When my brother and his girlfriend decided to visit us in Bali, a trip to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud was high up on their to-do-list as my brother is (eh…was) a BIG monkey fan. They were looking forward to seeing the hundreds of monkeys that inhabit the dense forest and the three holy temples. Currently, there are more than 600 monkeys in the forest, belonging to four different groups.

It ended up being a very memorable experience for us all, although not quite in the way we had expected!

The Monkey Forest entrance

The Monkey Forest entrance

As soon as we entered the Monkey Forest gate, I felt that something was different. Espen and I have been there two times before, but this time, there were a lot fewer people in the forest, and the monkeys seemed somewhat restless. Since it was off-season, maybe they had not been fed as much food and bananas as usual? They appeared to be a lot more eager to approach people.


Friendly Start

It all started quite friendly. My brother bought a bunch of bananas at the entrance since he (at this time…) loved monkeys so much. Once we got inside, he started feeding them bananas and tried to hand them out evenly. The animals seemed happy and at peace, and they gently grabbed a banana each out of my brother’s hand. But then a bigger monkey came along, and he was not happy with only one banana. He followed my brother around, and my brother ended up giving away all his bananas to this big-ass monkey, except for one that he managed to tuck away in his pocket.

I must admit, the grey-haired long-tailed Balinese macaques monkeys are kind of cute and adorable (from a distance).

First Attack – Banana

Further into the forest, we saw some people encouraging the monkeys to climb on them, like this girl.

It looked pretty fun and peaceful, so my brother and his girlfriend decided they wanted to try it too. But just as they were talking about it standing with their last banana in their hand, a huge monkey all of a sudden jumped on her back! The monkey climbed on top of her head and clung to her back while reaching for the banana. It all went so fast, and we all kind of panicked a little (ok, a LOT!). The monkey scratched her nose and lip, so she started bleeding before it finally jumped off when my brother threw the banana on the ground.

Apparently, there are a record number of monkey bites occurring daily. In the worst cases, an animal bite can lead to rabies or other diseases. Luckily for us, my brother´s girlfriend did not get bit, just scratched. We immediately went over to the emergency house in the forest, where she got some antiseptic on her bleeding wounds.

Second Attack – Water Bottle

After that dramatic monkey-banana-attacking episode, we were all a bit shaken. The monkeys were not quite as cute and adorable anymore. But being Vikings and (still!) monkey-loving people, we continued into the forest, to have a look at the three monkey temples that are inside. The temples are beautifully decorated with statues and ornaments and overrun with monkeys. It all has a very cool Indiana Jones feel to it!

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We had just started to calm down and relax again when all of a sudden a monkey grabbed my brother’s water bottle! The monkey held on to it and did not want to let go. When the animal started to growl and show his teeth, my brother realised that he had lost the battle and let go of the bottle.

This monkey was quite bright, and it was evident that he had done this before, as he immediately unscrewed the cap and started drinking from the bottle. But his water joy did unfortunately not last for long, as a big monkey jumped at him, grabbed the water bottle and emptied it in front of his eyes. Such a mean monkey! The first thirsty monkey just has to sit there and watch him pour out the bottle. Poor little monkey.

Third Attack – Flip Flops & Tic Tac

Now we had nothing left, neither bananas or water, and we thought all the drama and attacks were over. Oh, boy were we wrong! Now the real show started.

As we were walking towards the exit gate, a small monkey all of a sudden tried to jump up on my brother! My brother managed to shake him off but lost his flip-flop sandals in the process. We attempted to get the flip-flop back, but the monkey just growled at us and started running with it in his mouth.

More animals came along and decided to jump on my brother, with the result that he panicked completely and began to run away from the aggressive and growling monkeys. It was a hilarious sight for all the onlookers – my brother running like crazy through the forest without flip-flops with a bunch of growling monkeys at his heels! LOL! 🙂 For my brother, on the other hand, it was not that fun…..

We finally managed to get hold of a guard, that luckily took control of the situation, and my brother got his chewed up flip-flops back. The guard asked him if he had anything in his pocket, he answered no but then suddenly realised that he had a small pack of tic tac (small mints) in his pocket! OMG! So that`s the reason why the monkeys had all of a sudden attacked him! My brother had completely forgotten about the small tic tac pack in his pocket. He gave the tic-tacs to the guard, and we all walked quietly out of the park. This time the monkeys left us alone.


One of the guards took control of the situation and helped us stop the attacking monkeys. Happy ending!

We were so happy that we “survived” the monkey attacks without anybody getting bit!  We also saw others getting jumped on by the monkeys. The monkeys can be aggressive and they go for your pockets and handbags. So be aware if you ever visit the sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud!

The monkeys look innocent, fluffy and cute, especially the small ones, but they are still wild animals.

Lessons Learned

Yep, we did everything wrong and against the “rules” during this visit to Monkey Forest. Well, at least my brother did….

1. Do NOT bring any bottles or cans into the forest.

2. Do NOT buy bananas. Yes, the monkeys are cute and you think it would be fun to feed them, but they will not settle for only one banana and they can get aggressive till they get them all.

3. Do NOT have ANY food or candy in your pockets, handbag or backpack. The monkeys have an extremely well-developed sense of smell, and they will smell everything from a tiny bit of chocolate to a package of chewing gum. You can`t hide any food or candy from the monkeys, they will find it.

4. Do NOT encourage the monkeys to climb up on you. They can bite and scratch, which in worst case can give infections and rabies or other diseases.

5. Walk around the forest calm and peaceful, and do not approach the monkeys or get too close.

6. If a monkey tries to climb onto you, don`t panic and scream and run (like my brother did….).


We had a dramatic visit to the Monkey Forest! We were all a bit shaken afterwards, and my brother is no longer quite such a naive monkey loving person….

Monkey Forest is a cool forest, don`t get me wrong, just as long as you are educated and prepared, and know the risk of being bitten if you get too close to the monkeys. Be careful about giving them food and don’t encourage them to climb on you. They look so small, cute and innocent, but they can be very aggressive!

Just be aware of your surroundings and don`t go too close to the monkeys, and you will have a great time in the Monkey Forest. As for me,  I think this was my last visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest…..

Travelers Information

How Much Did It Cost?

The entrance fee is 30 000 idr = 3 us$ per person for adults, and 15 000 idr = 1 us$ for children.

Opening Hours

The Monkey Forest is open daily from 8:30 am – 6 pm.

Where To Stay in Ubud

There is no shortage of accommodation options for any budget in Ubud. Here you can find anything from inexpensive homestays to some of the finest boutique hotels in the world.

We stayed at Ubud Inn Resort and Villas 

We stayed at Ubud Inn Resort and Villas, which is a real authentic Bali style resort with many small houses with rooms scattered around a big and stunning garden with a pool. It is perfectly located in the main street of Ubud, close to shops, restaurants and Monkey Forest. Although it is located centrally, it is tucked away in a peaceful garden so there is no noise. We really liked it! They also have different kinds of rooms, from cheap rooms with a fan to more luxury style suites.
Click here to check the latest prices

We stayed at Omah d'Taman _DSC7288We also stayed at a homestay called Omah d`Taman. The family has built two houses with three rooms in each that they rent out. It is very private and cozy in a big homey garden with views over the jungle.

In the morning they bring you delicious breakfast on your terrace. It is not as centrally located as Ubud Inn, but you are just a ten-minute walk away from the main streets.
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Top End

The Samaya Bali Hotel
Ubud is also a great place to splurge on fabulous hotels, like the Samaya Bali. It is such a beautiful hotel. I wish we could have stayed there.
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The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah
If you are looking for paradise and have the budget for it, then this is it! This hotel looks like heaven, with its huge swimming pool and lovely surroundings.
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Kenanga Boutique Hotel
Tucked away among the rice fields, the Kenanga Boutique Hotel looks stunning and peaceful. And it is not that expensive.
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Sri Bungalows/ Ubud Bungalow
We wanted to stay at Ubud Bungalow (changed its name to Sri Bungalows), but it was unfortunately fully booked. We did, however, have a look around the compound, and it is very nice with bungalows set in a beautiful garden. Centrally located in the main street of Ubud.
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Travel Guides to Indonesia

We used Lonely Planet`s Indonesia book on our travels around Indonesia and Bali. It was great! Click on the pictures below to read more about each book on Amazon (affiliate links):

Hoover over the pictures below, and press the pin it button that pops up

monkey forest2      monkey_forest

Have you ever met monkeys, unfriendly or friendly? We would love to hear about your monkey experience! Please leave a comment in the comment area below. If you like this post and find it useful, please share on social media. Thanks! 🙂 


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