One of the reasons Bali is a popular tourist destination and ranks high on every tourist’s list is the number of artisanal and bohemian items one can buy at highly competitive rates. Whether it’s the temples, markets or tourist spots, you will see scores of shops run mainly by enterprising women selling handmade products. The shopkeepers in broken English will tell you they are giving you the best rates but slash rates when they sense you are moving to the next shop. Do bargain with the shopkeepers but not short-change the artisans who painstakingly spend days and weeks making these handcrafted items. Shopaholics will have a field day when shopping in Bali. Here is our list of things to shop in Bali.
If you are looking for stylish boho bags, you will find plenty in Bali. These rattan bags are made from fibres of a plant related to palm trees. The trendy bags come in several shapes and sizes, the most popular being circular disc shapes. You will get them for 100,000 IDR (Rs. 500) in Ubud, but we picked them for 60-70,000 IDR (approx. Rs. 350) from the shops near Ulun Danu Beratan Temple.
Bali is known for its dreamcatchers made with feathers, beads, shells and cords. They are believed to ward off bad dreams and bring in positive vibes. Mostly in circular shapes, you will also find some exclusive ones made with rattan in the form of lotuses, butterflies, evil eyes, etc. The prices range from 20,000 IDR for smaller ones to 100,000 IDR for bigger ones. Some countries don’t allow you to bring in feathers, so check customs regulations in your country.
Bali is a treasure trove for those seeking unique and funky bohemian jewellery. Bracelets, anklets, and necklaces are handcrafted using a variety of materials, including beads, cowrie shells and natural stones. Silver jewellery with vibrant gemstones is another favourite. As an artist who makes Bohemian jewellery, I was immensely inspired and awed by the countless jewellery options available. You will find bohemian jewellery in shops and spot local women carrying baskets with assorted pieces and selling these near temples and beaches.
Tea, coffee, chocolate
Bali is known for its coffee plantations; you can find a wide range of aromatic coffees and teas to take home. We visited the Baturiti Luwak Coffee Plantation and had a coffee-tasting session with a dozen varieties of coffee. Kopi Luwak or Luwak Coffee is the most expensive coffee as it is made of partially digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated (yes, you read that right) by an animal called Asian palm civet or Luwak. Numerous varieties of teas infused with local flavours are also up for grabs. You can also indulge and pick some locally crafted chocolates made from high-quality cocoa beans grown on the island.
The artisans in Bali make exquisite, handcrafted items using wood like boxes, statues and masks. The carvings are intricate and rich in symbolism and imagery. Tree of life, Buddha, lotuses, animals, demons and numerous other beings find a place in these woodwork creations.
Batik is a traditional Indonesian textile art form, and Bali is famous for its exquisite batik clothing. The technique includes applying wax to the cloth, dyeing it in multiple layers, and finally removing it to reveal vibrant and detailed designs. From dresses to shirts and sarongs, you’ll find a variety of designs and colours. My husband picked a batik shirt which is perfect for beach wear.
Coconut shell crafts
Since Bali is a tropical country, coconuts grow plenty. The locals have mastered peeling the fibre from coconuts and carving the shell into art pieces. When we visited the Gunung Kawi Temple, a septuagenarian artisan was painstakingly carving a scene with Arjuna from the Mahabharat on a coconut shell. The more intricate the carving, the higher the coconut shell crafts price. I picked a pair of coconut shell tea light candle holders, which would be perfect to light on Diwali.
If you like bohemian dresses, sarongs, crochet work halter tops, skirts and shrugs, you will go crazy shopping for these in Bali. Instagram pages are flooded with everyone from celebrities to commoners wearing boho-chic clothes and posing on the beaches, waterfalls and strolling around Bali. You will see women crocheting these clothing items. I picked some crocket halter tops for my daughter.
Bohemian Macrame artwork
Bali is a haven for Bohemian Macrame artwork. You will find a plethora of handmade items like bags, lampshades, plant hangers, wall hangings, mirrors, tapestries, etc. As a macrame artist, I have made some of these macrame products, too; you can find them here. Depending on the product, intricacy and size, the prices vary. Pick these as macrame décor items as they are perfect for decorating your homes.
Replicas of high-end brands
If you want replicas of all the high-end brands like Gucci, Prada, Michael Kors, Christian Dior, etc., you will find them at a fraction of the original price in Bali. From bags to sunglasses, watches, and belts, you have them all. You will also find high-end stores selling the originals if you are an ethical shopper. I honestly am not brand conscious and would skip these and instead pick something handcrafted by local artisans without even a second thought.
You can pick several other things in Bali like Balinese paintings, aromatic skincare and spa products, souvenirs of all sorts. We received two painted stick shadow puppets as gifts from the hotel where we stayed.
Where to shop in Bali?
The flea markets of Ubud are where everyone rushes to shop in Bali. While we found all the items listed above there, the prices were steep compared to the shops near the temples. So if you are on a budget and your purse strings are tight, we would recommend that you do your shopping near Tirta Empul Holy Spring, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple and Gunung Kawi Temple. The streets of Kuta are also suitable for shopping. If you are looking for wholesale rates, then Sukawati Art Market is good. Krisna Oleh Oleh is a shopping mall where several Indians flock for souvenirs.
Shopping in Bali is like therapy; the dopamine rushes you experience is nothing short of a mood-elevating pill. You will feel greedy and want to have it ill. To add to the shopping experience is the fact that the Indian rupee is stronger than the Indonesian Rupiah. Happy shopping in Bali.
Disclaimer: Rates of products will vary depending on the exchange rates. These were the rates at which we shopped.
Nearest Airport: I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, known as Denpasar International Airport, is the main airport of Bali, Indonesia. From India, there are no direct flights to Bali. We flew from Mumbai via Bangkok to Bali and returned via Singapore.
Where to Stay: A separate blog can be written just for this. Some of the most popular places with tourists are Ubud, Seminyak, and Kuta. There are lots of options available depending on budget and comfort.
Best Time to Visit Bali: The best time would be from April to September due to less rainfall.
Travel Trip: When visiting the temples, dress appropriately or carry a sarong to cover your legs. Women during menstruation are not allowed entry to certain temples. When visiting Gunungkawi Temple, do take frequent breaks when ascending and descending the 300 steps.
Travel Support: Wayan from Bali Explore Tour arranged for a car service to explore Bali. We got excellent service, and Wayan helped us optimize our travel plans. https://www.baliexploretour.com/ +62 812-3720-7337