The Bali shopping experience is no less authentic when undertaken in one of its sprawling shopping malls. These air-conditioned shrines to retail are popping up like mushrooms all over South Bali – while they’re nowhere near outnumbering the island’s many temples at the moment, the multiplying malls are changing South Bali’s retail scene for the better.
More Bali malls means more outlets for the island’s fascinating hand-crafted products. It also means more opportunities for Bali tourists to sample the island’s delicious dining in a comfortable environment relatively safe from Bali belly.
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T Galleria/Mal Bali Galeria
Three separate buildings make up the sprawling Galleria complex on Bali's Simpang Siur interchange: the brick-faced structure containing the T Galleria Duty-Free Shopping center and Planet Hollywood; a separate building containing the Galeria 21 cineplex; and the Mal Bali Galeria building with the Matahari department store as its cornerstone.
Its location puts it literally at the doorstep of Sanur, Nusa Dua and Kuta. Its size allows the Galleria to be all things to all tourists (and locals), offering everything from hardware to furniture to groceries to perfumes to fine dining.
The Mal Bali Galeria is a two-storey town mall with all the trimmings: a movie theater, supermarket, boutiques, and shops selling upmarket international labels, all contained in a two-storey building arranged around an airy central garden.
Hungry patrons can relax al fresco in the garden while dining at one of the Mal Bali Galeria's ground-floor restaurants. The MBG is the best place in Bali to buy books,... thanks to its Gramedia and Periplus bookstores onsite.
The T Galleria by DFS outlet offers duty-free goods for travelers with the cash to spare for luxury items like Kate Spade bags and Macallan whiskeys, not to mention a profuse selection of jewelry, leather goods, perfume, liquor, and cigarettes.
Owned by the Hong Kong-based DFS Group (same owners as the DFS at the Angkor Museum in Cambodia), the T Galleria is strictly for tourists: you'll be required to provide a passport and your airline ticket/other proof of passage before you'll be allowed to shop here.
Address: JL Bypass Ngurah Rai, Kuta, Bali (location on Google Maps)
Open from: 10am to 9pm (DFS Galleria); 10pm (Mal Bali Galeria)
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Discovery Shopping Mall
Bali's first beachfront mall opened in 2004, and stands out in a relatively family-friendly part of Tuban in South Bali - it stands on the edge of South Kuta Beach, and behind it lies Jalan Kartika Plaza and Water Bom Park. An amphitheater stands where the mall meets the beach; it's often used for fashion events and other outdoor spectaculars.
The mall rises three stories above the street: inside, its centerpiece department store Centro hawks Balinese export-quality houseware and tchotchkes alongside a number of international labels and some electronic kiosks, nothing out of the ordinary as far as Indonesian shopping malls go: local brands like Batik Keris rub elbows with foreign marques like Nautica, Giordano, Guess, Billabong and La Senza.
The Discovery Shopping Mall's location places it within easy walking distance of Tuban's hotels and resorts.
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The tourist enclave of Nusa Dua can feel quite isolated from the rest of Bali - its manicured lawns and pristine resort setting being walled off from the rest of the island and all. Fortunately Nusa Dua resort guests have a mall all to their own, the Bali Collection.
The eight-hectare acreage of the Bali Collection allows for an interesting selection of shops: international luxury brands like Prada and D&G; notable Indonesian clothes brands like Uluwatu; and specialty shops like Periplus Bookstore and Guardian Drugstore, taking up the forty-odd shopfronts in the area.
Behind the Bali Collection you'll find a series of restaurants and bars that let you dine al fresco on a manicured lawn. The vibe is more laid-back and exclusive - you don't have half the crush of people you get in Kuta.
The prices at the Bali Collection are high, commensurate to the five-star resorts that surround it; the merchandise in the shops sell mostly imported stuff at very Western prices. (Good thing you... can count on Bali moneychangers and multiple ATM machines in the area.)
A free shuttle commutes between the mall and resorts in Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa; the service runs from 10am to 9pm.
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The Beachwalk Mall joins the Discovery Mall as one of the rare shopping centers to be located next to the beach. The curvy three-storey buildings filled with natural light serve as an interesting backdrop to the Kuta shopping experience – the mall sprawls over 3.7 hectares of shopping space, with enough room for specialty shops, restaurants, and cinemas.
You'll find the mall's cinemas on the second floor and a massive food court on the third. On the ground level, an open-air amphitheater brings in plenty of light and a park-like atmosphere, made more whimsical with the water fountains and pools set throughout.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The shopping area called Kuta Square is more properly described as the collection of shops flanking Jalan Raya Kuta, immediately south of Jalan Pantai Kuta. When approaching via Jalan Kartika Plaza in the south, the entrance to Kuta Square begins where the street merges to Jalan Bakung Sari.
The eastern side of the street is marked by a proliferation of fast food outlets, the likes of Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds rubbing shoulders with local brands like Dulang Kafe. A large Matahari department store provides the retail action on this side.
The western side of the street contains surfing and sporting brands like Quiksilver, Summerland, and Hurley, alongside more prosaic brands like the Athlete's Foot, Polo and a Coco Express convenience store.
The shops in Kuta Square sell fixed-price goods; for cheaper items you can haggle over, exit at the Jalan Bakung Sari exit to find the Kuta Art Market and its locally-made gewgaws.
Address: Jalan Bakung Sari, Kuta, Bali (location on Google... Maps)
Open from: 8am - 10pm
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Mertanadi Art Market
Mertanadi's wares cover the low, popular end of the shopping spectrum; the dozen or so low-slung market kiosks here hawk a mixture of artistic products and cheap ripoffs; wood carvings share space with Bintang Beer T-shirts and penis-shaped bottle openers (!).
This art market's main virtue is its charmed location in Kuta, on the northern side of the Jalan Pantai Kuta-Jalan Legian-Jalan Melasti tourist rectangle, an easy walk to or from Kuta's most popular hotels. Tourists looking for excellent value on their shopping can zero in on Jalan Melasti, where the Mertanadi Art Market stands, and haggle to their satisfaction.
You can get plenty of Bali- and Indonesia-themed stocking stuffers in Mertanadi Art Market, from wayang shadow puppets to hand-painted fans to wooden masks to paintings. You can also get cheap knockoffs of international brands and singlets with some rather bawdy messages (thanks, Australian bogans). The more you buy, the lower you can haggle the price.
Address: Ja...lan Melasti, Kuta, Bali (location on Google Maps)
Open from: 9am – 9pm