Only our second day in Bali and already I’m totally in love with it! After spending 24-hours in Seminyak wandering through the markets and sipping cocktails watching the sun go down, we hopped in a private car and drove and hour to Ubud.
Getting to Ubud
We hired a private driver to get us to Ubud. Sounds very fancy but this is the best way to get around Bali. Taxis are more expensive and smaller and the buses are a nightmare to navigate. Make sure to negotiate the price with your driver. We got our car for 250,000rp (about $25), after initially being given the price of 350,000rp.
Where We’re Staying in Ubud
I might be biased, but I think our hotel is one of the nicest in Ubud! While in Seminyak we stayed in the very commercial Harris Hotel. While it was everything a beautiful hotel should be, it lacked the authentic Balinese feel. Our hotel in Ubud, the Agung Raka Villa and Hotel couldn’t be more of the opposite. Greeted at reception with flowers and fresh juice, we were brought via golf cart down to our villa, while passing rice fields and stunning Indonesian decor and statues.
Once we had unpacked (which doesn’t take long for us, we have one small backpack each!) we headed straight out in search of the Monkey Forest and Temple. A short fifteen minute walk later we were immersed in monkeys as small as my palm and as big as my arm! Home to over 700 long-tailed macaques, the monkeys adorn every tree and footpath in the rainforest.
There is a cost of 40,000rp at the gate (roughly $4). I had initially heard women must wear a sarong while in the temple. I brought one just in case but there was no need! Although I would suggest covering up slightly as the mosquito and inset situation is intense!
Once through the gates, there is a stall selling bananas…here’s where the fun begins! I made the mistake of buying a bunch and sauntering off with them in my hands; well, they didn’t last long!! Within moments we were surrounded by the furry faces and my bananas were snatched straight out of my hands before I knew what hit me!
Our second bunch was a little more successful. With the help from a kind guard (side note: the Balinese people are so friendly and helpful!), he instructed us to move close to a low wall, hold the banana high over our heads and let the monkeys hop from the wall onto your shoulders to retrieve the banana. My hair fall victim to the monkey squad and I soon looked like I as dragged through a bush backwards!
A stroll through this amazing rainforest is really a treat for all the senses. The temple and surrounding nature are stunningly beautiful, not to mention the scents and smells of burning incense. It’s refreshing to see these animals in their natural environment rather than in zoos or chained to bicycles.
There are rangers patrolling the rainforest who keep you safe from any aggressive bigger monkeys, and also keep the monkeys safe from any idiot human who endangers their safety. Unfortunately some utter imbeciles still slip through the rangers’ grid and today we witnessed a group of moronic tourists feeding the monkeys sweets and laughing in delight as the monkeys unwrapped the sweets and feasted on the chocolate inside.
It really is a treat to watch these creatures interact so naturally in the rainforest. We saw a group of monkeys play and muck about in a swimming pool just like little kids! They would climb to the tallest branches and launch themselves full blast into the water below, it was hilarious and breathtaking to watch at the same time!!
No trip to Bali is complete without a visit to this Monkey Temple, make sure and put it on your list!!
Tips For Visiting Monkey Forest
- Don’t wear dangly jewellery or clothes that monkeys can hang out
- Don’t bring any food in or you will be swamped by monkeys
- Wear mosquito repellent
- Leave your backpack at home and zip up your pockets
- Don’t look the bigger monkeys in the eye, this is considered a threat to them and they will turn aggressive
- Don’t go near the young unless you want to loose a finger
- Be respectful, this is religious ground
- Keep a calm manner while in the forest, monkeys apparently react badly towards hyper behaviour