Denpasar’s textile heaven, Jl. Sulawesi 2015.02.21

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Many visitors to Bali ask where the best place is to buy fabrics. The answer simply in one word is Jl. Sulawesi in Denpasar, the island's capital city.

Whether it's material for a new suit, curtain fabric or traditional batik for a Balinese ceremony, you can find it all (and more) on Jl. Sulawesi.

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There are several sights and attractions to see in Denpasar, and a trip to Jl. Sulawesi can easily be included in a half-day or full day itinerary. It's within easy walking distance from the traditional market at Pasar Badung and also Kumbasari Market.

The area before the actual start of Jl. Sulawesi (closest to Pasar Badung) is where you can find a good selection of cottons that are ideal for making pillow covers and quilts. Most fabric is sold by the meter although you can also buy pieces of pre-cut fabric, usually at very affordable prices.

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The real fun however starts at the top of Jl. Sulawesi, where fabric shops line both sides of the street. Many of the shops here specialize in the delicate lace fabric used for kebayas, the beautiful blouses Balinese women wear to ceremonies.

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Lace kebayas come in almost every color imaginable, sometimes making it quite overwhelming to decide what to buy!

Bought off the roll by the meter, the price depends on the quality of fabric. For example, the "cheaper" colorful kebaya material can start from around Rp. 50,000 per meter, while delicate French lace can be between Rp. 300,000 - Rp. 700,000 per meter.

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So now that you've got the top of your ceremony outfit sorted, what about the bottom? As with kebayas, sarongs come in hundreds of patterns and colors.

Popular tie-dye and "rang rang" designs are sold off the roll for as little as Rp. 25,000 per meter or you can get the famous woven endek sarongs from about Rp. 150,000. Like many things in Bali, it's always good to try and bargain for the best price.

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Of course for a special occasion such as a wedding, it's as good as an excuse as any to splash out on a gorgeous colorful sarong. In Bali, the brighter it seems the better so don't be afraid to wear contrasting colors - that's in fact the fashion amongst young girls and women.

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For more traditional batik, there are several shops on the right-hand side (if walking down Jl. Sulawesi, away from the market) that have piles and piles of cotton batik that you can buy per piece from as little as Rp. 25,000. They also sell the popular silk scarves that you see everywhere in Seminyak and Kuta for a fraction of the price.

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The best time to visit Jl. Sulawesi, Pasar Badung and Kumbasari Market are first thing in the morning, before things start heating up. Not many of the shops are air-conditioned, making it a sweaty affair in the midday heat.

Most shops are open Monday to Saturday from 9 am until 5 pm and from 9 am to 3 pm on Sundays.



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