In the middle of Bali, right in the centre of the town of Ubud is where you will find the Sacred Monkey Forest. A beautiful natural garden right in the middle of the city that is full to the brim with cheeky little monkeys.
If you’ve ever done a Google search for the Ubud Monkey Forest there’s not doubt that you would have been shown a long list of horror stories about naughty little monkeys who prey on visitors to the forest and try to steal from your bags and pockets.
And to be perfectly honest, that’s not really untrue.
Hidden deep in this beautiful forest is a tribe of monkeys who rule over the moss covered temples that were built in the forest and run wild amongst the visitors who come to see them.
About The Sacred Monkey Forest
Officially known as the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, this forest sprawls for 27 acres and is considered protected land that is home to more than 700 long-tailed macaque monkeys.
There are also three 14th century temples that can be found around inside the forest –
- Pura Dalem Agung – the Main Temple of the forest, located in the Southwest area of the forest
- Pura Prajapati – located in the northeast area of the forest, this temple is right next to the cemetery
- Pura Beji – also in the northwest region of the forest and is often used for spiritual and physical cleansing
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The first time we visited Bali we came out to the monkey forest, but it was torrentially raining and we didn’t really have the best time. This time however, we were able to explore more of the forest grounds, walk around some of the deeper trails in the park and see more monkeys than we could imagine.
There are literally monkeys everywhere you look from the minute you step inside the park. They have no fear about humans, doing whatever they want wherever they want. We saw monkeys wrestling on walk ways, eating out of fruit bins, walking right behind where people were sitting, and even trying to steal jewellery off a couple of girls that just tried to get to close to them.
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Within the forest you are able to purchase mini bananas to feed the monkeys. However, this is often a cause of the aggressive behaviour that is often reported from the monkeys. They have learned that people are bringing them food and so if they’re hungry they do have a tendency to jump on visitors to try and grab a free meal.
Instead to taking in bananas or other food, head to some of the huge food bins around the park. These wire bins are full of bananas, apples and other fruits that monkeys like to eat and you can often find them there having a snack and a bit of a family gathering.
While were there we didn’t really witness too many monkeys being naughty. One thirsty monkey did go straight up to a lady with a water bottle and drank water right from her bottle though. And another gently tried to put it’s hand in Thom’s pocket to see if he was hiding any food in there! But mostly they were very well behaved.
Getting to the Sacred Monkey Forest
The Monkey Forest is found at the end of the main street of Ubud, the official address is Jl. Monkey Forest Street, Padangtegal Ubud, Bali.
From the Seminyak area the Monkey Forest is about an hour and a half drive, so it’s best to organize a driver or shuttle bus if you’re not staying in the area. From Ubud it’s literally a short walk from wherever you’re staying, as the forest is in the middle of town.
There are three gates to enter the Monkey Forest from –
- The main one at the southern end of Monkey Forest Road
- One 110m further east closest to the car park
- Or from the southern side on the lane from Nyuhkuning
Ticket booths are available at all three gates, so it doesn’t matter which one you choose to use.
Tickets to the Ubud Monkey Forest
Admission to the Ubud Monkey Forest has increased since our first visit, it’s now 50,000 Rp per adult to visit the forest. You can buy your tickets at the ticket booths on any of the park gates.
Tickets gives you access to all of the forest, including the temples if you would like to check them out and all of the walking trails. The Sacred Monkey Forest is open daily from 8:30am to 6pm.
Staying safe at the Sacred Monkey Forest
It’s important to always remember that these monkeys are wild animals and you are stepping into their home and their domain. Make sure you always keep a respectful distance from them to avoid them acting out in an aggressive manner.
While we were there we literally watched a girl sit down right in front of a monkey, probably less than half a metre away. The monkey was clearly uncomfortable with this as it was looking around her trying to figure out where it could go, but all she cared about was her selfie.
When she got a bit too close and the monkey scratched her and ran away she literally cried to her dad and just kept saying “I didn’t even do anything” over and over again. Well you actually did.
Keep a safe distance from the monkeys at all times and don’t try and touch or pat them. While not all of them are aggressive, many of them do like to steal personal items from visitors – anything from their pockets, bags and even in some cases we saw monkeys just straight up trying to unclip bracelets from around people’s wrists.
Also, to keep the monkeys safe please make sure you don’t feed them any food from outside the forest. Specifically peanuts, biscuits, bread and human snacks can make these little guys pretty sick, so please only purchase food from inside the park if you would like to feed them.
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The Monkey Forest is a really beautiful place to visit in Ubud, with the forest grounds being just a big a draw as the cheeky little monkeys themselves. Arrive early to avoid large crowds and tours and make sure you’re being respectful to the monkeys at all times.
Have you visited the Ubud Monkey Forest before? What was your experience like?
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