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You cannot leave Bali and especially Ubud without visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest located in the village of Padangtegal. So did we – the Monkey Forest was the first place to visit during our first day trip around Bali which we made with our driver and local guide Agung 🙂 The Sacred Forest is an important spiritual, economic and educational place in Bali. Here you can say “hello” to 700 long-tailed macaques and visit 3 of the most important ancient temples of Ubud. The monkeys are considered sacred and therefore are very well protected by the local government.
Here are my tips for visiting this Unique Place – I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!
Monkey Forest Location
The Sacred Sanctuary of Monkey Forest of Bali is located on the south side of Ubud on the “Jl. Monkey Forest Road”. “Jl. Monkey Forest Road” runs downhill in an L-Shape from Jalan Rayan Street, one of the main roads in Ubud.
If you have to walk from Ubud’s Centre (from Ubud Palace) it will take between 15 to 20 minutes. The distance from Kuta is ca 40 km (1.5h – 2h by car), from Nusa Dua 50 km (2h by car), Sanur 30 km (1h – 1.5h by car), and Padangbai 40 km (1.5h – 2h by car).
Know Before You Go
Opening Hours: Monkey Forest Sanctuary is open everyday from Monday-Sunday – 8:30 am to 6 pm
Parking: Parking is free
Tickets: Adults 50.000 IDR (ca 2.5), Children and Students 40.000 IDR (ca 2€)
Ticketing Service: From 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
Facts about Monkey Forest
- In Balinese, Monkey Forests means “Wanara Wana” (wana = forest, wenara = monkey)
- The forest covers about 27 acres.
- The Monkey Forest, its temples and graveyard are owned by the village of Padang Tegal.
- The local community of Ubud keeps the forest wild which allows the wild animals to live natural.
- The monkeys are considered as the temple guardians.
- The spirits of the trees in Monkey Forest are said to have strong powers! There are over 115 species of trees here.
- Women are not allowed to enter the temples during their periods (as with any holy site in Bali).
- Monkey Forest has its local guides and staff ready – they will assist you during your visit – for example if you want to make a photo with a monkey or if you want to get your stolen stuff back 😀 )
- The long-tailed monkeys are omnivores. The Monkey Forest Staff also feed the monkeys three times a day with bananas, sweet potatoes, papaya leaf, corn, cucumber and coconuts.
- All monkeys are macaques, known also as the Balinese long-tailed monkeys.
- This type of macaques is active during the day and sleeps at night.
- There are about 700 monkeys divided into groups: eastern and central forest, cemetery and in front of the temples.
- The monkeys are free to come and go as they want to! Important is that there are no cages, no walls or nets to hold them in the forest.
- The most monkey babies are born during the months between May and August.
- The pregnancies take about 6 months mostly only 1 infant is born.
- The monkey-mothers are very protective. They stay with the infant for about 10 months.
- The average female monkey weights between 2.5 kg and 6 kg and male monkey between 3.5 kg and 8 kg.
- The mail macaque monkeys could live up to 15 years and the females up to 20 years.
- The Monkey Forest has three Hindu temples: Pura Dalem Agung, Pura Beji and Pura Prajapati.
- All three temples date back to 1350.
- Pura Dalem Agung (temple of the dead ) is the main forest temple. It is located at the southwestern corner of the Monkey Forest. The Balinese worship the God Shiva ”The Destroyer” (but also the God of the “New Beginning”) as well as the souls of the uncremated dead.
- The Pura Beji or the Holy Bathing Temple is the second temple which is located in the northwest area, close to the water stream. This Holy Bathing Temple has 3 courtyards, called “mandalas”, and all courtyards have pools. The Balinese worship the Goddess Gangga in this temple.
- The Pura Prajapat (cremation temple) is located in the northeast area along the stream that runs through the forest. This temple is associated with the adjacent graveyard. The Pura Prajapati Temple is a place for temporary burials and mass cremations, which is held every 5 years. In this temple the Balinese worship the God Prajapati.
- Near the Pura Prajapat Temple is located the Monkey Forest Cemetery. Here are buried the bodies of the recently dead as long as the family save up enough money in order to pay for the cremation ceremony. This could last up to 5 years.
The Don’ts of Monkey Forest
Well, if you already had some experience with wild macaque monkeys you will know for sure that “just” being around the monkeys is not that easy as you probably expected to be. And it gets even more difficult when you visit some places with numerous and concentrated at one location monkeys. I have read numerous of “creepy” stories by travellers about being attacked and bitten by macaques in the Monkey Forest. Stories about aggressive monkeys and horror experiences. But I cannot confirm any of them. Our visit went perfectly and if you follow some easy rules, you won’t have any “monkey-issues” too!
Be careful while visiting the Monkey Forest: a monkey bite can be extremely painful and you can get even rabies. Rabies is quite widespread in Bali. Read more about required vaccinations for Bali here.
- Don’t bring any bottles, cans and cups into the forest!
- Don’t feed the animals – no bananas, no candies, no peanuts, no food at all! The monkeys have a perfectly developed sense of smell. They will notice any kind of food even inside your handbag, rucksack or pockets!
- Don’t wear jewellery, sunglasses, hats, fringed dresses or clothes with pompoms. Avoid anything that blinks – they will try to get it for sure!
- Don’t put your cell phone or camera too close to the monkeys or their babies – they will feel threatened and they could even attack you.
- Don’t encourage the monkeys to climb on your shoulders! There are many staff members of Monkey Forest, so if you want a photo with a monkey on your shoulders, go and ask them for some help – they know the monkeys pretty well!
- Walk through the forest and make your photos calm and peaceful. Don’t scream, sing, or whatever that could startle the monkeys.
- If a monkey tries to climb onto you, please don’t scream or try to push it back! Just wait a minute and everything will be fine.
- Remember: All monkeys look so small, very cute and absolutely innocent, but they are wild animals anyway!
- If you come here by car, I would recommend you to leave everything inside the car and go for a walk. It is the easiest way of not getting to “interesting” and “conspicuous” for the monkeys!
Enjoy the Day!
Continue reading this series:
Goa Gajah Temple: The Elephant Cave ~ Bali