Over the years the tropical island of Bali, Indonesia has become a shoppers’ paradise. If you haven’t been here yet, you will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of items available, as you will be blown away by its affordability and great deals. Since the island is located on the equator it is no surprise that you will find vendors selling beach and summer clothing everywhere. But what you may not know is that Bali is an ideal place to buy handcrafted items, jewelry and super soft bedding for your home too. Bali has everything – from high-end boutique shops to the traditional marketplaces, so you are sure to find a great souvenir to remember your trip. Just make sure you leave some room in your suitcase when packing for your island vacation. To help you out, here is a list of 10 things you must buy when visiting Bali.
1. Kopi Luwak coffee and chocolates
If you are a coffee lover, then Bali’s kopi luwak coffee should be at the top of your list of things to try and buy. This strong brew, with a curious aftertaste, is the most expensive coffee in the world. The unusual flavor comes from the processing method. Local coffee farmers feed the berries to civet cats, and later collect the indigestible beans after the cat eliminates it by defecating. The beans are then processed or ground, and later used to create this unique coffee brew. You can also find chocolates made from the kopi luwak beans. The best place to find kopi luwak coffee is at Kopi Bali House in Ubud.
2. Barong masks
Masks have a long history in Balinese spiritual traditions. They were once only used in the temples during sacred rites and rituals. When the tourism industry began in the 1960’s visitors to the island expressed an interest in these beautiful wood masks and a new industry was born. These masks are made from different types of woods (teak, hibiscus and many more) by master carvers. The most intricate masks use over 30 different tools in the carving process. To find the best deal on a barong wood mask visit the village of Mas where you will find many wood-working shops with different types of masks.
3. Balinese silver jewelry
Jewelry is a popular choice in souvenirs no matter where you travel. But in Bali, you will find silversmiths who have been creating stunning pieces for generations. To find some of the best deals visit the Celuk Village, famous for the art of creating silver jewelry sets with precious and semi-precious stones. The artisans are happy to share their knowledge of the art with their customers. You will find everything from simple earrings and bracelets to more elaborate pendants, rings, and armbands. Buying a piece of Balinese silver jewelry makes a great gift for loved ones back home.
4. Batik cloth or clothing
Batik fabric is used in every Indonesian culture for clothing, religious wear, and home décor. Each culture has its own unique style of batik and Bali is no different. Here you will find songket which is made using natural dyes and cotton that are woven into intricate designs. You can purchase straight fabric to take home and use to create your own clothing or find the brightly colored cloth used in a variety of items. You can find shirts, skirts, sarongs, dresses and even tablecloths and bed linen made from this versatile cloth. Finding a shop to purchase it is not difficult, it’s everywhere, but you will find the best deals on Balinese songket in Ubud.
5. Handmade dupa
Balinese are deeply religious people and practice different rites on a daily basis. Almost all of these include the aromatic dupa or incense. Finding these fragrant sticks is easy as they appear in most market and shops on the island. They smell great as it is but when you light them the aromatic smoke will fill the room and make the gods smile down upon you. They make a great souvenir to take back home as they are inexpensive and won’t take up much room in your suitcase.
6. Bali ceramics
If you are looking for a souvenir to brighten your home, then you can’t go wrong with Balinese ceramic pottery. And you won’t have to go far to find it, there are many shops that sell everything from basic tableware to intricate incense burners to ceramic statues. The artisans use methods that have been passed down through the generations to create their pottery pieces. And to get an idea of how the products are made, you can even find pottery classes and make your own pottery to take back home, check out Sari Api Ceramics Studio in Ubud to learn the basics.
7. Gamelan ball
The Gamelan ball, or harmony ball, is something you will see a lot of the locals wearing. These handcrafted silver balls hold a chime inside and are used during meditation. These small, intricate balls produce soothing sound when you gently shake them and are said to reduce stress. Pregnant women wear them as it is believed that the baby can hear the sound and will remain calm inside the womb. Since these delicate silver balls are made by hand, no two balls will look or sound alike.
8. Eco-friendly bags and fabrics
It seems almost everyone has “gone green” and the Balinese are no exception. You will find many shops and artisans selling items made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials like bamboo, capiz shell, organic cotton, and vetiver. These materials are used to craft shopping bags and handbags, table linens and even bed sheets and pillowcases. You can also find some beautiful, soft-as-leather bags made from cork oak in shops like Ono Creations and Threads of Life; they also produce some lovely fabrics that can be used in a variety of ways.
9. Bintang shirts or shorts
With island sitting in the heart of the equator every day is summer in Bali. You can find some great deals on summer and beach clothing during your trip. They make and sell everything from bathing suits to brightly colored shirts, skirts, and dresses. And most shops sell items of every size from kids to adult. You will also find the popular Bintang shirts, which are soft sleeveless shirts just like tank tops, and board shorts also known as Bintang shorts in the local markets.
10. Organic beauty products
Balinese women have a reputation for glowing, radiant skin. They have looked this way since long before modern skin care products were invented. Their secret is they use only organic, beauty products made from herbs and flowers found locally. One of the key ingredients is lemongrass which is mixed with flower infused oils and lotions. You can buy body and facial scrubs, massage oils, and funny and yummy smelling soaps too. You can find some great deals on these organic beauty products, and they are wrapped in beautiful packages that they make a great gift to take home with you.
Some tips to get the most out of your Bali shopping spree
Don’t make the usual mistake that most tourists do by buying the first item you see, or only visit the shops near the hotel you are staying in. Before making that initial purchase be sure to look around shops first. You might find the same item for a better price if you take the time to look. Be sure you wear comfortable shoes when visiting the many markets and shops that you will find. And to make sure you have room in your suitcase and that you don’t break your budget, it’s a good idea to make a list of things that you are looking for before setting out on your Bali shopping spree.
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