Visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest is a lush forest sanctuary of nature right in the heart of Ubud. It’s hard to miss and provides a nice break from Ubud shopping and dodging motorbikes. We visited it our first week here and recommend it for adults and children.

The Monkeys

The obvious attraction to this forest for visitors is the monkeys. The monkeys within the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal are commonly called long-tailed macaques. In Balinese Hinduism, monkeys can be the embodiment of both positive and negative forces: positive in the presence of temples and negative when they are raiding rice fields. Ha! I guess it just depends on their location and intention.

Looks like a teenager looking for something to do.

Looks like a teenager looking for something to do…like raid a rice field.

The Monkey Forest is not a tourist gimmick. Although you pay to enter ($2 for adults), the forest is owned by the village of Padangtegal and your entry fee helps to preserve the art and culture of the village. It also preserves the forest for future generations and helps maintain it.

His name was "Boss"

His name was “Boss”

As we passed the entry to the forest, the canopy enveloped us in a nice, cool darkness with huge banyon trees and a over-abundance of monkeys. Aged males, breast-feeding females, sprightly babies, frolicking bands of teenagers – it’s delightful and intriguing.

Zen Mama with her baby.

Zen Mama with her baby.

We played with the monkeys then took a rest and just observed them climbing, walking and harassing other tourists for bananas. We didn’t purchase bananas to feed them, but I still had a monkey jump on me. It was a really cool opportunity to feel his feet and hands, which were really soft. I didn’t feel threatened, but there have been instances where the monkeys have bitten people. So, before you tease a monkey, think about the consequences and just give them the darn fruit.

The monkeys are running freely throughout the park; there are no cages. They gather in packs in various places throughout the park, so it is easy to spot them and take photos.

Monkey kisses

Monkey kisses. Little did I know what he was holding in his other hand. I have that effect.

There are temples in the forest, but we were more interested in watching monkeys.

Heading down to a temple

Heading down to a temple

Alternately, if you don’t want that personal of a monkey experience and the vast quantity of monkeys freaks you out, there is a nice walking path along the side of Monkey Forest. There are shops, restaurants and monkeys…but just not a concentration of them.

My recommendation is to go to into the forest and then stop at Coffee and Copper Restaurant. It’s a cool place with great juices and food. Sometimes, the monkeys come inside…to steal your food. But you really don’t mind because hey, that’s a really cool story to tell all your buddies at home. “I was sitting at this restaurant enjoying a coffee and a monkey hopped on my table and….”

Details: Monkey Forest in Ubud

Cost

20,000 rph for adults $2 US
10,000 rph for children $1 US
Under 4 free

Tips:

  • Keep all your cameras, backpacks and sunglasses attached to you. This is a very touristy attraction, but it’s the monkeys you need to look out for. They’ll grab your stuff and you’ll end up playing a nasty (although amusing) game of tug of war with them.
  • Come early morning or in the evening to avoid the main crowds
  • There are several paths and plenty of benches to relax, read or take photographs.
  • I’d recommend a nice lunch at Coffee and Copper and a spa treatment afterwards.

Learn more at the Monkey Forest Website: http://www.monkeyforestubud.com

Photos

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6 Responses to “Visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest”

  1. Greg July 17, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Wow!!! What an awesome experience! I am so jealous of what you’ve been able to do since you’ve gotten to Bali. Hopefully one day I’ll get there myself. Keep up the great blog, glad to see you’re posting again.

  2. Jennifer Pearce July 18, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    I love that photo with the zen mama and her baby. 🙂 I guess I’ve never looked quite closely enough at those monkey statues before. How funny! Last time we were there was with you guys, and the monkeys were quite interested in Aysia.

  3. Lisa Wood July 18, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    what an amazing experience! Sure is something that will be good to tell the grandkids one day!

  4. Tracy July 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    I love the monkey forest in Ubud. Aren’t the babies cute!

    We went there as a young couple on our first trip overseas together and then took the kids back there when we first started travelling with them. We enjoyed our second visit so much more – seeing the kids reactions to the monkeys (and the monkey’s reactions to them), their insights and ideas … it was so much better than being there as a couple by ourselves. Glad you got to experience it. I know it has a bad reputation at times for aggressive monkeys but they’re a lot nicer than the ones in Penang!

  5. Rebeca July 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    I can’t wait to get to Bali! Looks amazing.

  6. Living Outside of the Box July 21, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    Hahaha…you’re funny! I’d like to see you playing tug-a-war with a monkey. I know who’d win…that poor monkey! 😉

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