Whenever we go places, apart from the photo memories, I usually try to pick some souvenirs for my collection. So, from my recent trip to Bali, I was searching for some good places to shop and I found the popular Ubud Traditional Market. While all Indonesian markets are great for shopping, Ubud is much into traditional and on tourists radar, however the prices are bit steep. But the rates go cheaper as you stroll deep into the market. First let me share the basic details with you people and then will pen down my personal experience.
Location:: Locally known as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’, the market is strategically located on the Jalan Raya Ubud No.35 at the centre of the Ubud town, bang opposite the Ubud Palace which makes it a must visit place for the tourists to buy handicrafts and souvenirs. The Market is divided into two blocks in the same area – East and West. While Westside is for a traditional artistic market, East is for everyday daily fundamental market requirement. One can enter from the couple of lanes on Jalan Monkey Forest. The board of Ubud Market is visible and it arrows towards the building in which market is set-up. Usually people avoid those shops and visit the ones on the streets or roads. Jalan Hanoman and The Monkey Forest roads are good options too for some window shopping!
Time: 6-8 AM to 6 PM
Best time to shop: Early mornings or in the late evening around closure. As in the mornings it is not that crowded and shopkeepers are fresh to start the day. It is a common belief that it is a good luck to do the first sale in the morning, so if you are the first customer you can stretch a bit. Also, one needs to have a tremendous bargaining skills but in a polite manner. Start with half the rate of what they say. I have shared my experience below…:)
What to expect:
The Ubud market offers some Balinese specialities, cotton sarongs, handmade jute bags, paintings, crochet, homeware, storage boxes, batik print apparels, souvenirs, jewellery, whimsical trinkets, dream catchers, hats and more. You can also see couple of happy people playing instruments on the streets to attract to their shop. One can also spot coffee shops and residential places amidst those quirky and colorful shops. Most of the goods found at the Ubud Market are made in the neighbouring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan.
Tip: Avoid buying anything from your first day of the holiday because one is excited and unaware about the general pricing. It is often helpful to decide upon the most you want to pay for an item before you start bargaining and stick to it.
Usually the experiences differ from person to person, whatever I write essentially can not match your experience. So, as a happy kid I was strolling around the market hypnotizing myself by those lovely summer roundie bags and colorful dream catchers. Did a round of whole market first day and had in mind what to buy. Next day in the scorching heat, went to the market premises to find the empty shops, as I said no body goes in the building! Still, took my time if I can find something ‘different’.
Shopkeepers there were first excited to see us but those hopes disappeared when I asked the price and moved on. Usually, Bali people are positive and helpful but it is exactly the contradictory in this market. Local shopkeepers are not wrong on their part as people come, photograph, ask, bargain and don’t buy but the way they express is bit awkward. Most of the merchants quickly lose interest if you try to bargain for a reasonable price. They make fun or get angry or whisper in their local languages but gestures and expressions says it all. Made me a bit uncomfortable but still we didn’t lose our smiles and moved on accepting their point of view.
What I purchased? Well, had the additional weight issues so had to stick to only the classy local stuff. So, bought 1 poncho top, fridge magnets, 2 sarongs and 2 roundie bags. Poncho I bought for 40K IDR for which I was said 200K IDR. Set of 10 Fridge Magnets were given at 100K IDR. For the sarongs, we were quoted 150K IDR which I stretched to 50K IDR for two and strangely one medium roundie bag I got one day for 100K IDR against the quoted price of IDR 400K. And when I went after a week to buy another roundie, we were said the same price for the small bag! Since the tourist season was setting in, the prices were increased in a week. So, the small roundie I got for IDR 140K and that too after a long long negotiation. Wooooh…lots of effort! But it is always fun to shop, right!?
Conclusively, one can easily be overwhelmed by the colors and vintage items, but take your time and visualise if you really want it? Ask yourself the value of the product you want and tell the final price to them. Don’t argue much and move forward, if they find it feasible they’ll stop you.
Overall, one can roam around and feel the Indonesian market vibes. Do not be discouraged and purchase as per your budget, requirements and choice. You can buy, wear, donate and return back…:)