When I started my research on what to do in Ubud, one place that appeared on every website and guide was the Sacred Monkey Forest. I always say here on the blog that an animal’s place is in its natural habitat, so I can’t stand zoos or tours that explore animals.
But the Sacred Monkey Forest is the opposite of that. Although we pay to get in, the animals live free there, and often end up leaving the forest and going to the streets and not always the end of the adventure is very happy.
“The Sacred Monkey Forest Sancturay” – official name – is located in a huge area of preserved forest in the Pandagtegal area of Ubud, in the heart of the island of Bali in Indonesia. The place is full of huge trees, valleys, streams, bridges and Hindu temples, the predominant religion in Bali.
The monkey is among the several sacred animals of Hinduism, according to legend, an army of monkeys would have saved Ravana, the wife of Rama from the demon. As Rama is considered one of the avatars of the god Vishnu, animals came to be blessed and considered sacred.
In the area where today is the Sacred Monkey Forest, there were Hindu temples since the 14th century, when Ubud was still covered by a dense forest and the monkeys lived freely throughout the island. With the growth of the city and the increase in areas deforested for planting rice, the monkeys became confined in the area that is now the Sacred Forest of the Monkeys.
Within the forest are 3 temples: Pura Dalem Agung (dedicated to Shiva); Pura Beji (dedicated to Ganga) and Pura Prajapati (dedicated to Prajapati) and which serves as a temporary cemetery, while the bodies await the mass cremation that takes place every 5 years.
According to the last survey carried out in June 2016, 678 monkeys live in the forest, divided into six groups that occupy certain areas of the place. You know that saying “every monkey on its branch”? That’s right, the groups don’t mix and when they meet, some fights happen that get to scare.
Speaking of which, you have to be careful in the forest and right at the entrance there is a big warning to visitors: do not carry bags with food; do not hide food as they will look for it; care with purses and personal belongings because they really steal; avoid contact with animals as the bite can transmit rabies.
Monkeys often jump on people, especially if they smell food and if that happens don’t panic, try throwing something edible on the floor, that’s what the people there recommend.
I have a bit of a phobia of monkeys, as they are very unpredictable animals and especially the ones from Ubud, which despite their innocent face, love to steal from visitors. Therefore, I even tried to keep a certain distance from them, but it is undeniable that some moments of affection and affection between them leave us a little moved.
With proper care, walking through the forest exploring all the trails, bridges and walkways is very cool. A great refreshment in the heat of Indonesia.
How to get to Sacred Monkey Forest
The forest is in Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal in Ubud. If you’re staying in Ubud, you can easily get there on foot. But any taxi driver on the island will know how to get there, but negotiate the price beforehand.
Entry costs 50,000 rupees (R$12.00) and is open from 8:30 am to 6 pm. But the best time is in the morning when it is less crowded. I got there around 9 am and it was super quiet.
More information on the website: http://www.monkeyforestubud.com/
Where to stay in Ubud
It is super important to choose well where to stay in Ubud, as Bali does not have public transport and being well located, you will be able to do most of the tours on foot. But if you want to have a little more mobility, you can rent a scooter.
I stayed at Pertiwi Bisma, there are 3 hotels in Ubud and all very close to each other. I chose Pertiwi Bisma 2, as it had a sensational pool facing a super green valley with rice fields. The room was huge, super comfortable, with a great bathroom and even had a bathtub. Breakfast was also excellent. Close by is Pertiwi Bisma 1 and Pertiwi Resort & Spa, all of which are great options to stay in Ubud.
Next to them is also the beautiful Alamdini Resort Ubud, which has excellent value for money, as well as being super comfortable. Dewangga Ubud is a comfortable two-star hotel at great prices. The cool thing is that it is close to the Ubud Palace and the Sacred Monkey Forest.
And right in the forest is the Grand Sehati & Spa, which also has an excellent price, in addition to being super comfortable.
Book your tours in Bali here
Everything you need to know before visiting Indonesia
Indonesia visa and immigration
Five places in Indonesia you need to visit
Bali tips for your first trip
What to do in Bali
Where to stay in Bali
Where to stay in Ubud
Spiritual cleansing ritual in Bali
The Sacred Forest of the Monkeys
Borobudur Temple in Java
Prambanan, the great Hindu temple of Java
How to get to the Gili Islands from Bali
How to get to Nusa Penida
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