Monkeys are cute, funny, and friendly.. Right?
Wrong. Heading to the Monkey Forest in Ubud might make you think twice about these furry animals.
Since I am writing about my experience heading to the Ubud Monkey Forest, or the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary as is stated on the entrance sign (try saying that five times fast), then you can be rest assured that I did survive and my tips might very well help you do the same if you decide to go.
A quick summary of the Monkey Forest:
Location: My nightmares (AKA just down the main street Jl. Wenara Wana)
Hours: Still can’t shake the feeling of monkeys following me weeks after visiting (AKA 8:30am – 6:00pm)
Entrance Fee: Your dignity (AKA about $2 CDN)
Type of Monkeys: Offspring of the devil (AKA Long-Tailed Macaques)
How To Make It Out Of The Monkey Forest Alive:
DO NOT bring food into the forest!
This is probably the least wise decision you could make. Sure, you’re probably thinking to yourself that these poor little monkeys are starving and you would feel like you’ve done your good deed of the day if you brought them a banana. What. A. Mistake. This forest sees about 15,000 tourists each month with the same mentality. These little buggers are fat, not starving. And don’t be persuaded to buy bananas at the entrance from a lady selling them. I watched a tourist get an entire bunch of bananas she purchased moments ago ripped out of her hands by a crazed monkey running full-speed at her. Though I found this site hysterical, the woman did not. Lesson learned.
DO NOT hold any small items in your hand while walking around the forest!
I was well aware that bringing food into the forest would only lead to monkey harassment, but I had no idea bringing a water bottle in would also be an issue. As we were walking around, water bottle in hand, two baby monkeys leapt onto CJ and ripped his water bottle out of his hands (it’s the baby monkeys you need to watch out for!). He struggled to get the monkeys off while I sat back laughing. Laughing too hard to photograph the scene, unfortunately. Just don’t carry any items around in your hand and make sure you hold on to your camera for dear life as these monkeys often think it’s food.
DO NOT touch the monkeys!
Sure, holding a monkey would be cool and getting a picture with a monkey on your head would be even better, but they will a) swarm you, b) cling onto you for dear life, and c) possibly scratch/bite you. Again, I witnessed a wild scene of tourists luring a monkey in with “pretend food”; cupping their hands and holding it out in hopes that the monkeys are stupid enough to fall for it. They sure do come up to you, but they are far from stupid. Having had this done to them on countless previous occasions, they know how to get what they want. At the very least, they know how to piss the people off who tease them. They have perfected this by jumping on the individual in search of their promised food, refusing to get off of until they receive something in return. You’ll probably be the one receiving something in the end.. like a lovely scratch/bite mark.
As a general rule, just don’t be an idiot when you go into The Monkey Forest. If you can manage that, I’m sure you’ll make it out alive.
Though the monkeys did startle me a few times, I enjoyed my time wandering around the forest: crazed monkeys with cigarettes dangling out of their mouth, temples with monkeys that looked dead, and all the fun stuff in-between!
Hopefully these simple tips can help you get through The Monkey Forest unscathed. Anyone else have any funny stories about their visit here?
Did I mention I made a new friend while I was there?
My other adventures in Bali:
Two Nights In Kuta
What To Expect From Accommodations In Ubud
Wandering Ubud: The Streets, Markets, & Rice Fields