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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.