On at least one occasion to Bali you should visit the Monkey Forest in Ubud. The villagers view the Monkey Forest as an important economical, educational, spiritual place for the village. The forest has become someone of a conservation centre in recent years with the villagers having increased understanding how to maintain and best care for both the monkeys and the forest.
There are over 700 monkeys in the forest of which belong to one of the five groups. The monkeys that reside in this forest are the Balinese long-tailed monkey, referred to as a macaque. They are free to roam within their territories throughout the 12.5-hectare forest.
The temples in the Monkey Forest were built in the middle of the 14th century. At this time the kingdoms in Bali were ruled by the Dynasty of Pejeng. There are three temples in the forest.
The Main Temple – Pura Dalem Agung is in the southwest area. At this temple worship is to the God (Hyang Widhi) in personification as Shiva. The Transformer. (you can imagine a little boys mind latching onto the thought of a God called The Transformer)
The Beji Temple in the northwest area the worship is to the God (Hyang Widhi) in personification as the goddess Gangga. This is a temple that is a place of purification before conducting the ceremony. The Melukat ceremony is very popular in this area and this temple is used for spiritual and physical cleansing at this time.
The last temple – Pura Prajapati is in the northeast area, or nearby the cemetery. In this temple the worship to the God (Hyang Widhi) in personification as Prajapati. The cemetery is used every 5 years for the day of mass cremation.
If you have not started to envisage Indiana Jones type settings, then you will when you scroll to my photos. The statues throughout the forest are both cheeky, a little bit naughty and a little bit creepy. The monkeys are the same.
To survive the monkey park please read the sign at the entrance. If you are taking children to the forest please be very careful. We left all our belongings in our car other than my camera. Even a camera I would try to ensure you have a strap.
Simple steps to avoid an attack
Here are my simple steps for ensuring you avoid being attacked.
- You do not need to buy bananas – there will be enough tourists who do buy them and you can watch them being attacked.
- Don’t move too slowly – it be a threat.
- Don’t move quickly – again the result can be you are a threat. Calm children and explain these are wild animals.
- Don’t make eye contact. Monkeys are temperamental things and may just decide they don’t like you looking at them.
- Don’t assume because you are bigger they will not fight you.
- Empty your pockets. Gum, candy will be smelt by them as you enter the park. They will get it if they can smell it.
- Despite how hot it is, you may want to leave your water bottle behind. Any chance to grab something and they will.
- The monkeys have Hepatitis C, fleas and potentially rabies.
- Certainly don’t take any food with you. Not only will it be stolen but it is not good for the monkeys health.
Tips to make it the best visit
Tips to ensure you have the best visit possible are not dissimilar to the methods for avoiding an attack, but a few extra things to consider.
- Later in the day is the best time to visit. Most visitors are on day-trips and headed back to Kuta or Seminyak by the later afternoon.
- Don’t wear shining objects. Leave the bling at the resort.
- Don’t use a flash
- Try to dress in long pants and covered skin. The mosquitoes are thick here.
- Beware of bending down in the forest
- Avoid the babies as the mother and father will be extra territorial with the little ones.
My children loved the monkey forest. Not only are the monkeys entertaining and sweet but the pathways and temples are exquisite here. It truly is like an Indiana Jones set as you walk around with statues of large lizards and cheeky monkeys everywhere.
Be sensible and no harm will come to you. Run through a scenario chat with the children at the front gate. Explain that should a monkey jump on them they should remain calm and just keep walking. The monkeys jumped on my son as they wanted to explain who was the boss. He remained calm and kept walking calmly (despite the fact he was not) and the monkey soon grew bored and left him be. My three-year-old on the other hand was far too excited to be able to listen to any instructions and created a huge palaver with screams and running. Fortunately, we were okay but it could have been fatal.
The grounds here are worthy of the visit alone. Visit the temples they are lovely. When travelling through Bali there is a temple on every corner but these ones I can assure you are a stand out.
Click here for the link to the Ubud Monkey Forest