Markets are often the heartbeat of a country. The lively Karna Street in Ubud and the traditional market nearby were both excellent representations of Bali in their energy and vibrant colors. Though heavily trafficked by tourists and motorbikes alike, Ubud’s markets had tight enough quarters to feel somehow intimate and welcoming. Many hours were spent wandering the alleys and exploring the stalls of Karna Street, looking for souvenirs and chatting with locals. We sampled streets foods, watched painters create sunsets on canvas, and searched for perfect gifts to our hearts content.
The traditional market offered a bit of shade but was no less packed. Leaving the street markets, we decided to wade through the crowds to see what colorful fabrics and crafts were available. Many of the same tourist-y items were for sale but a great many more stalls housed mountains of fabric and hand carved figurines. Avoiding the constant barrage of sale offers and Market Ladies pushing cheap clothes on me and my wife, we slowly made out way through the spice stalls and commemorative keychains before we were satisfied and ready to move on.
Markets are often the most lively areas of a city and those in Ubud, Bali are no different. Mostly catering to tourists, you won’t find much besides gifts and handicrafts, but it should not be missed. Like many markets that slowly stop supporting their own community and become a mecca for tourists, the Ubud Markets are a one-stop-shop for anything you want to buy for souvenirs and a great place to experience the culture of the place you’re visiting. Busy and crowded as it may be, this place cannot be missed and should be given many hours of exploration.