The Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali is a popular destination for visitors who want to experience the beauty of nature while interacting with playful primates. Located in the heart of Ubud, the forest is home to over 700 long-tailed macaques that roam freely among the trees and temples. In this blog post, we’ll explore what makes the Sacred Monkey Forest such a unique attraction, from its spiritual significance to the daily routines of its resident monkeys. Whether you’re a nature lover, animal enthusiast, or simply looking for an unforgettable adventure in Bali, the Sacred Monkey Forest is a must-visit destination.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali
In this blog post, I will tell you what 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!
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 $ 3 USD 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.
Guided Tour of the Monkey Forest
There is an awesome tour called Best of Ubud that includes a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud and the rice terraces. It’s quite affordable and nice to have a driver show you around this beautiful region.
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 each laying claim to a different region of the reserve. The monkeys are fed sweet potatoes three times a day, which is their staple diet but they are 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 has 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 maneuver without too much concern other 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 is something to be aware of before you enter.
Photography in the Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary
For a photographer, this is an amazing location and an 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 its 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.
Things to know about the Ubud Monkey Sanctuary
- What is the Ubud Monkey Sanctuary and where is it located? The Ubud Monkey Sanctuary, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex located in the village of Padangtegal in Ubud, Bali.
- Can I feed the monkeys in the sanctuary? No, feeding the monkeys is not allowed in the sanctuary as it can cause health problems for the monkeys and disrupt their natural behavior.
- Is it safe to visit the sanctuary? Yes, it is generally safe to visit the sanctuary as long as visitors follow the rules and guidelines set by the sanctuary management, such as not touching or teasing the monkeys.
- Are there any rules or guidelines visitors should follow? Yes, visitors are required to follow certain rules and guidelines to ensure the safety of both the monkeys and visitors. These include not touching or teasing the monkeys, not bringing in any outside food, and being respectful of the sacred temple grounds.
- Is there an entrance fee to the Ubud Monkey Sanctuary? Yes, there is an entrance fee to visit the Ubud Monkey Sanctuary. The fee helps support the care and conservation efforts for the monkeys and the sanctuary grounds.