It seems no trip to Bali is complete without a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest. More so if you’re staying in Ubud as its situated in the centre of the tourist hub.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
The Monkey Forest is not merely a tourist attraction, it is seen as an important spiritual, economic and conservation centre . The conservation area follows the Hindu principle of Tri Hata Karana which amongst others, seeks to nurture harmonious relationships between humans and the natural environment .
As such, it houses three Hindu temples which are believed to be built in the 14th century . Some parts of these temples are only available to those wanting to pray.
The Monkey Forest is home to 600 monkeys, more specifically, macaques  or Balinese-long-tailed monkeys . They are fed three times a day although they also feed on the bananas and other fruits given to them by tourists .
From our accommodation in Jati Cottages, we knew that the Monkey Forest would be about 800m away. A wrong turn here and there got us taking a route that was a fair bit longer. Apart from being very hot, the walk to the Monkey Forest was pleasant and lively. Many hotels, shops, bars and restaurants line the street there. Also, the closer you get, it seems the hipper (and more vegan) the eating places are.
You’re know you close when you spot monkeys running around the street!
It costs 50 k Indonesian Rupiah / R50 to enter the forest. The entrance is fairly steep compared to the prices at other temples. Then again, they have 600 monkeys to feed….
Things to know:
These monkeys are very clever!
Upon reading some online forums about people being bitten by monkeys, I knew not to wear a cap, sunglasses and basically anything that can be stolen. I’ve heard things that these monkeys will even steal your phone, hide in the bushes and most tourists will throw food at them in the hope that they’ll drop your phone! They tend to ignore you if you haven’t bought food for them.
Some people were okay with having the monkeys all over them (sitting on their heads etc). They only really approach you if you’re offering food or trying to get them to come to you. I’m not into that so I backed away anytime a monkey came close to me.
The baby monkeys are super cute though. But don’t be fooled by these naughty guys!
My partner had a backpack that was getting some attention – even though there was nothing inside. A monkey jumped on his backpack and a park ranger quickly came to assist. He advised us to take the tissues out of the backpack side pockets. I guess they were going for the backpack, thinking the tissues were something else.
The Monkey Forest is definitely worth a visit. Just, don’t be a fool and let them climb all over you unless you’re not worried about rabies.
Be sure to also stroll down to the Ubud Palace. I didn’t find it that exciting as you’re only allowed in small area (they were restoring it and busy with construction), but it’s free so why not?