Most tourists in Bali purchase their souvenirs in Ubud market. While the market does offer a nice variety of souvenirs and is relatively inexpensive for tourists from most countries, it is not the best place on the island to buy Balinese goods for oneself or as gifts. Ubud is a very popular tourist destination, which makes the market a bit of a tourist trap. Much of what is for sale in the market can be found in other parts of Bali at a fraction of the price. However, it is a good market if you’re looking for kitschy trinkets to bring home.
If you are searching for high-quality Balinese souvenirs, there are markets around the island that specialize in specific artistic goods. There are art markets, stone and wood sculpture markets, and jewelry markets. Many tour guides and private drivers will be more than happy to take you to these markets as they receive a cut of the sales. Generally, these markets will not harass tourists into making purchases and the staff will answer any questions you may have.
For those looking for souvenirs at lower prices, you’ll have to keep an eye out as you travel through the island-there are numerous shops along the roads leading to tourist destinations. The shops that are further from a tourist destination will usually have better prices. To find the smaller shops, it is easiest to rent a car and driver for the day-it should cost about $30 to $40 depending on where you plan to go.
Tegalalang offers tourists some of the quietest shops selling Balinese woodwork. It’s easy to walk along the street after stopping off at Gunung Kawi temple for some peace and tranquility. Most of the shops around Tegalalang don’t offer the best quality woodwork, but the prices are the best around. You must be patient when bargaining in this area as the shopkeepers don’t speak English as well as others in more touristy areas. Unlike the larger markets, there isn’t much room to bargain-the prices are already low and the shopkeepers are usually willing to cut a few dollars.
While most of the goods are made from softer and lower-quality wood, there are some shops that offer better pieces. One such shop offered statues of Garuda, the bird god, in various sizes. The small statues were about half the price of what was purchased in Ubud market. The shop also had much larger statues of Garuda in vibrant colors that would set a buyer back more than $1000.
Though I couldn’t afford any of the larger and better-quality wood sculptures, I did settle on a two-and-a-half-foot temple guard for only $7. The markets around Bali made it tempting to buy many more souvenirs, but there’s only so much that can fit in a suitcase.