Ubud Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, is one of Ubud’s most popular attractions; a natural forest sanctuary that is home to a horde of grey long-tailed macaques. The site is well preserved thanks to a community-based management program. The forest is also conveniently positioned near Ubud Town Centre, and within easy walking distance from guesthouses and resorts along the main roads of Jalan Hanoman and the namesake Jalan Monkey Forest. Besides watching playful monkeys in their natural habitat, swinging through canopies, lazing along pathways or feeding on bananas, the site offers cool walks along paved pathways through a leafy nutmeg forest. Beautiful ancient temples with guardian statues covered in moss also feature throughout the forest. Those staying outside of Ubud and coming for a day tour usually have the Ubud Monkey Forest as a must-visit, combined with sightseeing highlights at the Ubud Royal Palace and shopping sprees through the expansive Ubud Art Market, all only a 10-minute drive away.
Deep inside the forest lies the 14th century Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal. Another site of interest is the Pura Prajapati, which is dedicated to village funerals. Most mossy relics and statues are under dense foliage with little sunlight, giving these smaller sites their mysterious and ancient feel. Banyan tree roots hanging over shadowy dragon staircases offer exotic photo opportunities. You can also discover an ancient bathing temple, located northwest of the main Ubud Monkey Forest grounds, known as Pura Beji, accessible down a flight of stairs and next to a stream.
Being a tourism attraction, the Ubud Monkey Forest is well known for its conservation efforts. Research and studies are regularly carried out for observing the monkeys’ health, diet and breeding habits. Over a hundred macaques inhabit the forest, divided into four different known troops. While it is always tempting to touch or feed the monkeys, you are advised against it. They are wild animals. Another rule of thumb is to avoid wearing any loose jewellery or apparel – the macaques may easily snatch a necklace or bag for something interesting enough to eat.
Ubud Monkey Forest has local guides and staff ready to assist you during your visit. The Wenara Wana staff may also try in assisting you with retrieval of any ‘items’ stolen by monkeys. Guides are also a great source of information about the cultural and historical significance about the sites and temples within the sanctuary grounds. As with any holy site in Bali, women during their periods aren’t allowed to enter any of the temple grounds. Public admission is IDR 40,000 for adults and IDR 30,000 for kids.