Getting There: rent a Motorbike from the center of Ubud, walk or grab a taxi
Costs: entrance fee 50,000 IDR, motorbike rental 55,000 IDR
Suggested Time: spend a morning or afternoon, 3 hours is enough
Additional Information: don’t take any food of any kind, keep water bottles hidden in a bag and keep bags sealed / locked if possible
Nearby Attractions: could be done in conjunction with a visit to a Kopi Luwak Coffee Plantation
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary of Ubud is a 5 minute drive or a 20 minute walk from Ubud Town Center, and is a popular tourist destination. As the name will suggest, this is a forest full of monkeys but once you get inside of the sanctuary there is a bit more than originally meets the eye!
Once you arrive you will find a small garage opposite the main entrance where you can park your motorbike for free. The entrance fee to the sanctuary is 50,000 IDR, and in my opinion is pretty reasonable fee for spending a long afternoon exploring the forest and watching the monkeys interacting with the tourists. After paying the entrance fee you will find yourself in a nature reserve and a Hindu temple complex that is of significant importance both economically and spiritually to the local people. The sanctuary’s mission is to conserve the area according to the Hindu principle Tri Hata Karana (three ways to achieve spiritual and physical well-being). The forest covers approximately 10 acres and there are concrete walkways and clear signage the will guide you through the paths so that you don’t overlook or miss any of the small but interesting temples.
You can easily spend an afternoon walking around the reserve, watching all the monkeys and checking out the various little temples that are in the middle of the forest. Due to the vast size of the forest it’s fairly easy to escape the crowds and marvel at some of the 150 different types of trees, plants and fauna. The monkeys are cute, you will see many baby monkeys playing in the trees, and you can even buy bananas to feed them, but WATCH OUT… although they look cute they will steal anything that isn’t tied down, so don’t take any food with you, keep your sunglasses and hats securely stored away in your bag and generally take care of your belongings! During the afternoon I was there I must have seen 20 tourists jumped on, scratched, snarled at and potentially worse because they had food or bottles of water that the monkeys wanted and these monkeys will stop at nothing to get it.
I made the fatal error of having an empty Haribo wrapper in the side of my backpack, lo and behold some behemoth of an adult monkey jumped on my back, tore the wrapper from my bag and spent the next 10 minutes licking the wrapper clean of all its sugary goodness. Luckily the big guy just took the wrapper and ran but it easily could have been worse. The last thing you want to do is spend your holiday getting rabies shots because you’ve been bitten or scratched by a monkey, so BE CAREFUL!