A Visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest, Bali

by - 3/27/2018

Being an Indian, monkeys do not fascinate me much. I mean come on, I have seen them and bore their wrath since I was born. But it's not the same with people of the Western World. I have seen Caucasian tourists being fascinated by them in Vrindavan and Agra. So it's a no surprise that the Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali is one of the top tourist destinations. When we were planning our trip, we had decided to skip it but then after knowing about it in detail, we finalised it on our itinerary.

The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali is the home of more than 700 monkeys (crab eating macaques; also known as Balinese long tailed monkeys to be precise) and 186 species of trees spread over a vast area of 12.5 hectares. The entire area is heavily forested and filled with quintessential Balinese architecture; all covered with centuries old moss to preserve their integrity. There are 3 temples in the compound which are of course not open to the public.

We had heard a lot about the nuances caused by the monkeys and I was really scared and apprehensive. I have hated monkeys throughout my life but could not skip exploring as it was such an important spot. We decided not to buy any bananas to feed them. I was more interested in seeing the architecture rather than those pesky primates. As soon as we entered, I was overjoyed to witness such a plethora of raw Balinese architectural beauty in the backdrop of a dense natural forest.
Spot the real and fake monkeys
The monkeys (old, young and babies) were jumping everywhere and harrassing almost every second visitor. People were feeding bananas as anything else is prohibited. The officials feed the monkeys with sweet potatoes three times a day and chopped sweet potatoes were kept in baskets at regular corners. Hubby picked a handful of those chopped vegetables. Gradually we reached a deserted place where there were no other tourists. Suddenly a monkey jumped on his shoulders. He then climbed on my husband's head and started slapping his cheeks. Little we realised that those potatoes were the root of our trouble. As soon as we spotted his gaze, hubby threw the potatoes to the ground and he went away. We heaved a sigh of relief but got really alarmed. Thankfully he was not hurt.
How many monkeys can you see? Spare us though 😁
As we walked further, we came to a popular spot where there were many tourists and monkeys were entertaining us. It was really amusing to watch their interaction with the humans. A white tourist was feeding bananas when suddenly the animal lost its mind. It snatched his backpack and started ripping it apart. No one could stop him. First it tore a box of wipes. Then some papers (who knows how important they were). After pouring a bottle of lotion on to the ground, the worst happened. That crazy animal took out the wallet and tore all the currency notes. We all were silent spectators. No one could do anything. Then it slapped its victim and lept away.
We all were in shock. We just realised how important travel insurance is because you just don't know when your trip might take an ugly turn.
With heavy hearts, we became all the more careful. The place was indeed very beautiful. We had reached late and the closing time was 6 PM so we had less time in exploring the place. Since the trees are very tall, it was dark already.
The monkey forest has a spiritual goal of creating peace and harmony among visitors from all over the world. It follows the philosophy of Tri Hata Karana doctrine i e harmony between humans and humans, humans and natural environment and humans  and the Supreme God. There are 3 temples in the complex: The Great Temple of Death which is the main temple, Pura Beji or Holy Spring bathing temple and Pura Prajapati. My favorite was of course Pura Beji because of the small spring.
 I am just madly in love with Balinese 'Pura' i.e temple.The water flowing, the banyan roots, moss covered artefacts and the typical Balinese statues...they all have stolen my mind. We did not come out till the guards blew their whistles repeatedly and forcefully drove us out....manually :D This happens with us everywhere...believe me..we are such pesky tourists!

Thankfully we came out safe. No one was hurt and nothing was lost/stolen. I however would never revisit this place if we ever go to Bali again.
Some important points to be kept in mind while visiting the Monkey Forest:
  • Make sure you have a travel insurance.
    • It will save you from unforeseen circumstances. I mean all the terrible events that can happen here are covered by the Asia Travel Insurance from Reliance General Insurance, the one that we had purchased. It would cover all the medical expenses caused to you either by accident or illness (in this case, monkey bites)
    • It would cover the cost of issuing a fresh or duplicate passport (in case the monkeys get hold of it)
    • It would provide you with emergency financial assistance in case of theft (the way our fellow travellers lost all their money)
    • Reliance travel care policy Asia plan is very easy to book with family plans starting from a meagre 306INR and no paperwork.
  • Keep your valuables safely. It's better to keep your passports at the hotel.
  • Don't get too adventurous with your camera. Keep your gadgets secure inside your bag.
  • Always hold your children. Don't let them lose.
  • Do not try to touch the monkeys or show affection to their adorable young ones.
  • Do not run on seeing a big group. They may suspect something fishy and attack you.
  • I would suggest not to feed these unruly primates and be on the safer side.
  • If any monkey jumps on your shoulders and caresses you, do not panic. He will go away eventually.

Entry Fees: 50000 IDR per person i.e 250INR

Opening Hours: 8 30 AM to 6 PM

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  1. It looks so cool there. I love all the monkeys.

  2. This place looks so cool. Glad you had fun.

    xx, Maryam

  3. Hope you had a good time in the forest!
    The monkeys are so cute :D


  4. omg such cute little monkeys!! Looks so fun! Enjoy your time hun :)

    XO, Jessi

  5. This is such a beautiful place, but the menace of the monkeys is scary. You guys give me couple goals. always visiting the coolest places ever.