Pasar Sindhu, the modern face of traditional markets
Entering a traditional market in Bali can be a quite challenging experience, especially during its busy time — early dawn when business is thriving. The smell of rotten vegetables, dirty and wet narrow alleys with lines of fish and vegetable vendors have always been associated with such markets.
In Pasar Sindhu traditional market in Sanur, this is not the case. Opened in 1972, the market is the pride of the Sanur community.
Starting in 2009, members of Sanur joined hands to revitalize the once old-fashioned market and make it a clean and hygienic business place for the locals to buy a plethora of goods.
Renovation of the market’s building took place to improve shop conditions, widen alleys, repair ceilings and to refloor with white ceramic tiles.
Made Sudana, head of the market management, told Bali Daily recently that more and more people, including foreign tourists, visited the market every day.
“Foreign tourists are usually eager to learn about local spices, vegetables, tropical fruits, colorful flowers and ceremonial items sold at the market,” said Sudana.
Some of them had even taken video or photos to record life in a traditional market in Bali, he said.
Sanur is a historical tourist destination in Bali, developed during the island’s early tourism era in the early 1960s. It was Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, who had the vision to develop Sanur into Bali’s most sophisticated tourist site with the development of the island’s first international-scale hotel, the Grand Bali Beach.
Pasar Sindhu is an attractive site for tourists who want to learn about local culture.
For the Balinese, a traditional market is at the heart of their lives—a place where they can sell and buy goods. Not only that, it is place to hangout, to meet people and to get everything to prepare for various ritual events.
A number of hotels and travel agencies have already included Pasar Sindhu on their destination lists.
Every morning, several chefs from nearby hotels are seen busily accompanying their guests on a market tour.
The market has 150 vendors, 87 permanent shops and 70 seasonal sellers offering daily needs to clothes, electronic goods to Balinese handicrafts.
The market usually starts its day at 4 a.m. and finishes by 2 p.m. Five security guards and dozens of cleaning staff are ready to keep the market safe and clean.
A spacious parking lot is also available in front of the market.
Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta Putra, chairman of the Sanur Development Foundation, said the revitalization of the market cost around Rp 3.5 billion (US$374,500), all of which came from the community.
It is the foundation that is in charge of organizing and overseeing every community-based development activity in Sanur.
“We plan to build a food court, where visitors can taste Balinese cuisine served in a hygienic way,” said Putra.
The revitalization of Pasar Sindhu, he said, had benefitted local traders in the market and the
community of Sanur in general.
Traders were strongly encouraged to clean up their own sites and to change their mindset about traditional markets.
“They had to improve their attitude towards market sanitation and the way they are dealing with customers, especially foreigners,” he added.
Jro Solih, one of the traders, admitted that she was happy doing business in Pasar Sindhu.
“It used to be so dark and dirty. Now, we have a bright and clean shop,” Solih said.