Every place we visit, I like to post photos that capture the everyday magic of a place. For Indonesia, I combined this post to encompass all of Indonesia versus each place since our time was more compressed. Enjoy!
There is a famous yoga studio in Ubud called the Yoga Barn, so I went to check out a Vinyasa class in the afternoon. The studio is incredibly beautiful and it’s in a traditional Balinese structure with a high thatched roof. It gets a nice breeze and really peaceful. Next door is a circular building with the bathrooms and even that has a koi pond as the roof. Pretty impressive.
Class itself was good, not as focused on the breath as the vinyasa classes I’m used to. I appreciated the teacher giving me some individual feedback and it was challenging if you wanted it to be. I think I preferred the yoga classes in Thailand more, but that’s just a teacher style preference.
We did some sightseeing around Ubud today and visited the Puri Lakisan museum and Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The museum was a good primer on the evolution of Balinese art and there were some really nice pieces in there. Then we walked down to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary and temple, which was built around the 13th century. Most of Bali is Hindu (with some Buddhist element) so a lot of the artwork have Hindu themes and the temples are of course Hindu. But the real tourist attraction are the monkeys here. They are all over the place! It’s really sad that the tourists feed the monkeys—they sell bananas right outside the entrance. It’s made the monkeys quite aggressive and if you go near them, they will often try to take things from you. We saw one woman sit down next to one and then it grabbed her arm and bit her!
The banyan trees are really impressive and you can go down some stairs into a narrow gorge where the sides are covered in tree roots. It’s very much a rainforest and makes you wonder how the rest of Ubud looked before there were so many rice paddies.
The temple itself was quite nice, but we didn’t go in since you had to rent proper attire to go in. We’ve seen a lot of temples on our trip. =) Overall, a beautiful sanctuary—we just wish the tourists would stop feeding the monkeys.
Suckling pig at Ibu Oka! This is what we’ve been waiting for. Known for its appearance on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, it’s gotten a lot of hype as Bali’s best babi guling. It opens at 11am and by the time we get there at 11:30am, a lot of the tables are filled and they’re already out of crispy skin. We order two “separates,” essentially you get a sampler plate of all the types of meat with rice and soup separate. At 50,000 IDR, it’s twice the price of Warung Babi Guling in Sanur. But it comes out and looks like its twice the amount of food!
I get a Teh Botol drink to go with it, which is a popular Indonesian drink. Tastes like sweet tea.
The verdict is that the meat is better than Warung Babi Guling in Sanur though I prefer the crispy skin at Warung Babi Guling. We gobbled everything down, no problem. As we were finishing, a roast pig arrived via motorbike and the chef started cutting it up. Inside, you can see a ton of spices that were roasted with the pig to give it flavor and they baste it with coconut water while roasting. Each pig apparently takes several hours and they start at 3am every morning. Once they sell out, they close up shop around 2 or 3pm.
If you walk north of our B&B for 5 minutes, you come upon a cute café in the middle of the rice paddies called Sari Organic. It’s got great views and good healthy eats that are from their organic farm next door. Mike got a salad and I ordered the vegetable quiche. It was nice to relax with the great views and food was really good too!
Ubud is about 45-60 min north of Sanur in the countryside. It’s known for its art community and scenic rice paddies. We’re spending our last 2 nights in Indonesia here, a change of pace from the beach. There are tons of art galleries (good and bad), cute little boutiques, and organic cafes. We are staying at a B&B called Sawah Sunrise, which is in the middle of rice paddies and a 15 minute walk from the main town area. It’s beautiful, complete with its own nature soundtrack (which we found funny that reviewers on TripAdvisor complained about). There are only 4 rooms. Overall, it’s very nice, but I think next time we may pick one that’s closer to town.
Our last night in Sanur, we went to check out Pregina Warung which got high reviews on TripAdvisor. They are known for the crispy duck, so naturally we ordered the duck and also some chicken in an Indonesian red sauce called madadonese. The duck was certainly crispy but we think Peking duck still wins over this one. The madadonese chicken was tasty but I’m still thinking about the amazing chicken we had in Labuanbajo at Pesona!
On our last full day in Sanur, we decided hmmm we should probably do something today other than read by the beach. I was finally feeling better and I had really wanted to go surfing in Bali, but being sick put a damper on those plans. We took a quick cab ride over to Kuta, which has a good beach break. Kuta is the more developed area of the Bali beaches complete with McDonald’s, Starbucks, all the surf shops, and malls. We are definitely glad we stayed in more laid back Sanur versus Kuta. It was drizzling on and off and the waves looked a little big, but we went in anyway. You can rent boards every 5 feet on the beach for $5/hour. It was really fun and so nice to be on a board in the water again. We caught some fun waves (and got pummeled some too).
Bali is known for its roast suckling pig, known as babi guling. Ibu Oka in Ubud was made famous by Anthony Bourdain when he visited is for No Reservations Indonesia, so we’ll be sure to check that out in Ubud. But there is also a decently well known babi guling place in Sanur, just a 5 minute drive from our hotel. We hopped on a bemo and told him to take us to McDonald’s (we knew it was across the street). We couldn’t find Warung Babi Guling (warung means restaurant) at first and when we asked someone where it was, they didn’t really know. Oh no—hopefully this isn’t one of our fruitless food searches. I could tell Mike was getting suspicious already—I always drag him on food hunts and they don’t always work out haha. Luckily the next person we asked knew where it was and we found it!
Always a good sign that it is frequented by locals. We got two of the babi guling plates and some fruit drinks that we saw everyone drinking. Still not sure what was in it, but it tasted like orange juice with palm sugar? It had a strange sugary aftertaste that we couldn’t place.
The babi guling came out and was really good! It’s actually a plate full of pork a ton of different ways. Pork satay was Mike’s favorite and I really like the pork bones in the soup it came with. Lots of different fried parts of pork—always delicious but I didn’t always know which part it was. We also had a chunk of crispy pork skin which was really good but Mike was creeped out by the hair still on it.
This was our cheapest meal in Bali at 25,000 IDR per plate ($3). Conclusion was that it was good, but maybe not worth traveling for. I still prefer Hawaiian roast pig! We’ll compare with Ibu Oka in Ubud when we head up there.
At the recommendation of our dive instructor (who always stays in Sanur when he comes to Bali), we went to Massimo’s for dinner. It was packed! The pasta was so good we went 2 nights in a row. Best Italian we’ve had on our trip—Italian is essentially everywhere we’ve realized, Italian and pizza. The second night we even had to wait for a table. I got the homemade fettucine with lamb and ricotta and Mike got orrechiette with chili garlic sauce and olives. Delicious! And we also started a trend of eating gelato after dinner every night in Bali. =) Massimo’s had great gelato outside and we also went to Gelato Secrets down the street a few times as well.