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.
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.
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 arranged around an airy central garden.
The T Galleria by DFS outlet offers duty-free goods for travelers with the cash to spare for luxury items. Owned by the 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)
Discovery Shopping Mall
Bali's first beachfront mall stands out in a relatively family-friendly part of Tuban in South Bali; Jalan Kartika Plaza and Water Bom Park stand behind it.
Centerpiece department store Centro hawks Balinese export-quality houseware and tchotchkes alongside a number of international labels and some electronic kiosks. The rest of the mall reads just like any other Indonesian shopping center: local brands like Batik Keris rub elbows with foreign marques like Nautica, Billabong and La Senza.
The Discovery Shopping Mall's location places it within easy walking distance of Tuban's hotels and resorts.
The tourist enclave of Nusa Dua can feel quite isolated from the rest of Bali. Fortunately Nusa Dua resort guests have a mall all to their own, the Bali Collection.
The eight-hectare acreage of the Bali Collection accommodates international luxury brands like Prada and D&G; notable Indonesian clothes brands like Uluwatu; and specialty shops like Periplus Bookstore and Guardian Drugstore.
The vibe is more laid-back and exclusive, but shops charge higher prices commensurate to the five-star resorts that surround it. (Fortunately 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Lippo Mall Kuta
The Lippo Mall Kuta's location close to the Bali International Airport makes it an ideal stop for last-minute Bali shopping before your flight. But try not to rush your visit: the mall has plenty to offer the leisurely shopper, with over a hundred shopping stalls distributed over three floors surrounding a sprawling atrium.
The usual assortment of luxury and international brands aside, the Lippo Mall also humors budget shoppers with local batiks, Balinese handicrafts and low-priced souvenirs, giving shoppers plenty of bang for their buck.
Finally, the Lippo Mall's relative newness and astonishing ratio of open-space-to-store makes this feel like one of the most relaxed malls around, with little of the crush of people you'll find in the other, more central malls listed here.
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.
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: Jalan Melasti, Kuta, Bali (location on Google Maps)
Open from: 9am – 9pm