When visiting Ubud you shouldn’t miss out on Monkey Forest, or officially: Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. After paying 40,000 IDR you get to enter a jungle in the city, preserving all kinds of trees and plants, housing some temples and home to over 600 macaques, Balinese long-tailed monkeys. In photos they may seem cute and all, but in truth they are greedy and not to be trusted. Therefore we present: our guide to survive Monkey Forest in Ubud. Go prepared.
The monkeys in Monkey Forest in Ubud might be quite used to having people walking through their territory, but their reactions to your behaviour remain unpredictable. So it’s best to not provoke or insult them. Don’t look them in the eye and show your teeth or shout, as they might see it as a sign of aggression. Don’t bring plastic bags or food, as they will come take it if you don’t share.
In fact we didn’t bring anything at all, just our camera and phone, as the monkeys might try to take everything that’s shiny (don’t wear long earrings!) or loose in some way. At some point I held the phone in my hand in my pocket and a monkey jumped me. He was probably just curious what I was hiding, but it scared the hell out of me.
The monkeys get fed thrice a day, mostly sweet potatoes, but throughout the forest there are stalls selling bananas to feed them. Or rather to lure them to take a great picture or even a selfie. I wouldn’t try it, but several tourists held a banana next to their head so the monkey would sit on their shoulder.
Don’t try and put away some bananas in your bag to share with a monkey later, because they’ll just come take it out of your bag. Several signs warn you for this, but we saw more than one visitor wondering why the monkeys were that interested in their bag. When they get ahold of the food, don’t try to pull it back and definitely don’t touch the monkeys.
To be honest, I was quite scared to visit Monkey Forest in Ubud. I don’t like unpredictable animals roaming free in my neighbourhood. (Strangely enough I was not that worried when visiting Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, although we would be walking between the elephants there, significantly bigger animals than monkeys.)
But if you obey the rules and use your common sense (don’t hang around when the monkeys start fighting), you’ll enjoy your visit. We did, and returned home with tons of cool pictures!
Have you been to Monkey forest in Ubud yet? How did you like it? Got anything stolen by the monkeys? We’d love to read about your experience in the comments!
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