Monkey Forest Ubud: A Home for Sacred Monkeys – Bali has always interesting places to offer, from the beauty of its nature to the amazing night life, it’s such a complete package!
One of must-visit places is The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary aka Monkey Forest Ubud, located at Padangtegal Village, Ubud, Bali. Trust me, you’ll never have dull moments when choosing Bali as a place for getaway.
If you ever watch Eat, Pray, and Love movie starring Julia Roberts, then you will notice that one of shooting locations was at Monkey Forest Ubud! Though I’m an insider, this time was my first to visit the forest so I was as excited as other tourists 😀
Monkey Forest Ubud
The mission of The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is to conserve the area based on the concept of Tri Hita Karana.
Tri Hita Karana is a philosophy in Hinduism that is derived from the word Tri meaning three, Hita meaning happiness, and Karana meaning the cause or manner. Thus, Tri Hita Karana means three ways to reach spiritual and physical well-being.
Based on the concept of Tri Hita Karana, The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is featured as an international tourist destination to create peace and harmony to the visitors and can be for ritual purpose as well as a natural laboratory for educational institutions.
As first timer, it would’t be complete without feeding monkeys and having them perched on the shoulder and getting one or two photographs of the moment.
My friend and I took a chance to feed them with the help of one guide. We did it smoothly and wanted more to have one of them perched on our shoulder.
I tried myself to be calm so I would’t shock it, and it worked! It perched on my shoulder but suddenly it ended up perching on my head! It almost took my sun glasses off, thank God I didn’t react much so it didn’t happen!
The moment was so embarrassing and hilarious at the same time 😀
Other than feeding monkeys, The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary offers some attractions including some temples, holy pool, holy spring temple, dragon stair, open stage, center point, tree adoption, wooden path, and exhibition hall.
Talking about the price, it costs you at IDR 50,000 for entrance fee (for local tourists) and another at IDR 20,000 for getting some photograph with the monkey!
These are some things to know about The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Ubud
The type of monkeys that live in the area are known as the Balinese long-tailed monkeys and also called macaque in English.
There are about 600 monkeys living in this area and divided into 5 groups – in front of the main temple, Michelin, eastern, central, and cemeteries.
Because of the considerable population, the conflicts between groups of monkey can’t be avoided. Sometimes for specific reason, such as a bath to the river in the dry season, certain groups must cross the other groups territory.
The long-tailed monkeys are omnivores. In the Monkey Forest Ubud, the main food of the monkeys is sweet potato, given 3 times a day and combined daily with banana, papaya leaf, corn, cucumber, coconut, and other local fruits.
There are three temples in the area of The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary:
- Pura Dalem Agung (Dalem Agung Temple, the main temple), located in the southwest area. In this temple, people worship to the God (Hyang Widhi) in personification as Shiva, “The Recycler” or “The Transformer”.
- Pura Beji (Beji Temple), located in the nortwest area. In this temple, people worship to the God (Hyang Widhi) in personification as the goddess Gangga. This temple is a place of purification before conducting the ceremony (piodalan) and is often used for “melukat” as spiritual and physical cleansing.
- Pura Prajapati (Prajapati Temple), located in the northeast area. This temple is adjacent to the cemetery, people worship to the God (Hyang Windhi) in personification as Prajapati.
Research and Conservation
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is not only a tourist attraction for spiritual and economic life of the local community, but also an important spot for research and conservation programs, particularly for the monkey’s social interaction and behavior with their surrounding environment.
For Visitors Awareness
The monkeys and its mythology are important elements in Balinese art tradition. This appears in some dances, such as Kecak and Ramayanan where the monkeys are the prominent figures in this story. Please bear in mind that:
- Don’t bring a bag (plastic or paper bag) or plastic bottles to the sanctuary in order to avoid sudden attacks from the monkeys. Entrust your belongings to the ticket counter.
- Monkeys don’t come or approach you if you don’t bring bananas or any other food. If you want to interact or feed them, do it carefully and gently.
- Don’t ever pull the food back once you’ve given them to the monkeys!
- Don’t feed the monkeys by giving peanuts, biscuits, breads, or other human snacks. It will ruin their health.
- The forest area is sanctified by the local people community, so some parts are prohibited and can only be accessible for those who are willing to pray and wear a proper Balinese praying outfit.