Getting Attacked by Monkeys at Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

If you are an animal lover like us, then this sounds like a no brainer. Hanging out with monkeys in a forest? Sign me up! In the popular town of Ubud, Bali is the Sacred Monkey Forest. You can enter with the small admission of 35,000 rupiahs (~$3.50) per person and even buy a bunch of bananas for 50,000 rupiahs (~$5) to feed the monkeys inside.  There are hundreds of ridiciulously cute long-tailed Macaque monkeys scurrying around in the forest. There are four different groups of monkeys occupying different territories of the forest.

Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

We saw the bananas for sale and decided it was a great idea and a fun way to get close to the friendly monkeys. Boy were we wrong. We did not do our research. There are many sites that say do not buy the bananas and to beware of the monkeys inside the monkey forest. Apparently, there are a record number of monkey bites daily to tourists and also monkeys who pick pocket unsuspecting tourists. Worst case scenario, the monkey bites can lead to rabies or other disease. Lucky for us, no one in our group got bit!

Without knowing the information above, I bought the bananas! I was wearing a long black maxi dress and carrying my bananas freely in the open. I fed a few monkeys successfully one banana and they quickly and politely grabbed the banana out of my hand. Then, I fed one of the larger monkeys (the tour guide later told us the larger monkeys are much more aggressive) and he was not happy with one banana. I was chased down by the monkey who then had a death grip onto the bottom of my dress and started pulling and yanking. Thank god it wasn’t a skirt otherwise everyone would have seen me getting pants by a monkey.  I had to throw a banana and take off. This happened twice before I wanted to get rid of all my bananas! Luckily, after ditching all of my nanners I wasn’t approached by another monkey and was able to escape from the Sacred Monkey Forest unharmed. You can check out the video to see for yourself!

After that, we kept a respectable distance from the monkeys. We saw people paying a worker money to let a monkey climb on their shoulders for a picture. This looked awesome and made me reconsider my thoughts of the monkeys until I saw a guy get bit by a monkey and the worker just watched. No thank you!

We continued to admire the monkeys and take photos of the cute and crazy little critters. There is even a Hindu temple in the forest where monkeys live. This is a great photo spot for the monkeys.

Overall, we liked the monkey forest, but be more educated and prepared than we were. Had we realized the risk of being bitten and chance of disease we would not have gotten so close to the monkeys.  Also, we found out later it is frowned upon to buy the bananas. The monkeys are overweight from tourists and they more aggressive monkeys may try to rip your dress off or worse bite you! Be aware of your surroundings and know your limits and you will have an awesome experience. Afterall, it is only about $3 to hang out with monkeys. Pretty awesome!

Wanna see more from Bali? Check out our Tasty Tuesday post where we tried the worlds best Coffee. Made from Luwak Poop!

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About the Author

Megan Indoe

I am a traveling crazy cat lady who takes every opportunity to pet the random cats I find across the world on our adventures. I quit my job to follow our dreams of traveling the world and making our own rules along the way.

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  • Yikes, pantsing monkeys! Your photos are amazing, but that’s pretty intimidating that they can (and do) bite so frequently. I nearly got pickpocketed by well-trained monkeys in the jungle in Honduras, once. They are definitely capable creatures.

    • Haha holy cow that reminds me of the movie hangover II! They are so smart its scary. Thanks for the comment Leah!

  • Monkeys!!! I have heard that the monkeys can get quite aggressive with tourists, but never experienced it myself. I love the picture of the baby monkey being taught how to climb.

    • Oh man Mikaela neither had we before. But then these monkeys just wanted those bananas! But I think that is what happens when you get hundreds of tourists everyday. They just grow more and more confident. Thanks for the comment I am glad you liked the photo! I spent a couple hours in the heat in humidity trying to get some cute shots.

  • Hilarious yet scary at the same time. I love that places like Bali still have so many beautiful nature-intensive sites for people to visit. Thanks for sharing this and don’t feel too guilty about the bananas. You were just trying to interact with the monkeys, I bet?

    Great words and photos. I really love being a subscriber to this blog, regardless of group affiliation.

    • We definitely thought it was a fun and cute idea at first. Especially considering they were selling it right outside. So we thought hey, ya, Monkeys get hungry lets be best friends with them. But then we realized they are so smart that they have grown confident that we aren’t going to hurt them! They are fearless. Thanks a lot for your comment Carl that means a lot!

  • I’ve been reading up about Ubud a lot lately because we plan to go to Bali in September. Most of the monkey attacks I’ve heard about have been about those darn bananas. Do you think they’ll leave you alone if you don’t have food? I really want to go, but not if the monkeys are going to harass me. haha

    How much of your time was spent in Ubud? Any other must sees you recommend?

    • Meagan, they definitely will not attack you if you don’t have food. Once we dropped our loot we were not hassled anymore. you will be completely fine and have some great opportunities for some cute photos and a nice time.

      We headed to Ubud twice during our trip. It is centrally located to a lot of activities in Bali and has lots of expats which is nice. We stayed 2.5 hours away so we aren’t so knowledgeable about Ubud. But we recommend water rafting the telaga waja river, hiking the volcano, snorkelling and or diving, as well as Besakih temple. If you have any questions just send us a fb message we are more than happy to give you our tips. We plan on going again pretty soon!

  • Wow I’m sure you guys won’t soon forget about this. I’ve always thought monkey were the coolest animals and it’s crazy how similar they are to us. Still though, they are animals and things aren’t always gonna go well. I’m glad you made it out unscathed!

    • We definitely won’t forget about it. You are correct they don’t always go well at all! We are glad to have our fingers intact!

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  • We watched people go through the same thing when we were there!! Luckily I didn’t have to read about the danger of buying the bananas to know to stay far away. I’m already pretty scared of monkeys, even at a zoo. lol Glad nothing serious happened!! We definitely didn’t stay too long, we ran out. 😛

    • You guys are smart! Wish we would have realized not to buy the bananas sooner! Megan loves animals and any excuse to be their “friend” she is right on board. Haha Too bad she found out the hard way those monkeys didn’t want to be her friend back. Thanks for commenting!

  • HAHA omg! My first thought when reading that you bought bananas was “UMMM WTF were you thinking?!” I was there last summer and distinctly remember at the ticket booth there being a sign to leave any and all food in the trash before entering, and rightfully so! Right when we got in a woman got her bag attacked because she had something in it. We saw a girl get bit, and real live monkey sex on a tree. Those monkeys totally changed my thoughts on them. I typically love monkeys but I did not think those were cute. So aggressive and my friend and I were actually so nervous our whole time in the forest lol. It’s definitely an adventure, and I’m glad you didn’t get pantsed! Tho, that would have made for an excellent story 🙂

    • Haha that’s so funny/unfortunate. We are so glad nothing serious happened because it made it a memorable and funny experience to look back on! The ladies selling those bananas seemed so innocent. Little did we know we were being sentenced to an unexpected attack! Those are some good sales people. We have learned alot from this experience! Thanks for commenting on our blog! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

  • That video cracked me up. The monkey was pretty scary looking, too! I would not have enjoyed having my pants yanked on by one of those guys.

    I had my ice cream stolen by a monkey in Bako National Park, Malaysia. I was trying to get a good picture and didn’t even think about my ice cream presenting a temptation for the critter. I lost the ice cream, but got one of the most chilling pictures I’ve ever taken!

    Great photos, nice work!

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  • Haha that’s so funny! We didn’t think it through! The women selling those bananas seemed so nice and we trusted them. Haha but really they were just great sales people. We are glad nothing serious happened and it made it a funny/memorable experience. At least we are able to warn those who might stumble upon our blog! Thanks for commenting!

  • Eeek! I know how scary that is – I have a video of almost the same thing except the monkey was after my water bottle (and I was wearing a maxi skirt that he grabbed). I managed to get away from him but a few minutes later another one came and took it right out of my hand – we tried to get it back but they can get really aggressive!

    • Haha, I am so sorry to hear that! Hopefully the little guy didn’t expose you to everyone! We saw almost the same thing you described at Angkor Wat too! Those monkeys know how to get what they want! We also saw a few people trying to pose with monkeys on their shoulders in Bali and they got a monkey bite!

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  • Intan Apriyani

    I partly agree, the monkeys are quite aggresive and it wasn’t a good idea to get them in the position that some visitor want to take a picture with. Sometimes the monkeys could clawed or bites you. The place isn’t that crowded in the morning and over all it was a beautiful forest with carvings,bridges and statues arround the place.

    • You’re right! It was really dumb of me to get those bananas too!