Uluwatu Monkey Forest in Bali

Bali Forests & Mountains

Uluwatu Monkey Forest surrounds the cliff edges near the namesake temple, where hordes of grey long-tailed macaques dwell, adding an exotic and animate feature to the splendid landmark, together with its splendid sea and sunset backdrop.

Regular pilgrims face all sorts of mild mishaps, be it a man's traditional headdress being seized and taken high up into the trees to never return to its rightful owner, or a playful pair snatching at fruit offerings that haven’t even properly been ‘presented’ to the gods of the temple beforehand. Thick hedges of green shrubs and plants dot the white cliff face, with frangipani trees, and these simians dominating most of the Bukit area.

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These little furry dwellers of the Uluwatu Monkey Forest – and most of the Bukit forests – share the common playful characteristics of those in Bali’s other notable monkey forests such as Sangeh and Ubud. In fact, the whole Bukit coastline can be considered as ‘monkey forests’. Patches along the cliffs are inhabited, from the southernmost tip at the Bulgari Resort, and all the way up to Pecatu in the western parts.

Besides 'monkey business', Uluwatu also has been known as one of the major surf spots with its reef quality waves. Thick hedges of green over white chalk rocks, frangipanis, and realms of the mischievous simians dominating the high cliff shores of most of the Bukit area, add to the picturesque appeal for visitors and photography enthusiasts.

While virtually all of the temple grounds, being accessible to the monkeys, play open stage to their playful exploits once in a while, the surrounding hilly forests outside the temple complex are where they are truly at home. The monkeys are known to come out of their forest dwellings and linger around onto the pathways in the afternoon and down to sunset.

Good to Know about Uluwatu Monkey Forest

It is a rule of thumb to visit the Uluwatu Monkey Forest and the temple grounds with an accompanying local guide who would know his way with the unpredictable monkeys, such as ‘bribing’ them back when they manage to steal your hat or pair of Oakleys. Good advice is to take along a stick for walks through the 'forests' just to bluff the monkeys away. Do not tempt or feed the monkeys as the locals and temple authorities have already provided them with regular snacks, such as slices of cassava.

Stalking and snatching for curious items and anything on you – either from below on the ground or from up above in the trees – is common. Therefore, don't wear interesting items, and park wisely – away from large groups of the racketing ruffians – to save yourself a messy paintjob.

Hyperactive ones in the pack have been known to put on a rather disparaging act such as stripping off rubber liners off car windows and bending unlucky license plates. However, the main parking area where restaurants and shops can now be found lined up, which were all established over the last decade, has provided a safe spot to park and start off the adventure as not many of the macaques roam to these areas.

Uluwatu Monkey Forest

  • Location: Jalan Uluwatu, Bukit Peninsula
  • How to get there: Take the bypass main road to Nusa Dua and to Jimbaran and then follow the ascending road up to Uluwatu. Approach the main Uluwatu Temple site via Jalan Uluwatu.
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