Is Ubud Monkey Forest safe to visit? – a complete guide

After one month in Canggu, it was time to say goodbye to the beautiful beaches and head to the famous rice terraces and waterfalls of Ubud. We ended up spending about an hour and a half by taxi from Canggu to Ubud even though the distance is only 30 kilometers. As we were starving, we decided to explore the city and look for a nice restaurant to eat.

family of Macaca Fascicularis monkeys at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Ubud

Family of Macaca Fascicularis at Monkey Forest Ubud

On our way to the city center, we passed by the Monkey Forest and seeing so many people heading to visit it we decided to go too. I am so happy that we visited it before reading all the stories on the internet. Just a quick search on Google and you will find a plethora of stories about people getting bitten by monkeys or being robbed by them.

It seems that these apparent cute and innocent animals have a devilish side too. Read below to find out everything you need to know before visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud. Even though monkeys are unpredictable animals, you can safely visit the Monkey Forest Sanctuary just by remembering a few simple rules.

If you are in Ubud area, don’t forget to also visit the amazing Tibumana Waterfall and Tukad Cepung Waterfall.

Are you planning a trip to Bali? Read this itinerary.

Introduction to Ubud Monkey Forest

Monkey with baby - family at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Ubud

With around 10,000 monthly visitors, the Monkey Forest is definitely one of Ubud’s hot spots. Having an area of 12.5 hectares, the forest is a popular attraction for people who want to get closer to nature.

The monkeys must live a very happy life since they are free to wander wherever they want. There are no fences or restrictions for them. The Monkey Forest is a free area and the monkeys live there by their choice. Of course, it would be hard to leave a place with plenty of trees, food at discretion and isolated from the Ubud chaos and traffic.

Tri Hita Karana

Monkeys sitting on a temple at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Ubud, Bali

The Monkey Forest in Ubud is not just a tourist attraction, it is also considered an important spiritual place for the local community.

The forest is built according to the Balinese traditional philosophy called Tri Hita Karana. This means that there are three ways to reach spiritual and physical well-being: harmony between people, harmony between people and nature and harmony between people and God. Let me explain better.

The Monkey Forest aims to attract tourists from all around the world and create peace and harmony for its visitors. Also, people will have the chance to admire the lush vegetation in the forest and admire the monkeys in their natural habitat. The harmony with God is achieved through the three temples inside the Monkey Forest: Pura Dalem Agung, Pura Beji and Pura Prajapati.

Getting to know the monkeys

Macaca fascicularis monkey eating a coconut at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Ubud

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud is home to over 600 Balinese long-tailed monkey, scientifically called Macaca fascicularis. They are divided into 5 different groups, each with its own territory. Monkeys are territorial animals and they don’t usually mingle with each other. However, when they do, they’ll most probably end up fighting.

Their diet consists of mainly sweet potatoes, combined with banana, coconut, cucumber or papaya.

Things to see

There is something about the Ubud Monkey Forest that reminded me of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The temples, the dense vegetation or maybe the huge banyan tree made me associate the Monkey Forest with Angkor Wat. There are definitely plenty of things to see inside the forest, including a beautiful waterfall and pond. Just remember to be aware of your surroundings.

Monkey Forest Ubud map

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Ubud map

Getting around the Monkey Forest is quite easy. There are maps around the park and caretakers who can offer you more details about orientation. Don’t forget to also ask for a map from the ticket office.

The Monkey Forest Ubud has an animal clinic, an open stage, an exhibition room, a first aid centre and toilet facilities.

Monkey Forest Ubud entrance fee and opening hours

The entrance fee for an adult is 50,000 IDR or about $3.5. If you are visiting the Monkey Forest Ubud with kids, the cost for them is 40,000 IDR (they kids must be between 3 and 12 years old). I find the price affordable and definitely worth it.

The Sacred Monkey Forest is opened daily between 8.30 AM and 6.00 PM but you can buy tickets only until 5.30 PM.

How to get ready for visiting Monkey Forest Sanctuary

Macaca Fascicularis monkey baby at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Ubud

There are a few guidelines you should remember and by all means abide if you want to have a good experience at the Monkey Forest in Ubud. Most of the people who are telling stories about how they got bitten by monkeys failed to follow these simple rules. I am not saying that following the rules are a guarantee that you won’t get bitten but they definitely improve the chances of having an incident free experience.

The first thing you must do after buying your tickets is to read the guidelines listed right at the Monkey Forest entrance. Don’t underestimate their importance. Take your time and read them carefully. I will also list them below:

  1. Don’t hide food from the monkeys

    This is the golden rule of visiting the Ubud Monkey Forest. Monkeys are very smart animals and they have a strong sense of smell. Trying to hide food from them is pointless. They will find it and take it even if this implies opening your backpack.

    Tip: Don’t bring any food at all. You will see people trying to sell you bananas. Even if it sounds tempting, remember that food can transform a cute fluffy monkey into the devil itself. They love bananas and you are not going to break this love under any circumstances. Be sure to check all your pockets of any kind of food before entering the forest.

  2. Don’t panic

    If the monkeys get close to you or jump on you, drop any food you have (and remember rule number 1 and cry) and walk away slowly.

  3. Don’t run

    This is a big no-no. Even if you’ll try to run, they’ll run right after you and it will only get things worse.

  4. Don’t scream

    At all times, keep calm and don’t scream. Screaming frightens them and makes them more aggressive.

  5. Don’t bring plastic or paper bags

    Does it look like something the monkey would want to play with? Then don’t bring it with you. Let’s keep the Monkey Forest litter free.

  6. Take care of your belongings

    If you like your sunglasses, jewelry or accessories, then don’t keep them in plain sight. Monkey might like them too and we already know who’s going to win this fight.

    Tip: keep all your stuff well hidden in your backpack. Remember that monkeys will open your backpack if they have the chance. It happened to us. It took the monkey less than 3 seconds to open it. My recommendation would be to leave your backpack at home and only bring your camera and phone. If this is not possible, then put your plastic bottles, rings, bracelets or coins inside the backpack. Once a monkey has your stuff, say goodbye to it.

  7. Don’t touch, grab or disturb the monkeys

    Monkeys have unpredictable reactions and you wouldn’t want to trigger them. Therefore, don’t touch them and be extra cautious around baby monkeys. Their mothers are very defensive about their babies.

    Tip: when photographing the monkeys, keep a decent distance from them. Use your zoom to take close-ups and don’t use the flash.

  8. Don’t feed the monkeys peanuts, cookies, bread, snacks or drinks

    The monkey’s diet is very important and so it is maintaining their health.

We were very careful while visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest and fortunately, we had an incident free visit. Although two monkeys climbed on Dan’s back, they jumped off him soon after because he had no food with him.

I’ve seen many people trying to get the monkeys climb on them for the sake of a selfie. Don’t do that. Even if they look cute, monkeys are still animals and they can change their behavior in a matter of seconds. There’s a reason why they have a first aid centre inside the forest if you know what I mean.

Although I have no idea if this information is correct or not, I’ve read somewhere that on average three people get bitten by monkeys per day inside the Ubud forest.

I got bitten by a monkey at Monkey Forest Ubud. What should I do?

Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary Macaca Fasciularis

Nope, panicking is not an option. If you start to panic you might trigger other monkeys too. The best thing to do in case of a monkey bite at Monkey Forest Ubud is to inform one of the caretakers. He will most probably take you to the first aid centre where they will clean the wound and put a band aid on it.

Monkey Forest Ubud rabies?

According to the official website, there have been no cases of rabies inside the Monkey Forest Ubud. However, rabies is spread around Bali and giving the fact that the monkeys are free to wander wherever they want, I would definitely also get the rabies shots. However, this decision is up to you and you should definitely talk to a doctor and see what are his or her recommendations.

Is it safe to visit the Ubud Monkey Forest?

Macaca Fasciluaris monkey in a tree at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Ubud, Bali

Being so close to such beautiful animals is a privilege and maybe a once in a lifetime experience for some of us. I wouldn’t necessarily say that visiting the Monkey Forest in Ubud is safe but I would rather say that it is worth the risk.

As long as you keep in mind the rules listed above, you will most probably be fine and out of danger. Don’t forget that monkeys are wild and unpredictable animals. Keeping distance from them and avoiding contact of any kind are two of the most important rules.

Is Monkey Forest Ubud safe to visit with kids?

Visiting the Ubud Monkey Forest with children is a whole different story. It is harder for children to understand that monkeys can be dangerous since they look so fluffy and cuddly.

Keeping an eye both on the monkeys nearby and your child or children can be difficult. Moreover, children can be unpredictable too and they might put themselves in danger especially if they are not old enough to understand and abide all the rules.

Although I don’t have children, I would definitely think twice before bringing them with me inside the Monkey Forest.

Where is the Monkey Forest and how to get to it?


The Monkey Forest is located in Ubud, Bali. Below are a few alternatives of getting there.

  1. By motorbike

    Renting a motorbike in Bali is easy and straight forward. All you need to do is ask at your accommodation and they will most probably have motorbikes for rent. The price for one day is usually between 50,000 IDR and 75,000 IDR. If you are renting the motorbike for one week or one month, the price should be lower. Don’t forget to negotiate!

  2. By taxi

    There are plenty of taxis in Bali. You can use the Grab app or Go-Jek app to order a taxi. Alternatively, you can get to one of the main streets in your area and you will definitely find one. The price per one kilometer is somewhere between 6,500 IDR and 10,000 IDR.

  3. By organized tour

    The hustle free option is going with an organized tour. These tours usually include other tourist attractions too. Below are some alternatives:

I am sure you will have a great experience at Monkey Forest Ubud. Don’t let the internet stories scare you. Instead, be more cautious and follow the rules.

May the travel bug bite you!

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2 Comments

  1. July 14, 2018 / 1:30 am

    I feel like people ask this so often! I did meet someone on the road whose sister had to go home bc she got bit there. But I think that’s the danger whenever you’re near wild animals that have a lot of human contact. I didn’t go to the monkey forest when I was in Ubud, but I went to the monkey temple in Kathmandu and it similarly had lots of cute but sometimes very aggressive monkeys.

    • dailytravelpill
      Author
      July 14, 2018 / 2:04 am

      Yes, I liked my visit at the Monkey Forest but I wouldn’t go again. Thanks!

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