Bebek Bengil is one of the higher end eateries at Ubud. Located within walking distance from Monkey Forest, the restaurant spots several tastefully decorated alfresco style dining areas with paddy fields at the back.
The place exudes class, and that was reflected in it’s price, but fortunately, also the quality of the food.
bebek bengil, a paddy field behind the classy restaurant
Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Diner) was opened in 1990, and they have a little story on how the restaurant got the name
When we were building the restaurant, we thought long and hard about a name. Many suggestions came from our friends, but none seemed just right.
We know we wanted a Balinese name that translates well to English. However, for a long time the metaphor eluded us.
One tropical monsoon morning, when the restaurant was very close to being finished, a flock of ducks from the rice field across the road ran quacking and squawking into the restaurant and across the floor and tables. They left the muddy webbed footprints all over the place. They were our first guests, those “Dirty Ducks”
grilled duck with sweet chili sauce
We ordered two main courses, Haze had the grilled duck with sweet chili sauce (85,000 IDR) that was prepared by grilling the duck with Balinese sauce and serve with steamed rice. A side of salad and the usual Balinese style chili/tomato sauce came with the dish too.
It was sweet, spicy, and full of flavor. The portion was half a duck (duck here are generally much smaller, kampung duck?), and absolutely delightful.
bebek bengil, the original crispy duck
My lunch was the bebek bengil itself, the original crispy duck (82,000 IDR). It was half a duck steamed in Indonesian spices then deep fried for a crispy finish. The dish came with steamed rice (you can opt for sauteed potato) and Balinese vegetable.
The duck skin was absolutely crispy and delightful, there’s also undoubtedly the distinct herbal taste that has gone into the duck meat itself. It is unlike any type of roast/peking duck I’ve had, and in a sense, this was actually much better. It was a tad salty, but every bid tasty.
and frestea is everywhere
The lunch at Bebek Bengil was easily our most expensive meal in Bali, but it was also the tastiest. While Babi Guling might be the most famous food out of Ubud, but to me, the must-try when you are at Ubud is Bebek Bengil.
Address: Bebek Bengil Jalan Sugriwa, Ubud, Indonesia GPS: -8.51681, 115.26478 Tel: +62-361 975489
It’s time to continue documenting the remainder of my Bali trip while the memory is still somewhat fresh.
After spending a night at Kuta and two more nights at Sanur, we moved to Ubud.
Located at central Bali, Ubud is about one and a half hours away from Kuta on a cab, which in Balinese traffic, only covers around 35-40 kilometers.
Night at Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali
The most happening place in Ubud must be Jalan Monkey Forest, a street filled with many hotel/hostel/home stays, restaurants, art galleries, and touristy shops. It is a (mostly) narrow one way street with cars that travels no faster than you could jog.
The relatively higher elevation of 200+ meters above sea level and the abundance of greenery at Ubud gave the place a slightly cooler and more pleasant temperature and than the coast.
Sri Bungalows with lush green padi field at the back
We checked into Sri Bungalows located on Jalan Monkey Forest and paid US $60 via agoda.com for the room that had a King size and another Twin bed. The wifi only works for one device at a time, but it won’t be a holiday if you constantly have to be on the internet, right?
At the back of the hotel (which was a series of “bungalows” with 4 rooms each, 2 on ground & 2 on 1st floor) is a swimming pool, and next to the swimming pool are lush green paddy fields. I’m not sure if these are real farmer’s paddy fields or they’re there only for the hotel guests, but they’re sure beautiful and very relaxing just to stare at.
artsy stuff all over Ubud, all for sale
All along Jalan Monkey Forest and a few streets around it, there are art shops. Many many art shops. Ubud is the art and crafts hub of Bali, and it may as well be the art & crafts hub of South East Asia. Throw a stone in any direction at this place and chances are you’ll hit a painting.
You can find art pieces from from 100,000 IDR cheap paintings to works done by famous Indonesian artists that fetches a small fortune.
monkey forest at Ubud, the prime tourist attraction
Monkey Forest (naturally located at Jalan Monkey Forest), also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, is a sanctuary with over 500 long-tailed macaques roaming about in the forest among the trees and temples.
mom, elder sibling, and baby monkeys
Entrance to Monkey Forest is 20,000 IDR (exchange rate was at 10,000 IDR to 3.40 MYR at time of travel). You get a small guide map and plenty of advertisements. There are 2-3 entrances into the sanctuary, and ticket counters are right next to each of them.
There are villagers selling bananas, peanuts, and other fruits you can purchase to feed the primates.
obviously these Australians were braver than me with the monkeys
It doesn’t take more than an hour or so to explore the entire Monkey Forest. There were certainly a lot of monkeys, and some of them quite daring too if food is presence. Fortunately, the monkeys are non aggressive for the most part.
I didn’t dare letting these tailed cousins sit on my lap or climb on me, but some of these Aussie tourists were more daring. (I still remember how hard the monkey bit me while filming for Project Alpha at Tambun, luckily its teeth were filed)
and I tried the famous cafe Luwak, Haze thought it was gross
We also stopped by a Bali Pesto Cafe along Jalan Monkey Forest cos they serve Kopi Luwak. For those who are not familiar with this special type of coffee, do read:
Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is one of the world’s most expensive and low-production varieties of coffee. It is made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract.
This cup of kopi luwak cost me 46,000 IDR including tax, which translate to something like 1.5 cups of Starbucks.
I had it black and did not add any sugar, and true to its reputation, the coffee wasn’t very bitter and carry a pleasant aroma. It pretty nice coffee, but I don’t see the what the hype is about though.
Then again, I couldn’t be 100% sure that the coffee they served me was in fact, kopi luwak. Will try it again next time.
this is how you transport chicken in Bali
And after that 3 dogs on motorcycle photo in the last picture of Kuta post, I shall end this post with a photo of this chicken transporter Haze managed to shoot while we were riding on the rental motorbike around Ubud.
While Bali isn’t exactly a dining destination, there are several “must eat” places on the island. One of them is Ibu Oka’s Babi Guling at Ubud, partly made famous by Anthony Bourdain, the person whose job I wouldn’t mind swapping with.
the new branch of Babi Guling Ibu Oka at Ubud, Bali
For those unfamiliar with this dish, Babi Guling literally translate to “rolling pig”, and has it’s name taken from the way the pig is prepared – by puttin the smallish pig on a stick and keep rolling it over coconut husk fire. The pig must previously be stuffed with shallots, garlic, galangal, lemon grass and dried shrimp, among other things. This is to add flavor while removing any pungent “pork” smell.
2 sets of bali guling with rice
We visited the branch of the original Ibu Oka Babi Guling, a cleaner and bigger place with proper table and a much airy environment.
One reason I choose this location at Jalan Raya Desa Mas is that we had passed the restaurant on the way to Ubud and hence I knew how to get there, and secondly, the original place has been written to death and there is no need for yet another article for it, I suppose.
soup, rice, and the chili paste with a kick
We arrived there at around noon on a weekday, the place had a healthy stream of diners, but no huge crowd as you would find at the original warung.
We ordered a set with rice, vegetable, pork roll, fried meat, sausage, and pork skin for IDR 30,000 and another set with rice, “complete meat”, and soup for IDR 50,000.
and yes, fanta remains very popular at Bali
To be honest, I can’t tell what the fuss is about. The meal turned out to be very average for me (but in the case of Bali, above average), the meat was a little too gamy and still carry a bit of pungent smell. The skin was too tough, the sausage too is something I wouldn’t order again, it was a bit too “unrefined”. Our roast pork and Chinese sausage triumph this any day.
That being said, the soup was rather tasty, and with a bit of their spicy chili paste, the combination of meat and rice was decent too.
Still, all that hype, it was a bit of a let down.
Perhaps the next time around I”ll try the main branch to see if there’s any difference, but for now, babi guling isn’t one of my must-eat item at Ubud, but I’ll still eat it if it wasn’t out of the way.
Babi Guling Ibu Oka 2
Jalan Raya Desa Mas,
Ubud, Bali 80571
GPS: -8.530454, 115.271631
One of the most important item on our itinerary for Bali is scuba diving. Bali is one of the few places in this part of the world where there is almost a guarantee that you’ll dive with the otherwise very elusive Manta Rays, and there’s also a good chance in spotting the biggest bony fish in the world – the weird and wonderful Mola Mola, also known as Sun Fish.
the beach at Sanur before heading to Nusa Penida
Prior to the trip, I did some research on the various dive centres at Bali (and there were a lot of them) and arrived at no conclusion, so I asked Edvin for suggestion and Bali Scuba was recommended, it turned out to be a good one, so thanks buddy!
the three dive sites at Nusa Penida that we went to
There are many dive sites in Bali offering very different diving experiences. There’s the USS Liberty wreck at Tulamben, white tip sharks that is common at Gili island, muck diving for macro photography at Seraya, and more.
However, since my goal was to see Manta Rays and Mola Mola, I chose Nusa Penida as my destination.
Bali Scuba is located at Sanur
The dive center charges US $145 for three boat dives at Nusa Penida, and the package comes with hotel transfer, drinks, and a lunch served on the speed boat. Equipment can be rented at extra charge, and extra wet suit is recommended (5mm wet suit rented at $5).
To tag on for snorkeling only, the fee was US $50, Haze does not dive yet, so she went aboard for a snorkeling trip, that was the initial plan anyway.
abundance of manta rays at Manta Point
We left Sanur at around 9 in the morning and our first dive was at the famous Manta Point, located at the Southern part of the island.
Even before jumping into the water, there were already sightings of those gentle giants swimming close to the surface.
2 mantas in a mating dance
I was wearing the rental 5 mm wet suit for the dive, and spent over 40 minutes in the water that was 22-23 Celsius. A bit too cold for me, but bearable, a hood and extra thermal guard would probably be a good idea.
My previous coldest diving temperature was at Aquaria KLCC, but 22-23 Celsius is a big difference with 24-25 Celsius.
the graceful devil ray
The dive though, was definitely worth it. While the water at Manta Point wasn’t particularly clear and there were even debris (some banana leaves, plastic wrappers and such from offerings made by boatmen), the sight of these huge fish was amazing.
There were probably over a dozen mantas at the site and some were doing their mating dance too. A fantastic dive for sure.
mola mola: hello, diver: say cheese!
The second dive was at Crystal Point to hunt for the elusive Mola Mola.
The dive master said it’ll be cold on this dive, so I put on two wet suits this time (Haze has already abandoned snorkeling after being shocked by the 23 C water temperature at first site), but it was not nearly enough for the 17 Celsius water temperature at this site.
It was FREEZING! It was so cold I think I’d need at least a thermal layer, 2 wet suits, gloves, hood, and probably socks too.
But we saw two mola mola, so it was definitely worth it. I only managed to take four photos in the 20+ minutes we were underwater. I was shaking too much to operate the camera, basically.
Other than the temperature, the current at Crystal Point is also something to be reckoned with. There is sometimes a down current that can pull inexperience divers towards the deep slope, you need to always stay close to the coral & dive master and monitor depth constantly. A Japanese diver with another group was seen being pulled by the current while we were doing our safety stop and our DM had to help him out.
Crystal Point is definitely only suitable for those who have a bit more experience in diving.
underwater seascape at North Coast, Nusa Penida
We had lunch on the boat, took a bit of rest and then moved to the 3rd dive site of the day. This time at the much warmer North Coast of Nusa Penida. The operator usually would have a repeat at Crystal Point as third dive if you don’t spot any mola mola on first attempt.
North Coast offers drift diving opportunity, and after the two very cold water, I was happy we agreed to do something relaxing for the final dive.
then we meet another mola mola at 37 meter
And as luck would have it, we met another mola mola at this site. The dive master did mention that while there is a chance to see the sun fish here, it is exceedingly rare, we were very lucky.
The photo taken here turned out to be almost exactly the same as the one from previous site, and I think a couple of us accidentally went a little too deep chasing mola at 37 meter.
hey look, a scorpion fish
After the encounter with the sunfish (lasted but a few minutes), the remaining dive was a more leisure and less interesting affair. There were scorpion fish, moray eel, and more coral fish. We finished the day after 40+ minutes underwater.
It was tiring, and definitely a very rewarding day diving at Nusa Penida.
The photo below is an ariel view of Waterbom at Kuta, Bali. Yes, those are the awesome water slides from the big tower amongst the tropical trees.
ariel view of Waterbom park at Bali
On our first day at Bali, we spent half a day at this water park. The park has more than 17 water slides, from the pretty relaxing Superbowl to the super thrilling Boomerang and Climax, there’s something for everyone. Check out the 1 minute video to get an idea of what’s at Waterbom.
In the video, Boomerang was probably the scariest of them all. Climax though, is an almost vertical slide that drops you down at a speed of up to 70 km/h. That was scary, and unfortunately camera wasn’t allowed on that slide.
Some rides required a tube (single or double), some a sled mat, and others without any protection.
Park entrance is $26 USD per person, and you can pay that in IDR equivalent too. There are also locker and gazebo facility for extra charge. Meals are at least 3 times the price of what you’d expect from outside (though the fried rice I ordered were plenty delicious), but hey it’s a theme park.
We had an awesome half-day at Waterbom, and I think it is a place worth visiting for the thrill seekers. I only wish that the water slide tower comes with an escalator, repeatedly walking up to some 4-5 stories high can get tiring after a while.