Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal is a sacred Balinese Hindu site and receives about 15,000 visitors a month. It is an enclosed rain forest with several temples, many statues of monkeys and (oversized) Komodo dragons. Most importantly it is the home for over 300 long-tailed Balinese Macaques monkeys (over half of which had babies!).
Monkeys are fascinating to watch, especially the young ones, but from a distance! We spent a couple of hours strolling around just to see what they would get up to. The ones here were fearless, sociable and curious but not aggressive. They are very nimble and tricky and have no problem with jumping or climbing over you to take stuff out of backpacks and bags. Some cheeky monkeys steal jewellery, sunglasses, bottles of water or anything that interest them. We made sure that our loose belongings were safety packed away.
There are fruit sellers at the entrance and throughout the forest grounds, but considering how animals in general react to me (and me to them), we decided that it would be less risky to go empty handed. We watched a few tourists getting mugged by greedy monkeys that leapt on them and stole all the fruit they had bought. It did not look like fun, but that’s what you get when you tease monkeys! We also spotted several park attendants armed with sling shots to keep the more cheeky monkeys away without harming them.
The forest itself is beautiful. Big old, lush green trees that shaded us during the hottest part of the day and it was big enough to find a quiet spot to hide inspite of being a popular tourist attraction. We were not surprised that the forest is considered sacred ground.
Monkey Forest Road (the road to the forest) is lined with monkey statues, each one unique.
And here is the result! One of the monkeys jumped onto his shoulder. A minute later it tried to open his backpack. Young, but already knew what to do.
Lucky monkey with a banana from a tourist.
Stone monkeys throughout the forest were usually occupied by real life counterparts.
It did feel like a staring contest.
King of the Monkey Forest?
And this is my only interaction with them – escaping when two play-fighting monkeys got too close! Unfortunately with an involuntary girlie scream… I was supposed to pose for a photo for Husband, he thought that it was hilarious.
Ticket: 20,000IDR per person.