The Sacred Ubud Monkey Forest in Bali (Complete Travel Guide)

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The Sacred Ubud Monkey Forest in Bali comes with its a fair share of controversy. We have met people that won’t set foot in the place because of the experiences they have had or the stories they have heard from others.

On the other side of the spectrum are the people that have visited the monkey forest and enjoyed it.

We are part of the group that has paid a visit to the sacred Ubud monkey forest and enjoyed it.

We prepared ourselves mentally before our visit and took a number of precautions to ensure we would have an enjoyable time and ended up spending a half-day at the temple just exploring and observing the monkeys.

A visit here should not be done lightly or without caution, but I do feel that the Ubud Monkey Forest is a great place to visit on your next trip to Bali.

You can have a pleasant visit if you are mindful of the rules and always remember that these monkeys are not pets, they are wild animals.

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Survival Guide to the Ubud Monkey Forest


Pre-Visit Preparations

Sacred Monkey Forest Temple Ubud Bali

Be sure that you prepare for your visit BEFORE you get to the temple. Do not bring anything with you that you don’t want to lose.

Better yet, don’t bring anything but the admission fee and your camera when going on the trek to the Ubud Monkey Forest. This includes sunglasses, flashy jewelry or anything you might have hanging off you.

We did have a backpack on us, but we emptied all outside pockets, cleared the inside of any food and locked the zippers. We never took it off or opened it while in the temple and the monkeys never gave it a second look.

We did see several people carrying purses or backpacks that had not secured them become subject to monkey thievery. When the monkeys set their eyes on something, you will be hard-pressed to stop them from taking it.

Once they have your stuff, say goodbye to it. They don’t give it up willingly and we saw many become aggressive with hissing, teeth barring and chasing when challenged for things they had stolen.

Be smart about your visit and mindful of what you bring with you into the Ubud monkey forest.

Just Say No to Bananas

Ubud Monkey forest

Upon arriving at the Ubud monkey forest, you will be greeted by some women sitting at a table selling bananas.

My first tip, don’t buy any bananas. Head straight to the ticket counter, purchase your ticket and then proceed into the temple.

Some of the horror stories that come from visiting the Ubud Monkey Forest revolve around food. It is not smart to take food in, even if you are dying for a closer look at a monkey.

In addition, do not bring outside food into the Ubud monkey forest. Be sure to check all bags and pockets for food, candy, etc before entering.

You might have forgotten it was there, but the monkey will know straight away and they can be quite persistent about retrieving anything they want off of you.

Don’t worry, if you resist the urge to buy the bananas like a good tourist, there will be several people inside that didn’t.

We spent large amounts of time just observing some pretty ignorant people with their bananas while they interacted with the monkeys.

You will see people teasing monkeys, coaxing monkeys onto their shoulders, heads, laps, you name it. It is an insane sight to witness. 

Don’t be one of these people, respect that monkeys are wild animals and this is a sacred monkey forest.

No Touchy the Monkeys

Ubud Monkey Forest Bali
Don’t be this person!

I will blatantly admit, many of the monkeys in this temple are very tame. They have been around humans their whole lives and are comfortable interacting with people on a daily basis.

However, under no circumstances should you attempt to touch them while in the Ubud Monkey Forest.

They may look cute and cuddly but they are actually ferocious little hellions.  They can become territorial and aggressive in the blink of an eye.

We witnessed one person coax a monkey in with a banana then attempt to pet it. The monkey was tolerant at the first attempts but the person then decided to get braver, move in closer and take selfie photos with the monkey.

This turned bad real fast and resulted in the guy getting bit on the finger. The bite was bad and was bleeding profusely.

Being scratched or bitten by a monkey poses some serious risks to you. Rabies is a disease that is rampant in many parts of Asia and can sit dormant in animals for up to 2 years before they begin to show signs or symptoms of carrying it.

A bite or scratch from an animal that is carrying rabies can prove fatal if proper action is not taken immediately.

We were sure to get our pre-rabies vaccinations before leaving the United States to travel, but we still exercise caution. Getting treatment in a third world country for rabies isn’t an easy task and can quickly ruin your holiday.

Enjoy Yourself

Ubud Monkey Forest

Yes, after all of the ‘could happen’ talk, don’t forget to enjoy your visit to the Ubud monkey forest. There isn’t anywhere else quite like it and it is a beautiful escape from the busy streets of Bali.

The biggest thing is to use your common sense, keep your distance and just enjoy being able to see these amazing creatures so close.

The workers in the temple do a good job of keeping them fed, so they are all healthy looking and if they know you don’t have food, they are happy to let you observe them from a distance without ever bothering you.

Be sure to check out all the layers of the temple and make a stop at the water fountain in the main area. We were able to witness many monkeys playing and swimming in the water here.

Facts About the Ubud Monkey Forest

Ubud Monkey Forest
  • Remember, this is a temple and you should dress accordingly for your visit. No skimpy clothes. Tank tops and modest shorts were acceptable during our visit while in the Ubud Monkey Forest.
  • Ubud Monkey Forest Admission: 80,000IDR per person (roughly $5.50USD)
  • The monkeys that inhabit the Sacred Monkey Forest are Long-Tail Macaques.
  • The monkeys are not afraid of humans, remember this during your visit.
  • If you are bitten or scratched during your visit, seek medical attention to ensure you do not contract a disease.

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA



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24 thoughts on “The Sacred Ubud Monkey Forest in Bali (Complete Travel Guide)”

  1. Bitten by a monkey in the Ubud Monkey Forest – May 2019 – I studied up on all of the rules for the Monkey Forest and I had no food, no jewelry, nothing to attract the monkeys. I simply walked by a monkey who was sitting on a step (about 2 feet away). I did not look at him as I walked by. As I passed him, he grabbed my leg and bit me on the ankle then grabbed my other leg and attempted to bite me on that ankle. Both ankles were scratched up badly, not sure if he actually punctured the skin with his teeth or his claws – but I was bleeding. The monkey went on to bite other tourists who tried to pass him. I went to the first aid stand in the park, and then later our hotel staff insisted on taking me to the Ubud clinic – there they properly cleaned the wounds, gave me two rabies shots, and some pills to prevent hepatitis ($350 USD out of pocket). I’m home now and having to find a clinic to continue the rabies shots…..definitely an inconvenience.

    Reply
    • That is terrible! The problem with the Monkey Forest is that so many people have not followed the rules and now the monkeys expect that you will feed them. When you do not, they get aggressive. It is sad. Glad that you were able to get treatment and hoped that you enjoyed Bali otherwise!

      Reply
  2. Going to have to disagree with the first half of this article (sounds like you were a little over cautious and missed out on all the fun). Our friend who has lived here for 3+ years says to bring bananas! live a little!

    Reply
    • I don’t find anything fun about monkeys climbing all over me and biting because they want a banana. You do know monkeys carry rabies, right? You can still have fun and enjoy the monkey forest WITHOUT carrying bananas and being at risk of being bitten. Cheers!

      Reply
  3. We visited years back, before these preparation tips were around and it was a horrible experience. Since they were selling bananas at the entrance we assumed that was the thing to do. I even gave one to my daughter who was so excited about feeding a monkey! We were all attacked at the gate. We threw the food into the bushes but they just kept coming and we had to literally wack a couple away. My daughter had everything loose stolen off of her and her crying made the monkey even more aggressive. Definitely do not bring food or children!

    Reply
    • I am glad you were able to absolve the situation without getting bitten. It is a great place to visit but you definitely need to be aware of how the monkeys behave and act around the visitors. It’s a real bummer to hear you had a bad time but this is the reality for a lot of people, unfortunately, that aren’t prepared properly for a visit. The locals don’t provide too much safety info as they are trying to make a living selling those bananas to you. I get it but it shouldn’t come at the cost of being bitten, in my opinion. Thanks for your input!

      Reply
  4. We are at Komeneka and just seeing the monkeys on the street terrified me ! How can I come this far and not visit Monkey Forest? What about elephant rides? How far do we go for that?

    Reply
    • You will be fine visiting Monkey Forest. Do not take any food or hand anything from you that swings. They will leave you alone if you keep your distance. As far as elephant rides, this is not something we recommend participating in. Enjoy Bali!

      Reply
  5. There has to be a second option to view the monkeys? I am not sure I want to experience the traffic to get there on Jalan Raya & Jalan Monkey Road. Did you run into other parts of Bali with monkeys?

    Reply
    • There are some other options, but no guarantee you will see them in those places. You can check out Uluwatu Temple- there’s a family that lives there. Traffic is bad everywhere in Bali. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Oh I have always wanted to visit the Monkey Forest in Bali but am afraid of these pesky ferocious monkeys! Maybe I should reconsider visiting this place during my next trip to Bali. By the way, how did you manage to take photos of these monkeys without them snatching the camera away? Did you take the pics from afar?

    Reply
    • The camera was the only thing I had and I had a cross body strap attached to it. They are smart, a simple look at me and they knew they could not get it away from me. I took most from afar because they can be quite nasty and lunge at people with fangs out… so I recommend not trying to get close. Bring a zoom lens and be safe! 🙂 Oh and make sure everything you bring is attached to your body.

      Reply
  7. Great post! I love animal attractions- especially monkeys! I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Japan, but they have a monkey park in Kyoto where you can actually feed the wild monkeys safely (you stand in a big hit with wire Windows and feed then nuts. It’s awesome. And in Nepal they have ‘Miley temple’ in Kathmandu. Literally named because wild monkeys like to roam the temple grounds! I’m definitely adding this to my bucket list! I love monkeys 🙂

    Reply
  8. We’re walking in each other’s footsteps :-). We just returned from a 6-week visit to Bali and Indonesia – and Ubud was a cultural highlight (we have a post too on the Monkey Forest Sanctuary coming soon…). Can’t imagine why people would not want to visit the Monkey Forest! The monkeys are totally captivating – we spent hours watching and photographing them. But we were forewarned too not to bring any bananas, and we removed earrings, watches, etc. before visiting.

    Reply
    • We met so many people that hadn’t been to the Monkey Forest while visiting Bali! We feel the same way, it is a must visit attraction but you do need to be smart about it. Yup, no bananas or small items that attract attention! 🙂 Thanks for stopping in.

      Reply
  9. Excellent post! I didn’t know anything about the Monkey Forest, but you provided great info. I would love to get photos there and now I know the safest way to go about it. The photo of the monkey with his head down is a great perspective! Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Nancie! I am glad you found the post useful. Visiting the Monkey Forest is an experience you shouldn’t miss when you visit Bali, but you do need to behave correctly to have a decent visit. There are so many photo opportunities here! Glad you like the photos, I have several more too!

      Reply

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