Monkey Forest is one of the most popular attractions in Ubud, and since the forest was just a short walk further down the street from my hotel, of course I had to go and see what it was all about. 700 monkeys reside in Monkey Forest, which also has 3 temples. The area is of great spiritual significance to the locals in Ubud, and the most sacred parts of the temples are closed to the public. Only people, who are there to pray, are allowed to enter.
The monkeys in the forest are grouped in 6 tribes (or families?) with each their territory. They are fed daily with sweet potatoes by the staff, but visitors can also buy bananas from a booth inside the park to give to the monkeys. I don’t think I would recommend doing that, as the monkeys get very eager when there are bananas in sight, and some of them turn aggressive if they don’t get a banana immediately.
You are also not allowed to bring your own food or snacks inside the park, because the monkeys will most likely find out, and they’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on the goodies. Right when I was entering the forest, a monkey jumped on the man walking in front of me. He didn’t seem very comfortable with it, so the staff rushed in to chase away the monkey, but it didn’t take more than a few seconds before the monkey jumped right back again, trying to pull off the man’s backpack.
On the street in front of Monkey Forest I also saw how another sneaky monkey was following a guy, who was carrying a bag of chips. Suddenly the monkey jumped up and grabbed the guy’s arm, trying to wrestle the bag from him. Though this guy must have been super alert, because he quickly shook off the monkey and made and angry monkey pose, which made the monkey run away. I would have loved to show you a picture of that pose, but I wasn’t fast enough with my camera.
Monkey Forest is a very nice place to visit. Everything is very lush and green and there’s this peaceful, almost magical spirit in the air. Plenty of staff makes sure that the forest is kept impeccably clean, and protect the visitors from unwanted attention from the monkeys. Though if you want to get more up close and personal with the monkeys, this is also possible, even without buying bananas, as they’re so used to humans, they don’t care to run away. However, you should bear in mind that the monkeys are wild animals, so read the information on Monkey Forest’s website to know the overall dos and don’ts regarding the animals.
Monkey Forest is open every day 8:30am – 6pm. The entry fee is 50,000IDR (2017).
According to Monkey Forest’s website, there have been no verified reports of rabies among the monkeys in Bali.