The batik makers of Indonesia use different traditional dyeing techniques to create styles unique to each region.
Batik Kraton, the basic batik of Java, features beautiful Hindu-influenced motifs such as the Garuda, the lotus, the dragon and the tree of life.
Cirebon is famous for batik with designs featuring clouds, while the Indramyu region features work based on stylised sea creatures.
The Tanah Abang market in Jakarta has wonderful quality batik. If indoor shopping is more your style, try the chain of Batik Keris stores found throughout Indonesia.
There is a large store in Jogjakarta and also Ciputra, in the centre of Mega Kunigan.
Here you can find designs of outstanding quality, either as bolts or made into sarongs or other pieces, for a reasonable price.
For top-quality silk, beautiful laces and buttons and couture fabrics including linen, cotton and quality rayon, try Duta Silk in Denpasar.
This small shop in Jalan Sulawesi, almost hidden by the large Matahari Department Store, is an Aladdin’s cave of fabric and beautiful trimmings.
If you want to have something made from the fabric, try Alta Moda in Denpasar.
If you’re up for a new wardrobe and want quality as well as Western sizes, try the Secret Factory Outlet in Bandung. It has quality brand names as well as a kids’ section, along with free WiFi and a courtyard for relaxation.
For something more unique and fashion-forward, visit the Horn Emporium in Seminyak, the flagship store of designer Anita Horn. It features gorgeous clothes, accessories and homewares from emerging Indonesian designers.
Puravida, Seminyak has beautiful clothes – statement prints, dresses, pants and accessories.
Markets are great places to find all manner of shoes, sandals and boots – sometimes authentic and sometimes great knock-offs.
For beautiful top-quality shoes, try Papillon in Seminyak. It has a good range of handmade shoes including sandals, wedges and girls’ shoes, and prices are reasonable.
The Italian handmade shoe chain Rotelli has outlets in most major cities in Indonesia.
Poppies 1 and 2 in Seminyak has a good range of Vans.
Most places will wrap and package original canvas pieces for you, and you should be able to bring them back as hand luggage. There is a variety of beautiful original works at many Seminyak and Ubud galleries.
Kresna Art Gallery on the Gianyar coast employs over 200 painters who work in many different styles. It will be cheaper than visiting the galleries plus you will be directly supporting the artists.
The art market in Sukawati has original paintings and crafts at low prices, especially if you are prepared to haggle.
Check the scraps of material outside the frame at the back of the painting to ensure it has been painted on canvas, not calico, as a calico painting will be likely to crack when you try to reframe it at home.
Alun Alun (meaning town square) in Jakarta has a wonderful variety of beautiful Indonesian textiles and crafts, batik, unusual handicrafts and quality gifts and souvenirs.
Forget cheap plastic artefacts – the stores here feature genuine Indonesian-made pieces, with everything from homewares and baskets to linen, clothes and accessories. They are not cheap but are stunning and top-quality.
The Ubud area is famous for quality handmade silver pieces at reasonable prices.
Atlas South Sea Pearls in Ubud and Seminyak has beautiful jewellery with precious and semi-precious stones as well as mother of pearl.
Chuluk, just outside Ubud, is famous among those in the know for silver – however, it’s best not to ask for directions or you may spend all your time fending off volunteer drivers.
For the best prices in Ubud visit the wholesalers’ street, found along Jalan Raya Ubud travelling east. Turn left at the sign of the archer on the roundabout. Here you will find wholesalers selling the same artefacts for a much lower price than on the main streets.
If you’re planning to haggle, you’re probably already aware that it’s best to do it with a smile and to research the fixed price shops first to get an idea of a fair price.
If you’re asked ‘when did you arrive?’ or ‘when are you leaving?’ it’s best to give a non-specific answer, to avoid being pursued by stall holders who may think you are inexperienced, or ready to spend the last of your holiday money.
Take the usual precautions against theft, bag-snatching and pickpockets, especially in crowded areas such as markets or busy stores.
Don’t give your bags to anyone to carry without first negotiating a price, or it may cost you too much to get them back.
If you’re buying valuables such as silver, get a receipt in English and make sure you have the appropriate certification to avoid problems with Customs when you bring it home.
If you need cash (many places will not take credit cards) use the official moneychanger’s outlets – they look like a small bank or store. If the rate seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you don’t have access to an official booth, take your calculator. Also count the money at the stand, as even with these precautions sometimes unscrupulous dealers will mix up notes of different value that look the same.