It may not have the retail reputations of high-profile neighbours like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, but a wide range of quality goods and a very favourable exchange rate makes Indonesia one of Southeast Asia’s top shopping destinations.
Technology geeks will be in digital heaven at Jakarta’s Glodok Plaza. This three-storey electronics market is packed with super-cheap cameras, phones, game consoles, audio-visual gear and thousands of new-release DVDs of highly dubious legality. You can hide out from the copyright lawyers in style at the Allson Residence.
Bandung’s students and young artistic types flock to the funky little boutiques in the Trunojoyo 23 area for locally designed printed t-shirts, hoodies, jeans, bags and accessories. Quality is high and prices are very reasonable. You’ll look pretty cool in your new street-smart wardrobe, but the cocktail bar at the Arion Swiss-Belhotel is even cooler.
Yogyakarta is a major centre for Batik, an ancient artistic technique that uses multiple layers of wax and dye to produce finely patterned paintings. While the main street is brimming with overpriced, mass-produced fakes, smaller studios such as the Novi Batik Art Centre produce their own inexpensive hand-painted designs. Yogyakarta is also a great place for silver, traditional shadow-puppets and sumptuous hotels like the Melia Purosani.
Bali has some of the country’s best shopping. The upmarket beachside suburb of Seminyak is a fine place to pick up classy designer clothes and unique homewares without blowing your holiday budget. In Ubud, small galleries promoting local artists’ work are scattered all over the city, and Monkey Forest Road is lined with shops stocking everything you could possibly want: jewellery, woodcarvings, handbags, traditional masks and kites. You’ll probably need to haggle for a good price on that sarong, but you can always be sure of a great deal at the gorgeous Furama Villas and Spa.