A Stroll Through Balinese Markets

Balinese markets are a feast for the eyes. In Ubud’s bazaar and food and produce markets, there are stacks of colorful rattan offering boxes, wooden masks with intimidating gazes, small cases comprised of beads in swirling patterns, delicate batik silk scarves, walls of oil-adorned canvases, and overflowing mounds of tropical fruits.

The markets are a shopper’s paradise — a photographer’s dream.

Batik scarves fashioned out of silk.
Balinese masks for sale
Balinese masks for sale.
Kites for sale in Bali
Vibrant kites.
Balinese market - hats for sale
Balinese market -
Masks and wind chimes for sale in an Ubud, Bali market.
Wind chimes and masks.
Purses for sale in Bali
Hand-woven purses.
Balinese batik silk scarves for sale.
Silk batik scarves.
Balinese framed paintings on display and for sale.
Framed paintings.
purse for sale in Bali
Wooden Buddha statues.
Batik scarves for sale on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Batik scarves.
Stacks of hats.
Boxes woven from banana leaves.
A woman makes canang sari, or spiritual offerings.
A fruit and vegetable market.
A splendid flower arrangement.
Balinese market in Ubud
Fabric for sale in Bali
woven baskets for sale in Bali
Snake skin fruit in Bali
Salak, or “snakeskin” fruit.
Balinese market in Ubud

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

73 thoughts on “A Stroll Through Balinese Markets

    1. You were there just one month ahead of us last year, Lynne! What sort of goodies did you or your daughter bring home? Being a reformed shopper, I only got a small pendant for my charm bracelet, and a few silken souvenirs as presents. Wearing the red dress reminds me of carefree days in Ubud and Jimbaran, and of the kind locals with whom we interacted and celebrated their family events.

    1. Ron, I’m glad that I could motivate you to return (not that Bali takes much motivation)! Lynne mentioned that you two were there last October; we were in Ubud and Jimbaran the following month. Certainly, we enjoyed activities like the kecak & fire dance in Uluwatu, but it was the chance meetings with the locals that were the most special! One family invited us to their infant’s baptism ceremony and their older daughters’ traditional dance classes. At first, we were concerned that we’d be imposing by taking part, but we quickly found that there was mutual enthusiasm on both sides! On the American Thanksgiving holiday, we walked over to the home/office of Ketut Liyer (of Eat, Pray, Love fame). Though we didn’t participate in any sessions with him, it was fun just to chat with Ketut for a while. I have a few of those stories archived; this post is rather disjointed from the rest — always so many stories behind! :)

    1. Sharon, are you Bali-bound? If so, I am very excited for you and I’m curious to know where you’re headed. Bali was where we started our sabbatical last November. We took it easy during our wonderful three weeks there, spending the bulk of our time in Ubud and Jimbaran. My fondest memories: learning how to make canang sari offerings with our homestay hosts’ neighbor, meeting with charismatic Ketut Liyer of Eat, Pray, Love fame, watching the mischievous monkeys in the monkey park, and attending a family’s ceremonies. There is so much ceremony in Bali – every day is a celebration of life, it seems. I’m happy to give you any advice, should you need it.

      1. Trish – you met KETUT of Eat, Pray Love???!!!!! I have heard so much about Bali but haven’t been there but your enthusiasm and obvious affection for the place is contagious!!! I will certainly come to you for advice and thank you so much for the kind offer. I appreciate the most that you shared so many special moments with the people and immersed yourself into the local culture. That is always what we hope to do when we travel. Thanks again – your heart for the world fills mine with joy. Sharon

  1. What an amazing collection of colors and textures found at this market—and again, you did a fantastic job of capturing them.

    1. Greetings Linda, it’s fun to hear from you in this forum; thank you for your comment. :) I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed these scenes from Bali.

      We drove through Iowa City earlier this summer; I wish we’d had more time to spend in the Midwest, as it would’ve been lovely to catch up. We were making the trek from Illinois to Nevada. More soon!

    1. Hi Jessie, and a big thank you! Seeing beautiful Bali in these images makes me wish I could hop on an airplane today. So nice to hear from you again, and hope you’re well. I’m off to read your latest adventures and see where in the world you are.

      1. Lucy, thank you for the recommendation about the Chatuchak Market; we’ll definitely have to check it out the next time we’re in Bangkok. Hope you’re having a splendid week!

    1. Edith – rightfully so! We were fortunate to make it to 9 Asian countries in the past year, and many of our favorite memories were definitely created in Bali. I hope you make it there someday soon.

    1. Virginia, I must confess that I exercised a lot of restraint in Bali and beyond. The realization that I had many things back home kept me in check, as did the realization that I couldn’t tote much around for the next 5 months. To avoid filling up a container, I took thousands of pictures home to remember the beautiful objects by. :)

  2. Your photos are absolutely brilliant! The colors, the textures, the people. I am SO happy I found your blog, it just might be my new fave!

    1. Such flattering words, Andrea – thank you so much! I’m pleased you’ve discovered mine, because now I can read all about your 6-month adventure criss-crossing Europe! I see you’re now back in Canada. We spent a few weeks there earlier this summer (my husband is Canadian) and I loved it! We’re contemplating visiting Vancouver in the coming weeks during a mini excursion in the Pacific Northwest. Can you recommend any must-sees?

      1. India and Bali! It’s on the cards – I’m really hoping to get there soon. So much to learn in this world! Maybe I’ll do the milk run home this year, through Asia?!! I just had my recent article published on yoga – let me know what you think (will tweet you).

  3. Hi Tricia. I’m kind of jazzed that you chanced upon me, as that brought me here to see your fabulous photos and accompanying stories. So much of beauty here! As if I need yet another terrific blog to follow, I’m signing up to keep up with your adventures. And lest I forget: in these market photos of yours is the most color I’ve seen in a while – in all, it looks like a dangerous place where one could lose a lot of money, if you know what I mean…

    1. Hello Sid, the pleasure is mutual! Thank you for the follow and for your kind words.

      You’re absolutely correct in that Bali’s markets (much of Southeast Asia, for that matter) are dangerous places for one’s pocketbook. The hand-made items are much too tempting! Thank goodness that I had a limited capacity piece of luggage during our 5-month adventures, otherwise I could’ve amassed a large amount of exotic goodies. Until next time!

  4. Superb shots Tricia! I am not much of a shopper anymore, and yet I am fascinated by markets. And this looks like one of the best! Will have an opportunity to visit Chatuchak later this year, but Bali will sadly have to wait.

    1. Lucy also mentioned that Chatuchak is a super spot to photograph and shop. We were in Bangkok a few times during our Southeast Asian travels and unfortunately never made it there. Now, with so many mentions of its greatness, we’ll have to make a priority of visiting when we’re next in Bangkok.

      Bali will be that much more enjoyable then, I suppose! :) Such a paradise, and the people make it even more special. Like you, I’m not much of a shopper anymore, but I was thrilled to take the items with me in spirit through the thousands of pictures I snapped.

    1. Rachael,
      Bali’s marketplaces offer a kaleidoscope of colors! I know what you mean about wanting to return to a place if you weren’t able to document much of it the first time around. On your first trip to Bali, were you the talented and avid shutterbug that you are now? :)
      I cannot believe that it’s almost been a year since we were there!

      1. I was certainly an avid shutterbug and photographed copiously with an SLR. But it was film and I have lost the negatives. I just have a few small, high street processed prints. I am torn really about Bali. I would love to go back but on the other hand we had such a wonderful trip there the first time, I almost don’t want to go back too… If that makes any sense!

      2. I understand exactly what you mean, Rachael. It’s difficult to top perfection. You were last in Bali without children, right? Perhaps seeing the island through their eyes would make a return trip very special!

    1. Russel, my pleasure! :) I do hope you’ll return.
      …You’ve reminded me that I have so many images from our camping trip to California’s Redwoods that I am far behind in posting. Hopefully by the next time I return to the site, they’ll be here. Wishing you a splendid weekend!

    1. Thank you so much, Mekala. I’m responding to you now from the German Alps, where we have near white-out conditions and nearly a meter of snow. Makes me long for the warmth and color of Bali. Do you have any adventurous jaunts planned for the near future?

      1. I was yesterday thinking I want to have a white christmas cz in australian its summer now! so envy you right now about the snow but not so much about the cold! ;) I am laying low for a bit as I am broke now. :)

    1. Jenna, with textiles, you’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. :) Since we were to be on the road for five months, I only picked up a few batik silk scarves, but there was so much to tempt. Which country or countries are you headed to?

      1. We’ve still got a long bucket list for Europe, but once we leave for Asia we’ll base ourselves in Japan and branch out from there. There’s not a single country I don’t want to visit…

      2. Sounds like an exciting new adventure for you! We were fortunate to tiptoe through 8 countries in Southeast Asia, plus India earlier this year. Even though we had five months to explore, we inadvertently missed many countries we’d like to someday see. Japan is one of them and my husband speaks highly of his time there.

    1. The markets were certainly a joy to photograph, Andrew! And, I found that filling up my camera with images was better than filling up my suitcase. :) Are you coming by way of Chile or Spain? :)

    1. Thank you, Neely. My backpack very easily could’ve gained a few kilos had it not been for the realization that I would’ve had to have lugged the goodies around Southeast Asia. Pictures often make the best souvenirs, I’ve found.

      1. I agree…I’ve pretty much stopped buying souvenirs on trips and now just take photos. The photos are what rekindle the memories for me, not as much the souvenirs.

      1. Hi Tricia,

        So nice to hear from you…I started from Kuta, then south to the temples and then Ubud, then east coast (chandi dasa) before the mother temple and Kintamani then north and from there straight to south again to catch the plane. I would say I have seen almost most of the places other than western Bali…it was a very exquisite experience and full of lovely memories…

        Keep in touch :) Keep blogging


      2. It sounds as though you covered a lot of territory, Kavita! Since Bali was the start of our Southeast Asian adventures, we decided to take it a bit slowly, so that we could properly unwind. Do you find you miss the pace of the island, and all those beautiful canang sari/spiritual offerings adorning seemingly every spot?

Join the conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: