How and Where to Buy Balinese Wood Carvings

This quick and easy guide covers where to go, what to look for, and how much to expect to pay.

A traditional Balinese wood-carved door.

A traditional Balinese wood-carved door.

It’s nearly impossible to leave Bali without one of the island’s locally made wood carvings. How much you spend depends on how much extra baggage you’re willing to schlep. Here, a cheat sheet to the island’s best wood carvings.

To buy a wall panel

Head to: The town of Kemenuh, one of the island’s longtime wood-working hubs, is full of galleries. Seek out the shops around Butterfly Park, which specialize in beautiful carved wall hangings.

Ask for: Native suar, a dark, caramel-brown wood with a pronounced grain that makes it resistant to cracking

Expect to pay: Around $100 for a 12-inch circular wall piece

To buy a statue

Head to: The village of Mas, where wood carvers remix traditions: You’ll see Buddhas with modern expressions and animals in yoga poses. Many studios are in private homes, but the statues are sold at local shops.

Ask for: Hibiscus wood: It has an ivory-like sheen and is malleable enough to allow for more elaborate designs.

Expect to pay: From $200 to $1,000 depending on the size of your statue.

To buy a door

Head to: The Southern village of Sukawati, where the Galih Ukir workshop employs 30 full-time craftsmen who use chisels to create their detailed patterns. See them, and you’ll understand why there are no doors as spectacular as those from Bali.

Ask for: Teak. It’s durable and water-resistant enough to be used outside.

Expect to pay: At least five grand for something intricate.

Sarah Purkrabek is a Los Angeles-based travel writer.
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