One of Ubud’s main attractions is a reserve and temple complex near the heart of the city known as the Sacred Monkey Forest.
During our first trip to Ubud, Peter and I hopped on a scooter and rode to one of the entrances of the Monkey Forest. I was surprised and actually quite frightened to see monkeys freely sitting and eating atop motorcycles and scooters in the forest “car park.”
I couldn’t let a couple of monkeys scare me though.
Especially since just beyond the forest walls were hundreds of these playful and feisty creatures. To be honest I didn’t take many photos because I spent so much time keeping a careful watch on the monkeys and the experience was a bit overwhelming for me. Although the monkeys were daunting, it was amazing seeing them swinging and climbing, eating and sleeping, playing and fighting without any cages or fences standing between us.
That is also what makes the monkey forest a potentially risky trip. So before paying a visit to this infamous and sacred forest, keep in mind a few tips.
1.Forget the food
Don’t have any in your bags. Don’t buy any at the gate. Don’t try to feed the monkeys. We saw someone trying to feed a sweet potato piece to a monkey before he was bitten—putting himself at risk of rabies and Hepatitis B…
2. Hide your sunglasses
…And basically anything small and not well attached to your body. The monkeys have a tendency to grab sunglasses, water bottles, jewelry etc. Cheeky monkeys.
3. Don’t underestimate the animals
Although there are lots of tourists in the forest and the monkeys are fed in the forest (to help keep them more docile) they are not domesticated. We saw a few vicious monkey battles (monkey against monkey luckily) and while a few monkeys seemed a bit sweet or playful they easily become aggressive.
4. Don’t Skip it!
Overall I’d definitely still recommend a stroll through the monkey forest. It’s certainly a unique and exciting experience even for someone like myself who was a bit more timid. The forest and the temple aren’t just tourist traps. We saw many locals here that reflected what a special place the Monkey Forest is to visitors and the Balinese alike.