I have to admit, I was reluctant to visit the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest.
I had seen it all over blogs and Instagram and there was part of me that expected it was going to be overly touristy. And, yes, the idea of being surrounded by monkeys kind of creeped me out. There was no way I was gonna be one of those people having a monkey sit on my head while I fed it a banana just for the photo-op.
But, on our last day in Ubud, after a sweaty session at the Yoga Barn, we decided we had to check it out. Its only 40k rupiah (€3), so what did we really have to lose?
Ok, so the monkeys were actually pretty cute… I mean, look at them picking the bugs out of each others’ fur… sweet, right?
There are over 600 macaques living there, and it is kind of cool to have them running around you – although it’s not exactly the National Geographic moment you might expect. It still is pretty touristy, but its the best and fastest way to see our distant cousins if you’re pressed for time.
If you visit other areas of Bali (Uluwatu temple for example), you’ll see these guys running across the street, stealing from locals, trying to break into your scooter seat to find food and just hanging out, so this won’t be your only chance to see macaques in person.
See also: What to know before visiting Indonesia
Keep in mind, the monkeys can be pretty aggressive – A few weeks after our visit I was on a snorkeling tour and noticed a girl on my tour with a big bandage on her arm. We got to talking and I told her I really loved our visit to Ubud. She hadn’t had such a nice visit… she got into a tug-of-war over a water bottle with a monkey, and urgently had to get rabies shots after it bit her and stole the bottle. If one of the monkeys wants something of yours, best to just give it up!
Overall, I’m glad we went, cause that seems to be the only thing people know about Ubud, and inevitably we’d get asked if we visited. Now we can check it off the list, but next time we visit Indonesia my first choice is to go on an orangutan river cruise in Kalimantan.
Where to stay in Ubud
We stayed at Pertiwi Bisma 1 during our time in Ubud, and we loved it so much we decided to stay an extra night! Pertiwi Bisma 1 is very affordable – I think we paid around $35 per night. Not only is it conveniently located just a short walk from all the best sights of Ubud, but it also has an epic infinity pool that looks out over the jungle. I never ever wanted to leave…
Planning your trip to Indonesia? Lonely Planet is my go-to for all my travels and I used it to plan and inspire all my travels in Indonesia
Gabby is a native (Northern) Californian who spent the majority of her 20’s living the expat life in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exploring Europe and beyond. 27 countries later, she’s relocated back to her home base in California where she explores her passions for the travel and the outdoors.
Looks like a great adventure!
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I also feel a bit creeped out by Monkey’s but you got some great photos! 🙂 And that pool looks amazing!
thanks! it was amazing…still thinking about it, haha!
In Madagascar, the lemurs are the same way! They are a huge tourist attraction and can be a bit spoiled and aggressive. They are worth a visit though, just like you describe with these guys.
ah maybe that place in Madagascar is not for me, haha
I love monkeys haha.. I am visiting the snow monkeys in Japan soon, very excited! They can be agressive indeed, reminds me in south africa where they kind of gang up to steal food from tourist hahah! Cool post, makes me dream of Bali even more
thanks! I hope you are going to see the monkeys in the thermal baths… those are on my list!!
Haha I think its funny you did want to be surrounded by monkeys because I would LOVE that! I saw them in the wild for the first time in Brazil and was so excited. They sound aggressive in Bali though- do they really know how to break into motorcycles?!
haha I was the opposite! was so terrified of the monkeys! they are pretty aggressive in Bali! and somehow they do know how to break in… sounds crazy but it is true!!
I always love honest opinions like this! I skipped this attraction when I was in Ubud and reading this made me happy with my decision. They do look, cute but I agree, there’s a lot more to explore. I can’t believe that girl got bit!
thanks! I try to keep it honest on here 🙂 I probably should have skipped the forest too!
The book I was reading, titled “spillover” actually talked about how 65% of those monkeys have a form of Hepititis…..I was extra freaked out…..
But I still went.
wow ew, that is really scary actually… so glad I was careful!
Really nice photos! I went to Monkey island in Vietnam before, but haven’t heard there is one in Bali. I totally agree that those monkey can be really aggressive 😮
Monkeys are super cute but behavior wise, it can get dicey! We also encountered a traveler who had a bad run in with a monkey at one of the temples in India. Like your advice, best to just give it up!
OMG! The monkeys are adorable! I agree they can be aggressive. I saw that first hand at Monkey Beach in Thailand. I really want to visit Ubud though, so thanks for the inspiration!