When it comes to exploring an ethnic country with rich heritage, excellent shopping and excess of everything, head straight to Indonesia, a city of joy.
The ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity is correspondingly great – more than 500 languages and dialects are spoken by its people, whose fascinating customs and lifestyles are a major attraction.
The largely volcanic nature of the islands has created tall cloud-swept mountains swathed in the green of rice terraces or rainforest, dropping to blindingly bright beaches and vivid blue seas, the backdrop for Southeast Asia’s biggest wilderness areas and wildlife sanctuaries. All of this provides an endless resource for adventurous trekking, surfing, scuba diving, or just lounging by a pool in a five-star resort.
The Fashion scene
When visiting Indonesia, look for the national costume including batik and kebaya that presents a unique culture of Java and Bali.
Batik, Indonesia’s traditional fabric, has become one of the most representative items of Indonesian culture; it’s cherished as an ancient craft as well as a part of everyday life. When in Indonesia, discover the best places to buy traditional batik in Jakarta, Indonesia.
One of the oldest and largest batik companies in Indonesia, Batik Keris is also one of the most ubiquitous, with more than 125 stores across the country. First established in 1946, the company has become a trusted brand that keeps itself relevant with new collections, ranging from premium clothes to batik crafts and accessories. The store also features home decor and even aromatherapy.
Alun, Alun Indonesia
Located in Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, this retail outlet sells high-end traditional crafts, including the finest batik and its derivatives: fabric, clothing, purses, accessories, home decor, and more. If you have a big budget, this is the spot to hunt for authentic and high-quality pieces. Alun Alun’s batiks are from different localities in Indonesia, such as Yogyakarta, Cirebon, Pekalongan, Solo, and more.
First established in 1964 as part of the Sarinah brand, Pasaraya was one of the first modern department stores to open in Jakarta, created specifically to promote local fashion and handicrafts. The store moved to the Blok M area to expand its business. Pasaraya stays true to its mission by elevating local products. Beyond batik and traditional crafts, the establishment also houses traditional restaurants and cafes, making it a convenient destination to explore.
Generally a shopping mall, Thamrin City has become a popular batik destination, with dozens of brands and vendors throughout the establishment. This mall sells pieces and traditional fabric at bargain prices. You can go from one shop to another, picking items that entice you, until you head home with a bag full of affordable but high-quality batiks that are all different from one another.
Located in Jakarta’s fashion mecca of Kemang, Chic Mart showcases a collection of traditional batik, accessories, and crafts at many localities across Indonesia. This charming space has stacks of elegant items in every corner, including a lot of batik clothing, fabrics, bags, and accessories. Chic Mart also sells other locally made crafts and goods, making it a one-stop destination for various tastes.
There are hundreds of small shops inside the extensive area of Pasar Senen dedicated to selling vintage clothes. That makes this market the most notorious place in Jakarta to hunt for excellent vintage pieces. And by ‘hunt’ we mean sifting through piles of clothes to find some hidden treasures. Now, the typical traditional market shopping conditions may not be favourable by those who need air-cons to function, but anyone will light up at the sight of stylish oxford shirts and iconic polkadot flare dresses under the sign “Rp 20,000” (about Rs 200). Sure you’ll need time and patience to literally dig in through the piles, but with the huge collections and your love for vintage fashion, you’ll make a day of it.
Blok M Square is well-known in the city as a shopping centre that sells affordable goods. The place also has a little-known side as a home to some vintage clothing stores. Hidden in the basement, the Blok E part hides some vintage apparel shops selling mostly clothes but also records, cassettes and books.