BALI – A dozen temples & a few more

BALI – A dozen temples & a few more

Temples in & around Bali are such a fantastic sight. Nestled beautifully in awe-inspiring natural surroundings sure get me visiting them each and every time I find one along the way.

Skilfully stone crafted sculptures, Balinese macaques guarding them, temple priests and of course the locals frequenting to offer prayers & offerings. Balinese in their traditional attire, the moss covered stone sculptures, a hundred shades of lush green flora all seem to magnificently complement each other, surely a true delight for any especially a cultural photographer.

Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud:

At the monkey forest in Ubud, serenity of the temple complex with the surrounding forest & monkey antics seem to quickly eat in to your time for any other activity planned for the day. Best bet is to get an early start and forget about the time. The macaques have grown attuned to human visitors & generally are photographer friendly as long as there’s a banana or two for them. Watch out for how you dress, they do tend to climb all over and sit on your shoulder, wearing anything loose is sure to come right off.

The Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal houses an ancient Hindu Temple believed to be built around mid 14th century. No one knows for sure if the original structures date back longer than the Temple site itself. One thing is for certain; they all speak of brilliant craftsmanship & are magnificent. The tropical climate of Bali adds a lot more character to the stone sculptures found all around the island. Most of the old moss covered sculptures beautifully blend with the forest surroundings.

In my opinion the name for this forest & Temple site originated reflecting the resident population of Balinese long-tailed macaques found in this area. The monkeys are believed to guard the Temple site against evil spirits. 

The coexistence of humans & macaques is very interesting within this forest. There is a respectful understanding between the the two.

The first time visitors to this forest are always in for a surprise, while it is habitual for the monkeys to expect bananas, us humans should remain calm even if the monkeys choose to climb all over us. A few basic rules apply here when dealing with monkeys, direct eye contact and showing of teeth is a sign of aggression for the monkeys, avoid it along with any sudden movements. Monkeys are very curious and intelligent beings, anything that catches their eye will stir curiosity. They are always up to something or the other hence the term ‘monkey business’, when observed for sometime can be quite the entertainers. If you find yourself in an awkward confrontation look down and slowly walk away, never should you run from a wild animal!

I absolutely loved being here, spent a good 5 hours, had monkeys grooming my hair (grooming is how monkeys bond & display acceptance) they also climbed all over looking at images on my camera.

With tons of accommodation options around Ubud you sure can visit here as many times to your heart’s content.


  • Per adult entry fee for a day is Rp 20,000 (IDR- Indonesian Rupiah) sounds a lot but try Xe currency converter.
  • Always a good idea to pack rain gear/poncho
  • If you are comfortable feeding the monkeys, bananas can be purchased at the entrance, but hide them to avoid unwanted monkey attention as you walk in. Don’t accept plastic bags, carry bananas in your own bag preferably an opaque one and take them out one at a time, else the bunch within seconds be lost to just one monkey.
  • 2-3 hours would be a good duration for your visit.
  • Besides whatever you read prior to your visit here, keep one thought in mind; it’s never the animals fault.
  • Last but not the least; don’t leave your camera behind.

Behind the scenes, working with monkeys:


Vishal Sabharwal

error: © Vishal Sabharwal