Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Imagine a 'secret jungle' with inquisitive monkeys who rule over sacred temples and century old banyan trees. Sit quietly and hear the sounds of rushing ravines.....drift a little.....see and smell the vivid colour of flower offerings and sweet Balinese incense. This isn't Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World," it's the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest, a must-see attraction for any visitor to Bali, 'Island of the Gods.'While staying at the spectacular eco-conscious Fivelements Puri Ahimsa wellness retreat, I ventured out to one of Bali's most popular attractions, the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest. Officially known as the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the site contains 27 acres of protected grounds, 605 long-tailed macaque monkeys, and three 14th-century temples.The forest is located minutes from the main strip of Ubud, the 'Cultural Heart of Bali.' You can purchase bananas on-site to feed the monkeys, make sure to carefully conceal the fruit in a backpack because the monkeys will at random, jump on to you for a free meal. This is all apart of the fun. When you are ready to feed them, take one banana out at a time, this will prevent any accidental bites. I have read many reviews about aggressive behavior from the monkeys, I did witness it for myself, but was never bitten. Most aggression cases have happened because of improper feeding; if you take one banana out at a time, watch your surroundings, and do not taunt the monkeys (especially the mature ones!) this will help to ensure a safe and highly enjoyable interaction. Also note, if you have no bananas, food, or hand-held items the monkeys will typically be unfazed by your presence, allowing visitors who want a little distance to have a great time too. I give this attraction a 10/10, it's literally a 'barrel of monkeys' fun!
Here visitors can lounge in the pool underneath, letting the thundering water splash around you. If you can climb down stairs and back up, you can easily visit the water fall in an hour. If you are gun for a trek then this one is apt for you. Its a good 20-30 minutes of trek over a patch of rough rocks, do ensure that you have your sports shoes on as its time to burn some of those extra pounds.
This is a 15th century set of rock carvings, which can be reached on foot from the town, though it is a few kilometres. From the entrance, a long walk down, on sometimes broken steps, there and back is maybe 4kms. During my visit in January 2014 I was surprised by the absence of vendors, also by the lack of other visitors. This is not on the tourist trail.At the end of your mini-trek you will seen a ~50 metre long line of rock carvings on your left. These depict scenes from every day life, in the good old days. The carvings are worn, but clearly discernable. The principal feature is a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh. If you wish, you can make (after buying from a little old lady nearby) an offering here.Near the entrance is a good, small restaurant, the Yeh Pulu Cafe. Owned and managed by an enterprising Balinese woman. Both Yeh Pulu and the restaurant are recommended.
Ubud is 40 km from Batur and is said to be a cultural capital of Bali. Ubud enjoys cooler temperatures than the coast. It once served as the major source of medicinal herbs and the healing tradition in still deeply ingrained in the people here. If you are looking for beads, Buddha, barong and Balinese traditional carvings, silver jewelry, pearls, handmade leather bags, Batik scarves and pashminas, Jalan Raya Ubud is the place for you. You will get some of the best deals here. The culturally rich vibe of this area is waiting to entrap you. The traditional market is from 5am until 9am. Spend some time relaxing at Bali Botanical Day Spa with a range of revitalizing treats. At night retreat to Oka Wati’s Homestay which has been sheltering tourists since 1980. Once you are here, you know you are in the right place away from all the noise. Spend a quiet night here in the middle of Ubud in the rustic charm of this house.