If you have Ubud in your Bali itinerary then chances are you have heard of the Sacred Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary. It is a beautiful place to visit and one of the most popular things to do in Ubud. So in this article we will share all you need to know about this experience before you go.
How To Get To The Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary?
Depending on where you are staying in Ubud you can either walk or get a driver. It is located towards the bottom of Jalan Monkey Forest, near where it meets Jalan Hanoman. It’s not hard to find, however, I would recommend heading to the main entrance.
When Is The Ubud Monkey Forest Open?
The Sacred Monkey Forest is open daily from 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM (Ticket office closes at 5:30 PM).
How Much Does It Cost? Ubud Monkey Forest Price.
The Ubud Monkey Forest entrance fee is 80 000 IDR per person.
How Much Time Do I Need In Ubud Monkey Forest?
Well. Our first trip lasted about 15 mins as we felt the monkeys were a bit too full on for us so we did not fully explore the forest. We have also spent over 2 hours in there on another occasion. I would say if you’re feeling comfortable around the monkeys then an hour or so would be a nice amount of time as you explore the forest. There are different sections to walk around and the forest itself is a beautiful attraction.
What To Expect On A Visit To The Ubud Monkey Forest?
The Ubud Monkey Forest is not just a monkey spotting opportunity, it is a deeply important religious and spiritual complex for the local community. Here you will find Balinese Hindu temples, tranquil rivers, beautiful moss-covered stones and stunning forested areas to explore. It’s also important to note that this is where the monkeys live and they are free to roam as they please, they are not confined.
The Monkey Population And What To Look For
2017 data suggests there are approximately 749 monkeys living in the Ubud Monkey Forest. Take a look at the photo below as a guide to tell how old some of the monkeys are.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Entry Guidelines
As you are about to enter the monkey forest, there are some guidelines on a sign that you should read. These are the recommendations of the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
‘Please be aware you are in the semi-free ranging monkey area. Monkeys aren’t aggressive by nature: they will only defend themselves if they feel scared or threatened. There are some important things you should know while you are in the Monkey Forest Ubud area.
Do not panic, if the monkeys jump on you please drop any food and walk away slowly. They will soon jump off.
Do not run, when monkeys approach you, keep calm and don’t scream. Avoid shouting as this may frighten them.
Do not look the monkeys in the eye, this is interpreted as a sign of aggression.
Do not hide any food, because the monkeys will know where to find it.
Do not bring any type of plastic/paper bag, to keep the forest litter free and to avoid the monkeys taking and playing with it.
Please take care of your personal belongings, (Sunglasses, earrings, accessories, jewellery, etc).
Do not ever touch, grab, or disturb the monkeys, they may touch you but please do not ever touch them, because their reactions are unpredictable. Especially be aware around baby monkeys, they may seem harmless but their mothers are very defensive of them.
It is prohibited to feed the monkeys peanuts, cookies, candy, bread, or any kind of snacks, and drink. To maintain their health.
Please take care of your children.’
We always avoid bringing small bags, sunglasses, or anything valuable during a visit to the monkey forest. Even water bottles are a target. The monkeys will try and take what they can as they know you may feed them to get it back, but it’s not worth the stress. We always avoid feeding the monkeys, but it’s a personal choice.
Are The Monkeys Safe?
We have visited the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary a couple of times and each time has been a different experience. On our first visit, the monkeys were very active and cheeky, trying to grab food, cameras, hats, jumped on a few people and we saw a few people scratched and one girl bitten. As a result, we did not spend too long in the forest. We were so glad we experienced the monkeys and the forest and would recommend it to anyone to visit, however, we were also happy we had been and did not have an urge to return in the near future.
So you may be wondering why we visited again? On our last visit, it was a very special day for the local Ubud community. It was a day of mass cremation that is only held every 5 years. We were told by a local family that we should attend this ceremony, which was held in the Monkey Forest. So we decided to return. This time the monkeys were pretty tame and friendly. There was plenty of staff keeping an eye on the monkeys and ready to protect visitors from potential problems. The monkeys seemed very used to people and happy to accept food from the visitors who were picking up the sweet potatoes and hand feeding them. Although we definitely still felt like we had to be aware, this time we loved our experience and just spent our time exploring the beautiful forest and watching the monkeys.
The two visits were a few years apart, so perhaps there are better guidelines in place and more staff now, or maybe it just really depends on the day, who knows.
What To Do If I Get Bitten By A Monkey
The following is not medical advice, discuss with your doctor.
Now for the not so fun stuff. Even though we would say you should check out the Ubud Monkey Forest, you should do so knowing what you may be in for if you get bitten. We are definitely on the side of prevention and caution when it comes to health and safety. Monkeys (as well as other animals in Bali and Indonesia) may have rabies or other viruses like herpes B or Hepatitis C. Although I don’t believe there have been reports of the monkeys having rabies, it is possible, and there have been reports of dogs here with rabies. If you get bitten or scratched you should immediately wash out your wound with soap and get a medical opinion which may result in a multiple injection course of the rabies vaccine as well as immunoglobulin which may not always be readily available. This can be expensive so remember to get travel insurance :) However, if you follow the Sanctuary guidelines and don’t feed the monkeys, the likelihood of getting scratched or bitten is probably pretty low.
Do You Need The Rabies Vaccine To Visit Bali?
The following is based on our personal experience and is not medical advice. See your doctor to discuss the matter and decide what is best for you.
We went to Bali many times before getting the Rabies vaccine, as we kept getting mixed opinions on the matter. But when we really looked into it, for us, it seemed like the best decision to get it. We had a course of 3 shots of the rabies vaccine in Australia before a trip (from memory they need to be done well in advance and each shot needs to be spaced apart). This means that if we got scratched or bitten by any animal that may have rabies, we would only need a couple of follow-up shots and no immunoglobulin. So for us, getting the vaccine made us feel more carefree. We didn’t choose to get the vaccine because we were going to Ubud Monkey Forest, and we did not have the vaccine on our first visit there, it came down to multiple factors. We also travel full-time and never really know well in advance where we are going to, so it made sense for our situation. Again, just want to reiterate that this was a personal choice and you should discuss it with your doctor and decide what’s best for your situation.
We don’t want to deter you from a visit by saying all this but think it is important to know. Ultimately, Ubud Monkey Forest is a really special place for not just the monkeys, but its beautiful forest and temples too. We hope you love your visit during your trip to Ubud!