One of the main reasons that I wanted to come to Ubud while we’re vacationing in Bali is because of the Sacred Monkey Forest. I had heard tales from friends and other travelers that it’s an amazing sight to see. Aside from monkeys running around all over the place, the grounds and temples were supposed to be incredible. They weren’t kidding. My boyfriend and I partook in the adventure ourselves and we weren’t disappointed one bit.
I should note that prior to going we did our research, as usual, and were kind of surprised to see that many people had had horrific experiences there, such as monkey thievery and attacks. Nearly every sight that we looked at warned to not bring anything in your pockets, and if you bring a bag, to not open it while there because the monkeys think you have food. There were several stories of people getting bit and having to seek medical attention for rabies vaccinations, and so on and so forth. Several sites mentioned that monkeys would come and steal the sunglasses right off your face and if you had a water bottle, the monkeys were sure to take it. We were almost laughing at those sites when we got there. We didn’t even come close to experiencing anything like that. The monkeys were extremely tame and wanted absolutely nothing to do with us if they didn’t think we had food. They let us get so close that we could reach out and touch them which made for some amazing pictures.
The monkeys are long-tailed macaques and they range in size from newborn to fully grown alpha-male adults. They were hysterical to watch. The juvenile monkeys would wrestle each other and let out the funniest little squeaks. The mothers would clutch onto their babies and gently pet their little heads to comfort them while they nursed. The alpha males did get aggressive with each other sometimes but it was never towards people. There were workers all over the place as well; feeding the monkeys chunks of yams and corn on the cob. The monkeys seemed to be living a pretty good life.
The jungle (forest) was so dense and humid but absolutely stunning gorgeous. We felt like we were living inside The Jungle Book. There were statues all over the place of different deities and animals and the temples were small but beautiful, although most of them were closed when we went but you could still see them from the outside. There were pathways extending in all different directions and there was a river that cut through a canyon that separated part of the forest. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
For a mere 40,000IDR ($2.96US) we were able to clamber around the grounds and play with the monkeys as long as we wanted. The dress code was very lenient and most of the girls there were running around in flip-flops, short shorts, and tank tops. I, of course, wanted to be respectful and cover my shoulders but I was pretty much dying of heat exhaustion halfway through our experience and ended up wetting my t-shirt to keep me cool while walking around. Not to mention one of the monkeys grabbed my hair tie from my french braid which made my hair fall out and made me even hotter. Other than that it was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone.