The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali or Mandala Suci Wenara Wana as it is known in Balinese is a popular tourist attraction that unlike most animal experiences in SE Asia, does not have animal shows.
In the forest, there are currently (counted in July 2017) 749 monkeys of various ages across 6 different groups/families.
They are fed 3 times a day by forest staff (local villagers) however visitors can also purchase bananas to feed the monkeys with, this encourages the monkeys to climb on you.
There are not many rules in the forest but the ones they do have are very important.
- Do not look the monkeys directly in the eyes (staring) as they can interpret this as a challenge and may attack.
- Do not bring paper or plastic bags into the forest as monkeys will snatch it off you. This keeps the forest free from litter but also stops the monkeys from playing with it.
- Never touch the monkeys, especially the babies. It is ok if they approach you but their reactions are unpredictable. Mothers are likely to attack you if you get too close to their baby.
- NEVER feed the monkeys human snacks like crisps, peanuts or bread. This should go without saying but some people seem to think it’s funny to watch monkeys eat non-monkey snacks even if it means that they can get sick or die in the long-run.
- No smoking.
If you follow the rules then you’ll have a great time. The monkeys are very used to humans so are not scared, but you have to remember that this is their home so sometimes that means walking alongside the path rather than on it.
We got to see monkeys of all ages playing, play-fighting, picking each other’s fleas & having family time.
The monkey forest also homes a small herd of Timor Rusa deer but we did not know this at the time.
Have you visited an animal sanctuary in SE Asia which also practices kindness?