Dec 15 2010

Ubud: A tale of two markets

Published by at 12:23 pm under Ubud

You’ve seen Eat Pray Love right? No? Lucky you.

In the middle of the Bali portion of the film, Julia Roberts takes a stroll through the central market in Ubud and careful watchers will notice that the market doesn’t appear to be “traditional” (muddy and full of flopping fish, shivering ducks and long dead cows) at all, but rather is packed to the rafters with tourist knick-knacks. Yikes! Tourist trap!

Fresh produce at the Ubud market

Fresh produce at the Ubud market

Many a time I’ve wandered down Jalan Raya Ubud and overheard travellers bemoaning that it’s just a “crap tourist market” and they want the real thing. Well the thing is, it is the real thing. There’s a basement level to it that has all the grime you’ll need for your authentic Ubudian experience (though to be honest many Ubudians probably shop at the Bintang Supermarket over on Jalan Raya Campuhan, but lets not worry about that little detail).

Meats and walls in need of painting at the Ubud Market

Meats and walls in need of painting at the Ubud Market

So the basement level is actually pretty interesting, with lots of fresh produce and dead animals, though by God do the walls need a coat of paint. The funny thing is, it’s not difficult to find: wander near the main market for a bit and you’ll invariably come across some older women carrying either stuff on their head or innumerable tiny plastic bags. Follow them and when you spy the staircase heading down into the bowels of the market, you’re on your way.


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