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.
Heading to Indonesia? Check out our top things to do in Bali.
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.
Read about the 6 things to avoid in Bali to help you plan your vacation.
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.
Where to stay in Ubud?
Family Friendly: This beautiful home
Budget: Villa Mirah Ubud
Mid-Range: Avalon Ubud Villa Bucu View Resort
Other places to see monkeys
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.