There’s one thing you need to know about wild monkeys: they are scary! I know, you’re thinking “But they’re so cute!” and they are. To a point. The point being when you’re in a forest with hundreds of them and they’re fighting each other, injuries drawing blood.
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is within easy walking distance of Ubud city center and only costs the equivalent of a few American dollars to visit. It is recommended that you not have any loose items like sunglasses or plastic shopping bags on your person lest the monkeys steal it. I saw several monkeys tugging on the skirt of a walking woman and trying to pry plastic bags from tourists.
It is also highly encouraged that if you would like to feed the monkeys, you purchase fruit when you buy your entry ticket. The proceeds go to maintenance of the temples and to buying more food for the monkeys. They were eating raw sweet potatoes the day we visited.
The monkeys are wild and let to roam free–so why are they sacred? When you’re walking around Bali, you will often see black and white cloths wrapped around statues and some trees. This means they are holy (someone has sensed this spiritually) and sometimes a temple will be built, making everything on its grounds sacred. The monkeys aren’t physically confined to the area but choose to stay, which adds to their sacredness.
It’s a really beautiful place with enormous, thick, ancient trees and tons of statues, moss growing on everything–definitely go for the experience, but know you’re not alone if the monkeys give you a fright!