Stopping by Ubud Art Market, on my recent visit to Bali, was one of the best decisions ever. While Ubud lounges lazily between steep gorges and rice paddies of the Gianyar regency, the frenzied alleyways of its art market bring alive a still life. Charmingly inviting you to a surfeit of traditional handicrafts manufactured in the neighbouring villages, this hippie one-stop-shop for Balinese products is hard to say goodbye-to. From colourful Batik shirts to round jute bags to a wide array of silver jewellery, this street market provides space for Balinese people to sell self-crafted merchandise. You can smile and negotiate a better price at most shops as the local vendors expect you to haggle. But before that, here, have a look at the ten wonderful-items, you must buy when visiting the Ubud art market.
Batik Shirts or Dresses
Batik is one of the most traditional forms of wax painting in Bali. With the help of dotted and lined patterns, Balinese people create impressive-patterns on different types of cloth which are further stitched to make beautiful shirts and dresses. Ubud Art Market is where you will find some of the most, unique patterns of Batik print.
Surprisingly Bali is one of those islands where you get the purest of silver and guess what? It’s very reasonably priced as well. Not just that, Balinese people have mastered the art of working with silver, and their designs speak for themselves. Whether earrings, rings or other accessories, Balinese silver jewellery is class apart from other places.
Round Jute Sling Bags
The braided crossbody jute sling bags are trending all across the world. However, no one quite makes them as the Balinese do. In Bali, they add a dash of colour to these jute bags that you won’t find anywhere else. From pink to beige to white to yellow, its a riot of colours, that makes it difficult for one to choose just one sling bag. I’d say, take your time to decide, or buy all. For you’ll never run out of occasions to flaunt these trendy keisters.
Ubud art market is one of the best places in Bali to get your hands on some remarkable musical instruments. In fact, my first memory of the market is standing and watching a local play some fantastic music on a guitar. It was the first shop at the market’s entrance, and even though he owned a shop full of musical instruments, his talent was priceless. In Ubud art market, you can buy brightly coloured guitars, sand drums, or diatonic tongue drums that are great for meditation.
A Balinese Surfboard
In Ubud Art Market, you will find quite a few shops where you can buy a great Balinese surfboard and also decorated mini surfboards.
In Bali, you will find large, feathered dream catchers, wherever you go. However, the Ubud art market is where you will get some of the most amazing designs. Originated from the Ojibwe culture, a dream catcher is a wall hanging that is woven, like a spider web inside a willow hoop. In the art market, you will find a variation of an eye-shaped dream catcher which seems to take after the Egyptian evil eye concept. This sacred, handmade talisman is further, embellished with feathers and altogether the charm is said to ward off evil spirits and dreams. Hang this dream catcher over your bed for protection, and allow good dreams to gently slide through the feathers for a comfortable and a good night’s sleep.
Skulls and Buddha Head
Looking at a human skull and Buddha’s head together strikes a stark yet contrasting confrontation. In the Ubud Art Market, you will find both a Skull and a Buddha Head sold together in the form of an artwork. Speak to a local and you will learn that whether Hinduism or Buddhism, both skulls and Buddha’s depict anything but death. For instance, in Hinduism, Shiva’s incarnation Nataraja danced around wearing a necklace of skulls, portraying his ability to conquer death. In Buddhism, skulls represent the concept of emptiness. A phenomenon that has no inherent nature, meaning all events are neutral and we give them meaning. Similarly, a Buddha Head symbolises awareness, compassion, philosophy and meditation.
There are a lot of framed paintings that you can purchase from the Ubud Art market. These include paintings of Buddha, Frangipani flower, countryside farming, birds, Balinese dance performances, Balinese Gods and much more.
Fedora or Summer Hats
Ubud Art Market is also, a wondrous place to buy hats, whether Fedora or the usual straw-woven hats in different shapes and sizes. The hats are reasonably priced, and you may buy, one, for $2 – $5 depending on your haggling skills.
Other Balinese Souvenirs
Considering Ubud’s traditional market is famous for its artistic handicrafts, you will find a wide variety of local souvenirs here. The list goes on to include handmade accessories, Balinese masks, ceramic plates, wind chimes, bottle openers, incense, candles, baskets and much more. The Ubud Traditional Art Market is open from 8 AM to 5 PM.
P.S. I visited Ubud Market as a guest of Indonesia Tourism Board, however, the views are my own.