Monkey Forest - Ubud

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Single monkey with a leaf in Monkey Forest.

If you search Instagram for Monkey Forest Ubud, you will find countless pictures of people with a monkey sitting on their shoulder or taking a selfie with them. We first thought to ourselves "Ok what kind of circus is this" and immediately had the images of chained animals in our heads. Accordingly, we visited the sprawling facility a bit skeptical. But the Monkey Forest totally surprised us and was one of the most mystical places of our trip through Indonesia. But let's start from the beginning!

After the joyride with our scooter the day before, this time we went a little slower. Theoretically, the whole name of the park is "Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary", however, everyone just says Monkey Forest. This one is south of the center, so it's within easy walking distance. We made our way after a hearty breakfast to the entrance of the facility 15 minutes away, which is open from 08:30 to 18:00. Here 50,000 IDR (~ 3$) per person are due and the guards ask one to stow loose items, such as sunglasses or hats in the backpack.

After all the important items were packed, we mingled with the approximately 600 free-roaming macaques in the 12-hectare area. And if you think it's just a big "game preserve", you're wrong. For the facility is a sacred site, according to the concept of "Tri Hita Karana", which promotes the harmonious coexistence of man and nature for the attainment of spiritual and physical well-being. For this reason, the primates run freely through the grounds and even before the actual entrance to the park, one is greeted by the lively monkeys. The Monkey Forest attracts over 10,000 visitors each month, but locals are among them as well. The site, with its three temples, the interior of which is reserved for locals, is an important religious site. The main temple is dedicated to the god Shiva, the smaller ones to the deities Brahma and Gangga.

Man strolls along a wooden path through the dense Monkey Forest.

So we strolled through the large area, which is densely overgrown with trees. Inevitably, after a few steps through the green sea of leaves, one feels like in an old ruin in the middle of the jungle. Sporadically there are feeding places, where the monkeys can be observed particularly well. We kept a little distance to the primates, because we had already heard one or the other horror story and preferred not to have any problems with them. The macaques themselves do not shy away from contact, as they are used to the visitors and love to enjoy the souvenirs of the careless tourists. So put away your sunglasses, hats, bottles and cameras, or rather take care of them. During our visit, a monkey stole a packet of wet wipes and was about to eat it. An attentive guard stopped this with a slingshot and chased the monkey away, unharmed of course. Caution is also required with the monkeys with young, because they can quickly feel threatened and bite. But if you treat the animals with respect, stay calm and do not start a fight over fruit, you can spend a nice day in this facility.

As already mentioned, the area is 12 hectares large and so we needed the whole morning to visit the extensive area. But through the dense jungle it is pleasantly cool and quiet and so we often just sat on a bench and watched the monkeys grooming their fur or frolicking.

Afterwards we strolled through the alleys of Ubud back to our hotel. Our pool was already waiting for us and in the evening we wanted to visit a traditional dance performance in the temple Pura Taman Saraswati!

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