Ubud Art Market

ubud art market
Tomasz Baranowski from Lelystad, Holland, Colours (44715257464), CC BY 2.0

The Ubud Art Market, also called “Pasar Seni Ubud”, is located opposite the royal palace Puri Saren and is open daily from 08:00 to 18:00. The market is divided into two main areas. In the western block is the art market, the eastern block is a traditional market where you can buy food and other daily necessities.

Insiders call it the best art market in Bali, where you can buy beautiful silk scarves, light shirts, hand-woven bags, baskets or hats, statues, kites and many other handmade goods. Haggling is common at the Ubud Art Market.

Most of the goods offered at the Ubud Art Market are made in the neighboring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan. The location of the traditional art market amidst the handicraft villages and directly opposite the Royal Palace, which is the center of Ubud, makes it a strategic shopping place for Balinese handicrafts and souvenirs.

The Ubud Art Market also served as a backdrop for the Hollywood movie “Eat Pray Love”. Actress Julia Roberts strolls through the stalls, which in real life are visited by both locals and tourists.

Stroll and marvel

Art markets in Bali are on the bucket list of most tourists. For many of them, one of their favorite pastimes is simply strolling to the heart of the city, made possible by the footpaths that pass by virtually every aspect of Balinese culture and life. One of these relaxing walks takes you from the Monkey Forest, located about a kilometer south of the market, through the Ubud Art Market to the Royal Palace.

Strolling through Ubud’s art market is not always about an actual purchase. Viewing the various items passed from one stall to another is a highlight in itself and shows the craftsmanship and artistry of the locals.

Compared to art markets in other tourist centers of Bali, for example Kuta, Ubud Art Market offers higher quality and greater variety. Although beach towels and shirts with “Bali” printed on them, woven ikat skirts, Balinese-style paintings, wood carvings and woven baskets can be found almost everywhere on the island, items such as four-color satin bohemian skirts, Moroccan-style oil lamps, quilted batik camisoles and brass Buddha statuettes are more typical curiosities of the Ubud Art Market.

Haggle, but haggle right!

Painter at Ubud
David Stanley from Nanaimo, Canada, Painter at Ubud (6337601812), CC BY 2.0

Unlike the merchandise in the various stores along Monkey Forest Road, most items at the Ubud Art Market do not have a bar code or a set price. In other words, haggling is expected.

But trade in Bali is very different from haggling in Arab bazaars. In the Orient, potential customers are often harassed by the merchants or even pulled into the stalls by force. Balinese people would never do such a thing. They politely wait for the customer to make the first move and do not force them to buy immediately.

Haggling is always polite and with a smile. For Balinese, haggling is simply part of the fun of shopping, often it’s not even about getting the best price or the maximum possible profit. Still, it’s helpful to think about the most you want to pay for an item before haggling.

Start with about half the asking price and increase it until you find a compromise. Don’t buy anything if it’s the first day of your vacation. Get an overview while you enjoy your first day and get used to the prices.

To admire all the goods and stalls is impossible to create in one day. If you spot an item that interests you, it’s best to come back another day to haggle and close the deal.

Good to know

If you definitely plan to buy something, you should visit the Ubud Art Market as early as possible, before the tourist rush starts around 10 am. As one of the first buyers of the day, you can usually get better prices. Many of the traders believe that the first sale of the day brings them luck. For this reason alone, they are often willing to lower their prices.

The afternoon is much more hectic. Salespeople are much more persistent in trying to keep the customer interested for as long as possible. This behavior should not be confused with aggression. For retailers, this is simply a sales tactic, even though customers may see it differently.

In the evening it becomes more relaxed again. Merchants also like to offer their goods at lower prices around closing time to make a few sales at the end of the day before going home. Anyone planning a visit to the monkey forest should go there before shopping. The macaques living there are excellent thieves and have already stolen many a purchase.

Definitely worth a visit

User: (WT-shared) Shoestring at wts wikivoyage, Pasar Ubud 001, Ubud, Bali, CC BY-SA 1.0

Ubud Art Market offers not only high quality Balinese items, but also a universal and international assortment. Compared to other art markets in Bali, the items offered here are usually of higher artistic value. The market’s location amidst the art producing villages and in the center of Ubud makes it a strategic shopping destination for Balinese handicrafts and unusual souvenirs.

The art market is definitely worth a visit, even for non-buyers and photographers looking for colorful subjects. Stay polite while haggling and watch your valuables, because pickpockets also like to pay a visit to the Ubud Art Market. If you stay overnight in Bali, it is best to visit the market early in the morning or late in the evening.

Because the market is very large and located in the center, it is not difficult to find. The official address is Jalan Raya Ubud No. 35. Walking from the Monkey Forest to the King’s Square, you will walk right through the market.