Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary or mostly known as The Ubud Monkey Forest occupies 27 lush, green acres at the lower end of Jalan Monkey Forest in the village of Padangtegal. Home to over 600 long-tailed macaques which are divided into 4 groups that occupy different areas of the park, it is an important cultural and spiritual site.
There are several holy sites located within the complex related to Balinese Hindu beliefs about death and reincarnation, with a surprisingly important role played by the little scamps that call it home.
Tourist Attraction and Its Peril
The Monkey Forest is supposedly the most visited tourist attraction in downtown Ubud and attracts approximately 10.000 visitors a month. You will see the monkeys swarming around the gate as we are venturing in. The view is such a delight, watching them sitting around playing with other monkeys or climbing around or eating fruit. You may also find some of them just sitting around with other fellow, looking for lice.
The long-tailed macaques has no fear over humans, so you might find it practically easy to approach them and maybe play around with them. Before entering the forest, there are several mbok (older woman) who sells fruit just outside the gate if you want to feed the monkeys inside.
Since they have lost their fear of humans, the monkeys will show no hesitation to approach us as we venture into their forest. They will grab anything you bring, mostly fruit. They will search your bag (if you bring one in) for food and also ones are not containing food. This is not very surprising for those who have come or heard about the place. Some of the monkeys are very aggressive, they abruptly turn on one of you and snatch whatever you have with you. They steal cameras, money, mostly anything they can search from your bag. The worst part is if they scratch or bite you.
It happened when the monkeys spotted one of my female friends who brought bananas with her. As we ventured further in, these monkeys came out of no where like a furious drizzle in the middle of the day. There were 4-5 of them. One of them looks very big, maybe obese. She tried to feed them one by one but it’s not how they want it. These monkeys will fight each other for more bananas where the greedier one wins. When the monkeys managed to take all of the bananas from her hand, this little cheeky one jumped onto her back and search my friend’s bag. He tried to rummaging around for treasure, looking for more food or maybe something else. My friend didn’t let him and this monkey seemed very angry and we could see his big sharp incisors as few more others are galloping alongside her. It happened very quick when one of them jumped on her and bite. Horrorstruck, we ran to the clinic just outside the gate for the pre-rabies vaccine.
Should you still want to stroll around the forest, you might want to consider not to bring food, wallet, bags, cameras into the premise to prevent horror taking place. The forest is a nice place apart from the perils.