Enter a dense rain forest full of banyan trees and flowing streams to visit ancient Hindu temples and baths and see agile macaques swing in the treetops.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a site for Balinese Hindu worship and every aspect of the grounds has sacred meaning, from its trees and temples, to its long-tail macaques. This site is also a research centre where you can learn more about the monkeys and some 115 species of trees. The site is also known as the Padangtegal Monkey Forest because it is owned by the village of Padangtegal, one of Ubud’s communities.
Enter the tropical Monkey Forest to explore the temple complex. The original pagodas, pavilions and shrines are thought to date back to the mid-14th century, but many have eroded over time and some of the current structures are replicas. The biggest structure, the Dalem Agung Temple, is the main temple and used for everyday rituals. The Prajapati Temple is used for cremation ceremonies and the Holy Bathing Temple, almost hidden from view near the stream, is used for cleansing rituals.
Meet some of the macaques who call this jungle home. There are more than 600 of them, living in four troops. In Balinese Hinduism, which incorporates elements of animism, Buddhism and ancestor worship, the monkeys are considered as sacred as the buildings. The monkeys are cheeky; don’t feed them and guard any items they can grab.
Watch the locals give offerings and use certain trees for religious purposes. The leaves of the banyan tree, also known as the beringin tree, are used in cremation ceremonies and the wood of the pule bandak tree is used for masks.
Ubud Monkey Forest is open daily. The admission fee helps maintain the site; you can make additional donations at the main entrance. It’s easy to get to the site on foot if you are staying in Ubud. Free parking is available for vehicles.
When accessing this active place of worship, rent or bring a sarong and cover your legs. Women need to cover their shoulders too. Anyone who has a child under 4 years old, is menstruating or wounded, or has buried or cremated a relative in the past week, is not allowed to enter the main temple.