By Eda Sofia

Do not look the monkeys in the eye: My piece about Ubud Monkey Forest (from someoe who that lives six blocks away & constantly avoids those little cute assholes)


Things to do around Ubud Monkey Forest 

It is said – and it’s true- that the Monkey Forest road used to be a small down and uphill road framed by palm trees, a couple of warungs and simple houses. Carts used to go up and down, stirring up the dust and making a rackety noise for the few people around. If you would stand in the highest point of the street you could see the monkey forest below; green, vast, quiet. Maybe even spot some naughty monkeys mocking around; stealing some rice or whatever they could get their hands on. 

Like everything else with time, Ubud has changed, so has the Monkey Forest Road and the Monkey Forest itself, but it still lies in its vast extension of over 12.5 hectares in the south of Ubud. Monkeys still roam around -maybe more than ever-, and now they get their hands-on water bottles, one or two cans of soda and even some smart-phones. And Ubud has become a mayor buzzing, cultural and mesmerizing tourist destination. 

Ubud Monkey Forest or Mandala Suci Wenara Wana

What To Expect On A Visit To The Ubud Monkey Forest?

The Ubud Monkey Forest, also known as Mandala Suci Wenara Wana, is no longer the huge forest near a small town located north of Denpasar. With time it has become one of the most important tourist attractions in the island of Bali, opening its doors to around 120,000 visitors from all over the world every month. This green sanctuary is the natural habitat and home of more than 750 Balinese long-tailed monkeys. And, to this day, it is still considered a very important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation centre with three temples in its grounds: Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple, Holy Spring Temple, and Prajapati Temple.

So, if you have decided to make the trip up to Ubud to visit the Ubud Monkey Forest, rest assured it has been a good decision; for the place itself, but especially for everything that surrounds it; because Ubud has always been and continues to be one of the most important kingdoms -yes kingdoms- and cultural centers in the whole island of Bali.  

The Monkey Forest is a lung in the centre of a town that has been growing exponentially during the last fifty years, it is a real forest in the middle of the city where hundreds of monkeys live and find protection amongst its trees, temples and around the passing creek. People from all over the world come not only to have a unique experience with friendly -and sometimes not so friendly monkeys- but to enter a sacred forest of peace and tranquillity, and emerge to a lively city filled with design boutiques, delicious coffee shops, mesmerizing crafts and unique culture.

How long do I need to visit Ubud’s Monkey Forest?

To explore The Monkey Forest you will take from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how fast you walk and how much you enjoy the vicinity of the little mischievous inhabitants. Try to arrive early so that you can walk around before the heat has reached its peak. Afterwards, you can venture out on foot to find the perfect spot for breakfast and sightseeing; the rest of the day awaits, and experiences are only starting.

Where is the Ubud Monkey Forest located?  

The Monkey Forest is situated between the centre of Ubud and Nyuh Kuning; a traditional neighbourhood that is as charming as downtown but without all the buzz and shopping and because of that, if you have time, it is also a beautiful place to stroll around during the morning or mid-afternoon. –Address: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar-

So, I’ve seen the Monkey Forest -or I do not like monkeys-, now what? 

ubud monkey forest
Baby monkey… de does look cute, I know.

After a while of walking around the Ubud Monkey Forest, you can walk out in the middle of Ubud and stroll up the street for a delicious coffee or lunch in any of the new warungs (restaurants) and coffee shops that line up the street. After a little snack, continue walking up, and enjoy the views, shops and private entrances, until you reach the football field – an important centre of any Indonesian city, alongside the Ubud market and the palace. From the football field, you can enter the market and walk between stalls of beautiful and interesting crafts until you reach the Royal Palace which, inhabited by the royal family, still keeps parts of its grounds open to the public.

Can I do some yoga or breathwork class? 

If you have a bit more energy or time you can always join one of the -approximately- 35 classes taught every single day in Ubud. Take a peek online, ask a friend, google or check the Yogabarn (link here) to choose between ecstatic dance, hatha yoga, Bikram yoga, salsa, Balinese dance, contact dance, meditation, etc. 

The options and activities to do in this city of 74,000 inhabitants are overwhelming.

If I want to stay longer can I just decide on the spot?

If the night is approaching and you just don’t want to leave, do not worry at all. No matter the season, you can always jump online or, even better, ask around and without a doubt, you will find a place to stay that suits your needs and your budget. 

Ubud is a small magical place, and paradoxically you can see a lot of it in a day and you can also live here for years and still find pockets and breathtaking views every single week. You can be here for months, and still, every time you cross a street, turn a corner or get lost and discover a new temple, carved door, food stall or little shop, you’ll discover yourself speechless; in one of your childhood dreams inhabited by gorgeous princesses, palaces and faraway lands. I’ve lived here for over five years and it still happens to me at least twice a week, so if you have any questions, just ask. 

There is beauty and magic everywhere, you just have to look closely.

Written by me -Eda Sofía- for BaliSpirit


Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Entry Guidelines

These are the recommendations of the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

1.     ‘Please be aware you are in the semi-free ranging monkey area. Monkeys aren’t aggressive by nature: they will only defend themselves if they feel scared or threatened. There are some important things you should know while you are in the Monkey Forest Ubud area.

2.     Do not panic, if the monkeys jump on you please drop any food and walk away slowly. They will soon jump off.

3. Do not run, when monkeys approach you, keep calm and don’t scream. Avoid shouting as this may frighten them.

4.     Do not look the monkeys in the eye, this is interpreted as a sign of aggression.

5.     Do not hide any food, because the monkeys will know where to find it.

6. Do not bring any type of plastic/paper bag, to keep the forest litter free and to avoid the monkeys taking and playing with it.

7.     Please take care of your personal belongings, (Sunglasses, earrings, accessories, jewellery, etc.)

8.     Do not ever touch, grab, or disturb the monkeys, they may touch you but please do not ever touch them, because their reactions are unpredictable. Especially be aware around baby monkeys, they may seem harmless, but their mothers are very defensive of them.

9.     It is prohibited to feed the monkeys peanuts, cookies, candy, bread, or any kind of snacks, and drink. To maintain their health.

10.   Please take care of your children.’

Eda Sofia
Eda Sofia
About me

Eda Sofía es una escritora mexicana que vive entre la Narvarte, Bali y Costa Rica. Y entre esos lugares; el viaje. La vida como una travesía. Sí, por lo general pasa los días sorprendida por su suerte. Escritora, diseñadora gráfica, fotógrafa, comunicadora y carnívora de clóset. Ama bailar hasta que el cuerpo no da mas y mantiene un gusto un tanto cuestionable por estudiar la mente criminal. Catadora profesional de helado, como toda la gente en su sano juicio debería. Comprometida hasta el extremo con la aventura, la búsqueda y la conquista de aquello que podría parecer imposible. Predispuesta ante el amor, viajera, cazadora de instantes, obsesiva a causa de nimiedades y coleccionista de palabras. Puedes leer más acerca de ella escribiendo "Eda Sofía" en Google, ¡en serio!, o en su blog: www.edasofia.com (en el que ya estás) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Eda Sofía is a Mexican writer, or at least she likes to think so, so she writes and she craves tacos. She is quite nomadic but spends most of her time between México, Costa Rica & Bali, something she constantly pinches herself for. She also writes fiction, and is currently working on her fourth novel. She has a life long love affair with dancing her heart out at any opportunity, and is weirdly passionate learning about serial killers. She loves ice-cream, as all sane people should. You can read more about her, if you read Spanish, by typing "Eda Sofía"” into Google. Or clicking here: www.edasofia.com (where you are at already)

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