Stay Safe, Stay Well Holiday in Bali during Pandemic
- February 18, 2021
Pandemic is not a barrier for those of you who want to have a vacation to Bali. Bali’s tourist destination… Read More
Quoted from Hotels.com, Bali art markets offer unique shopping experiences, where you can discover a treasure trove of artworks and handicrafts by talented local craftsmen, all at bargain prices. Most of the art markets in Bali comprise a sprawling scene of small kiosks arranged within a semi-open-air complex, though some arrange their stalls within a dedicated building.
All of these markets draw both local and international shoppers looking for a great deal on unique motif batiks, intricate Balinese carvings, and iconic knick-knacks you won’t find outside the island. Even if you aren’t in for the haggling or buying anything, a visit to any of these art markets provides you with a glimpse into the wonderful artistry and creativity of the island’s craftsmen.
UBUD ART MARKET
The Ubud Art Market is a great place to find beautiful silk scarves, lightweight shirts, statues, kites, handmade woven bags, baskets or hats, and many other hand-crafted goods. Locally known as Pasar Seni Ubud, the market is opposite the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace and opens daily.
Most of the goods found at the Ubud Market are made in the neighboring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan, and Peliatan. The location of the Ubud Art Market, which is centered among the art producing villages and at the center of Ubud itself, makes it a strategic shopping place for Balinese handicrafts and souvenirs.
The Ubud market also served as a setting for the Hollywood movie Eat Pray Love, which shows a scene with actress Julia Roberts opposite a male character strolling through the stalls which are frequently visited by foreign and local visitors in real life. Naturally, bargaining is essential.
Ubud Art Market highlights
‘Shopping’ here is not always about an actual purchase. Viewing the various items on display from one stall to another is a highlight on its own, showing the craftsmanship and the artistry of the Balinese. Admiring all the shops and stalls usually cannot be accomplished in 1 day. So, if you spot an item you’re interested in, you can come back another day to bargain or settle the deal.
Compared to art markets in Bali’s other main destinations, such as Kuta, the Ubud Art Market has higher quality items and a larger mixture. There are plenty of the common items that you’ll find all around the island, including beach clothes and shirts printed with “Bali” on them, as well as ikat woven skirts, Balinese-style paintings, woodcarvings, and woven baskets. However, curios typical of Ubud Art Market include items ranging from quadruple-colored bohemian skirts of satin, Moroccan-style oil lamps, quilt-stitched batik camisoles, and brass Buddha statuettes.
Good to know about Ubud Art Market
The Ubud Market offers not only exemplary Balinese items but a universal and international assortment. The items found here also tend to of a higher artistic value compared to other art markets around Bali.
Unlike the various shops lining the Monkey Forest Road, most items on stalls at the Ubud Art Market have no barcode or set price. Haggling is expected and encouraged as part of the fun of shopping, but do so politely and with a smile. It’s often helpful to decide upon the most you want to pay for an item before you start. Start at about half the asking price and go up till a compromise is reached. It’s best to shop around to get an idea of typical prices before you commit to making a purchase.
The market is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, and some of the stalls are even open until late at night. The market is divided into 2 main areas. The western block is the main art market and the eastern block is a traditional market serving daily groceries and necessities.
SUKAWATI ART MARKET
Sukawati Art Market is Bali’s most distinguished and long-standing art market. Known as ‘Pasar Seni Sukawati’ to locals, it’s where you can find and buy distinctively Balinese art items such as paintings and sculpted wooden figures, curios, handicrafts, and traditional handmade products. The 2-storey Sukawati Art Market was established in the 1980s and is located on the Jalan Raya Sukawati main road in Gianyar, approximately 20 km northeast of the main tourism hubs of Kuta and Denpasar.
The art market’s main building is often packed with shopping holidaymakers and locals sourcing household and daily necessities. It’s an alternative, inexpensive and complete shopping destination conveniently situated along most tour itineraries to the central and northern regions of the island.
What to buy at Sukawati Art Market
Items that you’ll often encounter at Sukawati Art Market range from framed paintings, figurines, traditional woven textiles, traditional kites, handmade bags, women’s accessories, shirts and sarongs to Balinese ceremonial items and daily local household items – all at reasonable prices.
Prices for Bali holiday cotton shirts vary depending on the motif, weave, and overall quality. Most of the fine paintings on sale here are generally imitations of the signature styles of various maestros, such as Antonio Blanco, Arie Smit, Bonet, and Han Snel. Even so, there are also some Kamasan style paintings worth looking at. Some small-scale A4-size paintings, some framed and some not, make for great easy-to-carry souvenirs.
At ground level, there are many stalls offering clothes, sarongs, and fabrics of different sizes, colors, and patterns. These can be seen hanging from the ceilings and stacked neatly in piles. As turnover is relatively high, produced motifs are rarely the same from one time to the next.
Aromatic and aromatherapy items such as sandalwood oil-infused fans, incense sticks, and colorful jelly candles can be found in the back areas of the art market. Bedcovers are available in abstract designs and splashes of colors as well as in creative forms of artistry, depicting birds and wildlife or portraits of famous figures such as Gandhi and Lennon. Such eye-catching bedding is usually found on the front stalls of the art market.
Good to know about Sukawati Art Market
A rule of thumb on bargaining is to start at half the offered price, which is probably a lot closer to the actual production cost of the item itself. On your first visit, it’s better to spend some time browsing through the whole market for similar items of interest and compare to get the general idea of the prices.
Compared to other art markets in the island’s main tourism areas in the south such as Kuta and Nusa Dua, the prices offered at the Sukawati Art Market are widely considered by locals to be cheaper.
Besides the stalls, there are peddlers who actively offer their wares to visitors. Patience is needed, as it is easy to find yourself getting overwhelmed by their constant hassle.
To get a wholesale price and enjoy the fixed prices for each item, visit Pasar Pagi Sukawati (Sukawati Morning Market), a short distance west from the Sukawati Art Market. Open from 7 am to 11 pm, it also sells handicrafts similar to Sukawati Art Market.
GUWANG ART MARKET
Guwang Art Market is a traditional art market in Bali that has a lot in common with the more famous Pasar Seni Sukawati, which is only a short distance away. Even the items sold at Guwang are similar to those of Sukawati. Guwang offers a more pleasant layout, ease of access and usually lesser crowds.
Guwang Art Market – known locally as Pasar Seni Guwang – provides an alternative shopping destination for visitors who wish to avoid the crowds often flocking Sukawati during peak periods. Besides the art market being a source of Bali souvenirs and handicrafts, the village streets of Guwang itself features many art shops and galleries.
What to expect at Guwang Art Market
Nearly all of the vendors at the Guwang Art Market are also keepers of stalls and kiosks at Sukawati Art Market. That’s why you’ll also find the similar beachwear, cotton shirts, sandals and typical Balinese handicrafts here.
You’ll find it more spacious here than at Sukawati. For example, ample parking space is located just after a large banyan tree, with a small shrine filled with daily flower offerings and burning incense nearby. The market itself comprises 3 main blocks (or ‘blok’ in the local tongue). ‘Blok A’ is to the left of the entrance, where kiosks mostly sell wooden carvings and other souvenirs. ‘Blok B’ is to the right and sells textiles, clothes in various motifs and colourful sarongs.
‘Blok C’ is between A and B, connects the other 2 ‘bloks’ with some foliage making for a more pleasant and shaded souvenir shopping experience. A sitting area here also provides you with the chance to relax in between your shopping.
Good to know about Guwang Art Market
Price-wise, Guwang Art Market items are priced virtually the same as at Sukawati Art Market. Even so, there are some specific items found at Sukawati that you won’t find at Guwang, such as ceremonial goods that mostly locals source for.
You’ll never find roaming peddlers flaunting their ware to visitors here. If you have ample time on your hands or if you happen to have these 2 markets on your itinerary, it is a good idea to visit both and compare for yourselves.
For an airier market shopping experience, come early in the morning when the stalls are just opening and when you’ll get the huge parking area to yourself. Moreover, bargaining is usually a lot easier and with cheaper prices scored easier when stall keepers have just opened up shop.
KUMBASARI ART MARKET
The Kumbasari Art Market is one of Denpasar’s central landmarks and is one of the city’s main sources of arts and handicrafts. The market is right across the Badung River from Badung Market and sells items that mostly come from the island’s various art-producing communities, like Ubud and other artistic communities in the central Bali highlands, while also featuring galleries by onsite painters and craftsmen.
Locally referred to as Pasar Kumbasari, the Kumbasari Art Market in central Denpasar sells mostly the same kind of goods you’ll find at any traditional market in Bali. Even so, the diverse selection of items available here will easily appeal to avid shoppers, especially with its bargain and wholesale prices.
How to get the most out of Kumbasari Art Market
Like the Badung Market, Kumbasari is one of the island’s oldest, open since the late ‘70s. Its 4 levels are home to over 200 kiosks and over 1,000 stalls. Haggling is accepted throughout, even though most vendors have labelled many of their items with fixed price tags. Larger shop owners can speak English and can arrange deals for shipment and packaging of larger items.
At daybreak, Kumbasari takes on a traditional morning market scene – somewhat chaotic, but catering to the daily needs of locals for fresh produce and groceries. By noon, as the morning frenzy subsides, most of the art stalls will have already opened, taking over the scene.
From kitsch barong keychains for less than a dollar to towering silver sculptures costing hundreds of dollars, the choices are seemingly endless. By night, some parts of the market open up with food stalls, making it a good spot for enjoying a local, budget-friendly dinner.
What to buy at Kumbasari Art Market
The 2nd level features a large hall where you can find a huge variety of souvenir items and art pieces, including silverware, mini sculptures, Balinese batiks, paintings and more.
The locals also source their daily household necessities and religious items from several shops here. These include silk parasols, temple attire, incense, flower offerings and silver holy water vessels, some of which also make exotic décor items to spruce up your living room back home.
KUTA ART MARKET
Kuta Art Market is a small beachside shopping complex with numerous stalls selling unique Bali souvenirs and handicrafts. It’s located at the end of the Jalan Bakungsari 1-way thoroughfare, adjacent to the Kuta Sidewalk and just before Jalan Kartika Plaza Street. The bazaar-like venue is one of the best shopping places in Kuta for putting your bargaining skills to the test.
Kuta Art Market highlights
Locally called Pasar Seni Desa Adat Kuta (Art Market of the Kuta Traditional Village), the market has 6 main shophouses and a long building with many stalls. The shops sell a wide range of typical Bali souvenirs such as surfboard fridge magnets, keychains, beer holders, sandals, Bali print T-shirts and colourful sarongs and fabrics.
Kuta Art Market has rows of modern shops and international brands selling mostly beachwear and tropical-themed clothes. The likes of Quiksilver, Billabong, and Rip Curl, as well as local designer brands, line up through Kuta Square and its adjacent boulevards.
Almost all of the items available at the market are similar to goods found in the art markets of Ubud and Sukawati. Most souvenir items are sourced from cottage industries and suppliers in Gianyar, local craftsmen in Kuta and the surrounding areas.
Good to know about Kuta Art Market
When bargaining at Kuta Art Market, the rule of thumb is to be polite and friendly with shopkeepers. You can actually make some friends with these ‘mild battles’ – make sure you check the quantity and quality before paying the negotiated price.
The art market is surrounded by beachside food stalls and restaurants at various price points. Most of the restaurants are located across the Jalan Kartika Plaza, along the Kuta sidewalk, southward from the art market. Always try to have small change with you.
You can find money changers around the Kuta Art Market, though it’s best to visit only authorised money changers or a bank. If you must, always count your money at least twice in front of the dealer and ask for missing banknotes. You can change your money at your hotel, though expect to pay higher rates.
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