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Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Ubud

24 November 2010 No Comment

 

sacred monkey forest sanctuary ubud

The majestic looking monkey forest

“Monkeys. A whole forest of them!”, someone exclaimed.

Sure, what else would one expect from a place called the monkey forest? While it is impossible to ignore the monkeys, believe it or not, this place has much more to offer than plain monkey sightings.

Occupying approximately 11 hectares of land, the Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud Sanctuary (known locally as Mandala Wisata Wenara Wanawenara means monkey and wana means forest) is not particularly large, yet is home to a surprisingly large number of wildlife. 115 tree species, several bird species, deers, as well as the ubiquitous monkeys call this place home. There are 500 individuals in the area, and they do make their presence known.

local family inside the monkey forest

This family is probably heading to one of the temples inside monkey forest

taking photos with monkeys

Tourists taking photo of the local inhabitants

tourists inside monkey forest

More tourists

We paid the monkeys a visit in the early morning, before most tourists arrive. The air is much cooler at this time of the day, and our hosts are too busy doing their own things – like cleaning each other – to pay much attention to us. It is very fascinating to watch them; they are in so many ways similar to us, their human cousins. Small babies clung tightly onto their mothers for protection, the young adults are restless and seem curious about everything, while the noticeably more mature ‘elders’ of the group (yes, the ones with grey moustaches) are usually somewhat more dignified looking than the rest. The monkeys did not disturb us at all, although someone in the group just ahead lost his pocket-sized camera to one of the monkeys, who in a flash dragged it to the bottom of a ravine. So if you are worried about potentially being harassed by monkeys, follow these precautions: Don’t carry food with you, and hide or secure all loose items and (especially) valuables. The monkey forest management have put up signs on what to and what not to do, these are your best guide. If your experience is similar to ours, you will find that the monkeys generally treat humans with respect, keeping some distance as they watch us watching them.

this monkey is having banana for breakfast

This monkey is having a banana for breakfast

family gathering

A family gathering

ladylike pose

We got this one to pose for the camera

Why the area is called sacred has something to do with the temples that are situated within the forest. There are three temple complexes inside the sanctuary, one of which is said to have been built in the 14th century. Locals still use these temples for prayers, and fresh offerings are replaced daily. There is also a collection of stone sculptures spread throughout the area. Monkeys roam free in and around the temples. Despite the fact that they sometimes grab offerings left by devotees, the monkeys are left alone. Inspired by the story of Ramayana, Balinese believe that monkeys can be a force of good, and will protect their temples against the forces of evil that lurks in the darkness.

temple in monkey forest

One of the temple compounds in the area

temple in monkey forest

Another temple is visible through the screen of vines

temple in monkey forest

temple in monkey forest

A holy spring

stone nagas monkey forest

A pair of stone nagas guard the bridge

safety guide monkey forest

Remember to follow these rules for your own safety

The official website of the sacred monkey forest sanctuary is packed with information, both about the forest, as well as about the village community that owns and runs the place. Do visit it to have a better understanding of this wonderful and enchanting place.

Travel Info

Entrance fee: Rp.15,000 (as of mid 2010)

Website http://www.monkeyforestubud.com/index.html

 

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