People who visit Bali’s Ubud area for the first time often come in picturing a place filled with yogis, rice fields, waterfalls … and maybe the Monkey Forest. Once you’ve actually set foot here, though, it’s a little hard to narrow down what this place is all about, because Ubud’s truly got a little bit of everything — from cool artisanal craft shops and eco-chic resorts to ultra-romantic restaurants for great dates.
Sure, central Ubud sees a bit more traffic and tour groups than usual, but this activity is mostly concentrated at the intersection where Ubud Palace and Ubud market meet. When you step out just a bit further from this area, you’re bound to find a lot great local sights and shops. Here are some of our favorites in the latter category.
A few seconds is all it takes to fall in love with the products at Saraswati Papers, which offers a bunch of eco-friendly paper products, from notebooks to greeting cards with creative and traditional options to suit your preferences. Is it a greeting card featuring Balinese dancers? Or a journal featuring Balinese Temple Fabrics? These are for you to discover yourself!
These designs are presented on recycled papers, and colored using natural dyes taken from different materials, such as roots, and textured with fibers, such as bamboo and flower petals. The brand itself has been around since 1995, and is handcrafted on the island.
Saraswati Papers at Flagship Store Kado: Jalan Dewisita (corner of Goutama), Ubud, Gianyar. +62851 0186 3338. Website.
Just a few doors away from Saraswati Papers is this stunning stoneware store that brings you handmade homewares, which we argue are very difficult to resist. Kevala has been making ceramics in Bali for 25 years, and their products can be found in leading restaurants and hotels around the island.
If you’ve dined in one of Bali’s hottest dining venues – let’s say Locavore or Merah Putih – then you’ve probably seen and eaten from one of Kevala’s elegant products. The charm here lies on the very shape of these thoughtful designs and their charming colors, which is more than enough to attract unassuming passersby to go into the store.
Kevala Home Ubud: Jalan Dewisita, Ubud, Gianyar. +62361 5792532. Instagram.
Tea lovers, rejoice. Here’s a dedicated teahouse in Bali seeking to promote the art of tea-drinking, and they have a wide variety of tea leaves to choose from. As it is, you can try various Indonesian tea leaves, though based on our screening most of it seems to have come from Java, with a couple of interesting ones – such as the Red Tea Sinensis – from Sumatra.
Artteas seem to be guided by “the art of appreciating fine tea,” and at their store in Ubud, you can also find different styles of teaware that’s available for purchase. Hey, if you’re in the area and you’re looking to learn more about tea; this is certainly a decent place to start.
Artteas Teahouse: Jl. Hanoman, Ubud, Gianyar. Instagram.
These sister stores in Ubud are the sort of places you find yourself entering, even though you’re not exactly sure what they are selling. So let us brief you a little before your visit: KOU Bali sells natural soaps and bath salts, while KOU Cuisine produces natural and delicious handmade jams.
The creative wrapping at KOU Bali makes their products even that much harder not to bring home, but the fresh smells from them are definitely worth the purchase; we recommend trying out the Frangipani. Kou Cuisine, meanwhile, gives you a chance to taste the jams and their unique flavors before you bring those cute jars home; oh, and they they also sell sea salts and honey.
KOU Bali: Jl. Dewisita, Ubud, Gianyar. +62361 971905. Facebook.
KOU Cuisine: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Gianyar. +62361 972319. Facebook.
This warm-toned boutique in Ubud sells a collection of stunning accessories for women. The intricate pieces comes from Moroccan-born interior designer Zohra Boukhari, who has used objects sourced on her travels and rework them into the pieces displayed in the store. Though the heavy emphasis is on the jewelry, you can also find those trendy traditional-style bags of premium quality here.
Shan Shan Women’s Accessories: Jl. Hanoman No. 19, Ubud, Gianyar. +62361 551 2857. Instagram.
While it’s not that hard to locate a bookshop here in Bali, an independent bookstore isn’t as often as one might’ve hoped. Enter Ganesha Bookshop, which has been around since 1986 as Ubud’s friendly neighborhood bookstore and is where you can find bargain prices for both known and rare titles across various book genres.
Ganesha Bookshop also sells Indonesian prints, cards, posters, CDs, notebooks, so you might just discover something truly unique in the store itself while you’re browsing through their products.
Ganesha Bookshop: corner of Jl. Raya Ubud and Jl. Jembawan 1, Ubud, Gianyar. +62361 970320. Facebook.
Most of the shops on this list have been around for quite some time, and Bali Buda happens to fall under that same category. Their Ubud location was first opened in 1994, and it’s where you can get a vast range of healthy and organic products, from organic fruit and vegetables to gluten-free pastries and even organic cosmetic products.
It’s good for your body and conscience, what with the fact that many of their food products are homemade and your purchases here are packed in recycled bags. Get a good try of their homemade products, which range from pesto dressing, organic hot sambal to peanut butter. They also say they compost or recycle 90 percent of their waste, which is great.
Bali Buda: Jl. Jembawan No. 1 (across from the Ubud Post Office) Ubud, Gianyar. +62361 976324
Ever wonder what creative goods from local Indonesian brands might look like? You can get a pretty broad rundown at Curative, where they sell some of the best from local brands. We’re talking accessories, t-shirts, candles, journals, bags, and more – so there’s definitely something for everyone, and it’s all coming from Indonesia’s very own creative minds.
Curative Bali: Jl. Hanoman, Ubud, Gianyar. Instagram.
Are you on the essential oils trend? If you’re not, Blue Stone Botanicals can be your gateway into it, as they sell 100% pure and natural essential oils, which you can use for aromatherapy. Not only that, Blue Stone Botanicals also sells other products, such as bath soaps, body balms and hair tonic, which they say are inspired by the healing traditions of Java and Bali.
In case you’d like to get a feel of what pure air fresheners might be like, Blue Stone Botanicals’ Bali Rain Mist is a product not to be missed. It’s made of rainwater collected from volcanic mountains mixed with essential oils from healing plants.
Blue Stone Botanicals: Jl. Dewisita, Ubud, Gianyar. +62852 05517097. Instagram.
The store is hard to miss, with those deep turquoise walls sure to pique the interest of anyone who passes by — even when they’re not chocolate lovers. But when chocolate happens to be one of your favorite things in the world, there’s no reason not to step inside and see what it has to offer.
The raw chocolate at Ubud Raw are fresh and handmade with locally sourced ingredients, and comes with a number of options, such as raisin & cashew or mint & goji berry. In addition, they also sell chocolate spread in either smooth or crunchy, for those of you who might want a taste of Ubud Raw’s chocolate on your bread.
Ubud Raw Chocolate: Jl. Goutama No. 8, Ubud, Gianyar. +62361 975794. Instagram.
The Earth Market carries over 1,000 different products, and you can find a wide range of these items at their Ubud location (they also have a store in Seminyak, FYI). Whether it’s household cleaning products, cosmetics, fresh fruits and even prepared spices or baked goods – here’s where you can definitely get started on that healthy lifestyle.
After your healthy shopping, you can also stop by Earth Cafe, located just right above the shop, where you can get a taste of gourmet vegan food.
Earth Cafe & Market: Jl. Goutama Selatan, Ubud, Gianyar. +62361 976546. Instagram.
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