The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex home to over 600 free-roaming macaque monkeys (also known as Balinese long tailed monkeys). The complex is a popular destination in Ubud, attracting hundreds of tourists every day.
Go early (it opens at 10am) to avoid the crowds and make sure you read the safety recommendations before entering. The monkeys are harmless as long as you don’t do anything stupid and keep your wits about you…Tourists have been bitten and scratched in the past!
A couple of things to be mindful of:
- Don’t look the monkeys in the eyes (especially the large males as it is a sign of aggression)
- Never run- they will chase you
- Do not panic and stay calm
- Be mindful of your belongings (One particular monkey loved fiddling with my watch. Another expressed interesting me every time I opened my satchel)
Because the forest is not enclosed, you will notice the monkeys roaming nearby streets. Many shop owners use slingshots as defense when they get too close or start to bother people. We witnessed one monkey grab for a woman’s grocery bag. She squealed, dropping it on the ground. Within seconds, dozens of monkeys were sprinting towards the free buffet, while the woman watched in horror.
The following day we did the Campuhan Ridge Walk. It is free! Before motorbikes, villagers used the ridge walk to transport their goods into central Ubud.
Along Campuhan Ridge Walk we met I Wayan Surana, a miniature painter. Miniature painting emerged from a small farming village north of Ubud (Keliki) in the 1970s. Paintings range from as small as 2 x 3 inch to as large as 10 x 15 in. Surana’s paintings run anywhere from $75-$30,000 dollars.