Jalan Sulawesi is a stretch of road full of dilapidated shophouses packed with all kinds of imaginable fabrics—as well as things like, um, cupboards, carved wooden chairs, plastic buckets and jewellery boxes. Even if you’re not in the market for fabric, having a wander through and a sticky beak is an interesting way to spend an hour or three.
You’ll find plenty of traditional and not so traditional (that is, factory-made) batik, with some shops spilling around onto nearby Jalan Gajah Mada. You’ll also find plenty of glitzy, lacy fabrics piled into boxes outside and stacked to the ceilings inside. If you’re on the hunt for a traditional Balinese kebaya, choose your fabric and get one whipped up here.
Some fabrics are used for traditional purposes, but you might be able to think of something else to do with them. You’ll find fabrics you didn’t know you needed, even if you only planned to window shop.
Some of the better shops to look out for include Maju, which sells modern batik and bundles of pre-cut patchwork squares; Dua Lima stocks quality linens and printed cottons; and Anis Batik sells a great selection cheap cotton and rayon batik. Around the corner in Jalan Gajah Mada, Batik Popiler sells beautiful quality, but pricey batik, with the really special stuff on the museum-like second floor.
Prices may be marked, or they may be negotiable. If they’re negotiable, counter-offer about half the initial asking price, but be prepared to go up from there.
On the streets, where there aren’t more boxes of fabrics, you’ll find fruit, flowers and sweet treats. And when you’re done, pop around to a coffee shop that has been running since 1935, Bhineka Djaja, where you can sip on a cappuccino (and you can use the loo) while mulling what you need to go back for.
By Stuart McDonald.
Last updated on 7th February, 2017.
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