10 Traditional Souvenirs to Buy in Bali
Wooden Barong Mask | © Rollan Budi / Flickr
There are plenty of things that make Bali an unforgettable place. Souvenirs are a great way to bring home a piece of the island with you and share the extraordinary experience with friends and relatives back home. Here are the traditional souvenirs to buy in Bali; you can find most of them virtually everywhere.
Batik has been a big part of Indonesia’s culture for centuries. Kain batik, or batik fabric, is made in a special sophisticated way, resulting in intricate patterns of dots, lines, or other objects. Different cultures yield different batik, and luckily, Bali has one for you. Balinese songket, made from cotton and natural dyes, is often used as clothing and during religious rituals, making it more than just a pretty piece of quality fabric. Tourists can also buy batik fabric in the form of skirts, dresses, or shirts. Batik shops are just about everywhere on the island, but one of the most popular districts to shop for batik is Ubud.
Silver is as beautiful in Bali as it is anywhere else, maybe even prettier when combined with natural stones, other gemstones, or even corals. Balinese silver jewelry is made locally by experienced silversmiths who have been in the industry for generations. Celuk village, for example, is built upon a community of traditional silversmiths, and naturally, jewelry-hunting becomes much more cultural and educative there. But even if your schedule is already packed with other awesome things to do in Bali, shopping hubs like Kuta and Ubud sell Celuk’s silver jewelry.
Balinese royals and princesses have always looked naturally radiant, even before the invention of any modern beauty products or treatments. Using only organic and natural ingredients, a lot of local brands have been incorporating those beauty secrets and wrap it inside a package cute enough to be a souvenir in itself. Some of the common ingredients to use are lemongrass and traditional flowers. The beauty products come as scrubs, soaps, and oils; you can find them in local shops or even supermarkets.
Dupa is a stick that yields aromatic scents when lit on fire. For the Balinese, dupa is not a mere souvenir, but an important part of daily religious rituals, as sticks of dupa are often lit to accompany religious offerings. If that doesn’t entice you enough, what about this: they smell great. Traditional shops sell dupa that are specially made as souvenirs, with added scents to choose from, such as different kinds of flowers. Tourists can find dupa in most markets and shopping streets such as in Kuta or Seminyak. They are super affordable and easy to carry.
The land of Bali is blessed beyond stunning white sands. Its volcanic soil makes the island abundant with high-quality coffee beans with naturally strong caffeine. There are many kinds of coffee beans tourists can buy in Bali, but kopi luwak is arguably the most eccentric to try and bring home. Coffee beans become luwak coffee after a long process that involves them being eaten and dumped by a civet (luwak). That, of course, gives the coffee beans a special smooth and unique aftertaste that cannot be achieved in any other way. Be sure to let your friends know that story when giving them the souvenir. Tourists can try the coffee and buy some for home at Kopi Bali House in Ubud.
Kopi Bali House, Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia, +62 361 8866868
Bali sarongs make a perfect purchase both for your days of fun on the island and as souvenirs for friends back home. Tourists can use Bali sarongs as a layer while sitting on Bali’s wonderful sandy beaches or cover their legs when visiting sacred temples, as required by custom. Bali sarongs are made from lightweight materials, making it easy to carry. The sarongs are decorated with various patterns from traditional designs to modern ones, making it a great personalized souvenir for everyone. You’ll also find them on the shopping streets of Kuta or Seminyak.
Living so close to nature, many Balinese embrace natural and artistic lifestyles, which, luckily for tourists, results in wonderful souvenirs from natural materials. Wood carvings are particularly popular in Bali, where the material is abundant, and the art cherished. Tourists can find wood carvings of any price and quality, from cheap generic souvenirs to high-end art pieces. If you want to be cultural, barong masks or Balinese bride matching wood figures are ones to consider, both available at Bali Parcel.
Bali Parcel Handicraft, Jalan Raya Andong, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia, +62 361 8987141
Located in the heart of the equator makes Bali a tropical paradise where every day is summer. Beachwear and summer attire are sold all year long, reflecting the island’s characteristic and vibe. Local designers produce excellent tropical clothing, and even the generic, mass-produced ones are iconic enough to be brought home as souvenirs, such as the simple sleeveless “Bintang” shirt, along with the “Bintang” shorts.
Most tourists who have visited Bali have encountered the traditional sounds of Gamelan at some point, as it has become not only an integral part of the local culture but also a big part of the tourism scene. Often incorporated into tourists’ dining, shopping, and cultural experiences, visitors can also bring a piece of the music home within the gamelan ball souvenir, which can produce gamelan-like sounds, plus it looks pretty too.
Decades of tourism has proved that Balinese make great ceramics, with traditional and modern characteristics combined to bring sophistication to any home. Many shops offer handmade ceramics, from tableware to flower vases to home decoration pieces. And for someone you really like, you can consider giving him or her your own handmade ceramic (or you can keep it for yourself – that’s fine too). Sari Api studio in Ubud offers both products and classes for tourists who are curious about the process of ceramic-making.
Sari Api Ceramics Studio, Jalan Suweta, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia, +62 81 338 814 973 (studio) or +62 81 238 315 697 (gallery)