Lovina – Bali’s Northern Beauty

Lovina, for any of you who don’t know, is Bali’s northern beauty.

Not many people make it up this far on the small island that is Bali. But for those who do, there is certainly some beautiful rewards!

From picturesque hotels set into the mountainside, with 180 degree views of the sea from the incredible infinity pools, to hot springs and temples and not forgetting some of Bali’s best waterfalls only a short journey away.

When I visited Lovina back in September last year, I was absolutely blown away. The bonus is, not many people stumble past Ubud, so there are very few tourists this far North… its quite the contrast compared to South Bali!

Where is it?

As per the title, Lovina is in the far North of Bali

I departed from Ubud and hired a personal driver to take me to Lovina – it took approx. 3-4 hours to get there and it was a very bumpy and windy road as you drive up and over the mountains/volcano’s of Bali.
If you’ve got the time, you should ask your driver if they are happy to make some stop offs, as the drive is incredibly beautiful with some amazing views!

I believe it cost around 400K IDR one way (split between 2) in total.

What is there to do?

There is so much to do in Lovina, but TIP: YOU WILL NEED A SCOOTER – because it’s not as popular with the tourists there is little means of transport, there are a few taxis around but they are super expensive as the Indonesians ride scooters everywhere! You can pick up a scooter for as little as 60K IDR a day!

Some of the top places to visit in Lovina are;

Brahma Vihara Arama – this is probably the best place to start as its only about 15 minutes from Lovina. It is a beautiful Buddhist Temple, which has been designed similar to Borobudur Temple in Java!

Air Panas Banjar Hot Springs – once you’ve finished at the temple, go and soak yourself in these beautiful natural Hot Springs, they are only an 8 minute drive from the temple!

Dolphin Watching at Sunrise – One of my absolute favourite things I have EVER done.

Get up super early, make your way down to the (black sand) beach and hop on a boat. Whilst the sun is rising you race your way out to sea and then wait patiently for the Dolphins to appear, in their natural habitat – it was so beautiful to watch the dolphins play.

Sekumpul Waterfall – There are many waterfalls in the North of Bali but my favourite one and the best bang for your buck is Sekumpul. And that’s because there are actually 7 waterfalls incorporated in and around the area!

Best time to visit?

Bali is one of those tropical places that you could visit all year round, but if you really want the best of the best the “dry season” in Bali is May to September, with highs of 31 degrees!
Because Bali is small, the island doesn’t have different seasons, so the dry season is the same no matter where you are in Bali.

Where to stay?

I stayed in the most incredible little resort called The Hamsa Bali Resort. It’s set high up in the hill but takes only about 10 minutes to get to from the beach front on a bike. It’s a steep incline, but well worth it for the views from its incredible infinity pool!

And it only cost us £27 per night, between us! BARGAIN!

Balangan Beach Bali

Balangan Beach was probably our favourite beach in Bali, like ever.

Having been to Bali 4 times, in just as many years, I think its fair to say we know Bali pretty well and this beach just absolutely won us over.

Locally known as Pantai Balangan, it is famous for its beautiful sunsets, turquoise waters and white sands. No wonder there is a specific “Wedding Photos” area up on the cliff top!

Just look how crystal clear that water is!!

Where is it?

Balangan Beach is on the South Western tip of Bali and if you’re staying in Uluwatu or Jimbaran then we’d highly recommend this to be your main beach to visit.

However, if you’re staying in Seminyak or Canggu it is still accessible! Either grab a Blue Bird Taxi or hop on a moped it will take between one hour – one and a half hours to get there and its well worth the drive.

What is there to do?

Bali being renowned for surfing, Balangan is one of the best surfing points in Bali – a surfers paradise!

As you climb down the 20 or so steps, to the left of the steps is the surf and to the right of the steps is a beautiful picture opportunity with the cliff in the back ground. The water is beautiful to swim in and you can hang your clothes on the rocks whilst you swim/sun bath!

You can actually head to the cliff top for some stunning views of the beach – as you pull into the car park instead of walking left toward the shops and the steps, head right and keep walking until you get to the cliff edge!

There are a couple of restaurants along the beach front which serves basic Indonesian food at reasonably ok prices.

Best time to visit?

It all depends on what you want from the beach! If you’ve been exploring the nearby beaches, then leave this one until last so you can stay to watch the incredible sunset.
Our favourite time was round 2-3pm as the tide was high and sun really lit up the ocean and made it sparkle turquoise!

Where to stay?

We actually stayed near Pandawa Beach, as the hotels were slightly cheaper! In fact we managed to bag ourselves a right bargain and stayed in a brand spanking new hotel (definitely 4* rating) for as little at £17 per night (about 320K IDR).

We stayed at Pandawa Hill Resort

It only took around 15 minutes on the moped to reach Balangan Beach.

The Ultimate Route through Bali

As far as planning a route through Bali goes, its such a small island that you could probably just wing it. But for all you travellers that like to have some kind of plan, here is the Ultimate Route Through Bali…

DENPASAR

As there is only one airport in Bali, everyone who flys into Bali will come via Denpasar, which is the main hub and starting point. If you’re coming across from Java, like I did back last September 2017 then, instead, you will most likely be catching the ferry across to Gilimanuk.

There is no need to stay here, even if you’ve travelled 90 million hours to get here (what it felt like coming from the UK) you can quite easily catch a cab to Kuta which is probably the quickest place to get to from the airport.

KUTA 1 night

We only booked a hotel for the first night in Bali here in Kuta. Even though it was my fourth time in Bali, I had never stayed here as many people had told me how it was basically the Aussies version of Magaluf or Ibiza. But as we would have just done a 6 hour flight from Brisbane we wanted somewhere close to crash.

We checked into RaBaSTa Angkul Angkul Hotel near Kuta Beach, headed out for some Nasi Goreng and quite literally crashed in our hotel at about 4pm and didn’t wake until the next day!

The next day we hired some Mopeds (scooters) from the hotel for 8 days, this was going to serve as our transport from getting from one place to the next. We got a good deal too, we paid 60K IDR per day per scooter and they were actually really decent and new scooters. We checked out of the hotel and headed for Seminyak.

SEMINYAK 2 nights

So Seminyak is the more upmarket town in Bali. It has beach clubs, fancy restaurants and VIP clubs. But as always this comes with a price, overall Seminyak was the most expensive of all of the places we went.

However, after living in a camper van and couch surfing in Australia, we were in the market for a little treat. So we booked ourselves into a private pool villa for the night at D’Alang Alang Villas. Even for travellers on a budget, £60 a night was an absolute bargain! Now don’t get me wrong there were a few scuff marks on the wall and the floorboards were a little worn, but apart from that the villa was absolutely beautiful and we’d highly recommend it to anyone who wanted a bit of luxury, privacy and relaxation!

We then (regretfully) moved out of the private villa and into a little home stay just off of Jl. Sunset which is one of the main roads that connects each of the southern towns in Bali. Even though we had booked 3 nights into the home stay, we only stayed one night. The home stay was cute and quiet and the host was so lovely. But unfortunately the toilet kicked out a horrific stench and we had grown a little bored of Seminyak. Although there are many awesome things to do like chilling at a beach club, going out for drinks or eating at a fancy restaurant, we just didn’t have the budget to do all of those things so we checked out early and headed to Canggu.

CANGGU 5 nights

Canggu was one of my favourite places from my trip in September 2017, so I was excited to show Ells around!

Canggu is known for its more laid back, surfer beach vibe, which suited us just fine. Canggu serves up a lot of amazing breakfast bowls and avocado, so if you’re one for your food then I highly recommend Canggu. Our favourite breakfast was from Bali Bowls. It’s also easy on the wallet too. Although popular with the westerners, its prices are still considerably lower than that of its neighbouring sister Seminyak.

Here we stayed at what we would consider our favourite hotel of the trip (minus the expensive pool villa) we booked in for 2 nights at the White Dove Villas after checking out early from our home stay in Seminyak. The reason it was our favourite was because you got so much more than what you pay for! We paid £7.50 per night, we had our own private double room in a quiet little boutique hotel which had a maximum of 20 individual rooms which all circled facing into the beautiful little pool and eating area. You also had access to the kitchen if you wanted to cook for yourself. We decided that if we ever came to live in Bali that we’d base ourselves here!

For the last 3 nights we had pre-booked a place before we left the U.K. as there was a big January sale on. This hotel would have been perfect except for the fact that they had put so much chlorine in the swimming pool that you couldn’t swim in it without coming out in a rash. We did attempt to tell the staff (as did the other guests) but they didn’t understand!

On our last day, we got up super early, headed back to Kuta to drop our bikes off and then waited for the Kura Kura bus to pick us up to take us to the DFS Galleria so we could change onto the Kura Kura bus that goes all the way to Ubud (80K IDR per person).

TIP : If you’re getting the Kura Kura to Ubud make sure you pre book your place on the bus, as we found out when we got there that it was fully booked! Luckily some people didn’t turn up so we were allowed on!

UBUD 5 nights

After about an hour and 20 minutes on the bus we arrived in Ubud. At this point we realised we probably could have hired out the scooters a little longer and driven ourselves here, but I wasn’t sure of the road conditions and thought it best to let someone else drive us!

Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali. It has art, museums, monkeys, jungle, valleys and so much surrounding it. Just to name a few of the places that we visited whilst here; Mt. Batur sunrise trek, Hidden Canyon, Tegallalang Rice Terrace, Campuhan Ridge Walk and Sangeh Monkey Forest.

Our original plans were to spend 3 nights in Ubud then travel back south to do a few nights in Jimbaran before heading over to Gili, but the boat service that we booked our ticket with offers a free pick up service which covers Ubud so to save ourselves money (and time) we booked in for an extra 2 nights at The Athaya. We also decided that we needed more time in Ubud as we had spent so much time exploring everything around Ubud that I hadn’t actually got to show Ells central Ubud and it’s markets!


EXTRA TO ADD TO THE ITINERARY

LOVINA 3 nights

This time around Ells and I didn’t get to Lovina, due to budget, but when I came out in 2017 from Ubud my friend and I head up North to Lovina. This was certainly one of the highlights, especially if you want to get away from the westernised areas of Bali. Up north is super peaceful, hardly any tourists and lots of black volcanic beaches. You can also easily get to all of the big waterfalls from here and if you’re one for a bit of nature you can go Dolphin watching at sunrise!

There was such a beautiful little hotel that we stayed in, set up in the mountain facing the sea with an infinity pool, although it was a steep incline on the scooter it was 100% worth it. It was called The Hamsa Resort, check it out here.

Some of the things my friend and I did whilst up on North Bali were: Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery (Mini Borobudur), Banjar Hot Springs and Sekumpul Waterfalls.

TIP:You will most probably need to hire a moped (scooter) whilst in the North because it is less touristy there are not that many driver services, and if there are they are often quite expensive, but you can easily hire a moped for just 60K IDR per day – to make things even cheaper my friend and I shared a moped.


GILI MENO 3 nights | GILI TRAWANGAN 3 nights

The Gili Islands are the much needed break you’ve been looking for and deserve after making your way through all of Bali’s traffic and exploring all that it has to offer!

Technically the Gili Islands are actually part of Lombok, but they are super popular and easily accessible from Bali, that it make sense to hop on a 1.5 – 2 hour boat journey from either Sanur or Padangbai.

There are 3 islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air.

Trawangan or “Gili T” as everyone refers to it as is the liveliest. This is where you’ll find all of the back packers looking to party – but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a bit of peace and quiet, the sunset side is lot more chilled out compare to the sunrise side!

Gili Meno is the middle island, but is the smallest island of them all. It is the most remote with the best white beaches. The island has one main “road” which rings round the coast of the island and takes approx. 90 minus to walk around. This is the island where you’ll most likely find honeymooners.

We stayed in a beautiful pool villa at AVIA Villa Resort.

Gili Air is a mix between T and Meno and is the island closest to Lombok. The weather can tend to be a bit more rainy and cloudy due to it being so close to Lombok. It’s beaches are still beautiful and has a good mix of chill and party. We missed this island out as we felt we could get what we needed from Meno and T without needing to also go to Air!

Whilst on Gili T we stayed at, probably what I would consider, the best place on the island Le Pirate. Their Beach Boxes are beautiful and the staff are amazing!

NUSA LEMBONGAN (+ CENINGAN and PENIDA) 3 nights

From Gili T, we took a boat to Nusa Lembongan – what we didn’t realise is that you actually head back to main land Bali first, before departing again to head over to the Nusa’s! If you were to go straight from Gili T to Nusa Lembongan it would only take an hour… but because we stopped off on the other two Gili’s first, then stopped at Padang Bai before hitting Lembongan,  it took us about 4 hours!

Although its a long journey, its the only way to get from Gili to Lembongan, and trust me it was well worth it!

Once we arrived on the island, the boat service offers a free drop off so they took us straight to the hotel. From there we hired a moped (scooter) and the island was ours for the next 3 days!

Some of the top things to do here are to take a trip over the little yellow bridge to Nusa Ceningan – if you think Lembongan is quiet, this place is even more chilled. But so beautiful! Make sure you check out the likes of Blue Lagoon – where if you’re brave enough you can do so extreme cliff jumping, Secret Beach – which is one of the most beautiful little beaches i have ever visited and washes up some incredible shells and, of course, some of the beautiful beach side restaurants – our favourite was Seabreeze Ceningan (perfect for an instagram snap, trust me!)

Our 3rd day was spent exploring Nusa Penida – we found an awesome little tour guide through Instagram who picked us up from Yellow Bridge and provided a private half day tour around the island. Taking us to the famous spots such as Angels Billabong, Broken Beach, Kelingking Beach and Crystal Bay before taking us to some awesome snorkelling spots, including the under water Buddha.

We stayed at a cute little hotel that offered the most amazing sunrise views, called Sunrise Huts Lembongan.

TIP: When booking your boat from Gili to Lembongan and then Gili back to Bali I would highly recommend booking whilst you’re on the island – we booked through https://www.directferries.co.uk/ and although it has proved super handy, this particular trip was at least x3 more expensive than booking direct with the company or through your hotel! Unfortunately found this out when we did a lift share with a girl who paid 150K from Gili to Bali, where as we paid about 450K each!!!

JIMBARAN/ULUWATU – 2 nights

I think, if we could have, we would have definitely extended our stay here! But we had a flight to catch to Thailand!

This place was unexpectedly our favourite – it still has a lot of nice places to eat, but is considerably more quiet than its neighbouring places like Seminyak and Canggu! AND the best thing about this area – THE BEACHES! They aren’t like the dark sand long stretch beaches in Seminyak/Canggu, instead they are white sand and have the most perfect turquoise waters it will blow your mind!

Our favourite places we visited whilst here were: The Abandoned Airplane, Binging Beach, Balangan Beach and the best restaurant ever – Fat Chows!

Here we stayed at a brand new hotel, probably one of the best bargains during our trip The Pandawa Hill Resort

TIP: When heading to some of the beaches along this coast line, the majority of them you have to head down quite a few STEEP steps to reach them. Just make sure you remember that whatever you walk down, you have to walk back up! So take plenty of water with you to last the journey back up!

Bali Trip

So there you have it, this concludes our 1 month route (27 days) Ultimate Route Through Bali.

Let us know what you think in the comments below and if you are planning your trip to Bali, feel free to message us for any other tips!

Best Places to Stay in Bali

In this blog I’m going to be giving the heads up on where to stay in Bali, whilst keeping in line with your traveler budget!

So, I’ve been to Bali 3 times so far. Twice on holidays, and the last time I spent a month backpacking Indonesia. And I can assure you, no matter how big or small your budget is, you’ll find a beautiful place to stay! But I can also help you find the best places to stay in Bali by recommending the places I have stayed… The ultimate Bali guide of hotels in Bali.

All my links below will take you through to the Expedia website, they were the main website I used whilst I was traveling as they have an excellent awards program which lets you build up points to use for discounts on future bookings. I found because I was using them so much through my 3 months of travelling I actually acquired quite a few nights free! BONUS!

First I’ll start off with the beautiful hotels I stayed in on my most recent adventure back in August/September 2017.

Trust me, you don’t have to stay in awful 38 bed dorms in Bali to make the most of your budget. Bali has some really beautiful hostels, but even better they have some incredibly beautiful hotels, pretty much all for about £20-£35 ($25-$40) on average, and split between even just two of you makes it all worth it… so you tell me, would you rather stay in a hostel or a hotel? I know my answer…

So let’s get this ultimate guide to Bali hotels started!

SEMINYAK, BALI

First stop was the forever famous Seminyak, a place I have been many times before, but I just had to show Fran around as she had never been before! You have the likes of Potato Head Beach Club, you can find my blog post about PH HERE, Mrs Sippy and Cocoon Beach Club (for those all day pool parties!)

Seminyak is Bali’s “up-town”. It has beautiful beach clubs, 5* world renowned hotels such as The W and Alila Hotel.

It is home to hundreds, even thousands of fantastic quality restaurants, one of my all time faves being Mexicola – not only is the food amazing but the entire place is draped in colourful vibrancy! And some of the clubs in Seminyak are top class too.

With it being a bit more expensive, so were the hotels, but I still managed to find a really good deal with Ibis Styles – now I know what you’re thinking, “why in the hell would I want to stay in an Ibis in Bali?” Well you’ve got to trust me on this one, the hotel isn’t your usual Ibis… the rooms are beautiful and it’s really not far from anything. Oh and the breakfast is a winner! When we stayed we paid £30 per night, between us, so that’s just £15 per night each!

We spent 3 nights here!

Click here to be taken through to Ibis Styles Hotel in Seminyak

SEMINYAK pt2, BALI

Although we had spent three nights in Seminyak, when we met up with a travel couple we had made friends with in Cambodia, we decided we wanted to stay an extra couple of nights, but unfortunately it was super popular at the Ibis and so we move to the hotel our friends were staying in. Which is one of the chain hotels you’ll find all over Bali, we stayed at Favehotel, Umalas which was literally round the corner from the Ibis (and it was slightly cheaper too at £25 per night between us)

We stayed here for 2 nights.

Click here to be taken through to Favehotel in Seminyak

JIMBARAN, BALI

After spending the first 5 days in Seminyak, as much as the beaches there are beautiful, we wanted to go relax on some pristine turquoise beaches without having to worry about the surfers, so further down south we went to Jimbaran. Admittedly a lot of “resort hotels”are in this area, but we based ourselves slightly inland so that all areas were no more than a 20minute scooter ride away.

What a treat that was – basing yourself slightly inland obviously means you get better value for money, but this beauty of a hotel had the most incredible infinity pool on the roof!

We stayed here for 3 nights.

This hotel we managed to get for £22 per night for the two of us, what a bargain!

Click here to be taken through to MaxOneHotels, Bukit Jimbaran

NUSA LEMBONGAN, BALI

Whilst we were down south we used this opportunity to go across to the islands just off the coast of Bali. Nusa Lembongan is somewhere I have always wanted to go and I finally got to go!

I did a bit of research and read that Mushroom Bay was where the best beach was at, so after a bit of searching on Expedia and investigating the reviews I decided on Mushroom Beach Bungalows as I wanted something actually on the beach (considering we were on an island!)

Mushroom Beach Bungalows was interesting to say the least! Our beach hit was beautiful.. but we did have a little fluffy friend at night (a mouse). But it was harmless and kind of entertaining watching Fran scream every time she heard a litter patter of feet! I did actually speak to reception about this and they simply said it was the usual on the island particularly in wooden bungalows!

It was little more expensive on the island so we paid £33 per night between the two of us.

We stayed here for 3 nights.

So if you don’t mind mice then…

Click here to be taken through to Mushroom Beach Bungalows, Nusa Lembongan

UBUD, BALI

Ubud was my first ever introduction to Bali back in 2014 when I went on holiday to Bali for the first time. Such an incredible and serene place.

I was super excited to take Fran here and show her the beautiful forests and rice paddies, so I made sure our hotel over looked the rice paddies.

Kiskenda Cottages is probably one of my favourite hotels of the trip, it’s a little off the beaten track, but it’s so worth it and they are so friendly! The balcony’s over look the surrounding rice paddies and the swimming pool is to die for!

We paid £33 per night between us and stayed for 3 nights!

Click here to go through to Kiskenda Cottages, Ubud

LOVINA, NORTH BALI

If you go to Bali, you’ll most probably do a lot of the south, as I have done. But I am making it my challenge to explore as much of the North of Bali as possible, it really is a whole other ball game up there. Barely any tourists, it’s so beautiful and peaceful. And to top it off we stayed at the most incredible place high up in the hills with an infinity pool that looks over the whole of Lovina’s coastline.

This was recommended to us by our fiends who we spent time with in Seminyak, and they couldn’t have recommended a more beautiful place!

Lovina is where you go for black sand beaches, waterfalls and dolphin watching. Pure bliss.

We stayed at The Hamsa Resort for 2 nights and it cost us £35 between us per night.

Click here to go through to The Hamsa Bali Resort, Lovina

CANGGU, BALI

The last place I stayed in Bali during my 3 months of traveling was Canggu.

Basically the surfers paradise of Bali. It has incredible breakfast cafés lining the main high street. An awesome pizza place called Luigi’s (actually dribbling thinking about the pizza) and to top it off it has a really big motorbike scene too.Whilst in Canggu, I stayed at FRIi Bali Echo Beach Hotel. The rooms were beautiful and it was literally a 2 minute walk to the famous echo beach one way and then a 5 minute walk the other way to the main high street.

We stayed for 4 nights and it cost us £30 per night!

Click here to be taken through to FRIi Bali Echo Beach

From Canggu we (sadly) left Bali, due to our 30 day Indonesian visa running out, but we headed to Malaysia… that’s whole other travel blog, which I’ll have to save until next time! But I can honestly say that I’ll never get bored of Bali, well even Indonesia as a whole, and I cannot wait to get back there! Loving the Bali life!

Let me know if you do decide to stay in any of the hotels as I’d love to give you further tips!?

And if you have any questions about the areas in Bali, then let me know! I’m basically like the local Bali tour guide!

Should you visit the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali?

So this is a question I’ve asked myself multiple times, having been to Bali 4 times I have always been intrigued by the sacred monkey forest. Ever since I first visited Ubud back in 2014 and I took a walk down to the entrance of the forest!

Back then, I was concerned for my health and safety. I had heard that many people were bitten by the monkeys and I hadn’t had my rabies injection! But I decided that I would walk down to the entrance and see what it was all about, if I had a bad feeling about it then I wouldn’t go in.

On the approach to the forest there were many people outside and even many monkeys already at the edge of the forest. One woman had some bananas in her hand and was enticing a baby monkey to come get them from her, what she probably didn’t plan on was the baby monkey jumping on her. This ultimately freaked her out and in a mad panic the mother of the baby monkey jumped on her too and bit her. OBVIOUSLY that was enough to deter me from going any further. I thought, if that could happen before you were even through the entrance imagine what would happen when you were surrounded by hundreds of them on their sacred grounds!? I turned straight back around and sought out something else to do with my day!

Research

Following that incident I did a bit more research on the monkey forest, this time not on the well-being of humans but on the well-being of the monkeys in the forest.

So as it states in the title, it is a sacred monkey forest and the locals do see the monkeys as sacred so they do ultimately spend their time looking after them, but unfortunately because of its popularity with intrigued tourists, such as myself, there are literally thousands of visitors a day who walk through the forest to see the monkeys.

Many of the tourists carrying interesting, shiny objects like expensive cameras and food! There are even locals selling bananas at the gates for you to feed to the monkeys. Unfortunately all of this promotes mischievous behaviour from the monkeys and tempts them into climbing all over you, rummaging through your pockets and stealing your expensive items.

If you simply google Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud you will read many reviews and stories of how people have been attacked and even chased out of the forest. And even bitten, which in Bali is not ideal due to the high risk of catching rabies, which can be deadly to humans if not treated fast!

Sanctuary

Ultimately I think once upon a time, it was simply a sanctuary for the monkeys but now, it’s a money making machine for the locals where the monkeys run riot and prey on the idiot tourists who do not do their research or listen to any warnings before entering the forest!

When I returned for the 3rd time to Bali back in 2017 I was still intrigued by the monkeys, and wanted to see them in their natural habitat. I knew that the monkey forest in Ubud was a massive no go for me (particularly as I am actually fairly scared of monkeys in general!)

Sangeh Monkey Forest

Whilst travelling this time, I had got chatting to a fellow traveller who had been in Bali for a number of months now and had done a lot of exploring herself, it turns out that there is actually another sacred monkey forest not that far from Ubud which no one really knows about.

It’s super quiet and the monkeys are well behaved, in fact because of the lack of human interaction they aren’t as courageous as the monkeys in the Ubud forest and tend to keep their distance. This forest was called Sangeh Monkey Forest, which on a moped was only about half hour outside of Ubud.

The Tour

So Fran and I hopped on our moped and set off for the day to Sangeh. When we got there it was absolutely deserted, all there was, was a little booth at the entrance with a number of local guides sitting around waiting for customers to show around their beautiful forest.

We paid the small entrance fee and our guide picked up his walking stick and off we went. It was so peaceful there, you could hear all the sounds you’d expect from a forest and every now and then a monkey would call out. I felt super relaxed, unlike when I attempted to visit the forest in Ubud.

The guide took us to the main temple and explained that it was for the monkeys, before taking us further into the forest to find the monkeys.

At first, when we came across a few monkeys they were very wary and hesitant of us, but once the guide had brought out some snacks they slowly approached us, the guide kept an eye out in case and monkeys attempted to jump on us as we had explained that we would not be comfortable with monkeys on us – there were only a few times that happened and the guide simply made a loud clapping sound which diverted the monkeys attention and stopped them from jumping on us. Again, I felt super relaxed and like I was in safe hands.

We carried on the path round the forest observing the monkeys playing until we got to an opening where you could sit down and if you wanted to, have a monkey climb onto your shoulders (without any human intervention ie. The monkey was not put on your shoulders, if the monkey wanted to get on you he would, if not then tough luck).

The Boss

By this point I had relaxed so much I thought I’d give it a go to see if any monkeys wanted to sit on my shoulders…. Shaking like a leaf I sat down on the bench and waited… bloody typical, only the biggest boss monkey decided he liked the look of my shoulders and jumped on.

Jesus he was massive and bloody heavy! Even the guide started to freak out a little and tried to coax the monkey down off my shoulders, luckily the monkey was much more interested in the snacks the guide had in his hand and eventually removed himself from my shoulders.

My heart was literally in my mouth, but I was so excited that I had finally faced my fear and managed to get that close to a monkey, it will certainly be an experience I will never forget! I even have a picture of the big boss monkey on my shoulders and my facial expressions just say it all, a mix of absolutely shitting myself and also pure excitement!

Eventually even Fran braved it and let the monkey sit on her shoulders, I think she freaked out a lot more than me though…

The Answer

So in answer to the title, no for your own safety and also for the safety of the monkeys please do not visit the monkey forest in Ubud. But if you do decide to throw caution to the wind, please be sensible. Have your rabies injection before you go, don’t take anything expensive in with you and certainly do not buy any food to give to the monkeys. Try to move slowly through the forest and simply observe the monkeys rather than trying to interact with them.

However, what I do recommend is taking the small half hour journey out to Sangeh Forest and visiting the monkeys there. You will have a much more peaceful and meaningful visit without the worry of being attacked, bitten and chased out!

But promise me one thing… don’t tell too many people about this beautiful place 😉