Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, located at Padangtegal, Ubud is one of the must visit places when you are in Ubud. It is also known as Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana. This sanctuary is inhibited by a specie of monkeys called the Balinese macaques. The forest serves not only as important component in the spiritual and daily lives of the villages, it is also a site for several research and conservation programs. The monkeys are very important to the Balinese culture - it is reflected in dances and stories such as the Kecak dance and the Ramayana, in statues, carvings and folk tales.
Besides being a dwelling place for the macaques, the forest also house 3 temples : The Pura Beji (Holy Bathing Temple), The Pura Prajapati (funeral or cremation temple) and the Pura Dalem Agung Temple. You can spend at least half a day here, exploring the surroundings and watch the monkeys
Address : Jl. Monkey forest, Padangtegal, Ubud, Bali
Phone : +62-361-971304
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : www.balimonkey.com
Opening hours : 8am - 6pm
Entrance Fee : 10,000/Rp watch the interaction between human beings and monkeys.
Mr Ngurah KK - a renowed artist
We were definately lucky - we met Mr Ngurah KK, a renowed artist, not only in Bali but also a painter for Unicef. Mr Ngurah KK is in his 50s and looking every bit of an artist - he has a pony tail. We were walking along Campuhan when Harry spotted an artist painting beautiful art pieces at the verandah of a gallery. We stopped to look and Mr Ngurah KK stopped painting and looked up at us. We must have been scrutinizing so fiercely into his painting because his painting is so detailed and fine - was he annoyed by us ? Harry asked a couple of questions and Mr Ngurah KK got up and invited us into his gallery. Mr Ngurah KK was kind enough to share with us his life history and some beautiful exhibits that he has done in other countries. He also showed us some of his photograhs when he was younger - yeap, he has his pony tail since then but he also kept a moustache (he was much thinner then). Mr Ngurah's wife is also an artist, so is his son. We stood at his gallery hall and admired his "young artists" pieces - very detailed, fine, colourful (lots of red, orange, yellow & green) & vibrant. Most of his paintings tell stories of Bali and the daily lives of Balinese. Eventhough we didn't buy any of the art pieces (which we love to if we have the money), Mr Ngurah KK, being a true artist, shared with us his love for art so generously.
Mr Ngurah KK's art pieces are also being displayed in the Neka Museum and in Agung Rai Museum. Upon our return from Neka Museum which is about 20minutes away from Mr Ngurah KK's gallery, we stopped by at his gallery again. We had a cool evening drink of beer together.
Where The Locals Eat!
Australian Paul Haig and his Sumatran wife Sonya have recently opened what I can only call a GREAT new addition to the seemingly endless choices in Ubud to dine, drink and hang out with friends.
Located just outside of central Ubud on Jalan Cok Gede Rai in Peliatan, this wonderful little niche is a favorite among local Balinese and Indonesians as well as long residing expatriates. The why behind that is simple…outstanding Indonesian delicacies and favorites with a Medanese flair and prices not seen in Ubud for almost 10 years.
For less than the cost of a single entree in many Ubud restaurants, a couple can fill their bellies and satisfy their driest thirst to their complete satisfaction and delight. In addition to a wonderful assortment of Indonesian culinary favorites, the drink menu offers a variety of juices, wine, beer and of course, Paul’s famous rabbit punch. Be careful with those rabbit punches because they have a kick more like a kangaroo than a rabbit!
Decorated around a Vespa theme, (a collecting passion of Paul), this delightful spot is spotlessly clean and well staffed by ladies who know their trade very well. Their well fitted kitchen includes a barbeque grill.
Most unique however is Paul and Sonya’s dedication and commitment to offer their customers the best of Indonesian cuisine, made from the freshest ingredients and at a very modest cost. On our first visit, my Balinese wife Eri and I decided to try a bit of several dishes which is the Dutch coined tradition of multiple courses called reistaffel, which we shared.
We started with Sonya’s deservedly famous Soto Ayam Medan. This means Medanese style chicken soup, but this ain’t the chicken soup made by Jewish moms…not by a long shot. Beautifully blended with curries, coconut milk and spices, heaped with generous amounts of shredded plump chicken breast meat and vegetables, this glorious take on this famous Medanese dish is nothing short than a delightful assault on one’s sense of smell and taste. Sonya doesn’t add any noodles to her interpretation of this classic dish, rather she prefers to offer it with generous amounts of chicken. I’ve had some great soups in my 14 years of full time living in Indonesia, but this one went straight to the top of my list. Even Eri, who is difficult to impress, and is no less a great cook herself, nodded in constant approval as our spoons battled each other to consume as much as possible.
Next on the list was Ayam Bekar Bumbu Pedas. This is a plump chicken leg and thigh, not the scrawny kampung or village chicken, grilled with Medanese style bumbu which is a thick marinate of various local spices. Pedas means hot, as in spicy hot, and for me it was right at my desired level of heat with awesome flavor. Forget your knife and fork, as you’ll want to pick this baby up and enjoy every bit of the tender and gloriously flavored meat. Sorry Eri! She only got one bite of that!
So, what’s next? OK, we decided on one of the most classic of Indonesian dishes, Mie Goreng and a bowl of Bakso, both served Medanese style and both with unique signatures that are hallmarks of Sonya’s mastery and culinary expertise. Once again, Sonya’s creations were awesome and the servings incredibly generous. There was simply no way that Eri and I could possibly finish all we had ordered which came to a grand total of IDR 51,000, or roughly $5.50!
No Duck For Me!
Bebek Bengil doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's huge inside - & mostly filled with tourists. There are lovely bales & outdoor grounds in the back. Service is SLOW!!! Even so, the staff (aside from the valets when you leave) is genial enough. Although this restaurant is famous for its deep fried duck, I'm not a huge fan of duck meat in general. I am, however, a huge fan of pate. I was willing to try the duck pate, but (alas!) they happened to be out of it. I opted for the guacamole with "crackers" (25,000 rp) instead, & washed that down with a pear freezie (19,000 rp). The guacamole was spicy, better than most served in the U.S. The pear freezie was the bomb! My main course was the chicken steak with fries & veggies (51,000 rp). It was fine, but nothing to rave about. Service was 5% & tax was 10%.
There are several cultural performances in Bali itself and the most watched I guess should be the Kecak Dance, otherwise known as Monkey Dance.
It is performed by a circle of 100 or more performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting "cak", and throwing up their arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana where monkeys help Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana.
It's interesting how the different chants can make such music.