Ubud Monkey Forest

A few hundred meters from the Royal Palace is the Sacred Monkey Forest.

One minute you’re walking down an overstimulating commercial thoroughfare, the next you’re in the cool quiet jungle.

But it’s not like it was unexpected… we saw a handful of monkeys in town as we got close, and there was this right outside the gate…

The monkeys are long-tailed macaques, and there are about 600 of them. They can leave any time, but they mostly stay in the reserve: lots of nice trees, no motor scooters, and a steady diet provided three times a day. Sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, etc.

You are warned when you enter to not make eye contact, not to smile at the monkeys, and to remove all your shiny jewelry or the monkeys might steal it.

Mostly, the monkeys seemed way more interested in their own lives than ours… you could instantly see the social hierarchies being played out around the feeding area.

This monkey was posing, minding her own business, and then this happened:

There are several temples inside the reserve, with a lot of cool and/or disturbing sculptures.

All in all I was fascinated and a little creeped out. I kinda want to go back and just observe quietly, maybe next trip.


For my money, nothing says “can’t escape the 20th century fast enough” like the tangle of wires on the corner.

More from the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace sits at the edge of Ubud. There’s some history be learned, but as a regular tourist you just walk into the compound, ogle the Balinese carvings, and then walk out again.

I get around

The modal vehicle in Ubud is a motor scooter, and they are driven with a fearless panache. But this 1960s era Holden Special lives just down the road from our villa and brings its own panache to the party.

This old scoot has scooted its last. It will be absorbed back into the jungle in a few years / decades.

But life goes on

We learned about the Christchurch shootings in the airport yesterday as we waited to board a flight to Bali.

After a long (about 10 hours in two flight legs, plus about 6 hours of pre/post flight stuff including long lines to enter Indonesia) but uneventful flight we arrived in the middle of the night. We were greeted at the airport by our Vermont neighbor and dear friend Chuck, who has been volunteering here for the last month) and our AirBnb host and made our way to the villa in Ubud. Which is a place you might remember from Eat Pray Love.

Today is relax day, settling in, maybe we’ll see the Balinese dance performance tonight outside the royal palace. Sightseeing begins tomorrow.

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