Monkeys in Bali Everything you need to know!

Why are Monkeys in Bali Considered Sacred?

In Bali, monkeys are not just animals; they hold a special place in the hearts of the people. This deep respect comes from their culture and religion. In Hinduism, which many Balinese follow, monkeys are seen as sacred.

Monkeys in Bali are deeply linked to Hanuman, a central figure in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Hanuman is revered for his strength and loyalty, qualities that are highly valued in Hindu culture. This reverence is not just symbolic; it influences how the Balinese interact with and perceive monkeys. They are often seen as the earthly embodiment of Hanuman, which elevates their status beyond mere wildlife. This belief shapes the respectful and careful way in which locals interact with these animals, reflecting their cultural and religious significance in Balinese society.

TIP: Below I am adding a short video clip about negotiation with monkeys!

Monkeys in Bali are more than just wild animals. They are part of daily life and are often found living near temples and forests. People believe these monkeys protect the temples from bad spirits. This belief makes the monkeys very important in Balinese culture. They are treated with care and respect.

The monkeys’ sacred status has led to efforts to keep them safe. Places like the Ubud Monkey Forest are not just tourist spots. They are also safe homes for the monkeys. These forests let the monkeys live freely in their natural habitat. This is important for their well-being. Efforts like this show how much the Balinese value and protect their monkeys. It’s a way of respecting their culture and religious beliefs.

What Kind of Monkeys Can Be Found in Bali?

monkey at uluwatu

The most common monkey you’ll meet in Bali is the Long-Tailed Macaque. They’re pretty easy to spot because, as the name suggests, they have long tails!

These monkeys are not just found in one place. They live all over Bali. You might see them in forests, near temples, or even on some beaches. What’s interesting is how these monkeys behave differently depending on where they are. In the wild, they roam freely, looking for food and playing around. But in sanctuaries and forests like the Ubud Monkey Forest, they’re more used to people. Here, they might come closer to you, but remember, they’re still wild animals.

Now, here’s something you might not know. These monkeys are smart! They can open zippers and even untie knots. That’s why if you’re visiting places where they live, keep your belongings safe. Also, these monkeys have a cheek pouch, kind of like a hamster. They use it to store food. Pretty clever, right?

Top Interesting Places to See the Monkeys in Bali

There are some amazing places to visit where you can meet these playful and naughty creatures. Let me share with you the top spots.

First up, there’s the famous Ubud Monkey Forest. It’s like a monkey paradise. Over a thousand long-tailed macaques live here.

Ubud Monkey Forest

bali monkey forest

Ubud Monkey Forest is more than just a home to monkeys. It’s a cultural and spiritual hub. The forest houses three Hindu temples, each with its own history. The Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple, the Holy Spring Temple, and the Prajapati Temple add to the forest’s charm. Walking through, you’ll notice the monkeys going around the structures, adding a lively atmosphere. The forest is well-maintained, with pathways leading you through dense foliage. It’s a blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.

Even nearby and around the Monkey Forest you will see a lot of monkeys roaming around. Waiting to see what is in the offer or approach a tourist that is not ware of the situation. I would consider it safe, but incidents are happening from time to time. Incidents are rare. Example of this is a 10-year old girl bitten by a Monkey, source: The Bali Sun

Even nearby and around the Monkey Forest you will see a lot of monkeys roaming around. Waiting to see what is in the offer or approach a tourist that is not ware of the situation. I would consider it safe, but incidents are happening from time to time. Incidents are rare. Example of this is a 10-year old girl bitten by a Monkey, source: The Bali Sun

There are multiple bites per year, one report from the Straits Times, where it is due to interaction. Do notice, anti-rabies shots are recommended after a monkey bite or scratch and it’s going to be a costly thing. Rabies in Bali is unfortunately not uncommen.

Sangeh Monkey Forest

Sangeh Monkey Forest offers a different vibe. It’s known for its towering nutmeg trees, creating a canopy that gives the forest a serene feel. The temple inside, Bukit Sari Temple, is a historical site, adding a touch of the past to your visit. The monkeys here are part of a well-established community, and you might notice their social interactions, which are fascinating to observe. It’s a quieter spot, ideal if you’re looking for a more relaxed monkey-watching experience.

Sangeh Monkey Forest came before the Ubud one. It’s just that Ubud has more to offer nearby that it is more calm in Sangeh! You will have the immediate attention of all these creatures when you visit Sangeh.

Alas Kedaton

Alas Kedaton stands out with its dual attraction of monkeys and bats. The forest has a mystical feel, with the sounds of the forest creating a natural soundtrack to your visit. The temple inside, Alas Kedaton Temple, is surrounded by dense forest, making it feel like a discovery in the heart of the jungle. The monkeys here coexist with the bats, and it’s intriguing to see how these different species live together in harmony. PRO TIP:  This place is 30 minutes from Tanah Lot Temple, so you could visit several places the same day

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple is a dramatic setting. Perched on a cliff, the views of the ocean are breathtaking. The monkeys add an element of surprise to the visit. They’re known for their playful nature, so keep your belongings secure. The temple itself is a significant spiritual site, and the Kecak dance performances in the evening are a must-see. The combination of culture, views, and playful monkeys makes this a unique experience.

Pemuteran Pura Pulaki

Pura Pulaki in Pemuteran is a serene temple by the sea. The monkeys here are revered and are an integral part of the temple’s charm. The setting is more tranquil compared to other spots. The temple’s architecture, combined with the backdrop of the sea, creates a peaceful environment. Here, the interaction with monkeys feels more respectful and harmonious, reflecting the spiritual significance of the place.

I found it particularly funny and cute to see children walking with sticks as a deterrent for the naughty behavior of the monkeys. Besides that, the temple was closed with some metal bars.

Mount Batur

Monkey sitting next to us eating a banana sandwich

When you visit, it’s not just about seeing monkeys, it’s about experiencing them in their true element. This active volcano, slightly over 1700 meters, offers a rugged, natural backdrop that’s quite different from the sanctuaries and temples.

As you hike up the trails of Mount Batur, keep your eyes peeled. The monkeys here are wild and free, living as nature intended. They might be a bit shyer than their counterparts in more touristy areas, so spotting them feels like a special treat. You might catch them foraging or playing among the rocks and trees.

At the top I had a monkey coming for my breakfast! I was with friends and it came without fear next to us, grabbing our unattended food. We were tired and didn’t want to disturb the creature.

The hike of Mount Batur itself is something to talk about. It’s a bit challenging, but absolutely rewarding. Imagine reaching the summit and being greeted by not just a stunning sunrise but also the sight of these playful creatures in their natural habitat. It’s a moment of pure connection with nature.

There are also lesser-known spots where you can see monkeys. These places might not be as crowded, giving you a unique experience. Each location offers something different.

When Is the Best Time to visit Monkeys in Bali?

The good news is, you can visit monkeys in Bali all year round. But, there are some times better than others. The dry season, from April to October, is great. It’s less rainy, so you’re more likely to see monkeys out and about. Plus, the paths in forests and temples are easier to walk on.

Now, what about the time of day? Morning and late afternoon are the best. This is when monkeys are most active. They’re out looking for food and playing. It’s cooler then, so they’re more comfortable and so are you.

But, there are times you might want to avoid. The rainy season, from November to March, can be tricky. It’s wet, and paths can be slippery. Monkeys tend to hide from the rain too. Also, midday can be really hot. Not just for you, but for the monkeys too. They often hide in the shade then.

Lastly, think about the tourist crowds. Places like Ubud Monkey Forest can get really busy. If you go early in the morning, it’s less crowded. You get a more peaceful experience with the monkeys.

Dos and Don’ts When Seeing Monkeys in Bali

Monkey eating at mount batur

When you’re in Bali and you see monkeys, it’s exciting! But there are some important dos and don’ts to keep in mind.


  1. Keep a Safe Distance: Enjoy watching the monkeys, but don’t get too close. They need their space, just like we do.
  2. Stay Calm: If a monkey comes near you, stay calm. Quick movements can scare them.
  3. Secure Your Belongings: Monkeys are curious and might grab loose items. Keep your things close and zipped up.
  4. Follow Local Guidelines: If there are signs or rules about the monkeys, make sure you follow them.
  5. Respect Their Home: Remember, you’re visiting their space. Treat it with care.
  6. Watch out for their leader: They have an alpha male as leader, watch out and take care when a bigger monkey crosses your path.


  1. Don’t Feed the Monkeys: Feeding them can change their natural behavior and diet. It’s best to let them find their own food.
  2. Don’t Smile with Teeth or Make Eye Contact: To monkeys, this can seem like a threat. It’s better to avoid direct eye contact.
  3. Don’t Touch or Tease Them: They might look cute, but they are wild animals. Touching or teasing them is not safe.
  4. Don’t Panic if They Approach: If a monkey comes close, don’t panic. Just slowly move away.
  5. Don’t Ignore Health and Safety Measures: If a monkey bites or scratches you, it’s important to clean the wound and see a doctor.

Frequently asked questions about Monkeys in Bali

What do the Monkeys steal from tourists in Bali?

Everything that is shiny or has shiny trinckets attached to it. Does your bag have a reflective tassel, then they’ll want it. Eye Glasses and shades are the first ones to go, phones as well. In Uluwatu temple, the monkeys are even after your water bottles during hot days. They can open them, and will drink from it. When planning to see them make sure to hide your reflective shiney objecys.

What are the best places to see monkeys in Bali?

The best places to see monkeys in Bali are the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, the Sangeh Monkey Forest, and the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. Additionally, you can also spot monkeys around temples such as the Uluwatu Temple and Ubud Royal Palace.

Can I feed the monkeys in Bali?

It is generally not advisable to feed the monkeys in Bali as it can affect their natural behavior and lead to dependency on human food. You might see some tourists trying to feed a monkey, but please don’t. You might harm the animal and yourself that way.

What Should You Do When a Monkey Bites You

If you ever get bitten by a monkey in Bali, don’t worry, but act quickly. First, wash the bite well with soap and water. This step is crucial to remove any dirt and germs. Then, apply an antiseptic to the wound to prevent infection. It’s really important to see a doctor as soon as you can. They’ll check the bite and give you the right treatment. Keep an eye on the wound for any signs of infection, like redness or swelling. Sometimes, the doctor might give you a rabies shot, just to be safe, because monkeys can carry rabies. Remember, it’s rare to get bitten, but if it happens, quick action and medical help are key.

How do locals deal with the monkeys?

Locals are familiar with the monkeys and vice versa. Some people would walk around with a slingshot or a long stick. They actually don’t hurt the monkeys as they are considered sacred, they use it to scare away they monkey. Not that it has much effect, they just take their distance more this way. Other than than when a phone, glasses or cap is stolen from a tourist, the locals tend to barter (trade) for your item with fruits. Sometimes they would let go.

Do Monkeys In Bali have Rabies?

It’s a good question. In Bali, the risk of monkeys having rabies is quite low. But, it’s not impossible. Rabies is a serious disease in Bali, and it’s always better to be safe. If a monkey bites or scratches you, it’s important to clean the wound right away. Then, see a doctor as soon as you can. They might suggest getting a rabies shot, just to be on the safe side. Remember, while it’s rare for these monkeys to have rabies, taking care of your health should always be a priority. So, enjoy watching the monkeys, but also stay cautious and safe.

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