Indonesia offers a wealth of distinctive handicrafts and other products. Best buys include textiles (batik and ikat), silverwork, woodcarving, Krisses, puppets, paintings and ceramics. Bali has the greatest choice of handicrafts. It is not necessarily the case that you will find the best buys in the area where a particular product is made; the larger cities, especially Jakarta, sell a wide range of handicrafts and antiques from across the archipelago at competitive prices.

Tips on buying

Early morning sales may well be cheaper, as salespeople often believe the first sale augurs well for the rest of the day. Except in the larger fixed-price stores, bargaining (with good humour) is expected; start at 60% lower than the asking price. Do not expect to achieve instant results; if you walk away from the shop, you will almost certainly be followed, with a lower offer. If the salesperson agrees to your price, you should feel obliged to purchase - it is considered very ill mannered to agree on a price and then not buy the article.

What to buy

Centres of batik-making are focused on Java. Yogyakarta and Solo (Surakarta) probably offer the widest choice, There is also a good range of batik in Jakarta. The traditional hand-drawn batiks (
batik tulis
) are more expensive than the modern printed batiks.
is dyed and woven cloth found on the islands of Bali, Lombok and Nusa Tenggara, although it is not cheap and is sometimes of dubious quality.
is a Javanese and Balinese art form and puppets are most widely available on these islands, particularly in Yogyakarta and Jakarta. Baskets of all shapes and sizes are made for practical use, out of rattan, bamboo, sisal, and nipah and lontar palm. The intricate baskets of Lombok are particularly attractive. Woodcarving ranges from the clearly tourist oriented (Bali), to fine classical pieces (Java), to 'primitive' (Irian Jaya). The greatest concentration of woodcarvers work in Bali, producing skilful modern and traditional designs.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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