A few months ago I ‘met’ a fellow Bali lover, shopper and interior designer on Instagram…or was it Facebook? The magic of the media world. Anyway we got chatting and after a discovery of our love for Bali homewares, Melinda of Pineapple Villa, suggested I join her for a day on her Pineapple Villa Bali Interior Design and Homewares Tour.
I would loved to have done the whole tour, however my work and budget might not have allowed a whole week of shopping! Although whispers are there is a Morocco tour in planning and I will definitely be joining that tour.
Back to the tour…I met the group at The Colony boutique hotel in Seminyak. It was a group of 19 women from all over Australia with one thing in common – a love of shopping. Some were there because they were renovating houses, some were there for business reasons or research, and some were there because it’s fun to travel in a group.
We left in two buses and headed straight to the Sukawati markets, home of arts and crafts. Bargaining skills were tested, although at these markets, it’s really just a part of the dance – the shop owners take pride in haggling the shoppers as much as the shoppers take pride in haggling. The Sukawati markets can be an assault to the senses, the smells, the heat, the noise, and the fact there are so many colourful treasures everywhere you just don’t know where to look! But if you take it slowly and take your time, there are bargains to be found. Just ask the women on the shopping tour who spent an hour and came back with bags of goodies.
Then we went to Tegalalang, one of my favourite places to shop in Bali. Tegalalang is a very long street with every imaginable homewares shop lining the street for kilometres. Timber artworks and statues, lamps and light fixtures, shell chandeliers, bathroom accessories, paintings, fabric, furniture, iron sculptures….you get my point, anything you can put on your shopping list, you can pretty much find on Tegalalang.
Our buses drove slowly, so we could point to our next shop stop and then the drivers waited while more bags were piled in. At the top of Tegalalang are the stunning rice terraces and beautiful crochet and knit fabrics. I indulged here, one skirt, one fringed bag and a table runner, all for about $30 AUD.
The group was starting to feel hungry and thirsty and in need of a swim so Melinda had arranged for a lunch stop at Junglefish. If you are heading to Bali, add Junglefish to your list of places to go. Book a cabana or the ‘cube’ and stay the day. Great food and drinks and the view from the pool….postcard perfect. We swam, relaxed, chatted, some even had a little power nap.
We finished up with a trip to Saraswati Silver, a family run silversmith business that produces stunning quality silver jewellery. First you see the family compound and gardens and the workshops, then you head into the gorgeous showroom, take a tray and start collecting the silver pieces you simply must have. It’s a great spot to stock up on gifts for family and friends too.
I left the group here and headed home, whereas they headed back to The Colony for post shopping cocktails and dinner together. I expected to have fun shopping and comparing purchased treasures with the women on the tour. I expected to find shops I hadn’t visited before and hear about even more that I needed to visit (all for research purposes of course!). But I didn’t expect the friendships I made, after just one day, and I really appreciated seeing the friendships the women on the tour made as well. I know they are all still in touch and probably sharing even more ideas about decorating and where to travel to next. By the end of the day, it was like I had spent the day with friends and that’s not something you feel on tours all the time. It’s a credit to the women, and to Melinda, for being so open and welcoming towards each other. And here was my biggest lesson, this tour is certainly fabulous for anyone who wants to see all the best in homewares that Bali has to offer in an action packed and organised week. The tour is also a great idea for women who want to travel but not necessarily alone. But more importantly, the tour helps create new friendships and maybe even business relationships amongst a group of funny, sincere and friendly women who normally wouldn’t have met in their every day lives.
I highly recommend the Pineapple Villa Bali Interior Design and Homewares Tour – great value for money and when you have a seasoned expert like Melinda organising your tour, you know you won’t come away empty handed or without brilliant memories. You may however come away with a slightly lower bank balance…it’s worth it!
For more information on these tours, head to www.pineapplevilla.com.au and make sure you follow Melinda and her travels and purchases on Facebook and Instagram.
What is it you love about shopping in Bali?
Shopping and homewares in Bali are so different from what you can find in Australia. The homewares are also generally much more reasonably priced. I love finding new and out of the way places, Bali is always changing!
What did you take away from the tour?
This trip brought together 19 women from all walks of life who shared a passion for interiors and homewares. We had an amazing week away, yes exhausting and hot but we were exhilarated by our shopping and the interior design inspiration found everywhere from our hotel, to the beautiful restaurants we dined at and especially the exclusive private homes and villas we were fortunate enough to visit..
What were your favourite treasures?
I would have to say my black timber beaded chandelier and some beautiful silver jewellery. Also my cushions from iconic designer Stuart Membery.
What are you planning now?
Several trips for next year (see Melinda’s website for details)
If people are interested in hearing more about your shopping tours…
Email is best so that people can be added to my data base to be the first to know about upcoming tours. My interior design services can be accessed via email or via social media messaging such as Facebook and Instagram