Bali Day 3 & 4: Ubud, Ibu Oka, Uluwatu & Jimbaran

Day 3 of our Bali trip was Nyepi, the day of total silence. Its when no one is allowed outdoors or make any noise or turn on any lights for an entire day. The legend says it is to fool the evil spirits visiting on this day (the Bali Hindu New Year) that there is no one on the island, and they will leave the island free from disasters for one year.

But this ruling is hardly enforced in tourist hotels, so we all had great fun the whole day. The kids made a big splash in the 2 swimming pools in the morning and evenings. For me, other than sleeping in and eating, i snuggled up in the cool hotel room finishing my Cormac McCarthy book. We also had our spa treatment.

pool day 3

On the night before Nyepi, the boys in every village try to outdo each other by building large effigies of demons and villains. In the evening, these effigies will be carried to the beach or graveyard to be burnt. Sometimes the villagers built funny effigies – cartoon characters and even drunk tourists.


The effigies (called Ogoh-ogoh) are quite impressive, some have motorized parts that move, all in all we saw almost a hundred different ones throughout the few days.


So after a very restful (for me lah) third day, we set out early again on the 4th day. First stop was Batubulan, a small village between Kuta and Ubud, to watch the Barong dance. Barong is an amusing tale mixed with some modern humour elements about mythical elements, demons and the common folk. Worth a visit if you have the time, altho the entrance fee of Rp80,000 is a little pricey.

barong dance

Lady doing that weird thing with her eyes during the dance.

barong girl

Then we wanted to do some serious shopping. Our driver took us to the Artist Market in Sukawati. This market is targeted to locals (although there are still some tourists here) so the prices far cheaper than anywhere else. If you’re planning to shop, forget about Kuta or Legian or Ubud, come here first.


A word of warning tho, the inside of the market is cramped and stuffy. So if you’re averse to it, stick to the perimeter shops outside. But you’ll be sweating anyway, why not just dive indoors to get that killer bargain.

sukawati shops

With all that energy expended for shopping, we were hungry for grub. Lunch was at the most famous makan stall in all of Bali – Ibu Oka Babi Guling. We didnt go to the cramped original stall opposite the Royal Palace, we went straight to the newer (and more comfortable) branch in Peliatan outside Ubud.

ibu oka

Herbed meat, crispy skin, deep fried innards. Mmmm… (also tried the Tosro bottled tea here).

babi guling

After lunch we went downtown Ubud, while the gang went to the Art Market in Ubud, i went opposite to check out the Puri Saren Agung, the Royal Palace and Temple. For a royal palace its pretty small.

ubud royal palace

Then a quick trip to Goa Gajah. Those are people dipping in the holy water.

mat sallehs at goa gajah

The three musketeers posing at the mouth of the Elephant Cave.

3 at goa gajah

It was about 4pm and we took a long drive down to Uluwatu in south. The weather was burning hot and dry, I had a splitting headache trying to keep awake in the car. But shortly before reaching the temple, we were rewarded with one of the most spectacular ocean views on the entire island…

uluwatu surf
uluwatu beach

Then it was to the Uluwatu temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu). Anyone who’s been here will tell you about the rowdy monkeys. Make sure you don’t enter without your guide. Ours was armed with a 5-foot stick. But the walk in was pretty well-rewarded. The temple at sunset is beautiful.

uluwatu at sunset

For our last dinner in Bali, we did one of the requisites – candlight dinner in Jimbaran. The stretch of beach from the south up to near the airport is lined with dozens of seaside restaurants, ranging from the authentic to the ultimate rip-offs. We had planned to try Lia’s Cafe based on online reviews, but our driver recommended us to check out Sharkey’s. It looked pretty good so tried it.


It turned out to be a great place, we had the fish, calamari, flame grilled chicken served with kangkung and rice. Came up to RM175 for 7 of us. And the band serenading us was pretty good (altho their pronounciation was atrocious).

seafood dinner

So after a long day we were glad to reach the hotel.

Next – Last day on Bali.


  • mott

    Clap clap clap… nice trip itinerary! Think it was planned very well..and your kids are quite adventurous! no complaints of the heat? Mmm..just thinking of ibu oka… I sat in the cramped restaurant.. i had no kids with me.. enjoyed it tremendously!

    U can also try mama dony’s at jimbaran next time. it’s the last stall on the beach..and VERY much cheaper!

  • simon

    yeah i think we did so much planning it was over-researched. but with the time and effort, our driver was also great in helping out in the tiny details. Bali w/o kids must have been fun for you!

    mama dony’s huh? ok next trip…

  • J2Kfm

    hey there, this reminded me to quickly finish my posts on Bali. Hahaha .. half year on and I’m still procrastinating.
    Nice recap you’ve done.

  • Alba

    Hello there, Happy Fool’s Day!

    Abe goes to see his rabbi.
    “Rabbi, something terrible is happening and I have to talk to you about it.”
    The rabbi asked, “What’s wrong, Abe?”
    Abe replied, “My wife is poisoning me.”
    The rabbi was very surprised by this and asks, “How can that be?”
    Abe then pleads, “I’m telling you, I’m certain she’s poisoning me, what should I do?”
    The rabbi then offers, “Tell you what. Let me talk to her, I’ll see what I can find out and I’ll let you know.”
    A week later the rabbi calls Abe and says, “Well, I spoke to your wife. I spoke to her on the phone for three hours. You want my advice?”
    Abe anxiously says, “Yes.”
    “Take the poison,” says the rabbi.

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  • Frank D Law

    Stopped by Bali on our way back from Shanghai. Loved Bali, especially Ubud which is a place we would come back to again and again.

    This is our third visit to Bali so we decided to give Ibu Oka one last chance, in view of the many superlative reviews in guide books, travel channels and magazines. Reasoning: So many cannot be wrong.

    But it looks like they can be. Although the meat itself which was served piping hot, was fairly underwhelming but flavorful enough, the crackling was still as tough as old leather shoes! It really made my DW and me wonder whether those folks who write glowing reviews of Ibu Oka and their babi guling, including Anthony Bourdain and the travel writer from Lonely Planet have ever tasted suckling pig in a Chinese restaurant? If they have, they would have tasted exactly how good suckling pig should taste like with crackling so crispy thin that every bite is to be savored! It is highly unlikely that after that, they would ever venture to describe babi guling as “amazing”, “fantastic”, “best ever” and all the silly hyperbole that have come to dominate this debate and given Ibu Oka an undeserved reputation. I have nothing against Ibu Oka per se. It is the integrity of reviews that I’m concerned about!

    To draw an analogy, if you live in a small outpost, say in the far reaches of Siberia, you may describe your local football outfit as “amazing”, “best in the world” or whatever superlative terms you may wish to employ, not out of intellectual dishonesty, but only because you have never been exposed to the silky skills of the likes of Barcelona or Manchester United.

    That is probably how it is with this “amazing babi guling” nonsense! We were in Shanghai for 9 days and tried Peking Duck and suckling pig IN SEVERAL RESTAURANTS and the stuff that they served up were slices of culinary heaven!!

    As we live in San Francisco, we have developed an affinity for the dish. We know that everyone is entitled to their opinion. But how do you judge a dish when you haven’t tasted even remotely the best? It is really like the uncultured and the philistine trying to pontificate on high-brow literature and classical music!

    I am a fan of Anthony Bourdain and look forward to his witty presentations. However, on this occasion he has dropped the baton big time! Come to think of it, I have never heard Bourdain describe any dish he is reviewing without using superlative terms. If he continues at this rate, his credibility will soon be shot!

    We remain baffled over these superlative reviews, because when we compare Ibu Oka’s babi guling to the suckling pig we have tasted in Chinese Restaurants from this side of San Francisco to Melbourne to Hong Kong to Singapore and Bayswater in London, we have to say that if the Chinese version and Ibu Oka’s babi guling are compared and placed on a scale of 1-100, the Chinese version would easily place near a hundred and Ibu Oka’s would limp in below minus 10. That is the difference between a culture with 2,000 plus years of culinary development and a rank amateur!

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