatu to experience some true surfing culture in Bali. If you haven’t surfed before, this is the place to start! You can take a surfing lesson from a local and get out there in the waves with all the others. The waves are great here and the vibe is super chilled and laid-back. You can find excellent places to eat and drink in and around Uluwatu, and at night the surfers hit the restaurants to enjoy some grilled seafood and a few beers while recounting the tales from the day on the waves. As far as accommodations go, expect to score a beachside bungalow for quite cheap, around $20 per night. You can also stay in homestays on the cliffs overlooking the ocean for some great views.

Extra time: Gili Air

If you find yourself hurrying through this itinerary, book a boat to one of the Gili Islands. We recommend Gili Air for the great combination of gorgeous scenery, laid-back atmosphere and lively vibe. If you’re into snorkeling or scuba diving, you’ll love Gili Air. The boat ride here takes just an hour and a half from the main island, and prices vary depending on where you buy your ticket. Once here, book a bungalow and hit the beaches.

There is more snorkeling and scuba diving off Gili Air than there is surfing, so relax and enjoy the calm waters.

Dine at the many beachside cafes and watch the sunset as you enjoy a cocktail by the water. If you are feeling more of a craving to party, take a boat to Gili Trawangan, also known as Gili T, as this is where the party scene is happening. And Gili Meno is more on the relaxed side, even less inhabited than Gili Air, ideal for couples on a romantic vacation.