Sukawati & Puaya
Once a royal capital, Sukawati is now known for its specialised artisans, who busily work in small shops along the roads. One group, the tukang prada, make temple umbrellas, beautifully decorated with stencilled gold paint, which can be seen in their shops.
In the town centre, the always-bustling produce market is a highlight. Vendors with fruit you’ve likely never seen before are tucked into the corners of the typically grungy main food hall. You’ll also see sarongs and temple ceremony paraphernalia; outside booths sell easy-to-assemble temple-offering kits to time-constrained Balinese faithful. On the surrounding streets you’ll find some stalls with high-quality handicrafts mixed in with those peddling ‘I Love Bali’ handbags. Should you get inspired, there are ATMs at the ready.
About 2km south of town, the much-hyped and very touristy Pasar Seni is a two-storey market where every type of knick-knack and trinket is on sale.
Puaya, about 1km northwest of Sukawati, specialises in high-quality leather shadow puppets and masks for Topeng and Barong dances. On the main street, look for a small sign that reads Mustika Collection, or ask anyone. Inside the family compound you’ll find a workshop for masks and puppets where you can see how cow hide is transformed into these works of art. Nearby, Baruna Art Shop has barongs aplenty. Other workshops nearby are in shadowing rooms behind open doorways; look inside and you might see a fearsome mask staring at you.