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Visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud Bali

If you’re staying in or near Ubud in Bali then you should definitely set aside half a day to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary dates back to the 14th century and is a sacred place with many beautiful Hindu temples and lots of monkeys! In fact, you’ll find around 1,200 macaque monkeys roaming around the forest. In Balinese culture, monkeys are sacred and they symbolise both protection and mischief.

Monkey statues in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

The forest is still used by the local community for worship but it is also a conservation area and an area of responsible tourism. Visitors can encounter the unique experience of being in a scared place, surrounded by nature and seeing monkeys in their natural habitat. Believe me, it’s really fun watching the monkeys – they are such characters!

There were also lots of babies when we visited and baby monkeys are just the cutest!

Monkey parents with their baby

How to get to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

We got a Grab taxi from our hotel, the Four Seasons Resort at Sayan, which took around 20 minutes and cost around £4. If you’re staying in the centre of Ubud then you can easily walk to the Sacred Monkey Forest. It’s located less than a 30 minute walk from Ubud Palace. There are also lots of shops and market stalls along the way so it’s a nice walk.

How much does the Sacred Monkey Forest cost?

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is open from 9 am to 6 pm every day of the week. It’s cheaper to visit on weekdays (Monday to Friday) than it is on weekends.

On weekdays the entry fee is IDR 80,000 for adults and IDR 60,000 for children. For weekends it’s IDR 100,000 for adults and IDR 80,000 for children. We visited on a Sunday and it cost IDR 200,000 which was around £10.50 for the two of us. It’s a really inexpensive day out for the whole family.

Snake water fountain at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

What is there to see at the Sacred Money Forest?

The Scared Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a Hindu temple complex so of course there are many temples to see. Note that visitors may not be able to enter some of the temples but of course you can still admire them from the outside.

The main temple serves as a place of worship to Shiva and is for the local community only. Whilst you can’t enter inside, it’s quite large and you can see all the beautiful stone carvings and thatched areas.

The great temple of Shiva in the Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud

You are given a map when you purchase your tickets so that you can see where you are at all times and also what you’d like to see within the forest. There are a few different routes that you can follow but it’s pretty circular so you should be able to see everything.

Some of the interesting places to visit in the complex is the cemetery, as well as the temple where cremation takes place (although you cannot enter the temple). There’s also a caged area where they look after monkeys who have been injured or are blind and therefore cannot be out in the wild as they just wouldn’t survive.

My favourite part of the forest was the Holy Spring Temple. It’s just so beautiful and was also a really nice walk along a long wooden bridge to get to it. Of course it was fairly crowded so difficult to get a nice photo.

Holy Spring Temple at Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud

Guidelines to staying safe whilst visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest

Remember that these monkeys are in their natural habit and are not domesticated. Whilst monkeys are not naturally aggressive, they will be attracted by food or drink and will defend themselves if they feel threatened. Follow these guidelines, provided by management, to stay safe whilst you visit.

  • If a monkey comes up to you, or jumps on you, don’t panic and don’t run. Try not to scream as it may frighten them. Remain calm. Like this guide who is obviously used to them!
A guide sitting and looking at his phone whilst a monkey climbs on him
  • Do not look them in the eye as monkeys see this as a sign of aggression.
  • Don’t bring food or drink with you as the monkeys will want it. If they spot it, don’t try to hide it from them. There are cafes inside the sanctuary where you can stop for something to eat or drink. Also, it is forbidden to willingly feed the monkeys. There is plenty of food left out for them by the staff.
Monkeys eating corn in the Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud
  • Be careful of your valuables. Try not to wear anything expensive or of sentimental value, such as a necklace. We did see a monkey grab a women’s necklace when we visited, although luckily the monkey wasn’t successful.

Is the Sacred Monkey Forest worth it?

If you’re pressed for time on your holiday and wondering whether it’s worth visiting the Scared Monkey Forest in Ubud, I’d say that it really is. It’s such a unique experience and you can take as long or as quick as you want to get around. We spent around 2 and a half hours walking around and we saw everything.

It’s also cheap to visit, in my opinion, so won’t dent the budget. Plus, your money is going towards conversation efforts so you’ll be making a difference to local community.

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Visiting the sacred monkey forest sanctuary in Ubud Bali

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.



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