Bali Souvenirs: Must-Have Treasures
Apart from beautiful souvenirs, Bali offers a range of unique items that make perfect keepsakes or gifts. Bali is a treasure trove of unique souvenirs that encapsulate the island’s vibrant culture and natural beauty. From traditional handicrafts to delectable treats, there is something for everyone to take back as a cherished memory of their time in Bali. Here are some must-have Bali souvenirs, along with where to find them, addresses, and opening hours of popular shopping spots.
What to Bring Back from Bali?
Bring back in your suitcases a bit of paradise! Here are some things you can bring back from Bali to cherish the memories of your trip:
Traditional Batik Fabric
Batik is a traditional Indonesian textile art form. You can find intricately designed batik fabrics in various colors and patterns. Consider bringing back a piece of batik cloth that can be used as a wall hanging, tablecloth, or even made into clothing.
Balinese handicraft is batik, a traditional fabric-dyeing technique. Batik textiles are characterized by their intricate patterns and vibrant colors. The process involves applying wax to the fabric before dyeing it, creating unique designs
You can find them in the form of clothing, scarves, wall hangings, and other decorative items. The village of Tohpati is well-known for its batik production, and you can visit workshops to see the process and purchase authentic batik pieces.
Old Balinese Perada batik from the collection of Balique Arts of Indonesia. Small detail of a Balinese Batik Perada. The gold has almost completely disappeared but the dark glue marks remain. 60 to 80 years old. from the collection of Balique Arts of Indonesia. Chris Hazzard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
A sarong or a traditional garment (is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist), you have certainly seen the Balinese in their superb traditional outfits and you too can buy one. In a colorful and very typical batik fabric, a sarong can be found everywhere, both in small markets but also in a large number of shops on the side of the road. Do not hesitate to ask your guide to take you for this purchase.
Balinese women on their way to perform the Mepeed ceremony to celebrate the Kuningan (traditional sacred Balinese holiday), they wear the Kebaya and Tenun which are the traditional attire of Balinese. These kind of tradition native to the Indonesian island of Bali. Andika Panendra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Sarongs in Bali often feature vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and are made from lightweight materials such as cotton or silk.
To buy a sarong in Bali, you can explore the local markets, art shops, or clothing boutiques. Ubud Art Market and Sukawati Art Market are popular destinations where you can find a wide variety of sarongs in different colors and designs. These markets offer a vibrant shopping experience with numerous stalls selling textiles, handicrafts, and traditional Balinese items.
You can also visit the traditional craft villages of Gianyar, such as Tohpati and Batubulan, known for their textile production. These villages have workshops and showrooms where you can observe the creation process and purchase authentic Balinese sarongs directly from the artisans.
Balinese metal or iron souvenirs
Balinese iron souvenirs offer a diverse range of beautifully crafted items that showcase the artistry and cultural heritage of Bali.
One of the most iconic Balinese metalworking techniques is called “cirebon,” which involves using a combination of copper and silver to create stunning works of art. The skilled artisans meticulously shape the metal, often incorporating traditional motifs inspired by nature, mythology, and Hindu-Buddhist beliefs.
Here are a few examples of Balinese iron souvenirs that you can find:
- Iron Masks: Balinese iron masks are intricately designed and handcrafted, depicting various characters from Balinese mythology and traditional folklore. These masks are highly detailed, showcasing the skill and craftsmanship of Balinese artisans.
- Iron Statues: Balinese iron statues come in various forms, ranging from religious figures to animals and abstract designs. These statues are often used for decorative purposes and are known for their intricate detailing and expressive poses.
- Iron Wall Hangings: Balinese iron wall hangings are popular souvenirs that feature elaborate designs and motifs. They are often inspired by traditional Balinese patterns, such as floral motifs, mythological creatures, and intricate geometric shapes.
- Iron Candle Holders: Balinese iron candle holders are not only functional but also serve as decorative pieces. They are often adorned with intricate patterns and carvings, adding a touch of elegance and ambiance to any space.
- Iron Home Décor Items: Balinese ironwork is also used to create various home décor items such as lamps, mirrors, hooks, and decorative ornaments. These pieces showcase the unique style and craftsmanship of Balinese ironwork.
A wooden statue decorated with Balinese golden head accessories, bracelets, earrings, and necklace. These jewelry are usually worn by Balinese bride. The statue is also decorated with “uang kepeng” (metal coin with a square-shaped hole in the middle). Pande Putu Yoga Kamayana, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
When shopping for Balinese iron souvenirs, it’s best to visit local markets, art galleries, and handicraft shops in Bali. Ubud Art Market, Sukawati Art Market, and Mas Village are some of the popular places where you can find a wide selection of Balinese iron souvenirs. These souvenirs not only serve as reminders of your trip to Bali but also as beautiful pieces of art that carry the essence of Balinese culture and craftsmanship.
Handmade Silver Jewelry
Bali is renowned for its exquisite silver jewelry craftsmanship. From rings and necklaces to earrings and bracelets, you’ll find a wide selection of intricately designed silver pieces. Look for jewelry made by local artisans for an authentic Balinese touch.
Celuk Village in Gianyar (near Sukawati, Ubud) is famous for its exquisite silver jewelry. Explore the workshops and shops in the area, such as Studio Perak and Sri Indah Silver, to discover unique pieces crafted by talented local artisans.
Where to buy Bali silvercrafts?
One of the best places to explore and purchase handmade silver jewelry in Bali is the village of Celuk. Located in the Gianyar Regency, Celuk is widely regarded as the silver capital of Bali. Here, you’ll find numerous workshops and galleries showcasing a wide range of silver jewelry, from rings and necklaces to earrings and bracelets.
The artisans in Celuk use traditional techniques such as hand hammering, filigree work, and granulation to create stunning pieces of silver jewelry. These techniques result in intricate patterns, delicate designs, and exquisite detailing that make each piece truly unique.
Beyond Celuk, you can also find handmade silver jewelry in other parts of Bali, particularly in Ubud and Seminyak. Ubud, known for its vibrant arts scene, is home to several jewelry studios and boutiques offering a diverse selection of silver jewelry. Seminyak, on the other hand, is known for its trendy fashion boutiques and designer shops, where you can discover contemporary silver jewelry pieces that combine traditional craftsmanship with modern aesthetics.
Look for silver pieces that are marked with the 925 stamp
When shopping for Bali’s handmade silver jewelry, it’s essential to verify the authenticity and quality of the pieces. Look for silver pieces that are marked with the 925 stamp, indicating that they are made of 92.5% pure silver, also known as sterling silver. This ensures that you’re purchasing genuine silver jewelry.
It’s worth noting that bargaining is a common practice in Bali’s markets and smaller shops. So, don’t hesitate to negotiate the price, but remember to do it respectfully. Engaging in friendly conversations with the artisans and learning about their craft can enhance your shopping experience and provide a deeper appreciation for the artistry behind the jewelry.
Bali is known for its rich artistic traditions. Hand-carved wooden masks, intricate wood carvings, stone sculptures, and traditional paintings are popular choices. These unique handicrafts reflect the island’s cultural heritage and make beautiful decorative items for your home.
Where to buy handicrafts in Bali?
When visiting Bali, you can find Balinese handicrafts in various markets, art shops, and galleries throughout the island. Ubud, Seminyak, and Kuta are popular areas for handicraft shopping, offering a wide range of options to suit different tastes and budgets. The Ubud Art Market and Sukawati Art Market are particularly famous for their wide selection of traditional crafts.
Bali is renowned for its exquisite woodcarvings, which are considered one of the finest examples of traditional Balinese craftsmanship. Woodcarving is deeply rooted in Balinese culture and has been practiced for centuries. If you’re looking for unique and intricate handicrafts, Bali’s woodcarvings make excellent souvenirs.
Bali’s woodcarvings encompass a wide range of items, including statues, sculptures, masks, decorative panels, furniture, and ornaments. The woodcarvers of Bali use various types of wood, such as teak, mahogany, and ebony, to create intricate designs and intricate details.
To find Balinese woodcarvings, you can explore the following places in Bali:
- Ubud Art Market: Located in the heart of Ubud, the market offers a plethora of woodcarvings crafted by skilled local artisans. You’ll find an extensive variety of items, from small figurines to large-scale sculptures, showcasing the exceptional artistry of Bali.
- Mas Village: Situated near Ubud, Mas Village is renowned for its woodcarving tradition. The village is home to numerous workshops and galleries where you can witness the carving process and browse through a wide selection of woodcarvings.
- Celuk Village: While Celuk is primarily known for its silver jewelry, the village is also home to talented woodcarvers. You can find intricate woodcarvings alongside the silverware, offering a unique combination of crafts.
- Tegalalang Village: Located north of Ubud, Tegalalang is famous for its terraced rice fields and also houses woodcarving workshops. Explore the village’s scenic landscapes while discovering exquisite woodcarvings.
When purchasing woodcarvings, ensure they are sourced from reputable sellers who support local artisans and use sustainable materials. Look for well-crafted pieces with intricate details and smooth finishes.
Bali’s woodcarvings reflect the island’s rich cultural heritage and make excellent decorative pieces or meaningful gifts. Whether it’s a traditional mask, a spiritual figurine, or an ornate panel, these woodcarvings will serve as a reminder of your time in Bali and the remarkable craftsmanship of the island.
Bali stone carvings
The Balinese are masters in stone cutting. Each temple, but also many houses or public buildings (banks, official buildings, cinemas, etc.) are decorated with sculptures representing, most of the time, mythological figures. The volcanic stone used, called “paras”, is soft, and as such particularly conducive to precision cutting.
Batubulan is a village in Bali, Indonesia (near Ubud), renowned for its exceptional stone carvings. Located in the Gianyar Regency, Batubulan is a cultural hub where talented artisans bring stone to life with their intricate craftsmanship.
As you wander through Batubulan, you’ll be captivated by the sight of stone carvings adorning the streets and galleries. The village is a treasure trove of sculptures, statues, and decorative elements carved from locally sourced stone. From majestic deities and mythical creatures to intricate reliefs and architectural details, the range of artistic expressions is awe-inspiring.
Traditional Balinese Spa Products
Bali is famous for its rejuvenating spa treatments. Bring a piece of that relaxation home with you by purchasing traditional Balinese spa products such as essential oils, natural soaps, body scrubs, and traditional herbal remedies. These products make excellent gifts or a personal treat.
Bring a piece of that relaxation home with you by purchasing traditional Balinese spa products such as essential oils, natural soaps, body scrubs, and traditional herbal remedies. These products make excellent gifts or a personal treat.
This is an integral part of Balinese culture and religious ceremonies. The enchanting aroma of incense can often be experienced wafting through the air in temples, homes, and various establishments throughout Bali. Incense plays a significant role in Balinese rituals and is believed to purify the space, ward off negative energies, and create a pleasant ambiance.
Traditional Balinese incense fragrances such as sandalwood, frangipani, jasmine, and lotus.
Incense stick in Balinese rainforest. Artem Beliaikin belart84, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Incense, to give your home the same smell that you smelled everywhere during your trip to Bali! Indeed, you will have smelled it in the temples, the houses in which you will have entered, in the street itself or on the beach in the cups of offerings, and it will be a real olfactory memory. You can find them everywhere in the shops of Bali.
To purchase incense in Bali, you can explore the local markets, art shops, and spiritual stores. Ubud Art Market and Sukawati Art Market are popular destinations where you can find a wide range of incense sticks, cones, and coils.
These fragrances have deep cultural and spiritual significance in Balinese rituals and ceremonies.
Sandalwood is a cherished fragrance in Balinese culture. It is believed to promote relaxation, meditation, and spiritual awakening. The woody and earthy scent of sandalwood creates a calming atmosphere and is commonly used in temples and meditation spaces.
The delicate and sweet fragrance of frangipani is synonymous with the tropical charm of Bali. The scent of frangipani flowers is often associated with love, beauty, and purity. The floral aroma is refreshing and is used to create a serene ambiance in homes and sacred spaces.
Jasmine has a rich, exotic scent that is highly revered in Balinese traditions. The intoxicating fragrance of jasmine symbolizes purity, sensuality, and spiritual elevation. The aroma of jasmine incense is often used during religious ceremonies and is believed to attract positive energies.
Lotus is a sacred flower in Balinese culture, representing purity, enlightenment, and spiritual growth. The subtle and serene fragrance of lotus incense is widely used in temples and meditation spaces. Burning lotus incense is believed to enhance meditation, concentration, and a sense of inner peace.
Read also: Famous Flowers in Bali
Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)
For coffee enthusiasts, Bali is renowned for producing Kopi Luwak, one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. Made from coffee beans that have been digested by civet cats, Kopi Luwak has a unique flavor profile. Look for reputable sources that ensure ethical and sustainable production practices.
What sets Luwak coffee apart is the unique flavor profile that emerges from this natural fermentation process. Tis often described as smooth, rich, and less acidic compared to regular coffee. The beans undergo subtle changes during digestion, resulting in a distinctive taste that captivates coffee connoisseurs around the world.
Visit coffee plantations in Ubud and Kintamani, like Bali Pulina Agro Tourism and Bali Eco Agrotourism, to taste and purchase this specialty coffee.
Kopi luwak seeds after harvest. Kopi luwak is a coffee harvested from the excrement of an Asian civet, the luwak (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) of the family Viverridae, due to an almost absent digestion. Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Where to buy?
If you’re visiting Bali and want to experience Luwak coffee firsthand, there are several coffee plantations and agrotourism sites where you can learn about the coffee-making process and sample this unique brew. Some popular places to visit include Bali Pulina Agro Tourism in Ubud, Bali Eco Agrotourism in Kintamani, and Alam Sari Agrotourism in Tegalalang. These establishments offer guided tours that take you through the coffee plantation, showcasing the coffee beans’ journey from the civet to the cup.
During your visit, you can witness the traditional Luwak coffee production methods, from hand-picking the coffee cherries to roasting the beans. Knowledgeable guides will explain the coffee-making process, including the ethical considerations involved in sourcing Luwak coffee. You’ll also have the opportunity to sample different coffee varieties, including Luwak coffee, and appreciate its unique flavors and aromas.
Paintings on canvas
Pictorial art is part of the culture of Bali and the most traditional markets are overflowing with paintings of all kinds.
You can find traditional scene paintings on canvas at affordable prices, and bargaining is encouraged. In Ubud you will also find plenty of art galleries, most selling very good quality paintings of varying styles.
The basics of haggling: If you decide to haggle, the golden rule is not to leave without having bought something at the stand. This is considered very rude. Or just simply smile, say thank you and leave…
Bali Legong painting. oil on canvas. Dimensions: height: 80 cm (31.4 in); width: 60 cm (23.6 in). Painted by Gerard Pieter Adolfs (born 2 January 1898 in Semarang, Central-Java; died 1 February 1968 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands) was a Dutch East Indies painter and architect. Gerard Pieter Adolfs, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons
Paintings on canvas in Bali come in various styles, from traditional Balinese art to contemporary and modern interpretations. They often depict scenes inspired by Balinese mythology, nature, daily life, traditional ceremonies, or abstract designs.
To find paintings on canvas as souvenirs in Bali, you can visit art markets, galleries, and art shops across the island.
Charles Sayers, Balinese Woman. Media: Oil on Canvas Size: 80 cm x 65 cm. Museum Pasifika, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Here are some recommended places where you can explore and purchase these artistic treasures:
- Ubud Art Market: Located in the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud Art Market offers a wide selection of paintings on canvas along with other art and handicraft items. You can find traditional Balinese paintings as well as contemporary artworks created by local artists.
- Seminyak Art Gallery: Seminyak is known for its trendy and artistic vibes, and you’ll find several art galleries showcasing paintings on canvas. These galleries often feature works by both local and international artists, providing a diverse range of styles and themes.
- Kuta Art Market: Kuta is a bustling tourist hub, and its art market is a popular destination for souvenir shopping. You can discover various artworks, including paintings on canvas, reflecting Bali’s culture and landscapes.
- Sukawati Art Market: Located in Gianyar regency, Sukawati Art Market is a famous market specializing in traditional Balinese arts and crafts. Here, you can find an array of paintings on canvas at affordable prices.
When purchasing paintings on canvas as souvenirs, it’s important to consider the authenticity and quality of the artwork. Look for reputable sellers and galleries that support local artists and provide genuine pieces. Additionally, you may want to inquire about the artist, the story behind the artwork, and any care instructions to ensure its preservation.
Bringing back paintings on canvas from Bali not only allows you to cherish the island’s artistic heritage but also adds a touch of beauty and cultural richness to your home or office.
Traditional Balinese Masks (Topeng Bali)
Balinese masks are not only visually stunning but also hold cultural significance. These intricately crafted masks are used in traditional dance performances and religious ceremonies. They can be displayed as a decorative piece or incorporated into a themed collection.
You will find many traditional masks of all sizes, some are very colorful, made with mahogany wood, and carved with the effigy of gods, animals and demons.
Balinese Barong mask.The term “Barong” would be derived from the local word bahruang, which today corresponds to the Indonesian word beruang meaning “bear”. In the Balinese imagination, it refers to a good spirit, which took the form of an animal so that it could become the guardian of the forest. In Balinese mythology, the most benevolent spirit of all is known as Banas Pati Raja. Banas Pati Raja is the fourth “spiritual brother” who accompanies a child throughout his life. This concept of “spiritual brother” could for example be compared with the Christian notion of guardian angel. Well actually, Banas Pati Raja is the spirit that drives Barong. Taman Renyah, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Wooden masks, often mahogany, are made by the Balinese to cover the faces of men with figures of animals, gods or demons. Specialized craftsmen have passed on this know-how from father to son for generations. You will have the choice between small painted wooden masks or, if you want a more mystical object, more imposing and colorful masks, embellished with false teeth, hair, eyes etc.
Where can I find a Balinese mask?
You will find masks in small shops or on the markets, in particular that of Kuta, the largest on the island. Remember to take cash with you because most stands and shops do not take credit cards.
Aside from the Ubud Art Market, you may also find wooden masks in other markets and art shops throughout Bali. Places like Sukawati Art Market, Kuta Art Market, and Seminyak Village often feature wooden masks as part of their artisanal offerings. Exploring these markets allows you to compare styles, craftsmanship, and prices to find the perfect mask that resonates with you.
Puppets that will amuse not only children
Very popular for centuries throughout Indonesia, wayang kulit is a shadow theater that features puppets measuring between 25 and 75 cm (around 9.8 – 30 inches). They are made of leather and wood and mounted on bamboo stems.
These (not so) little puppets have become an emblem of Indonesian culture and are therefore a hit with tourists. The spectators know the story by heart: the young prince is always played by the puppet with the white face, while the one with the green face is hypocritical and the one with the pink face violent.
Cheap puppets? Be careful, the puppets are quite expensive, especially in the shops of Ubud, on Gungang Street, where you will have the most choice. By strolling through the markets, you will find them at more affordable prices.
Wayang (Indonesian puppetry art form) was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2003. This recognition acknowledges the cultural significance and value of Wayang as an intangible heritage of humanity.
Traditional Balinese Music Instruments
Traditional Balinese music instruments play a vital role in the cultural and artistic heritage of Bali.
Balinese music is vibrant and rhythmic, and you can bring home a piece of it by purchasing traditional musical instruments such as gamelan (a traditional ensemble of percussion instruments) or bamboo flutes. These instruments offer a unique cultural experience and can be enjoyed as decorative items or played for personal enjoyment.
Where to buy Balinese music instruments?
You can find these instruments at various music stores, art markets, and specialized craft shops across the island. Ubud, known for its artistic community, is a great place to explore and purchase traditional Balinese music instruments. Other popular locations include the Sukawati Art Market, Guwang Art Market, and various handicraft villages like Mas and Celuk.
Balinese Spices and Herbs
Known for their rich flavors and aromatic profiles, these spices and herbs play a crucial role in Balinese cuisine, adding depth and complexity to dishes. If you’re looking to bring the flavors of Bali back home with you, exploring the world of Balinese spices and herbs is a must.
One of the most famous Balinese spices is bumbu Bali, a traditional spice blend used in many local dishes. It typically consists of a combination of shallots, garlic, chili peppers, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, and shrimp paste. Bumbu Bali adds a delightful balance of heat, sweetness, and savory notes to various dishes like sate, grilled fish, and spicy stews. You can find pre-packaged bumbu Bali in local markets or even create your own blend using fresh ingredients.
Spice up your culinary adventures with Balinese spices and herbs
Explore traditional markets, such as Pasar Badung in Denpasar and Ubud Traditional Market, to find a variety of aromatic spices like lemongrass, galangal, and turmeric.
When purchasing Balinese spices and herbs, consider their shelf life and storage requirements. Some spices may be more suitable in powdered or dried form for longer shelf life and ease of transport. Properly sealed containers or packaging can help preserve the freshness and flavors of the spices and herbs.
Common Spices in Bali. This image contains various kinds of spices found in Bali, Indonesia, such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and so on. These spices are the main ingredient for Indonesian people to cook a variety of authentic Indonesian specialties. Christine Anggeline, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Where to buy Bali spices?
Traditional Markets: Bali’s bustling traditional markets are excellent places to immerse yourself in the local culture and find an array of fresh spices and herbs. One of the most popular markets is Pasar Badung in Denpasar, where you’ll find a wide range of vendors selling everything from turmeric and ginger to lemongrass and galangal. Another vibrant market to explore is Ubud Market, which offers an assortment of aromatic spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Don’t forget to bargain and engage with the friendly local sellers for a truly authentic market experience.
Spice and Herb Shops: For a more curated and convenient shopping experience, visit specialty spice and herb shops in Bali. These stores offer a wide selection of high-quality spices and herbs, often sourced directly from local farmers and producers. Some notable shops include Spice Bali in Seminyak, which stocks a diverse range of Balinese spices, including the famous Bali long pepper and cardamom. Bali Asli Spice in Ubud is another popular destination, known for its organic and sustainably sourced spices and herbs.
Much more than a simple toy, the kite is on the island of the gods a real institution in the same way as art and religion. You will find them in all possible shapes and colors. Something to please the little boys and girls around you. Pirate ship with billowing sails, snakes, dragons, birds, butterflies, etc., you will be spoiled for choice. They are offered in all the souvenir shops on the island.
Where to buy Balinese kites?
You can find Balinese kites available for purchase as souvenirs in various markets and shops throughout Bali. Some popular places to buy Balinese kites include local markets like the Ubud Art Market, Sukawati Art Market, and Sanur Night Market. Additionally, you can find them in specialty stores and souvenir shops in popular tourist areas such as Kuta, Seminyak, and Nusa Dua.
However, it is also possible to find some from street vendors on the southern beaches (Sanur, Seminyak, Kuta, etc.).
Please remember to check customs regulations and restrictions in your home country regarding the importation of certain items, especially agricultural products or wildlife-related products. Choose authentic, locally made items that support the local artisans and craftspeople of Bali.
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