Beyond a beach bronze glow and a smile, there’s plenty to bring home from your trip to Indonesia. Check out our Indonesia souvenirs roundup of what’s worth bringing back from this Southeast Asian paradise – and why each of them is a little remnant of the country’s fascinating cultures.
Few head to the sandy shores of Bali or the crumbling temple architecture of Yogyakarta for the express purpose of shopping – but for visitors, it’s hard to avoid spending a hefty amount of time perusing souvenirs. Indonesia’s souvenirs and handicrafts are spectacular examples of intricate artistry and painstaking skill – and most would have a hard time leaving without taking a few of them along.
We’ve founded up our all-time favourite souvenirs to buy in Indonesia, and why each of them is worth the extra suitcase space. From UNESCO Intangible Heritage to stunning hand-woven textiles, these are the souvenirs with a little something extra.
Wayang Golek, Indonesian Wooden Puppets
These classically Indonesian wooden puppets might look like the odd souvenir or trinket, but what they actually are is beyond what most would expect. The art of Indonesian puppetry – not so unlike the Wayang Shadow Puppet Theatre, which is actually a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage – are a favourite performance art within Indonesia. This ancient art form has roots in some of the country’s most integral cultural stories, and the artistic detail that goes into creating them is astounding to say the least.
Though you might find replicas of lower quality in other parts of Indonesia, the very best place to find them is in shops within Bandung, Java. Depending on the size, intricacy and materials, Wayang Golek will set you back about US$ 50 and up – but for a cultural souvenir this unique, it’s worth it.
Organic Soaps, Creams and Incense
Bali is ground zero for herbal remedies and healing, and in no other place in the world will you find better organic cosmetics. This comes from the Balinese’ strong connection with holistic health, which hinges on using natural remedies and herbal concoctions to sooth and heal ailments. The coolest part? Balinese organic soaps, creams and incense are made using ingredients you could find in most local gardens (or perhaps in a Jamu-making workshop), which makes these souvenirs literally made out of what makes Bali special.
The shop Bali Herbal is a great place to browse a collection of herbal and organic keepsakes and cosmetics. Most will run around US$ 2 to 6, so it’s also a great and affordable gift to take home for your family and friends!
Indonesia is full of delicious things, but not many come to the country expecting to find incredible chocolate. Surprisingly, Carang Sari is home to the famous POD Chocolate Factory, which is the historical home of Indonesia’s very own, home-made confectionery. So popular has the local brand become that the factory creates a dizzying variety of flavours, with some particularly delicious selections running up to US$ 50 a bar!
Like any good souvenir, the best place to get this “keepsake” is right at the source: POD Chocolate Factory. Located in the Carang Sari area on Bali. Careful, though – if you aren’t mindful, you might have a hard time getting these back to your home country as gifts before you eat them all yourself!
Indonesian Batik paintings and textiles are perhaps one of the most significant and loved handicraft exports in the country. These stunning pieces of delicate dying, painting and crafting are recognised as testaments to Indonesia’s own Intangible Cultural Heritage, so it comes as no surprise that a few keepsakes piggy-backed on the beauty of batik.
Rather than simply buying Batik, many clever travellers will also buy the intricate stamps used to create them. Painstakingly crafted out of copper, these stamps are usually quite expensive – but are perhaps the most unique thing you could take home with you.
Batik is most famous in Yogyakarta, Java – a city brimming with heritage and culture. Anywhere that Batik is sold will likely sell the stamps as well, but expect to pay at least US$ 50 to 100 dollars for each!
Endek Balinese Sarongs
Unlike Batik, Endek Balinese sarongs are woven rather than simply dyed – which makes them one of the most intricate handicrafts you’re likely to find in Indonesia. These incredible pieces of fabric can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to create, and are almost exclusively found in the village of Tenganan in Bali. The artisans here make these by hand, so this purchase is also an incredible way to support the locals on your visit.
Tenganan Village in Bali is the very best place to pick up an Endek sarong. But watch out! Your pocket book will be a full US$ 50 – 100 lighter after picking up just one.
The people of the Celuk villages are highly skilled silver craftsmen, who create intricate jewellery including rings, earrings, bracelet statues and a host of other decorative pieces. These aren’t just for tourists, though – the jewellery created here often adorn the arms and necks of local Indonesian women, and boast incredibly intricate designs that take an enormous amount of skill to craft. These designs are wholly unique from other jewellery throughout Asia and the world, so a piece or two will be something you can treasure for generations.
The villages of Celuk are located in Bali, and it’s pretty easy to get to them as Celuk jewellery becomes more and more popular with visitors. Items like rings and bracelets usually start around $US 20, but can vary in price depending on the alloy of the precious metal, and the intricacy of the design.
The villages of Celuk are famous for its silver jewelry including rings, ear rings, bracelet statues and many more things on offer. The prices here are quite reasonable and you can pick up a ring from $20.
Your hunt for Indonesia’s best souvenirs doesn’t start until your journey there! Our customisable Indonesia journeys take you through some of the country’s best artisan villages and markets.