Spoiled for choice is a phrase that best describes shopping in Bali. Modern air-conditioned malls are alive and well with traditional favourites such as the Mal Bali Galleria and the Discovery Shopping Mall. The latest is the flashy Beachwalk, located across from the beach on Jalan Pantai Kuta, In these establishments, prices are usually fixed.
For those who treasure the thrust and parry of bargaining, markets and stalls abound. Clothing, famous brands of dubious provenance, souvenirs and other tourist trinkets can be had for a fraction of the asking price – if your skills are well honed. Bargaining is best done with a sense of humour and an intimate knowledge of exchange rates; time spent reducing the final price by a few thousand ringit (in effect, a couple of Australian coins) is time better spent in a beachside bar with a cold beer.
Mini-marts and convenience stores provide around-the-clock essentials while major supermarket chains such as Bintang, Hardy’s and Pepito stock a wide range of groceries, fruit and vegetables and personal items.
Our top picks
Jalan Raya Seminyak 34, Semintyak
Established in 1994, the Biasa fashion label for men and women emphasises a tropical sophistication with bold lines and matchless fabrics. With several retail outlets including the Biasa store in central Seminyak, which blends fashion and homewares, an art gallery and outdoor event space that often hosts organic and craft markets, Biasa now has committed followers around the globe.
Discovery Shopping Mall, Kuta
Run out of reading material in the middle of your holiday? Periplus is a chain of bookstores located in major tourist areas (including Sanur, Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud), stocked with everything from the latest fiction blockbusters to non-fiction and children’s books. Prices are usually much lower than Australian, especially on American imprints. Periplus also stocks a wide range of Australian, American and British magazines, and local and regional newspapers including the International New York Times.
Shop like a local
Ubud and surrounds are the places to hunt down the very best of Balinese handicrafts. A good local guide is a necessity, with recommendations from hotels and resorts as well as other visitors. Specific areas are production centres for such items as art, silver jewellery, statues and stone carvings, wood carving and homewares, and wandering from one to another provides great comparisons for price and quality.
Seminyak is already recognised for the high-quality output of local fashion designers in its array of boutiques for men and women, but the northern end of Jalan Raya Seminyak is now the destination of choice for interior designers seeking the latest and greatest furniture, homewares, soft furnishings and accessories, lamps, lighting and eclectic knick-knacks.