Of Pork and Monkeys – Visiting Ubud in Bali

So while this trip was the first time I went to check out Bali’s temples, it was also my first time that I made it out to Ubud. This inland town is famous as an arts district, and one could really spend quite a lot of time there, but we only managed a day trip this time around as we stayed in Seminyak. Not much time to indulge really, but two things we did that I thought I’d talk about:

First after an hour’s drive, we had to try the famous Babi Guling at Ibu Oka. This restaurant that specializes in Indonesian style suckling pig is so famous that it’s open a few branches just around Ubud, so you might not be taken to the original one – this one we visited was at Jalan Suweta.

Bali Ubud Ibu Oka Sign
Hello Ibu Oka! This is the Jalan Suweta branch
Bali Ubud Ibu Oka Mosaic
You definitely know what they’re serving up just by checking out the mosaic artwork on the floor…

The Babi Guling itself was pretty good – for just 30,000 IDR for the lunch special, you get a plate of rice with various forms of pork/skin in a dish. It can get a little spicy, be warned, but overall a nice meal. Apparently you can get good or just as great versions for much cheaper if you know where the locals go, but as far as a tourist spot goes, it’s still affordable and the food is good.

Bali Ubud Babi Guling
The piece right on top is the skin which was crispy, the bottom one is fried pork which was a little too fried for my liking. There’s a sausage looking thing in black on the left, and right behind is the original stringy babi guling topped with spices. Yummy!

The ambiance is pretty nice – an open air covered eating house. The random pig statues were a little bit strange, but overall a fairly decent place that’s clean and airy, even if a little humid in the midday heat.

Bali Ubud Ibu Oka Pig Statue
Yeah you’ll have these interesting statues watch you over lunch…


Another popular tourist site that we checked out was the famous Monkey Forest. It was a good way to stretch our legs after a long car ride and check out some of the local flora and fauna.

Bali Ubud Monkey Forest Foliage
Looks like a normal innocent forest right? Well…

As its name implies, the monkey forest is the home to a whole troop of long tailed macaques which you can see up close – no barriers or cages here, you’re literally in a shady steamy forested area with monkeys scuttling all around you. Right from the car park you can already see these little rascals climbing along the fences and through the trees.

Bali Monkey Forest Grooming
Grooming in progress, do not disturb!
Bali Ubud Monkey Forest Baby
Spot the baby!

As monkeys are, they will naturally be curious and do come quite close. While they generally are more mischievous than anything else, I suggest carrying as little as possible with you because these guys will swipe anything they can get their hands on. I saw lots of tourists have their bags pulled and maps stolen, and while there are several wardens in the main clearings who are there to help you get your things back, I’d suggest not risking your valuables and just keeping everything loose hidden and closed in your bag.

Bali Ubud Monkey Forest Ticket Entrance
Ticket Entrance, and where you can buy monkey food if you so feel like it.

Technically you can feed the monkeys some official bananas that you can purchase, but personally I would avoid doing that because you never quite know what makes an animal aggressive, but food definitely makes them a little wild! These monkeys are quite comfortable around human beings and still quite wild – one bared his teeth rather menancingly and started advancing towards me when I pointed my camera at him, so I backed off quite quickly. The small point and shoot camera did make it easier to conceal in my pockets from thieving monkeys though.

Bali Ubud Monkey Forest Statue
Lots of monkey statues can be found amidst the forest. There is a temple that you can visit here if you don’t mind a little walk
Bali Ubud Monkey Forest Pipe
The monkeys are incredibly smart – this one was using a tool to figure out how to turn the pipe and get water out of it to drink!

This is one of those tourist sights people recommend you to see, which is nice perhaps if you’ve never really encountered tropical forests before, as the park is quite small and shaded so the walking around is quite manageable. I personally like animals enough, but we do get similar monkeys back home in Singapore as well, though perhaps not in such large numbers, so I wasn’t really that enamored with these ones.

Bali Ubud Monkey Forest Person
Some people think this is adorable, I’d be screaming bloody murder, and I wouldn’t encourage such behaviour!


Did you do touristy things in Ubud? What are those worth checking out and those you should skip? Share them here!

Need more travel inspiration?
Sign up now and get the latest blogposts straight in your mailbox. Also, exclusive discounts and perks to help you travel better! (No spam, just travel goodies!)

Leave a Reply