BaliUbud $$$$$ All Year Mostly Outdoor
Wildlife Park

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

Alongside Ubud's urban center, lined with healthy cafes and trendy boutiques, is a section of pure jungle, home to over 1,000 Balinese monkeys. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is located on spiritually-significant ground, constructed around 3 Hindu temples dating back to the 14th century. The monkeys are revered in Balinese culture and feature in many traditional dances and legends.

Sacred or not, monkeys will be monkeys. While tourists delight in watching the furry critters frolic and get into all sorts of mischief, measures are in place to protect visitors' belongings from the monkeys' greedy hands, and also to preserve the monkeys' natural way of life.

Caretakers are always onsite to monitor interactions and champion the Sanctuary's ethos of Tri Hita Karana, to create peace and harmony between humans, spirits, and the environment (plants and animals).

The forest itself is an arboretum, with research and conservation programs underway. The comprehensive array of local plants and trees includes a sacred Banyan tree in the heart of the sanctuary. The serene atmosphere is enhanced with traditional stone carvings dispersed among tree roots and alongside river banks.

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Price

Adult: Rp80,000 (USD$5.46), Child: Rp60,000 ($4.10)

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Time Spent

1-2hours

Fitness level: Light effort

Hours

8:30am-6pm7 days

Look Around

Map near entranceMap near entrance
Main pathwayMain pathway
Caretaker preparing foodCaretaker preparing food
Religious offeringsReligious offerings
Sacred templeSacred temple
Walking around
Keeping watchKeeping watch
A baby cuddling up to its momA baby cuddling up to its mom
Ignoring the touristsIgnoring the tourists
Happily munching on sweet potatoHappily munching on sweet potato
Picking off antsPicking off ants
Warning rival groupsWarning rival groups
Lounging in the sunLounging in the sun
Resident monkeys
Sacred Banyan tree in forest centerSacred Banyan tree in forest center
Balinese-style stone sculpturesBalinese-style stone sculptures
Wooden boardwalk through forestWooden boardwalk through forest
Decorated stone staircaseDecorated stone staircase
Welcome signWelcome sign
Around the forest grounds

Who Will Like The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

Nature Lover

Admire the lush Balinese rainforest as you watch playful monkeys in their natural habitat. The sanctuary is home to 7 groups of monkeys, each consisting of infants, juveniles, and adults. Watch them interact and munch on sweet potato and other vegetables in designated feeding zones.

Bucketlist Bandit

Every visitor to Ubud must stop here at least once. But if you fall in love with the monkeys, perhaps one time won't be enough.

Fun Expert

Spend an hour in the monkey forest with your family and get your kids to keep an eye out for tiny baby monkeys. Children will love watching the monkeys clamber around the food stations for a big mouthful of sweet potato.

Photography Whiz

Bring a telephoto zoom lens for close-up picture of the monkeys, whose cheeky antics shine through in their facial expressions.

Culture Buff

Notice the subtle applications of Tri Hita Karana, the practice of creating peace and harmony between humans, the environment, and spirits, as well as the sacred place of monkeys in Balinese mythology. Visit 3 Hindu temples within the grounds, dating back to the 14th century.

Insider Tips For The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

  • Leave all plastic water bottles and plastic bags at the ticket counter to collect on your way out. The monkeys may climb on you if they think you have food and drink to steal.
  • Help conserve the sanctuary's habitat by not bringing outside food for the monkeys.
  • The temples in the sanctuary are considered very sacred and temple entry is only permitted to people in proper Balinese prayer dress, with the intention to pray. Temples are not open to tourists.
  • Don't reach out to touch the monkeys as they may scratch or bite you.
  • Monkeys love to steal - secure all of your belongings in a closed bag and wear your camera on a neck strap.
  • Visit with a tour guide for increased chances of a caretaker allowing you to feed a monkey or have one climb on you for a photo.
  • No cases of rabies or any other viruses have been reported but, if a monkey does happen to bite you, immediately wash your hands with soap and seek medical advice from staff.
  • Caretakers are able to answer questions and address any concerns, but remember their main duty is to protect the monkeys.
Pose a safe distance from the monkeysPose a safe distance from the monkeys
Only allow monkeys to climb on you under staff supervisionOnly allow monkeys to climb on you under staff supervision
Never approach a monkey without a staff member present Never approach a monkey without a staff member present
Photo opportunities with monkeys

Video

Where Is It

Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Open map...

How To Get There

Walk

Walking distance from most hotels, restaurants, and attractions in central Ubud.

Walking directions...

Car

Private drivers will wait in the parking lot until you're ready to leave.

Rp5,000 (USD$0.34) 1st hour, then Rp2,000/hr (USD$0.14 / hr) • Large 24-hour parking lot available.

Driving directions... Map for car...

Motorbike

Parking for bikes and scooters in the main lot. 1st hour costs Rp2,000 (USD$0.14) then Rp1,000/hr (USD$0.07 / hr).

Map for motorbike...

Taxi

Local taxis will drop off by the main entrance. Negotiate a reasonable price before getting in.

Walking directions from taxi...

Parking lot entrance from main roadParking lot entrance from main road
Ticket desk at main entranceTicket desk at main entrance
Tunnel into forestTunnel into forest
Secondary entranceSecondary entrance
Main and secondary entrances

What To Bring

Do:
  • Camera with a neck or wrist strap.
  • Sun protection like hat and sunscreen.
  • Comfortable shoes for walking.
  • Lightweight clothing to keep cool.
  • Handbag or backpack closed with a zip or secure clasp.
Don't:
  • Food and drink from outside of the complex.
  • Plastic bottles of drink, including water.
  • Plastic or paper bags even if they don't contain food.
  • Sunglasses or similar loose items not secured in a closed handbag or backpack.
  • Pets. You can guess why.

Tech & Photography

Wifi

Public wifi access: None

Photography

Photography allowed: Yesflash is not allowed

Tripod allowed: Not encouraged

Selfie sticks allowed: Yes

Best time to shoot: Late Morning

Tips: When taking a photo, be careful not to get too close to the monkeys as they may feel provoked and attack. For action shots of monkeys, use "shutter priority" mode on your camera, enable continuous focus, with focus area set to a specific zone (where the animal will likely be) and use high-speed shutter release for a rapid succession of shots (if your camera supports it). It may take some patience for a monkey to pose or look in your direction, so take your time. Remember to get down low to capture a shot at the same height as the monkey for a natural sense of scale and more emotional connection.

Drones

Drones allowed: No

Bags

Backpacks allowed: Yes

Secured bag lockers available: No

Don't get too close to the monkeys when taking a photo!

Food & Drink

Several restaurants, cafes, and local food stands are located along Jalan Monkey Forest, a short walk from the main entrance.

Backstory

The Sanctuary is the natural habitat of the Balinese long-tailed monkey, scientifically named "Macaca fascicularis". During the urbanization of central Ubud, the monkeys stayed in the remaining forest due to government protection laws and locals who would regularly bring them food.

In the early 2000s, the government formalized the 12.5ha area which is now the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary by creating natural borders, and building pathways, safety points, and feeding stations. They also and appointed caretakers to look after the monkeys and monitor their interactions with humans.

The monkey forest now attracts over 10,000 visitors a month.

There are 3 temples within the grounds that date back to approximately 1350 AD. The Main Temple is for worship to the god Hyang Widhi in the personification of Shiva, the Recycler or Transformer. The Beji Temple is for worship to Hyang Widhi in the personification of the goddess Gangga, and the Prajapati Temple is for worship to a personification of Prajapati.

The temples play an important role in balancing the local community's spiritual life with the importance of the monkey in Balinese mythology. Monkeys feature in several traditional dances and works of art and represent the balancer between God, nature, and humans.

Balinese MacaqueBalinese Macaque
Chilling out amongst the leavesChilling out amongst the leaves
Tattoos aid conservation effortsTattoos aid conservation efforts
A feast of sweet potato A feast of sweet potato
Being groomed is so relaxing!Being groomed is so relaxing!
A baby with its momA baby with its mom
Balinese macaque monkeys

Etiquette

Do:
  • Keep to the designated walking paths and follow the arrows.
  • Listen to caretakers and obey any instruction they provide.
  • Keep bags closed and take care of your belongings.
  • Watch children closely and make sure they don't get too close to the monkeys.
Don't:
  • Touch the monkeys or get too close to them while taking photos.
  • Leave bags or belongings unattended.
  • Hide food or drink. The monkeys will know and try to steal it.
  • Run, shout or panic if monkeys approach you.
  • Feed the monkeys (unless instructed to do so).
  • Enter temples or sacred areas within the sanctuary.
  • Pick plants or otherwise damage them.

Scorecard

Best Parts:
  • Ability to watch monkeys play, chase, climb, and interact with each other.
  • Peaceful ambiance of the jungle with its lush greenery, running waters, and moss-covered stone statues.
  • Organization of complex with signposted walkways.
  • Presence of caretakers to protect both monkeys and visitors.
  • Communication of strict rules to prevent monkeys from stealing from or harassing visitors.
  • Central location in the heart of Ubud.
Could Be Better:
  • Noise and aggressiveness of some monkeys, usually directed at each other rather than people.
  • Injured monkeys. Sometimes you may see wounds and injuries obtained from fighting each other.
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