SACRED MONKEY FOREST SANCTUARY IN UBUD, BALI
In this blog post I will tell you need to know before visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Bali. Of course I will also show you all of my photos of the monkeys playing around in the temples and the jungle!
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali
Entrance Fee for the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Bali is more commonly known as Monkey Forest Temple. It’s an amazing day trip into the hip region of Ubud. Unlike many expensive tourist activities in Bali, this one will only cost you $3USD per person and it really is an unbelievable experience. The Ubud Monkey forest cost is quite low compared to other temples and attractions especially considering its popularity among tourists.
The scenery is unearthly with giant roots bending around bridges, huge stone carvings of Komodo Dragons sticking out from the sides of river banks and beautiful temples… all home to a huge gang of macaques/Balinese Long-tailed monkeys.
Best value tour for the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali
The entrance fee is only $3 USD as I mentioned but there are other attractions in the area. Why not combine them in a tour? You can really pack a lot into a day when the guide picks you up at the hotel and drops you home at the end of the day. This is the best way to see lots of epic spots near Ubud. The tour begins with a visit to the markets of Ubud. The best part about this tour is that it is only $20 per person!
You will wander in paradise as you explore the culturally rich town of Ubud! Conveniently start your tour with a hotel pick up and prepare to be amazed at your first stop: the Art Village that showcases genuine Balinese wares, arts, and crafts. Purchase your souvenirs and bring a piece of Bali with you before heading to Pulina Coffee Plantation for a sip of authentic Balinese coffee. Try out the most expensive coffee in the world—Kopi Luwak—and more exquisite brews locally made from all over Indonesia!
If you’re up for the challenge, take the plunge on the popular Bali Swing and soar above the sprawling Ubud forest. The tour continues with a visit to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Witness Bali’s famous rice paddies, beautifully terraced landscapes sloping down across valleys. After seeing the spectacular vista, you’ll have free time to shop and eat some more. By 3:00 pm, arrive at Ubud Monkey Forest, home to over 700 Balinese long-tailed monkeys!
Enter a sanctuary of temples, walk around the amazing nature reserve, and even interact with the monkeys by feeding them bananas. Finally, drop by Gao Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave. Dating back to the 11th century, this mysterious cultural treasure features Hindu and Buddhist imagery and ancient bathing temples! After a day of immersing yourself in the cultural heart of Bali, return safely at your hotel courtesy of round trip transfer services.
Book your tour: Ubud tour with Monkey Forest, Rice Fields, Swing, Markets
My experience in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali
The monkeys had an entire jungle playground to explore and were actually not enclosed at all. Some monkeys roamed the nearby streets in Ubud and they really were free to leave the temples. This is definitely not a zoo but the monkeys are here for the free food.
The entire area is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex and lies within the village of Padangtegal. The reserve is an important educational, spiritual and economic center for the village.
115 different species of trees create a playground for the cheeky little monkeys that seem to pop out from behind every branch.
The Temples within the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
There are three Hindu temples on the nature reserve that were built around 1350. This alone blew my mind and I struggled to imagine this time period. Growing up in Australia nothing is older than a hundred years or so.
- Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal
This is the main temple and is used for worshipping the god Hyang Widhi in the personification of Shiva.
- Pura Beji
This temple is used for worshipping Hyang Widhi in the personification of the goddess Gangga. It is a “Holy Spring” bathing temple and is used before religious ceremonies to conduct purification and physical cleansing.
- Pura Prajapati
This temple is used to worship Hyang Widhi in the personification of Prajapati.
While most of the monkey forest is open to the public several areas and sections of the temples are off-limits to the public as they are considered extremely sacred and only used for praying.
The Ubud Monkeys in the Sanctuary
There are five different groups of monkeys within the sanctuary that each lay claim to a different region of the reserve. The monkeys are fed sweet potato three times a day, which is their staple diet but they also fed bananas and other fruits by tourists.
Having heard from others and been told at the gate to be careful with sunglasses, hats, jewelry and keys I was on high alert. However, we never had a single problem having put all of our belongings inside our bags.
I had envisioned the monkeys being hard to interact with but many monkeys came up to us, several jumped on us and for a brief moment, I even held the hand of a juvenile monkey as we sat on the stone wall.
Vendors sell bunches of small bananas that you can hold above your head attracting the monkeys who perform the smash, grab and run manoeuvre without too much concern other for than their lunch.
We bought one bunch of bananas but many people had monkeys climbing on them even when they didn’t hold food. I was interacting with the monkeys a lot as I tried to capture them from different angles and watched them use different facial expressions. None of them tried to grab my camera or lash out at me.
Is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud dangerous?
The monkeys have been known to get aggressive and bite people if they think you have food or retracted an offer for food as any hungry person would. They can carry viruses such as Herpes B, which can be deadly to humans. I didn’t feel at risk while in the sanctuary but accidents happen and it something to be aware of before you enter.
Photography in the Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary
For a photographer this is an amazing location and opportunity to interact with an exotic animal with a vibrant personality in an open area. All of the elements add up to some unique shots.
One of the most interesting scenes involved a baby monkey who was being handled by it’s protective parents as it tried desperately to reach for a banana. Several monkeys had found or stolen objects such as water bottles and soda cans, which made for interesting photos but this was one part of the Monkey Forest Temple that concerned me a little bit. The monkeys are crafty thieves so I am not sure how to avoid them getting their hands on such objects.