Markets, malls and ’musments
Published/Last edited or updated: 7th February, 2017
Get under the skin of urban life in Bali and join the locals in the markets and malls. Denpasar is consumer central and most things a traveller may need, and many they don’t, can be found amid the stalls and shops. If shopping is your least favourite pastime, it’s interesting just to wander and soak up the atmosphere regardless.
Denpasar is home to three main markets Pasar Kumbasari, Pasar Badung (now temporarily at Pasar Tiara Grosir) and Pasar Malam Kereneng. Pasar Kumbasari on Jalan Gajah Mada is stuffed to the rafters with tourist tat mixed with quality handicrafts. Pick your way through the confusion of basketware, Bintang stubby coolers, shell jewellery and batik. You’ll find all the same goods as in the “art markets” of Kuta and Ubud, but here the prices may be lower (if you bargain) and the selection wider. As you head up the levels, the quality of goods improves too. Uninvited “guides” will often follow you, expecting commissions or tips. They are harmless, but can be annoying. A polite, “I don’t need a guide, thanks,” will usually send them on their way. If you run out of cash, an ATM is near the main entrance. A selection of fixed priced handicrafts can also be found in nearby Toko Mega on Jalan Gajah Mada.
Across the river from Pasar Kumbasari, the former site of Pasar Badung, the city’s main produce market is in the process of rebuilding after a fire in February 2016. Its temporary home in Pasar Tiara Grosir is one and a half kilometres north on Jalan Cokroaminoto. For tourists, a visit here is more likely for the cultural experience rather than shopping. Goods are traded 24 hours, and if it’s your first time in an Asian market, it will arouse all the senses—it’s colourful, noisy and pungent. If spices are on your shopping list, be aware of what you can take back to your county, and know your prices. Australian customs doesn’t allow unlabelled spice mixes and forget about the “bargain” saffron — it’s not saffron. Nor are the “macadamias” macadamias—they are candlenut and shouldn’t be consumed raw. If you’d rather buy your spices from a traditional shopfront, Spice Corner Bali further south on Jalan Serma Tirta off Jalan Diponegoro sells bulk spices labelled in English, and you can have a coffee and cake from their cafe while you wait. Pasar Malam Kereneng, or Kereneng night market, kicks off late afternoon, again with goods more for the locals, but an excellent stop for a cheap and tasty meal at one of the many food stalls.
Just as busy as the markets, the comparatively sanitised shopping malls cluster around the southern end of Jalan Diponegoro. The flashy new kid on the block Level 21 Mall opened in November 2016. Here you’ll find Cinema XXI with comfortable “Premier” seats, and Foodmart Primo supermarket filled with imported goods, as well as the usual fashion, sports and electronic goods stores as in most international malls. For a bit of indulgence, Vita Luxe Nail and Beauty Bar has massage chairs while you get your nails done, and if you need a watch repaired, Tik-Tok on the ground level will fix it. Across the intersection is Kimia Farma Apotek, Indonesia’s largest chemist chain, and this one is open 24 hours.
Beyond, Duta Plaza is host to Matahari Department Store, with a large Gramedia bookstore on the lower ground floor. Most books are in Indonesian, but they stock a small English selection and a huge line of stationery. If you are into adult colouring books, they sell a good range of locally published ones with Indonesian and Balinese designs, a fun souvenir. Mal Bali, and smaller Mal Denpasar, are both home to Ramayana department stores, older style Indonesian malls selling a variety of goods, but mostly clothes at moderate prices.
If you’ve forgotten that charger or cable, head to RTC (Rimo Trade Centre), a multi-storey electronic goods mall opposite Mal Bali. If they don’t have what you want, try the larger specialist branded electronics stores along Jalan Teuku Umar. Big brand electronics are possibly more expensive here than elsewhere due to import taxes, however many cheaper Chinese brands are also available. Check international warranties if you are making a major purchase.
Other than malls and markets, shopping precincts tend to be grouped by the goods sold. Jalan Sulawesi is known for textiles, and although the stores spread into the surrounding streets, the area is still referred to as Jalan Sulawesi. Even if you’re not in the market for fabric, having a wander through is an interesting way to spend an hour. 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 from 25,000 rupiah per metre. 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.
If you’re after silk, pop around the corner into Jalan Sumatra to Bali Silk. Surprisingly the haberdashery stores are not in the same area. The largest with an excellent range of inexpensive, but good quality goods is Toko Satria on Jalan Setia Budi or you could try Kancing Mas (Golden Button) on Jalan Abimayu. Nearby Jalan Sulawesi, on Jalan Gajah Mada are a couple of Chinese medicine stores selling a colourful range of pre-packed jamu, or traditional medicines. Heading south the area surrounding Jalan Hasanuddin is known as Kampung Arab, and it shimmers with gold shops.
A small troupe of outdoor goods stores are camped at the northern end of Jalan Diponegoro where you can pick up a cheap backpack or camping equipment. Staff tend to be a bit vague, so you’ll have to know what you’re after. Shops include Eiger, Rei Outdoor Gear, Consina, Highcamp and Petualang. For cyclists, a couple of bike shops are on Jalan Diponegoro too. We’ve had excellent service and repairs from Toko Jayakarta. If you need a new pair of specs this is the area to look for glasses shops, otherwise the malls offer a more stylish (and more expensive) selection.
Pasar Badung @ Tiara Grosir: Jalan Cokroaminoto, Denpasar; open 24 hours.
Pasar Kumbasari: Jalan Gajah Mada, Denpasar; open daily 09:00-17:00.
Pasar Malam Kerengen: Jalan Kamboja, Denpasar; open daily 18:00-02:00.
Duta Plaza: 4G Jalan Dewi Sartika, Denpasar; T: (0361) 225 768; open Mon-Fri 10:00–22:30, weekends 09:30–23:00.
Level 21 Mall: 1 Jalan Teuku Umar, Denpasar; T: (0361) 257 790, (0361) 257 790, (0361) 257 742; level21mall.com; open Sun-Thurs 10:00–22:00, Fri-Sat 10:00–24:00.
Mal Bali: 103 Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; open daily 10:00-22:00.
Mal Denpasar: 20 Jalan Panglima Besar Sudirman, Denpasar; open daily 10:00-22:00.
RTC (Rimo Trade Centre): 136 Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; open daily 10:00-21:00.
Consina: Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; open daily 09:00-22:00.
Eiger: 22 Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; open daily 09:00-22:00.
Highcamp: Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; open daily 09:00-22:00.
Petualang: 37 Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; T: (0361) 226 907; open daily 09:00-22:00.
Rei Outdoor Gear: 92 Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; open daily 09:00-22:00.
Anis Batik: 27 Jalan Sulawesi, Denpasar; T: (0361) 742 4673, (0361) 249 372; firstname.lastname@example.org; open Mon-Sat 09:30–17:00, Sun 09:30-14:00.
Bali Silk: 8 Jalan Sumatra, Denpasar; T: (0361) 229 337, (0819) 9923 3300; bali-silk.com; open Mon-Sat 10:00-17:30.
Batik Popiler: 117 Jalan Gajah Mada, Denpasar; T: (0361) 422 498; batikpopiler.com; open Mon-Sat 09:00-20:00.
Dua Lima: 25 Jalan Sulawesi, Denpasar; T: (0361) 222 525; open Mon-Fri 08:30–16:30, Sat 08:30-17:00, Sun 08:30-15:00.
Kancing Mas: 3 Jalan Abimanyu, Denpasar; open Mon-Sat 08:00-17:00.
Maju: 19 Jalan Sulawesi, Denpasar; T: (0361) 224 003, (0361) 236 751; email@example.com; open Mon-Sat 09:00-17:00.
Toko Satria: 5A Jalan Setia Budi, Denpasar; T: (0361) 410 228, (0361) 410 236; open daily 08:30-17:00.
Cinema XXI: 4th floor; Level 21 Mall; 1 Jalan Teuku Umar, Denpasar; T: (0361) 300 3121; www.21cineplex.com.
Gramedia Bookstore: Basement, Duta Plaza, 4G Jalan Dewi Sartika, Denpasar; T: (0361) 221 026; www.gramedia.com; open Mon-Fri 10:00–22:30, weekends 09:30–23:00.
Kimia Farma Apotek: 125 Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; T: (0361) 227 522, (0361) 227 811, www.kimiafarma.co.id/en/; open 24 hours.
Matahari Department Store: Duta Plaza, 4G Jalan Dewi Sartika, Denpasar; T: (0361) 237 364, (0361) 237 365; www.matahari.co.id; open Mon-Fri 10:00–22:30, weekends 09:30–23:00.
Ramayana Department Stores: 103 Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; 20 Jalan Panglima Besar Sudirman; www.ramayana.co.id; open daily 10:00-22:00.
Spice Corner Bali: 1 Jalan Serma Tirta, Denpasar; T: (0817) 350 849; www.spicecornerbali.com; open daily 08:00-18:00.
Tik-Tok: Ground floor, Level 21 Mall; 1 Jalan Teuku Umar, Denpasar; open Sun-Thurs 10:00–22:00, Fri-Sat 10:00–24:00.
Toko Jayakarta: 34 Jalan Diponegoro, Denpasar; T: (0361) 225 625; open daily 08:00-20:00.
Toko Mega: 36 Jalan Gajah Mada, Denpasar; T: (0361) 237 237; firstname.lastname@example.org, open Mon-Sat 09:00-16:00.
Vita Luxe Nail and Beauty Bar: Ground floor, Level 21 Mall, 1 Jalan Teuku Umar, Denpasar; T: (0361) 302 1288, (0361) 302 1290; vitaluxenails.com; open Sun-Thurs 10:00–22:00, Fri-Sat 10:00–24:00.
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.