Ubud Monkey Forest

A monkey lover's dream

What we say: 4 stars

The Monkey Forest is a highlight for many first-time visitors to Ubud, but personally, with a strong fear of monkeys, we much prefer the towering forest here to the rampaging simians.

Monkey pretending to be meditative.

Monkey pretending to be meditative.

According to a brochure handed out when you buy your ticket, there are 563 long-tail macaques in the forest, spread across five main groups. Going on the number of babies we saw on our last visit, we’re willing to bet there are a few more than 563 on site nowadays.

Monkeys pretending to be cute.

Monkeys pretending to be cute.

You may well encounter the macaques before you even enter the forest as they’re often roaming around the car parking area and the roofs of buildings along the bottom end of Monkey Forest Road. There are two main entrances (where you buy your ticket) and you’ll also be offered bananas for sale to feed to the macaques.

There is a monkey behind every statue.

There is a monkey behind every statue.

While the moneys here are more civil than say the psychotic beasts at Pura Lempuyan near Amplapura, they are still not to be messed with. If you do buy bananas, don’t be surprised if a macaque gets impatient with your slow rate of feeding and de-bananas you in a matter of seconds. Don’t try to take the bananas back off them — they don’t like that and may bite you if you’re stubborn. For this reason we’d say be wary of letting kids feed them.

Can you see the monkey?

Can you see the monkey?

The monkeys also love shiny objects, so water bottles, glasses, earrings and metal objects are often stolen — hide them away or be on guard! Plenty of guards armed with slingshots wander around to keep the worst culprits at bay, but you’re best just to keep your distance.

Monkeys everywhere.

Monkeys everywhere.

Monkeys aside, three temples lie within the forest, one of which is for cremations, and there is a cemetery nearby. If you follow the path all the way towards the end you’ll reach a seated performance area, we assume for kecak dances.

Laying around at the temple.

Laying around at the temple.

The Monkey Forest is in complete shade for most of the day so it’s cool enough to stroll around without bother (aside from monkeys) so if you’re looking for an escape from the heat, this is a good option.

They're out there ... somewhere.

They’re out there … somewhere.

Two paths lead to the river at the bottom of the valley in which the Monkey Forest sits. It’s worthwhile walking down these paths to check out the stream that has gouged a deep path through the countryside.

Lets get the guy with the iPhone.

Lets get the guy with the iPhone.

A magnificent banyan tree and a number of interesting stone carvings are also situated at the bottom of the ravine and these sights are less frequently visited than the paths above.

More details
Monkey Forest Road
Last updated: 23rd July, 2014

About the author:
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.
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