Ubud Market — My experience for Souvenirs, Artefacts, Roundie Bags and more!

Whenever we go places, apart from the photo memories, I usually try to pick some souvenirs for my collection. So, from my recent trip to Bali, I was searching for some good places to shop and I found the popular Ubud Traditional Market. While all Indonesian markets are great for shopping, Ubud is much into traditional and on tourists radar, however the prices are bit steep. But the rates go cheaper as you stroll deep into the market. First let me share the basic details with you people and then will pen down my personal experience.

Location:: Locally known as 'Pasar Seni Ubud', the market is strategically located on the Jalan Raya Ubud No.35 at the centre of the Ubud town, bang opposite the Ubud Palace which makes it a must visit place for the tourists to buy handicrafts and souvenirs. The Market is divided into two blocks in the same area – East and West. While Westside is for a traditional artistic market, East is for everyday daily fundamental market requirement. One can enter from the couple of lanes on Jalan Monkey Forest. The board of Ubud Market is visible and it arrows towards the building in which market is set-up. Usually people avoid those shops and visit the ones on the streets or roads. Jalan Hanoman and The Monkey Forest roads are good options too for some window shopping!

Time: 6-8 AM to 6 PM
Best time to shop: Early mornings or in the late evening around closure. As in the mornings it is not that crowded and shopkeepers are fresh to start the day. It is a common belief that it is a good luck to do the first sale in the morning, so if you are the first customer you can stretch a bit. Also, one needs to have a tremendous bargaining skills but in a polite manner. Start with half the rate of what they say. I have shared my experience below...:)

What to expect:
The Ubud market offers some Balinese specialities, cotton sarongs, handmade jute bags, paintings, crochet, homeware, storage boxes, batik print apparels, souvenirs, jewellery, whimsical trinkets, dream catchers, hats and more. You can also see couple of happy people playing instruments on the streets to attract to their shop. One can also spot coffee shops and residential places amidst those quirky and colorful shops. Most of the goods found at the Ubud Market are made in the neighbouring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan.

Tip: Avoid buying anything from your first day of the holiday because one is excited and unaware about the general pricing. It is often helpful to decide upon the most you want to pay for an item before you start bargaining and stick to it.

My experience:
Usually the experiences differ from person to person, whatever I write essentially can not match your experience. So, as a happy kid I was strolling around the market hypnotizing myself by those lovely summer roundie bags and colorful dream catchers. Did a round of whole market first day and had in mind what to buy. Next day in the scorching heat, went to the market premises to find the empty shops, as I said no body goes in the building! Still, took my time if I can find something 'different'.

Shopkeepers there were first excited to see us but those hopes disappeared when I asked the price and moved on. Usually, Bali people are positive and helpful but it is exactly the contradictory in this market. Local shopkeepers are not wrong on their part as people come, photograph, ask, bargain and don't buy but the way they express is bit awkward. Most of the merchants quickly lose interest if you try to bargain for a reasonable price. They make fun or get angry or whisper in their local languages but gestures and expressions says it all. Made me a bit uncomfortable but still we didn't lose our smiles and moved on accepting their point of view.

What I purchased? Well, had the additional weight issues so had to stick to only the classy local stuff. So, bought 1 poncho top, fridge magnets, 2 sarongs and 2 roundie bags. Poncho I bought for 40K IDR for which I was said 200K IDR. Set of 10 Fridge Magnets were given at 100K IDR. For the sarongs, we were quoted 150K IDR which I stretched to 50K IDR for two and strangely one medium roundie bag I got one day for 100K IDR against the quoted price of IDR 400K. And when I went after a week to buy another roundie, we were said the same price for the small bag! Since the tourist season was setting in, the prices were increased in a week. So, the small roundie I got for IDR 140K and that too after a long long negotiation. Wooooh...lots of effort! But it is always fun to shop, right!?

Conclusively, one can easily be overwhelmed by the colors and vintage items, but take your time and visualise if you really want it? Ask yourself the value of the product you want and tell the final price to them. Don't argue much and move forward, if they find it feasible they'll stop you.

Overall, one can roam around and feel the Indonesian market vibes.Do not be discouraged and purchase as per your budget, requirements and choice. You can buy, wear, donate and return back...:)

Cafe Pondi - The Essence of Pondicherry in Pune! — Reviewed!

Pondicherry or Puducherry is on my bucket list for such a long time, maybe next year it is on cards. One thing for sure is the foodie in me will find the way to explore the food in the city but until then I can at least see the trailer for it in Pune at Cafe Pondi. Located on lane no. 13, opp. Joggers Park, Kalyani Nagar, the resemblance of French quarter can be seen at this restaurant, feels like eating at home. The classy bright Yellow and Blue color dominates the place. Outdoor and Indoor seatings both are simple, cosy and comfortable. The book shack for leisure noons, the 'jhoola' seating for dining, a small fountain elevates the mood. The quaint place is not only perfect for family but dates or parties.

The menu is given an interesting twist by adding the Italian and European touch to the authentic Tamil food. I loved the affordable menu which ranges from Malabar Poutine to Podi Potato Spirals, to Pineapple Rasam to Idli Waffles. Some of the must-try dishes include Appam, Moong Chilla, Paniyaram, Ratatouille Podi Crostini and Filter Coffee Brownie. Following are the dishes we got to try...
  • Karampodi Cheese Potato Soup (4.5/5)
  • Pineapple Rasam (4/5)
  • Green Moong Chilla (4/5)
  • Mixed Veg Paniyaram (4/5)
  • Murukku Nachos (4/5)
  • Ratatouille Podi Crostini (4.5/5)
  • Southern Spiced Mushroom Pizza (4/5)
  • Appam and Mixed Veg Stew (5/5)
  • Appam and Mushroom Balchao (3.5/5)
  • Dosa Sichuan (4/5)
  • Idli Waffles with Mushroom Pondi Curry (3.5/5)
  • Midnight Chocolate Tart (4/5)
  • Paan Panna Cotta (3.5/5)
  • Filter Coffee Brownie with Saffron Ice-cream (5/5)
  • Filter Coffee (4/5)
We started our lunch with the bowls of happiness. Truly! One of the best South-Indian soups I had was Karampodi Cheese Potato Soup. Puree of roasted potatoes infused with cheese and spicy Andhra mix, nothing can go wrong! It was medium-spiced, creamy, yummy and full of flavours. Highly Recommended!

Pineapple Rasam was good too but wish it was bit thin in consistency and had additional pineapple flavour. But it was nothing less in taste. Quite creative, I must say.

I love Green Moong Chilla anyways. The protein-packed lentil pancakes were lovely, crunchy and soft as well. The crust was well cooked and it was paired with fresh cucumber raita. Truly homely.

Next on our table was the Mixed Veg Paniyaram. The veggie loaded healthy dish can be eaten at any time of the day. They are made with little oil yet full of deliciousness. Nicely cooked, the paniyarams were crusty from outside and soft from inside. Well made.

Murukku Nachos was another innovative dish at the cafe. The addictive munchy was crispy and combined with salsa and cheese. Wish it had more of salsa. But the taste was nice though.

My favourite Ratatouille Podi Crostini was next. This dish had abundance use of lovely summer veggies with a bit of podi and the grilled crostini added lovely, smoky nuance to it without overpowering the taste. It was crunchy, full of veggies and had a dash of olive oil to top it, overall my kind of dish. Recommended!

Southern Spiced Mushroom Pizza was a nice attempt towards fusion. The thin-crust pizza was cooked beautifully, the only thing missing was the southern-spice. More of podi mix could have done wonders.

My super favourite main course on that day was the Appam and Mixed Veg Stew. Appams, the tasty soft hoppers in the center with the crisp and lacy edges went well with the soothing, coconuty veg stew. Appams and Veg Stew are light and perfect for a summer meal. One serving has 2 appams, totally worth it. Though, we had the tasting portion.

Another option was the Appam and Mushroom Balchao. Somehow veg stew was a clear winner for me. Balchao was spicy with some pungent smell. However, others sharing table liked it. It's a personal preference after all.

The Dosa Sichuan was super-scrumptious. Nice, crisp dosa sprinkled with podi and stuffed with Sichuan potatoes was finger-licking good. It was super awesome. Recommended!

Idli Waffles with Mushroom Pondi Curry sounded interesting but failed to impress. They had steamed well however nothing much of a difference in taste. The idli was served in waffle shape instead of regular round one, that's it. Taste-wise, the waffles were soft and paired well with the pondi curry.

Loved the Midnight Chocolate Tart. Smooth, shiny, chocolatey, rich, classy and undeniably amazing! What else can I say, go ahead and try for sure!

Paan Panna Cotta was the creamy delight that melts in your mouth. It was topped with gulkand to give a paan feeling. Adding more of paan flavours would have enhanced the taste.

A must must try and highly recommended dessert at Cafe Pondi is the Filter Coffee Brownie with Saffron Ice-cream. The chocolatey, gooey brownie with the infusion of coffee was heavenly and to balance the taste was the scoop of rich saffron ice-cream. Each bite was divine.

Last but not the least, concluded our meal with the Filter Coffee. Served in the traditional copper vessel, finely grounded coffee had the perfect decoction of frothed and boiled milk. I liked it.

Conclusively, it was a wonderful laid-back summer lunch. Service needs a drastic improvement, apart from little hitches, everything was worth visiting. Enjoy some more shots...

Cafe Pondi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato