A shopping afternoon in Ubud, Bali
Here on twindly, we’re always curious which exotic beauty items we’ll find when we’re vacationing. (We shared our Hawaiian, Icelandic, Singaporean finds here and also have handy Frankfurt and Berlin beauty shopping guides.) When I arrived in Bali, famous for its spa culture, yoga, beaches and arts and crafts, I came armed with a list of beauty shops I wanted to visit. (Among temples, volcanoes and beaches, of course.) Imagine my disappointment when one of the shops had moved, and I could only find one of the others! But nevertheless, I want to share some gems I found in Ubud, a charming city in the midst of the island.
So, Ubud. This tiny city is called the main destination for the yogis, seekers of enlightenment, and hipsters. You won’t find any beach babes or surfers here, but you’ll find vegan restaurants, hip cafes, meditation retreats, insane traffic, and monkeys. Yes, monkeys. Funny enough, a lot of locations I want to share with you are somewhat near the infamous monkey forest. You can walk easily to all destinations mentioned here – the distances are really doable even in the heat.
Bali has an incredible arts and crafts tradition. Our guide told me that each village is said to be only as good as its artisans. Traditionally, Bali is home to wood carvers and makers of the famous batik cloth, but although there’s no silver found on Bali, nowadays there’re a lot of silversmiths and jewellery makers.
Best shopping in Ubud, Bali
Around Jl Raya Ubud
So imagine you’ve some time to spend in Ubud, and want to wander around a bit. Why not start right of the main street, Jalan Raya Ubud, near the Palace? One of its small side streets is Jalan Kajeng. Go straight ahaid for a bit and you’ll find Threads of Life. This little shop doubles as a small museum for a foundation working to preserve the tradition of making and dyeing textiles. All creations come from small Balinese villages and express their traditions in some way or other. Not cheap, but stunning blouses, scarves, dresses and small leather goods.
First shopping task concluded you might want some refreshment. Go back to the main street and find one of the two branches of Gelato Secrets, the best ice cream shop in Ubud. Grab a cone to go, or have an iced coffee at one of the tiny tables inside, and prepare to head in the general direction of Monkey Forest Road.
Jl Dewi Sita
But let us first take a little detour – and prepare to enter the beauty destination I unearthed. Kou offers hand-made soaps and bath salts, and if you need some convincing to buy something: They not only smell great and are handmade and organic, but also are packaged in wonderful Balinese hammered faux-silver packaging. Very suitable for gifting! The soaps smell heavenly. Their main ingredient is coconut oil, with added essential oils and skin-benefitting stuff like honey. The bath salts come in different scents (lemon, rose and lavender). I bought the lavender one and haven’t used it yet – right now it sits in my wardrobe and distributes a wonderful lavender scent. The instructions say to use either the whole package for one bath, or two spoons for a foot bath. Let me tell you, after a day of walking Ubud’s challenging sidewalks, I was very tempted to give my feet some TLC! Generally, Jalan Dewi Sita is very pretty and has a lot of inviting shops. Right across the street is, btw, South American Restaurant/Bar Pica that has, or at least my husband claims it, the best Mojito east of Miami.
Now we head to Jalan Hanoman, running parallel to Monkey Forest Road, where I fell in love with a lot of silver jewellery. First shop you simply have to visit is asterisk* which offers whimsical, very delicate pieces. You’ll find earrings, bracelets, necklaces with pendants, rings, anklets and, a specialty, Balinese prayer bells. I fell for the design right away. I also adored peeking into the back where a young woman was sitting and actually hammering a bracelet into shape. Pieces are cheap (the necklaces I bought were about 15€ each) and I wanted to buy nearly everything. After much deliberation I bought a necklace with a birdcage pendant, made from silver and silver pleated with gold.
I hope you’re not yet tired of hunting for delicate jewellery with me! I was looking for a shop with thin stackable silver rings. At Sunbath (again Jalan Hanoman), I found what I was looking for. Their specialty is jewellery with semi-precious stones, and you’ll find all kinds of rings, necklaces and bracelets. I wanted a set of silver rings, but they were out of my size. Instead, I opted for two gold rings, one with an dark blue aquamarine and one with a smoke quartz, each again around 15€.
Monkey Forest Road
If you’re a bit peckish now, head back to Monkey Forest Road and the Three Monkeys Café. It’s a nice place with a view upon rice paddies, and everybody will find something on the menu that combines Western, Asian and Balinese fare.
asterisk’s sister shop, mani, is nearby. I fell in love with it immediately, because I’m a mani geek! Very similar to asterisk*, it has some different models and pieces, but generally, you can tell that there’s the same aesthetic behind them. Again, I picked up a necklace, made from silver and silver pleated with gold.
That concludes our little shopping tour in Ubud. Next time I’ll be there, I’ll definitely check out some yoga wear that’s in stores everywhere! We stayed at the Komaneka at Bisma and I can wholeheartedly recommend it. The rooms, the infinity pool, the meals and the spa are very, very nice.