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Buying Essentials

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Mobile Phone / Sim

Any Oppa or Samsung store will be able to give you a new Sim and/or sell you 'pulsa'. There are dozens of phone stores on Jl. Cok Gede Rai.

Cash Exchange

I recommend bringing cash with you from home and changing it ($50-$100 at a time) in one of the small exchange stores. Most restaurants and boutiques accept cards but smaller markets are often cash only and even tourist places will only take cash. Changing at a kiosk is cheaper than getting it out of an ATM but it has its dangers. There some dodgy places but I've used many with no problems. There is a good one amongst the set of ATMs in the Monsiur Spoon complex on Jl. Hanoman, and another on the north east side of Jl. Sukma Kesuma. For any other place, look at the rate, work out the amount on your phone and count the cash out on the counter before putting it away.

Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics

Guardian. This European chain has a number of outlets. The largest is on Jl. Raya Ubud just west of the palace. They have English speaking staff, a qualified chemist for prescriptions and a good range of over-the-counter medicine (obat) as well as a fun range of foreign and Indonesian branded cosmetics and haircare. Check google maps for the other locations. I would recommend picking up extra sunscreen and moisturiser here if you need it. Note that the sale staff will try and flog the expensive vitamins and natural medicine to foreigners. Just say no.

Kimia Farma. An Indonesian chain, this option has all the basics of a standard western pharmacy, and English speaking staff. Note that both Guardian and Kimia staff will try to sell foreigners the expensive 'natural' pills and potions, since Indonesians don't buy that stuff. If, like me, you prefer real science, tell them no and you want a proper brand, not natural medicine which is rarely effective and often just a placebo.

Others. I find the pharmacists noted above (Apotek in Indonesian) fun for basic cosmetics. If I'm looking for something a bit fancier (serums, moiturisers etc), I head down to Beachwalk in Kuta. There is a small Sephora there which won't have everything you are used to but might b good to try. There is also Sociolla. This is the Asian version of Sephora. They are mostly not suitable for white people and good luck if you are of African descent. There are lots of lightening creams and the colouring is designed for Asian skin tones. However its super fun to shop in and try out all the weird and wonderful Korean products. It's cheaper than Sephora and you can always look up the products online first. Their online store is excellent and has an English version.


Ganesha Bookstore. This is a delightful and charming store that engenders sweet vellichor. That means the 'strange wistfulness of used bookshops'. The store on Jl. Raya Ubud offers a large selection of previously loved books for a song, and a very good selection of new books on, about, or set in, Indonesia and Bali. There is a decent Indonesian language section, cute kids books, and a lovely gift section including prints of old posters of Bali.

Periplus. Periplus is an Indonesian chain store but it has a very decent selection of English speaking books, and a small number of French and German novels. The larger one is on Jl. Raya Ubud just west of the palace, another is on Jl. Monkey Forest and there is a small one on the intersection at Jl. Hanoman and Jl. Monkey Forest. The stores also have a range of gifts, magazines and games.

Balinese Traditional Dress

If you are invited to a wedding, and important ceremony or if you want to join prayers at a temple, you will need a traditional outfit. The Balinese are very happy when foreigners go to the effort of wearing the right clothing.

Karang Sekata. A simple store with very inexpensive clothing for men and women. On google maps looks for the Falala chocolate store which is inside, or the Casa Ganesha.

Top Tangkas. A nice selection of more formal menswear for a special event


If you need booze for your villa, there are a number of wine and spirits stores. You can also get basic spirits, beer and a small section of wine from the supermarkets. Imported wine is expensive in Bali due to the high tax, and there aren't alot of decent local options. Isola is a local brand with a decent Rosé and a drinkable red but that's about it. The other major brand is imported as a concentrate. Ugh. There are some good local craft beers these days including Kura Kura, Islands of Imagination and Stark. If you are sick of the super cheap Bintang, you will find these better quality ales in the supermarkets and wine shops. Stark and Spice Island both produce an excellent gin here in Bali, which can be purchased online with delivery. There are loads of local options for Arak - palm spirits, but I'm not a fan of the resultant headache so won't recommend any here.

Bottle Shops: Wine Shop Ubud, Ubud Wine Cellar, Bottle Avenue, Wine Store

Supermarkets: Bintang, Popular, Delta Dewata


Cozzies (Australian colloquial) in Bali are almost the same price as you'll pay at home. The range isn't huge either, and bigger ladies and gents will struggle. Canggu and Seminyak have a better range if you want something nicer but there are a few store in Ubud that will save the day if you've lost or forgotten yours. For plus sizes you'll need to head to M&S in Kuta.

Thaikila: Bali-based french designer, sustainable products with a boho feel. Jl. Raya Ubud.

Billabong: Australian Surfing Brand, Jl. Raya Ubud

Rip Curl: Another Australian surfing brand, Jl. Monkey Forest

69 Slam: Fun, colourful Bali-based brand, Jl. Monkey Forest.

Niconico: International design with a stylish, classic range and a good size inclusivity.


Corsica: Super comfy and supportive Indonesian brand of sandals that are also attractive! I live in this brand and highly recommend buying a pair (about US$35) which will be all you need for your trip to Bali.

Havaianas: Standard rubber flip flops of the same name. Stores on Jl. Raya Ubud and Jl. Monkey Forest

Flipper: Slightly cheaper rubber flip flops, Jl. Monkey Forest and Jl. Raya Ubud.

La Vanila: Nice Quality leather sandals on Jl. Hanoman.

Walk in my Shoes: A fairly standard an inexpensive range of sandals, heels and flats

Other clothing

Ubud doesn't have a great range of basics - tshirts, jeans, underwear and the like. You can get them from a few local places but you're better off bringing these things with you. For nicer items, like party and going-out dresses, resort wear, linen pants (my favourite) and beautiful jewellery, Ubud's many boutiques are high quality, mostly western-designed and less expensive than, say, Australia or Singapore. Have a wander around Jl. Hanoman, Jl. Goutama, Jl. Dewa Sita and Jl. Monkey forest.

If you urgently needs basics, in case you've had lost luggage or are staying longer than expected, you will find t-shirts, pants and cheap skirts & dresses in the markets. For underwear, go to Delta Dewata (but don't expect a good range of well-fitting items). If you really need a few weeks worth of underwear, head down to Kuta and the Beach Walk shopping centre, there is an H&M along with a few other well known brands. I find shopping for boutique wear in Ubud better than Canggu because everything is closer together, whereas Canggu is more spread out and you have to drive between groups of shops. However in Seminyak from Seminyak Square to the east is easy enough to shop.

In another post I will be doing a short and longer shopping tour of Ubud including my fave boutiques.


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