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Indonesia Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Indonesia

If you’re the type of person to always come back with a souvenir, Indonesia will be heaven. In terms of souvenirs and trinkets, the  markets here can’t be beaten. Some of the best buys are batik cloth (a kind of patterned fabric), ikat fabrics (textile made using a sort of tie-dye technique), woodcarvings and sculpture, silverwork, woven baskets and hats, bamboo articles, krises (small daggers), paintings and woven cloth. If shopping at stalls and small shops within the pasar (market), bartering might be necessary, but keep it light-hearted and playful if you can.

If you prefer to your shopping within the slightly more cloistered hallways of an air-conditioned mall, the main urban centres of Jakarta are your best bet. Tourists can find an array of international brands at places like Plaza Indonesia, arts and handicrafts at stores within Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, and luxury brands are easily accessible, catering for the emergent middle-class and expatriate population. Malls are also a good place to pick up food, whether in the form of a rejuvenating meal at one of the many food carts, or smaller souvenirs to take away.

Shopping hours

Mon-Sun 0900-2100; some shops have shorter hours on Sundays. Most local markets open either very early in the morning or at dusk. In the smaller towns, shops may close between 1300 and 1700.

Nightlife in Indonesia

Jakarta has the biggest nightlife scene, with nightclubs featuring international singers and bands. There are also plenty of cinemas, and some English-language and subtitled films are shown. The beach town of Kuta on Bali is also a good spot for nightlife, albeit of the backpacker variety.

Dancing is considered an art, encouraged and practised from very early childhood, and dances are based on ancient legends and stories from religious epics. Dances include the Legong, a slow, graceful dance of divine nymphs; the Baris, a fast moving, noisy demonstration of male, warlike behaviour; and the Jauk, a riveting solo offering by a masked and richly costumed demon. Many consider the most dramatic of all to be the famous Cecak (Monkey Dance) which calls for 100 or more very agile participants. Larger hotels, particularly in Bali, put on dance shows accompanied by the uniquely Indonesian Gamelan Orchestras.

Throughout the year, many local moonlight festivals occur; tourists should check locally. Indonesian puppets are world famous and shows for visitors are staged in various locations.

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