“Real Bali” Shopping Experience

Soapbox | Written By, NOW! BALI | October 28th, 2013

Welcome to Bali! It’s time to do the Festive Season shopping and in this issue we guide you to the best places to shop and the best things to look for! One of our guiding principles is to focus on “real Bali” and that includes the shopping experience. Why would you come to Bali to buy things that you can find anywhere in the world?  Why would you come to Bali to shop in an air conditioned mall that could be in any city, devoid of Balinese architecture and culture?

Welcome to Bali! It’s time to do the Festive Season shopping and in this issue we guide you to the best places to shop and the best things to look for!

One of our guiding principles is to focus on “real Bali” and that includes the shopping experience. Why would you come to Bali to buy things that you can find anywhere in the world?  Why would you come to Bali to shop in an air conditioned mall that could be in any city, devoid of Balinese architecture and culture? Why indeed but the problem is that these are the things that are developing, not the unique cultural experiences that Bali has to offer. 

For those of you who have been to Istanbul, they have two examples of how things should be done: the Spice Market (which is just that, full of spices and Turkish delight) and the fabulous Grand Bazaar, which is a mammoth vaulted undercover “souk,” but featuring well presented and well designed shops selling high quality ceramics, leather and carpets, which are mostly Turkish in origin.

Both are real tourist attractions as well as being serious commercial ventures. Nobody would dream about going to Istanbul and not going there.

The same is true of Rome where the main streets are lined with traditional but beautiful shops selling, surprisingly enough, mostly fabulous Italian designs! 

Sadly there is nothing like that in Bali. And there should be. The traditional markets are mostly chaotic and have such bad parking, such poor access and such cramped conditions that they are not fun to visit (and don’t think about going to a toilet!)  The new malls are air-con modern and soul-less. In between are the shopping streets of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Sanur, and Monkey Forest in Ubud where there is no parking, the sidewalks are broken and dangerous (even the new ones!) and the traffic often jammed. 

Surely there must be a plan somewhere for a traditionally built, but well- designed shopping complex which is really Balinese, doesn’t get hijacked by modern franchises, has great parking and facilities, and features the prime creative products of Bali. Somebody please help! 

But don’t let me put you off, go out there and see, there are marvelous things to buy, but promise to buy Balinese… please! 

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NOW! BALI

Anvaya
Golden Monkey

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