If you’re in Ubud and needing something to pass the time or just looking for a fun outing to do with the kids, I suggest the Sacred Monkey Forest. Probably on everyone’s to do list when in Ubud it’s an activity that can last you an hour, all the way to half a day!
Monkey forest is a nature reserve but also a Hindu temple complex and is located right in the heart of downtown Ubud, it is home to over 700 Balinese long-tailed monkeys. Owned and governed over by the village people of Padangtegal the forest serves as an important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation center for the village.
Looking back I personally really enjoyed Monkey forest. But in the moment while we were there I can’t say I was very relaxed or thrilled. A while back on our way home from Lempuyang Temple we stopped off on the side of the road to give our booties a break from being on our itty bitty scooter. During our little break we noticed a few monkeys peacefully eating some popcorn someone left behind and playing in the trees paying no attention to us the entirety of us being stopped. Before we got back on the scooter, one monkey in the tree looked at Zach and dipped from it’s spot in the tree and ran to greet Zach with a gnarly snarl on it’s face. Suddenly the very chill popcorn monkey that we thought was the zen-ist monkey of 2019 turned to the aid of his bud and joined in on the snarling, ready to attack. Totally thought my husband was gonna need rabies shots that day. Luckily we got away just as more started to come out of the woodworks. So since then I was weary about any monkey we would pass in the streets which is pretty freaking common while walking around in Bali. So during our trip to the monkey forest Zach was practically making fun of every jump or flinch I had whenever we had an interaction with a monkey. I’m just so happy that I could be a source of humor in his life.
But like I said looking back it was fun and memorable and we had no issues with the monkeys while there. I can’t judge all the monkeys by a few you meet on the side of the road and the monkeys of Sacred Monkey Forest are very much used to humans being around. But as with anywhere be prepared before you go! So here’s some tips to keep in mind before heading to Monkey Forest.
Entry Fees and Hours
Admission to the Monkey Forest will cost you 80,000 IDR (about $5 USD) for an adult, and 60,000 IDR ($4) for a child ticket. So in comparison yes it’s a little more pricy than let say a ticket to a waterfall, but it’s well worth the money and proceeds are put back into the local village and forest.
The complex is open from 8:30 am to 6 pm everyday, but the ticket counter is only open until 5:30 pm.
Dont let the internet stories (and ours) scare you. Monkey forest is safe to go to and is a cool thing to do even for kids. Just dont forget to follow the guidelines and be cautious!
Protect Any Loose Items
These sneaky suckers are pretty much masters at stealing anything they think is interesting. Even when we were here we saw several monkeys reaching into pockets and women’s purses trying to get their hands on any neat surprises. Really you only need bring the essentials; water, a camera, and your phone. If you have a purse or fanny pack that closes all the way we suggest you put everything in there and make sure there’s nothing in any outside pockets. Don’t wear any shiny or loose hanging jewelry or have sunglasses on your head because those things will be long gone by the time you leave!
No Touchy Da Monkeyz
Even though they’ve been around people most of their lives these monkeys are still wild animals and should be treated as such so do not touch them. They are very unpredictable and don’t think that just because it looks cute it won’t try and take a bite at you. Mama monkeys are super protective of their little ones so if you see a baby try to resist holding or touching it because its mom might be close by. Basically don’t be stupid, these guys have razor sharp teeth and no one likes having to spend their vacay in a hospital getting rabies shots. Also make sure to not look at the monkeys in the eyes or smile as this is seen as aggressive behavior to them.
Don’t Feed the Monkeys
These guys are fed sweet potatoes on a daily basis, so if they are given something different by a friendly traveler they’re definitely gonna follow you around. They will be your friend up until the point you run out of food to give them, then they’ll go BANANAS! Just play it safe and don’t bring any snacks for them. These monkeys dont mess around when it comes to their food, while we were leaving we saw one having a particularly great time trying to open a coconut. When all of a sudden another monkey posse came from no where and while one screamed and chased coconut monkey away, another monkey didn’t hesitate to snatch the coconut and scurry away into the trees, never to be seen again.
our crazy coconut monkey before being mugged
If you want to see a real show around 5:30 pm the staff gathers in the middle of the sanctuary at the main temple and have a mass feeding for all the friends of the forest. We were sitting down when we heard the call for dinner and almost every monkey stopped what they were doing and made their way to the center. Obviously we had no idea what in the heck was happening and assumed some monkeys were going at it. We followed the mass horde to the forest center to find all those cheeky little monkeys having the time of their lives with the sweet potatoes being thrown around. It’s really a sight, and if you happen to go at that time, please stay and watch cause it’s a unique experience.