Ubud shopping guide

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First published 6th April, 2011

Ubud can seem a little intimidating when you're expecting a small village nestled into the hills, but instead find a traffic-snarled sprawl packed with endless homestays, hotels, restaurants, spas and shops selling the same mass-produced rubbish. You'll have to look elsewhere to find a good place to stay in Ubud, but if you'd like to do a spot of shopping, eating and relaxing on foot, one of the easiest (and main) routes to follow is the Monkey Forest Road - Raya Ubud - Jalan Hanoman - Jalan Dewisita loop.



Ubud is pretty busy these days

Be warned: A lot of the stuff you'll find on this central loop is the same old tourist-oriented junk. You need to pound a lot of pavement to find the spots worthy of a look-see, and even then, in our opinion, it doesn't compare to the same funky, cutting-edge stuff you'll get down in Seminyak and Kerobokan.

With that warning in mind, begin at the soccer field and head north on Monkey Forest Road. On your right you'll find Kou Cuisine, a simple, small store offering Bali sea salt and jams cooked up using the best of Bali's fruits, all in stylish packaging (I'm certain there must be a Japanese hand in Kou.) Continue on until Zarong/Shape, one of the few truly interesting jewellery shops in Ubud, which is clogged with very average ones. (It's two shopfronts — Zarong used to be a clothes boutique, Shape is the jewellery — same owner. Or something. The staff seemed confused when I asked their proper name.)


Photo of Kou Cuisine, Ubud, Bali

If you're after a locally-made drum (or other noise-making devices — go on, your fellow hotel guests will love it!), check out the Drum Factory outlet on the left side, before you get to the Ubud market on the corner. There's another outlet at the bottom of Monkey Forest Road, so don't feel compelled to stop here.

You could make a market stop, but our advice would be to put aside an entire morning to spend browsing here (that will be another story — and here's the real market) It is something of a microcosm of Ubud, with a lot of rubbish but a few gems.

Take a right onto Jalan Raya Ubud (kitty corner you'll find Ibu Oka's, famous for its babi guling) and it's a few hundred metres before you'll need to take a right onto Jalan Hanoman. Plenty of the usual shops are along here before you take the turn; a decent coffee spot is French-run Rendezvousdoux (on left) or Cafe Moka (on right) — the latter does Bali's best croissants, and also has a tiny Ticket to the Moon hammock outlet out the front.

A few metres along Hanoman to your right is Lada Warung, a handsome Indonesian food pitstop and further still is Clear, an excellent organic restaurant serving seriously healthy food — the fries are fried in coconut oil, the "mylk" is from cashew nuts, the water can be infused with your choice of lavender, cucumber, mint or rose. Further down on your left you'll get to baby blue Studio Perak, number two on your list-of-three must-stop jewellery stores. You can take silversmithing courses with these guys too (they have a just-opened store on Monkey Forest now too). Just before Jalan Dewi Sita you'll find on the right Puspita (another outlet is back opposite the soccer field), whose strengths are pretty summer dresses and great bead necklaces.


Photo of Studio Perak in Ubud, Bali

Now, if you continue down Hanoman, these are worthy of note: On the left, Sama Suka does a small range of black and white cotton men's and women's clothes as well as a few homewares; Ken Ken looks nondescript but their cotton printed bags are quite unusual and well-priced. A little further along still (past the Dewi Sita turn-off) is Kafe, an excellent healthy coffee or lunch break spot (which scored a mention in the New York Times Bali travel piece recently). On the other side of the road (further back before the turn-off) is Bodyworks, a therapeutic massage centre set in a Balinese family style compound where you can get your chakras balanced or just a plain old mani/pedi. Ma:an is a cute little boutique with a small range of pretty clothes and shoes for kids and grownups. A little further along you'll see a sign for Nanan — it's just off the road and has quite finely wrought jewellery (though this isn't shop number three... they trail at number four) and leather bags and wallets. The stylish leatherware is something quite unique for Ubud.


Photo of Nanan in Ubud, Bali

One of the most difficult things to find in Bali are good greeting cards: Kado (by Saraswati papers), on the left side of Dewi Sita as you come from Hanoman, has a lovely range of cards on recycled paper for under 30,000 rupiah, as well as pretty notebooks, photo albums and wrapping paper. Further down still on the left you'll find several good refreshment stops: Soma organic cafe and opposite Cafe Batan Waru (part of the Bali Good Food empire). Wander a little further along up the hill and you'll find Juice Ja, another great spot for a fresh juice, better-at-evening Cafe Havana (which also got a NYT mention) and Tutmak, which serves the best coffee in town (try the cafe au lait, served as it should be).

Now back at the field again, take a left to continue down Monkey Forest Road. You'll pass Bong's, where the dresses are of the very flowing Roman kind, then a few Bali chain stores: Lilla Lane (great sandals plus bags and dresses), Makassi (eclectic boutique with items such as button-encrusted belts), A-Krea (silky homewares and bags), Uluwatu (contemporary takes on traditional Balinese lace) and Andy Risza (well-priced stretchy clothes).


Photo of Juice Ja in Ubud, Bali

Further south on the other side of the road is the Mitra Bali Fair Trade Shop — we loved their pretty sea-blue-and-green beads, and they have a nice range of coconut wood kitchenware too. Then heading down the hill you'll find Indigo (next to Coffee and Silver) — this spot has lovingly natural-dyed fabrics and is jewellery store number three: their unusual earthy pieces make a fabulous Balinese souvenir without, well, looking like a Balinese souvenir.

You'll hit the Monkey Forest at the bottom of the hill as the road veers left. To the right you'll see Padi Prada, a restaurant under a vast alang alang roof. They have dinner buffets for 30,000 rupiah — but the best bit is if you leave any food on your plate, they charge you an additional 10,000. Nearby Warung Semesta, attached to Tegal Sari hotel, has a slightly Scandinavian feel with its stylish wooden furniture and rice-bag placemats, and offers good vegetarian dishes such as a yellow veggie curry and veggie tempura.

Guilt-gripped after all your spending? Stop off at Bali Animal Welfare Association as you head back towards Hanoman and make a donation to a worthy organisation. Among other things, BAWA has been spearheading a drive (sometimes controversially) to raise awareness of the rabies epidemic currently ravaging the dog population in Bali.


About the author:
Samantha Brown is a reformed news reporter. She now edits most of the stuff you read on Travelfish.org, except for when you find a typo, and then that's something she wasn't allowed to look at.


Read 7 comment(s)

  • What an interesting area in Bali, Indonesia. It kind of looks familiar; Looks like some shopping centers in Samal Island in Davao, Philippines.

    But I wonder what's inside the Nirvana Pension and Gallery; I like the name. I wish I can go to this place someday. Thanks for sharing this. Cheers!:-)

    Posted by Nonoy on 20th April, 2011

  • I agree Stuart with the idea that the Ubud market is like a microcosm for Ubud, or even Bali.
    I have found that the best time to visit the market is around 7 am. After a night out in Ubud, there's nothing like kicking back at the markets with a kilo of manggis, a kopi and nasi campur topped off with the sweet sensation of the clove Gudang Garam rokoks as you sit and watch the Balinese prepare their stalls for the day.

    Posted by Tracie on 21st March, 2012

  • Went to have a drink at Betelnut Lounge on Ubud Main Street 0opposite Museum Puri Lukisan) and found a new Boutique opened. The sales staff are not only pleasant but they explained to me carefully where the gorgeous outfits are made and who are the designers.
    They said since they are new they are offering up to 40% discount on the stunning clothes.

    I did ask for the contact.

    www.surlaroutedelasoie.com

    Enough said, I bought a dress for under AUD 100 and was noticed enough that particular evening ;)

    Bon Bon

    Posted by Shehera Bon Bon on 9th August, 2012

  • Visited a new tribal arts gallery in Ubud. The family run gallery specializes in tribal art from the Sepik river area of Papua New Guinea. Nice tribal jewelry, artifacts like masks and figures.
    It's called Ewa Oceanic Art Gallery and it's located in Dewi Sita street in Ubud, Bali.

    website:www.ewaoceanicgallery.com

    Posted by willson20 on 29th August, 2012

  • So many things to do in Ubud. Shopping also :). Maybe for another idea you could try this :
    http://www.jakpost.travel/news/10-things-to-do-in-ubud-VevE1Pw2k4rJOGyq.html

    Hopefully useful!

    Posted by Albert Knox on 1st February, 2013

  • I found this review to be the best I have read on things to do in Ubud Bali. Such detail and a huge amount of information for the discerning shopper. Thank you so very much for taking the time to research Ubud area and share it with all the travellers who truly need it. I am going there tomorrow 1/5/2013 and am now armed with all the information I need to make it a very worthwhile trip. Thank you also for including Bali Animal Welfare Association located also in Ubud. I will definitely make a stop there together with a good donation.

    Posted by Karen Porter on 29th April, 2013

  • We have just come back to our quiet lane way hotel in Legian after visiting Ubud for the first time in 3 years - what a disaster this place has become - 'Eat, Pray, die of carbon monoxide poisoning' .... Gridlock traffic including BUSES from one end to another - our driver suggested a look at the rice paddies just out of town - even more disastrous - screaming traffic wardens, cheek by jewel tourists and mega gridlock traffic - won't complain about Double Six again ..... Stay away from this place , we ( I mean we tourists in our huge cars and buses) have destroyed any sense of tranquility it ever had.

    Posted by Jill quirk on 19th August, 2014

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