Information before you go
There are various kinds of Bali handicrafts, which have become famous as export products or souvenirs. Entire villages, especially in Central Bali are dedicated to one specific craftsmanship. Some villages are mainly known for its wood carving and teak furniture while in other areas you will see an abundance of paintings, stone carvings, batik, Bali jewelry or various forms of home decorations.
The Balinese people are very creative and it seems they can make anything that comes to mind. For centuries they are trained in making the most beautiful pieces of handicrafts for the temples and palaces of their kings. In the 1930's influential foreign artists such as Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet shared their ideas with the Balinese and stimulated them to create other styles.
Their skills are inherited through family traditions and throughout the years taken to an amazing level. Today they still produce various types of Bali art and crafts for temples but most of them focus on the export since they can make a lot more money with this trade.
If you travel through Bali you will see a lot of wholesale suppliers and manufacturers. Teak wood furniture, rattan outdoor lounges, animal wood carvings, Buddha statues, baskets and large terracotta pots are just a few examples you will see along the way. It is possible to stop at these wholesalers to check out their prices too.
Looking for something specific? Head to the villages known for that particular craft.
The village Mas, located between Denpasar and Ubud is known for the many skilful mask carvers. There are all kinds of masks in Bali and like anything in life, the more details, care and craftsmanship the higher the price.
If you look closely and take the time to really look at them, you will soon see how exceptional the Balinese masks are. Not only are the masks an amazing sight, but each one of them have their own story to tell...
Besides masks, the Balinese artists can create many other amazing wooden items too. In the past wood carvers would focus on temple ornaments only but since the 1920's you can find different items such as statues, bowls, bed frames, carved door frames and doors and of course furniture.
When you stay at a hotel, visit a restaurant or shop you will soon see that Bali is not only able to create beautiful traditional furniture and household decorations, but they are pretty trendy too. Nowadays Bali is known for its worn-looked or otherwise known as 'distressed' furniture, which is furniture used from recycled wood such as from a boat.
If you need huge Buddhas, horses, Hindu depictions, life-sized Indians or Hawaiian Tikis then the village of Batubulan just north of Denpasar is the place to go. Here you can find stone carvers displaying all kinds of statues in thousandfold.
The art of carving statues has reached a very high level, even though they were originally carved for decorating hundreds of temples on the island...
The Balinese were not familiar with the word 'art' or 'artist' since they had never considered painting it to be art. For them it was part of daily religious life, just like working in the rice fields. This changed when foreigners arrived in the 1920's and the Balinese adopted new painting techniques resulting into amazing pieces.
To fully understand the various styles, head to the Neka Museum in Ubud. You will create more appreciation for the paintings you will see everywhere on the island, mostly around Ubud.
This is one of Indonesia's most famous and complicated traditional art form of all the handicrafts. It's a technique that applies patterns of different colors. to cloth by dyeing in several stages and by applying wax after each stage to protect areas of unwanted color.
The batik pattern is mostly found in shirts and sarongs. But today the difficult yet amazing patterns are used in house decorations products, making it attractive and popular again.
The best Bali sarongs are from the town of Blaju, Tenganan and Gianyar. In Gianyar there's a textile factory where you can observe the natural dyeing process, hand weaving and learn how raw cotton becomes hand spun thread.
In the shops you can mostly find scarfs and sarongs. The latter might come in handy when you visit any temple on the island...
Gold and silver:
Celuk, just north of Denpasar is the place to be if you're interested in the handicrafts of gold or silver. Traditionally this village has been the place where gold and silver smiths work with precision on the finest jewelry available on the island.
Along the main road you will find a string of shops selling all kinds of jewelry but here also counts that the best deals are to be had in the alleys and the back roads...
This mystical and playful form of art involves two dimensional shadow puppets that have entertained the people in Indonesia for generations. Once placed between the white screen and oil lamp the puppets become alive.
Shadow puppets are found everywhere in Bali and is widely sold as a souvenir.
From way back the Balinese have been using natural material such as wood, stone, coconut and bamboo to make all kinds of arts and crafts. Especially the latter has always been very popular.
Household utensils, decorations, furniture, window shades and housing constructions are often made from bamboo, so you can pretty much find it everywhere. But today bamboo is undergoing a new image and even designers are using it in abundance, not to forget the Green Village Bali. Once you have visited this village you can only wonder why everything being built today isn't made from bamboo.
An other trend is using recycled material such as plastic, rubber from tires and glass to make great things such as bags, furniture and glasswork.
Home > Bali Handicrafts
Even if you don’t like shopping you should head to Ubud market. Only if it is to see all the colorful local goods on sale. In the afternoon stalls mostly sell souvenirs.Read more
The Balinese are artists and create the most amazing arts and crafts. If you want to get the hang of it you can join one of the many Bali courses offered mostly in Ubud.Read more
You can’t leave Bali without doing some shopping. Bali has beautiful handmade things ranging from home accessories, souvenirs, clothing to furniture.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
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