Viva La Vegan!

Tuesday 21 August – Home Sweet Home & Rice Fields

Had a bit of a sleep in. There are a couple of vegetarian options available at Yuliati's House. I had the fried banana served with fruit and tea:


Ramona and Frank ended up changing from where they were staying to Yuliati's House for the next two nights.

Ramona, Jean Paul and I headed to lunch at Bali Vegan warung, a Loving Hut style about a 5 minute walk from where we staying while Frank caught up on some sleep. I had avocado juice without sugar that really needed sugar Rp 20 000 (approximately AU$2 – move the decimal point 4 places to the left), Ramona had the Tropical drink with pineapple, basil and lemon Rp 15 000, Jean Paul had the young coconut Rp 15 000:


I had the Stir Fry green bean and tofu Rp 20 000:


Jean Paul had the Fried Rice Rp 20 000:


Then we walked around a bit in the main area of Ubud and found a rice field to walk through.



Ubudsari: self-sufficient organic farm - Dicarik Warung (warung in the rice field) is an organic farm with a little restaurant in the middle of a mass of rice fields. It’s gorgeous and I just love how all the elements of nature work in unison so well – as everything should be, to be honest. Like the top fields get water which then goes to the ones underneath. All is perfectly organised and the area is lush and green.

We walked back to see Frank who had a great rest while we were exploring. We ended up staying at home for a bit before heading out for dinner at a flash looking restaurant called Miro’s Garden Restaurant where I ordered the Sayur Lodeh – eggplant, veges, tempeh in coconut milk with rice Rp 45 000:


Wasn’t as good as we hoped the food would be but it was lovely atmosphere and company of course. We walked back to the home stay and stayed up chatting until well after midnight.

Wednesday 22 August – Monkey Forest & Ubudsari

Today I had the other veg option on the menu: banana pancakes without egg and milk along with fruit and tea:


Ramona, Frank, Jean Paul and I then started out walk to Monkey Forest Road (Jl Wanara Wana) to get to Monkey Forest where the monkeys are actually free to roam – I was looking forward to this. In the Lonely Planet guide it says “the monkeys are nothing like the doe-eyed monkeys on the brochures.”

Frank and Jean Paul had something to eat from a warung. Ramona and I decided to get something small at the Bali Vegan warung next door as we weren’t sure how long it would take to get to the forest, probably around 30 minutes. We ended up sharing the sate skewers 3 pieces Rp 15 000:


We ended up taking quite a lot of time walking to Monkey Forest as Frank wanted to get a good price for a fast ferry to Gili Islands. He started out at Rp 700 000. I think he stopped at literally every tour place on the way – I also encouraged this. Ended up getting a good price where Jean Paul had also booked his (slower) trip to Gili for Rp 550 00. See, it pays to shop around!


Monkey Forest was great and overwhelming with a reported 605 macaque monkeys wandering around and getting up to mischief.



We paid Rp 20 000 to get in. You can also buy bananas to feed the monkeys.


There are people and monkeys everywhere with three temples within the area.


 It was great to see the monkeys is a space that is quite natural for them – a massive forest with many big trees and branches for all the monkeys to play, swing and chase each other on. The monkeys come right up to people all the time which is either a good or bad experience depending on the person!


If people read the signs, you can see that the monkeys won’t hurt you if you remain calm and give them the food if they want it. If they think that you are hiding food they will grab your bag and find it! I guess it can be scary for people – in particular children – for monkeys climbing on them, but they don’t mean any harm, especially the little ones.

Jean Paul had a plastic bag with a pair of shorts that he’d bought early that day at a gypsy/hippy store. An older male monkey thought that there was food in the bag, so after Jean Paul surrendered the bag to him and he realised the shorts weren’t edible, he got his ripped bag and shorts back. Later on when Jean Paul was sitting down a baby monkey sat next to him and pulled out the plastic bag from his pocket. Ever so cute pics of the two of them:

JP_and_monkey_in_pocket JP__monkey_conversing

JP_and_monkey JP_monkey

Later on, a monkey spotted the blue lid of my 1.5 litre plastic water bottle in my bag and wanted it. I said I didn’t have any food, but he or she was after the bottle! After pulling the water from my bag he or she opened the lid to the amazement and amusement of the crowd of people who had gathered around and then poured out the water onto the ground to drink! Unfortunately none of this is on my camera… I poured out the rest of the water for the monkeys and threw the water bottle in the bin.

I love this photo of a mother monkey and her baby:



There was a monkey who was a bit sleepy and was bleeding from behind. I went to one of the forest helpers to let him know. He wasn’t concerned in the slightest about the monkey and said he’d let his boss know – tomorrow! Not impressed at all and vented this to Jean Paul who said that they’re not there for the monkeys, rather the tourists. He’s right. It’s sad.



We asked another tourist to take a photo of the four of us with a couple of monkeys behind us. When the photo was being taken, one of the monkeys jumped on top of me



And then proceeded to continue to try to eat the plastic cup. L-R: LC, Jean Paul, Frank & Ramona. I love these pics!


This was an issue I had with the forest – there was rubbish that the monkeys would play with and try to eat to which all the tourists seemed amused. To me, it’s not amusing that a monkey eats a cigarette packet or pulls open a packet of wet wipes to taste them. There were bins in a lot of places, all people had to do was to put their rubbish in them. Or at the very least pick it up when the monkey had claimed their stuff!

Another temple:



Stream through the forest:



When we were leaving a lady walked in making offerings with a dog who chased after a few monkeys! If you can get over these annoyances it’s a great thing to experience. We didn’t buy any food to feed the monkeys as you can watch others interact with them when feeding.

After Monkey Forest, we walked straight to - where Jean Paul, Ramona and I were yesterday – for the sunset.



It was a bit cloudy so we didn’t get much of a sunset but we had some great food at Ubudsari self-sufficient organic farm – not to be confused with Sari Organik I ordered Juwuk Manis – lemon, ginger and pineapple juice Rp 15 000:


along with Lah Kangkung – stir fried water spinach Rp 12 500 with white rice Rp 5 000:


Here's a photo Jean Paul took of his Gado Gado that Frank also ordered:


Tonight was the last night with all four of us together. It was a great night and great company.

Thursday 23 August – Villa Kitty & BARC

Jean Paul left early to go to Gili islands for a few days before he would meet me back at Yuliati's House when a couple of his girl friends from Italy were coming over.

I decided just to have fruit today for breakfast as I wasn’t feeling 100% - think I have the Bali belly that people speak of.


My Brisbane friend, Ruth who now lives in Sydney and works for Voiceless is in Bali for a yoga retreat. I hopped on a motorbike so we could meet up at Villa Kitty, a cat rescue and adoption place run by an Australian, Elizabeth Suttie (who grew up in Papua New Guinea like me!) since March 2011. Ruth and I got to meet so many cats and dogs which was great as I haven’t been patting any of the street cats and dogs I’ve met – this is hard.



Here’s some photos of Ruth and I with a few of Elizabeth’s cat friends:






Elizabeth is getting a new building made for the kitties. There were a lot of workers who needed to be fed, we had some of the food prepared for them – it was great! Eka the cook makes food daily for the cats. Every Sunday she also feeds all the two legged family and workers - drop by for Sunday lunch if you're in the area. Tofu, tempeh, fritters, cooked jackfruit (my new favourite thing), eggplant, cucumber, rice etc:


and Tumeric juice:


After lunch Ruth and I then decided to visit the dogs at Bali Dog Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre (BARC) a local dog rescue and adoption place. Ruth had found a couple of puppies along the side of the road in a ditch on Lodtunduh yesterday when her and another girl from the yoga retreat were out walking. She rescued them, brought them to BARC, sponsored them and hopes that they will be adopted very soon. They don’t stay still for very long, but here’s some photos I took of Devi and Shanti:






NOTE: Unfortunately Devi passed away on 4 Sept due to both Devi and Shanti carrying an illness. It was in the incubation stage until a couple of days previous when they both started showing symptoms. They both received treatment but Devi's body and immune system were not strong enough. Ruth was told she died while with BARC staff and she was not in pain, her body literally gave up on her. Ruth is obviously devastated. Here’s some more photos of them.

Neither Villa Kitty or BARC get any money from the local government, they rely entirely on donations and funds from others. So if you like the work that they do, please feel free to donate some money to them when you get a chance or encourage your friends and family to donate to them for your next birthday or for Christmas.

I ended up getting a massage at a place close to home that had a shower there also. That night, Frank, Ramona and I went to Dewa Warung for our last dinner together. I’m going to miss my travel friends being around. I got a simple dish of rice, green beans and grated coconut for Rp 10 000:


Friday 24 August – Bali Vegan Warung

Banana pancake again today for breakfast.

Here's the entry for Yuliati's House:


and my home for awhile:


Today I caught up on a heap of computer work that I needed to do. I had my leftovers from last night for lunch and then headed to the Bali Vegan warung for dinner. They are open all week from 10:00 – 20:00. The food isn’t the best I’ve had but I try my best to support them and they are so close to where I’m staying.

I had mango juice Rp 15 000 and Tofu Vege Curry Rp 20 000 with brown rice Rp 8 000:


I ate dinner, read and chilled out for awhile. I read a great article by Annisa in I-Magazine entitled A 4-Course Lovers Discourse see Page 38-39 to read it. Some of the language is colourful, but I really like her honesty in speaking about her relationships. I also read a bit of a book called The Template – A Holonomic Model of Transcendence by Juliet and Jiva Carter. Here’s some of the text:


Then I headed back home to continue computer work.

Saturday 25 August – Bali Buddha

Fried Banana today for breakfast and I think that is the last time as it’s a bit too much oil for me – anytime really, let alone for breakfast! There’s a bird, Hiro who is caged at Yuliati's House:


He speaks various phrases from various languages. Each time I see him I say “Hello, Hiro” and am in the process of trying to get him to say “Hello, LC” – this is not going to plan so far - but I am committed to this mission.

I walked around the main area of Ubud and had late lunch opposite the post office at Bali Buddha. There’s many vegetarian, vegan and raw menu items along with a café, bakery and food store downstairs. They even home deliver. I ordered the Eggplant Almond Enchiladas – eggplant and sprouted almonds in corn tortillas topped with black bean salsa and a side salad Rp 41 000:


Bali Buddha have a good vibe, they have been operating since 1994 and give up to 15% of their profits away each month. I ended up buying some food to takeaway, some soap and some anti-mosquito cream. When I was walking home it sprinkled rain from the sky, which was refreshing.

Jean Paul rang to say that he was coming back early – YAY – I missed having him around! It will be good to see him tomorrow instead of Tuesday+

There are quite a few people staying at Yuliati's House. As I’ve been here for a few days in a row, I see the people come and go every day. I chat to a few here and there, some more than others. Michael from Guam is staying for the next couple of nights and we have a good chat when I have a break from the computer for awhile. Michael had been diving around Sanur and we spoke about all the good things: travel, food and writing – he’s written a fiction book in the past and is halfway through writing another. Plus I’ve just started my publishing company, Epicentre Equilibrium, by releasing two of my books, What Do Vegans Eat? and My USA Adventures – hope you’ve seen them.

It seems as though most people I speak to (over here) are either about to change or quit their jobs as they’re either about to finish a contract or ready to try something new, or even just preparing in anticipation of the changes that are coming. There maybe something in the water here – I know there’s definitely something in the stars.

The girls from Yuliati's House are specially trained Balinese dancers. A lot of people come from overseas – especially the Japanese – to see them dance. Tonight the girls were getting ready and Michael was going to see them. Unfortunately I had a heap of computer work to do so I wasn’t able to go with him. He said afterwards that it was wonderful. Hopefully if I’m still here next Saturday I will go.

I had late dinner at a warung over the road, Shekhinah café and eatery. Shekhinah is a Hebrew word that means “to settle, inhabit, dwell.” I ordered the Pecel (spice) Shekhinah – tofu, tempeh (listed as bean curd), mixed fresh boiled, fresh vegetables (including greens, carrots, beans, sprouts and cabbage), with peanut sauce for Rp 20 000. This was an amazing dish:


Sunday 26 August – Dayu’s Warung

Banana pancake, yet again. I do hope I don’t get sick of pancakes as they’re one of my favourite things to eat. Today I met one of my FaceBook friends, Wenslaus who is originally from West Papua, out the front of the Post Office in Ubud. It was great to finally meet him. Wenslaus does a lot of work for human rights in particular for the West Papuans. It was good to hear his stories. He also bought me 3 pairs of thongs/flip flops, which was lovely.

We went to Dayu’s warung on Sugriwa Street for lunch. Dayu is a lovely lady who has trained at some of the best places around Bali, including raw food places. She also teaches cooking. I ordered the Tempe Mango Curry – red rice with tempeh, carrot, green beans and mango Rp 20 000:


Wenslaus ordered the Gado Gado – red rice, veges, tofu and tempeh, home made peanut sauce, sambal for Rp 20 000. This was Wenslaus’ first vegan meal.


The two of us wandered around central Ubud for awhile and came across this t-shirt in the window of a shop – very random!


I walked back and did a bit of computer work. It sprinkled from the sky a bit. Then Jean Paul came home! It was great to see him.  We had dinner at Igelanca warung where I had the Tahu Jebang – stir fried mixed vegetables with silken tofu in ginger and garlic sauce Rp 27 000 along with Igelanca Green juice – mint, lime and ginger Rp 12 000:


Monday 27 August – Kuta beach & Shekhinah

Same again for breakfast: banana pancake with tea and fruit. One of Jean Paul’s favourite things to eat is the tempeh from the warung over the road from where we’re staying. You can get fried, baked tempeh as well as tofu and a few other things that are animal-related. Plus, it’s really cheap:


Around 14:00 we hired a scooter from one of the guys who works at Yuliati's House for Rp 40 000 and Jean Paul drove us to Kuta beach which took at least one and a half hours. I forgot to bring my bathers unfortunately.


Jean Paul dipped himself in the sea and we walked along the beach for awhile. There were so many red umbrellas along the beach with a lot of tourists and oh so many Australians with Southern Cross tattoos. Very touristy.


I definitely wouldn’t want to stay around this area. I was thinking of coming into Kuta by myself to see some of the AFL final games and in particular the grand final, but I don’t know how comfortable I’d feel walking around in this area at night.

We ended up stopping to have a drink at Taman Sari cottages Bar and Restaurant where they greeted us upon arrival with frozen washers that felt really lovely on our skin after walking on the beach and around in the sun. I ordered the Mango juice Rp 18 000 and Vege Kebab – grilled skewers of eggplant, tomato, onion, pineapple, mushrooms with special home made sauce and mashed potatoes for Rp 36 000 and must have been hungry as I forgot to take a photo!

We then drove the bike back home, chilled out for awhile before going to Shekhinah (again) for dinner where I ordered the Lotek Shekhinah – boiled fresh vegetables with peanut sauce Rp 20 000. This is such a great warung.


Tuesday 28 August – Down to Earth & Durian

Banana pancakes again for breakfast. Today we swapped rooms, as tonight Jean Paul would be picking up two of his girl friends from back home in South Tyrol, Italy. I heard a bit of a ruckus outside and came out to see Jean Paul had climbed a tree just outside of our room to get flowers for the family’s offerings.



We then walked through Ubud along some of my favourite streets. Here's how the streets look, getting ready for tomorrow's ceremony:


Had lunch at Down To Earth a great organic vegetarian restaurant with a health food store downstairs. I saw a friend from Brisbane, Rueben who was here with his partner doing a yoga retreat. I wondered how long it would take until I saw someone I knew!

I ordered the Holla Tacos – crunchy corn taco shells stuffed with a black bean and green salad, served with tomato salsa, guacamole and tofu cheese Rp 45 000:


Jean Paul ordered a Kombucha for Rp 15 000 and dessert. We walked around for a bit more after lunch and had some tempeh from the warung on the way home.

My friend Eric sent me some info about Bangkok including a link to his friend, May Kaidee’s website. Jean Paul and I watched a video of hers where she shows how to open a durian properly. Pretty much just after we saw the video we walked out for a bit and saw a guy selling durian. We bought one and it was okay. A Japanese guy who had a bit of ours said there was better. Jean Paul then went to meet his friends, Elisa and Verena at the airport and brought them back home. It would be the four of us travelling together from now on. Good to have some new blood. While Jean Paul was picking up the girls, one of the guys from Yuliati's House, Putu showed me how to play the rindik – bamboo pipes, it was fun and I learned a few songs.

Wednesday 29 August – Ceremony & Rice Fields

Today was the big ceremony day for all Hindus where they bring gebokan (offerings) in the form of agricultural products to their private and public temples. The family at Yuliati's House were also celebrating Galungan today - a sign of good (Dharma) over evil (adharma.) I wanted to go to the ceremony but needed the proper attire of sarong, kabaya (top) and sash. The boss/father of the house lent Jean Paul some gear and he was ready to go when I woke up. Here’s some photos:



After Jean Paul came back from the ceremony there were a lot of food used for offerings - mostly fruit, rice and sugary treats. Elisa and Verena tried to sleep off their jetlag until after mid day. When they woke, they joined Jean Paul and I to walk into Ubud. We wanted to take them to Ubudsari for dinner with the sunset but as it was a ceremony day most of the businesses were closed. Here’s a cute pic some other travelers took of us when arriving at the rice fields:


I saw some ducks in the rice fields and went closer to take a photo - pics by Elisa:



When they went into one of the fields, I followed them into the mud. It was like walking in concrete – I couldn’t move my legs at all. When I was trying to lift my legs up, my thongs/flip flops that Wenslaus bought for me broke. They are still at the bottom of one of the fields in Ubud. Oh, and after all of that I only got one good photo:


Jean Paul and I then walked home for a rest while the girls went to Monkey Forest Road to get massages.

I walked to get the girls two and a half hours later as Jean Paul was being lazy. They had already had dinner as they’d finished earlier than expected. They ended up joining me for dinner at Icip-Icip where I had Nasi Goreng Lotus – Ubud style friend rice with mushrooms wrapped in lotus leaf Rp 28 000 + 15% tax:


Then the three of us walked back home and slept well.

Thursday 30 August – Monkey Forest & Blue Moon

I have been having banana pancakes for breakfast just about everyday since being away. It’s good as the places I’m staying have free breakfast and the pancakes with no egg and no milk are quite easy for most places to make. After breakfast, we started to walk to Monkey Forest. Here's me walking along - pic by Elisa:


On the way we stopped at a great little juice bar where I had Edamame Rp 10 000 and Ginger Grape juice Rp 15 000 which were great!


Dog friend at the juice bar:


We tried to get into Monkey Forest without paying by going down the motorbike area but it still ended up taking us to an entry point. Only Rp 20 000 anyway. The girls are amusing to watch as they try to interact with the monkeys at the same time as being sometimes absolutely petrified of them!





It was good to see the monkeys and the temples again, but much better the first time. I don’t think I’ll come again. Here's a pic of a bit of a scuffle:


And follow the leader up the tree:



On the walk back from Monkey Forest my thongs/flip flops from home broke – can’t believe two pairs of thongs gone in two days – ridiculous! So we ended up heading to Coco Supermarket to get thongs, chocolate and other essentials. Elisa and I bought some corn on the cob at a warung just near home to eat later that afternoon. I then caught up on some computer work and worked out my next Java adventures with Chindy from Indonesian Vegetarian Society (IVS) and the Vegan Society of Indonesia (VSI) – I’m going to be speaking and giving food demos at a handful of vegan events coming up in Solo, Jakarta as well as Sumatra – about a month’s worth. I’m looking forward to it.

The four of us couldn’t sleep much this night due to the energies of the Blue Moon in Pisces. It was pretty spectacular to view. Hope you got to see it wherever you were.

Friday 31 August – Ubud to Bunutan

Today was the last morning (for now) at Yuliati's House, which was a bit sad for me. I’ve grown to love the place and the people and it’s just so close to everything in Ubud. I’m sure I will be back here. Also my last breakfast of banana pancakes. Unfortunately the WIFI wasn’t working for a few hours in the morning but I ended up chatting with two German girls – so many Germans travel.

When the others woke up and we worked out how we were going to our next stop, Amed, the four of us went to Down To Earth for lunch. I had the Lemon Rosemary Tofu wrap – baked tofu in lemon and rosemary, roasted vegetables and walnut pesto, wrapped in a wholemeal burrito Rp 38 000 plus taxes:


Then we went to the Bali Art Pasar (market) to find some good prices for clothing. I’m not much of a shopper but I got completely swept up in the markets and today wasn’t even busy! There were many people selling massive amounts of stuff and a lot of junk. I think there are three levels to this market that maybe took up a block. I would be looking at a dress in one store and the lady would show me down to another area, then another. It was like a maze... I bought two dresses and a lovely pink batik sarong that I adore. The girls bought a few dresses, pants and sarongs. Jean Paul got a pair of fishermans pants. Then we started our 3 hour journey to Amed.

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