The monkey forest in Ubud is a popular attraction in Bali, and for good reasons. Some, like me, come for the amazing stone carvings and staircases and architecture. Others, also like me, come to see the monkeys
I’ve been to the monkey forest a few times now; the last time I had my girlfriend with me in Bali, and she had never been close to a monkey, so we had to go. She was inevitably amazed by the big stone sculptures, but it’s those damn monkeys that stole the show.
Now even though the monkeys look the same, there is a huge difference in the ones you interact with at the Monkey Forest, and the ones at Uluwatu.
The Uluwatu ones are little thieves and can be down right mean and viscous. But the Monkey Forest monkeys are docile and friendly, and eat right out of your hand.
Of course if you went to Uluwatu first, you’re understandably going to be a little scared of monkeys, and I wouldn’t blame you!
Those guys were stealing all my stuff and screaming at me and even throwing stuff!
I even wanted one monkey steal a camera, then a little old lady appeared and offered it a piece of fruit as trade. It was a booming economy.
Monkey steals camera. Monkey trades camera for fruit. Old lady returns camera, and gets a tip from a grateful tourist. Good little scam they had together!
But, the monkeys in the Monkey Forest aren’t scary. At the entrance to the park, there are ladies selling bananas for you to feed the monkeys. But you have to be fast, they aren’t shy. We had to keep going back to buy more because my girlfriend was having so much fun.
At one point I told her to hold the banana up in the air so they can’t get it yet, but then a tiny monkey jumped on her shoulder, crawled up on her head, snatched the banana and just sat up there eating it. She stood stunned, not knowing what to do!
She was also surprised at how soft their hands were! Those tiny hands grabbing her leg or arm. Of course the park rangers tell you not to touch or pet the monkeys, but they also help you get a photo with one on your shoulder.
I guess just letting them do their thing, they don’t get scared and bite. And I’m glad, because they are pretty entertaining.
So as you can see, monkeys aside, the forest has some amazing stone structures and sculptures, intermingled in the lush overgrown trees. It’s certainly a unique experience, so if you are taking a break from diving in Bali, head to Ubud and wander the Monkey Forest. You’ll thank me later!