Shopping Kuta style

It’s almost impossible to go to Bali and return home empty handed as Bali has plenty to offer the shopaholic.  Everything is on sale in Bali, from cheap trinkets to the finest jewellery and batik cloths.

For those unfamiliar with Bali, it is an Indonesian island that has been blessed with magnificent beaches, stunning mountains, amazing rice terraces, perfect climate and the Balinese themselves, people who follow the Hindu religion, and who must be among the friendliest people on Earth.  The island is situated very close to the north western part of Australia, and Australians visit the island in droves.

The main tourist area in Bali is centred around the Kuta area, a former village that has now become very busy due to its many hotels, shops, restaurant and pubs.  The main street is Jalan Legian, which runs inland following the coast towards Seminyak, another popular tourist town.  Jalan Legian is crowded with shops of all types.  There are many boutiques selling clothes of their own design, shoe shops, surf gear and swimwear, t-shirts, carvings, artworks, the lot.  There’s plenty of smaller stalls on Kuta Sidewalk, Kuts Beach and in Poppies 1 and Poppies 2 laneways, where you can have fun with your bartering.

Kuta Art Market is a traditional market where you can get souvenirs and goods crafted by local people. Opposite this is Kuta Square which is packed with a lot of international and local brands from surf wear outlets, dining areas, a hypermarket and fashion stores.

There are also three major shopping malls in the Kuta area. Discovery Shopping Mall is located right on Kuta Beach across the road from Waterbom Park on Jalan Kartika Plaza in Tuban. It is a big western-style mall with plenty of international brand stores on the ground and sub-ground levels, including Guess, Marks and Spencers, Sogo and Top Shop. The second level is occupied fully by the Centro department store, and there are many cafes and a large electronics retailer on the 3rd level. The waterfront cafes on the ground level have excellent ocean views, and serve quite decent food at reasonable prices.

There’s a lesser known shopping mall in Kuta which seems to cater mainly for locals or visiting Javanese.  This is situated on Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai (the road to Sanur) right beside the huge Simpang Siur roundabout, which you can’t miss due to the ornate statuary at the centre of the roundabout.

Bali Mall Galleria is home to number of well known brand stores, a food court, Planet Hollywood and (supposedly) the best cinema in Bali.  It also contains a large Hypermart and Matahari department store.  And no, Matahari was not named after the famous Dutch spy, as matahari is Indonesian for “sun”.  There’s also a Matahari in Kuta Square, which gets fairly busy thanks to the number of tourists swarming through it.

Some of the other well known brands which have stores in Kuta include Ripcurl, the surfwear specialists, which has a massive store on Jalan Sunset, there’s also Body & Soul, Camper Shoes, Surfer Girl and Quicksilver.

Except for department stores, where prices are marked, haggling is expected in the smaller shops and markets.  It’s a bit of a game, but if you are rude, or your offer is too small, you won’t be able to purchase that much wanted knick knack that you’ll never use once you leave Bali.

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