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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 or two, Indonesia's shopping experiences will ensure that you don't return empty-handed. In terms of souvenirs and trinkets, the markets here can't be beaten. Some of the best buys are batik cloth (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 a less frenzied way of shopping, the cloistered hallways of air-conditioned malls in the main urban centres like Jakarta are your best bet. Here, tourists can find an array of international brands including luxury labels catering for the emergent middle-class and expatriate population.

Shopping hours

Mon-Sun 0800-2100; some supermarkets open on Sunday. Most local markets open either very early in the morning or at dusk.

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. Outside of the major cities and tourist destinations, nightlife options are limited or non-existent, and alcohol can be hard to find.

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:
Legong: a slow, graceful dance of divine nymphs.
Baris: a fast-moving, noisy demonstration of male, warlike behaviour.
Jauk: a riveting solo offering by a masked and richly costumed demon.
Kecak (Monkey Dance): a trance dance involving 100 men chanting like macaques.

Throughout the year, many local moonlight festivals occur; tourists should check locally to see when and where festivals are taking place. Indonesian puppets are also world-famous and they are staged in various locations.

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