Indonesia is a laid back country made up of more than 17,000 islands. Of all these islands the most popular amongst tourists is the large island of Bali. Surrounded by water and full of a boho vibe this island is full to the brim with surfers and yogis. The islands are dotted with stunning white sandy beaches that have large waves that are perfect for surfing. Some calmer areas are heavily used for snorkeling and diving where you will see a plethora of colourful tropical fishes.
The island’s center, an area called Ubud, is where you will find the many hippie/yogi types and the city carries a very earthy vibe. With some world class restaurants and hotels, rich green rice fields and many temples to visit this is a super unique area.
The north of the island is more reserved for locals with no huge touristy areas. Rock lined beaches lead way to some of the most spectacular dive sites in all of Southeast Asia. With shipwrecks, walls of coral and gardens of sunken Buddha statues there is lots to be explored below the sea.
This island is one of many in Indonesia but with a rich culture and such vastly different landscapes it can easily leave you with countless stories. We know we left with many. Read them below.
If you are anything like me you make some pretty ridiculous purchases when traveling through Bali. Those purple elephant pants that looked so cute on the streets of Kuta don’t carry the same appeal now that I am walking through downtown Vancouver. While I pride myself in practicing minimalism and love that everything important to me fits in one tiny van it is easy to get swept up in the cheap prices of Bali.
Even though I made some questionable purchases while abroad I also made one really great one. While taking a car around town we started chatting with the driver about the popular sites around Bali. He offered to take us for a tourist trip all around the island. For 600,000 IDR (around $55 CAD) we would get a private driver for an eight hour period that would take us anywhere we wanted to go. Did I mention that this car ride was air conditioned? I told you it’s a good buy!
Eager to see the island Myles and I rushed to a coffee shop to acquire WiFi and plan our big day. Planning all the big sites while placing a large priority on heading north to find the best places to scuba dive we had our route planned.
When our driver came to pick us up we threw our bags in the back of his car and handed him a map with a bunch of circles over the places we wanted to visit. All smiles we headed north to Ubud.
The culture in Bali is amazing to experience. In Indonesia 90% of the population recognizes as Muslims with 10% other denomination. On the island of Bali 80% of the population is Hindu. This makes for a rich culture that can be seen in almost every aspect of their life. A visit to the any of the many temples is not to be missed. Doing so with a driver/tour guide is even better.
From getting to sit and help make one of the daily offerings to learning some of the customs and practices made the experience truly unforgettable. Bali is known for wood and stone carvings and even if you are not interested in being a part of the religion the architecture is an experience in itself.
While there are waterfalls everywhere there is nothing quite like splashing in one in the middle of a hot and humid 40℃ day. A beautiful sight we found these waterfalls to be incredibly busy and touristy with a ton of street vendors lined up. While the refreshing dip was well worth it, this was something we would have been fine with missing.
I have written about all our crazy adventures with this scary forest before. As scary as it was, it is definitely an unforgettable experience that everyone should do ONCE. Seriously, I would NOT go back a second time.
The real reason we decided to hire the car was the lush rice farms. After trekking through rice paddies in Vietnam I knew how cool of an experience it was and had to show Myles. No where else do you get to experience such a deep and pure green. Full of life, climbing through these wet rice terraces was a true experience. With endless beautiful views there are tons of restaurants and coffee shops where you can relax and take in all the beautiful views of this area.
Nearing the end of our day we passed by the famous volcano on the island. With not a ton of time left for our day we only stopped to snap a few photos and stand in awe for a few moments before continuing our long and windy drive north.
We ended our eight hour day being dropped off in the northern town of Tulamben. This small town is far away from the tourist district but has some of the best dive sites in Indonesia. Being recently scuba certified Myles and I couldn’t wait to further explore this city.
Needless to say it was an action packed day and one will be remembered for a while. Eight hours of having a tour guide, driver and get a tour of the entire island, now that was a win! Did I mention the air conditioning?
Been to any of the places that we visited? Let us know your favourite below.
Hundreds of monkeys call Bali’s famous Monkey Forest home. This forest sanctuary is located in the island’s Instagram famous town: Ubud. A boom in tourism has led to some devastating realities to the wildlife in Bali. Overhunting and increased agricultural demand (particularly coconut and coffee industries) have led to extreme declines, and even extinctions, to the population of some species. This forest provides about 30 acres of protected jungle for the animals to live.
In this article:
What to expect at Monkey Forest?
How much does Monkey forest cost and when to go?
What do the monkeys eat?
What should I bring to Monkey Forest?
Are monkeys safe to be around?
Can you touch the baby monkeys?
How to get to monkey forest?
Where to stay in Ubud?
Other places to see monkeys?
What to expect at monkey forest
Over 600 Balinese long-tailed Macaque monkeys call this sanctuary home. As soon as you enter the park you can expect to see these primates climbing through trees, swinging from branches, splashing in the water and even sleeping right in the middle of the pathway.
Monkeys are curious, playful and mischievous animals. With consistent human encounters this park brings, they may be wild but they certainly aren’t scared of humans. In fact, they will not hesitate to jump and crawl all over you.
Monkey forest is a family-friendly activity – with the proper precautions. It’s important to teach your kids how to respect wild animals properly. It’s also recommended to try to limit interactions to only younger monkeys. Older monkeys can grow to a relatively large size that will rival your child. There are a lot of families that visit this forest every day.
Throughout the park, there are 3 temples that date back to the 14th century. Tourists are not granted access to these areas as they are kept as sacred places of worship for the locals. These stunningly built temples still allow for amazing Instagram photos on the outside.
The forest also houses many beautiful sculptures that the monkeys climb on. This combined with the lush jungle makes for some amazing photo opportunities.
How much does Monkey forest cost and When to go
The entrance to this sacred sanctuary is 80,000IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). For Canadians, that’s about $7. Kids are priced at a discounted rate of 60,000IDR (just over $5 CAD). Once in the park, you will be instantly met by monkeys running all around you. The park is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm with the ticket office closing at 5 pm. We recommend heading there in the early morning to beat the crowds and get more one-on-one interaction with the primates.
What do the monkeys eat?
The monkeys are fed daily by the park staff a diet of papaya, bananas and other fruits. Sometimes, the staff will allow you to help feed the monkeys bananas. We did this only to have the entire stash grabbed from our hands within seconds. Myles even got punched in the face by one when he tried to regulate only one banana each. Lesson learned, don’t limit monkeys!
What should I bring to monkey forest?
It is important to pack light for your trip, and by light I mean your phone, camera and wallet are ideally all you should bring with you. As these mischievous monkeys are known thieves, it is important to not bring anything you don’t want stolen with you. This includes wearing big pieces of jewelry, hair clips and even keys with long lanyards.
Food and drinks are not to be brought into the park, even water bottles, as they are sure to be stolen. Due to the plastic crisis in the world, the park also asks that no plastic bags are brought into the forest. These smart devils have perfected the art of stealing and will not hesitate to open backpacks and purses, or steal the whole thing all together.
The monkeys have a fascination with hand sanitizer. During our pre-covid visit, they urged us not to bring it into the park as the monkeys steal it and get drunk off drinking it. We brought nothing but our cameras and cellphones with us and still had monkeys jumping all over us.
Are monkeys safe to be around?
After a dangerous encounter with monkeys on a trip to the popular Thai island of Koh Phi Phi, we were very nervous to visit. A lot of people are scared of monkeys, and for good reason. These are wild intelligent animals that are heavily exploited in our world and they know they need to protect themselves. As we never visit zoos, we love to get as many natural animal encounters as we can so we thought this would be a must see experience.
Before entering the park there will be a list of precautions that are important to read and remember during your visit. While it is difficult, you cannot make any loud or threatening motions or noises when this happens. To avoid any misconstrued attempts at aggression, it is important you do not make eye contact, run or touch the monkeys.
While most people have positive experiences here, the wild animals’ demeanors can be unpredictable. Naturally monkeys sometimes fight one another over territory or mating. They can also misconstrue actions for threats that can lead to them biting or scratching humans.
The monkeys do not have diseases. They are all monitored by the Primate Research Center of Udayana University to ensure they are in good health. This means you don’t have to worry about rabies or any other diseases commonly found in wild animals.
Can you touch the baby monkeys?
Baby monkeys stick with their mom for the first 10 months of their life. During this time, the mom is naturally quite protective of her young. She is teaching them how to get food, protect themselves and other useful survival skills. Staying away from the babies, unless of course they come to you, is the best course of action to avoid stressing mom.
How to get to Monkey Forest?
Monkey forest is located in the middle of the tourism hot spot: Ubud. If staying in the city, getting to the forest is really easy! There is ample parking on site so we recommend renting a scooter to get here.
If you are coming from other major cities, hiring a local driver to take you to Ubud is a great option. These drivers are hired for the day which means that you can stop at a few tourist destinations as well.
If you are looking to see some monkeys in the wild but want to skip the lines, there is another smaller forest that can be found not too far from Ubud at the Sangeh Monkey Forest instead.
Have you ever visited Monkey Forest? Let us know your experience below in the comments.