In recognition of this year being the Year of the Monkey, I’ve decided to share some photos of these cute little cheeky and slightly spastic beings and also share some tips if you decide to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
With an area spreading over 27 acres, the Monkey Forest is not just home to monkeys but also 3 temples that have been around since 1350. The Forest represents a philosophical goal of creating peace and harmony with visitors from all around the world and has spiritual significance to the villagers and locals. The Monkey Forest’s density, rocky streams, and bind to nature allows visitors to experience a real tropical feel and get in touch with nature.
For a true and tropical experience, the entrance fee is cheap cheap cheap. It costs Adult IDR 30,000 and Child IDR 20,000 which is approximately AUD 3 and AUD 2. Very cheap entry for a worthwhile walk with the monkeys and a visit with deers.
Also, enter the forest knowing what level of interaction you want with the monkeys so you can prepare for it.
Some tips for future travellers that I learnt:
1) Do not carry any plastic or paper bags of any sort as the monkeys associate the noise of the bags with food and will snatch it from you.
2) Do not carry loose items (sunglasses, drink bottles etc) as the monkeys are snatch experts and once they have their tiny hands on something, you shouldn’t fight back as the monkeys can turn aggressive.
3) Bananas are sold for AUD 2 at the park.
For those who want slight interaction with the monkeys it is a good option as I have seen them just snatch the whole banana rather than enjoy you feeding it to them. For those who want more interaction like have them climb on you, I was lucky enough to have a guard there give me some nuts and seeds to put in the palm of my hand and have a baby monkey climb onto my arm and stay there for a while.
4) Some people get preventive rabies vaccination in fear of monkey bites.
I personally did not get them, it was too late by the time I thought of it as I booked my trip last minute and it takes the vaccine a while to take effect. I had a near scare when a baby monkey pulled my hair to get on the top of my head. It had scratched the back of my neck and scalp and I wasn’t sure if it had bit me but thankfully it didn’t. There were guards nearby who just told me to stay calm and lured the monkey away with food. If you want to come in close contact with them, I suggest get it just in case. But know that the park has a first aid centre for any accidents anyway.
5) If they invade your personal space i.e. climb on top of your head, don’t panic!
It only makes the situation worse as the monkeys will panic and it won’t end well. Don’t start running either, the monkey will just grab on tighter!
6) If you are coming from further out i.e. Kuta and travelling in a group, a private driver is a good idea. You can split the cost and travel comfortably.
Our driver made a day trip out of the time we had with him. He drove us to a Painting Village, then to the Monkey Forest in the worst weather conditions possible which made the ride last almost 2 hours (thank goodness it stopped raining when we got there), waited for us, drove us to a restaurant he recommended and back to our hotel.
It costed about IDR 350,000 which is approximately AUD 35. Great for group travel.