Visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali

Visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali

You could spend an hour at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali and you would see more action than spending a whole day at the zoo. It all happens in Ubud, with our little money friends, as they run around in a frenzy and seemingly having a good old time in the semi-enclosed confines of the Monkey Forest.

I say a whole hour as it is about all you need to spend in the Money Forest to get the most out of the wonderful confides of this sacred little forest. But it’s not only a forest, it also comes with beautiful temples, a few market places and of course those active monkeys that are scurrying around the place. It is a bustling little attraction that is worth a visit when in the town of Ubud.

The best part about the Monkey Forest, is that it is dirt cheap. For around five dollars you can wander the sanctuary at your own pace, take pictures and videos of those active monkey’s, who will put on a show, and even get in on the feeding frenzy, but more on that later.

Monkey Forest

Relaxing high in the trees in the Monkey Forest.

 

Watch your back and belongings

These quick witted little friends move around at serious pace. Swinging from branch to branch or along the ground, their movements are quick. One moment they are staring at you with curiosity, then next they are on your back, trying to get into your backpack or taking your sunglasses of your head and making a run for it.

king monkey

Watch out for the King of the forest. All good if you feed him.

 

These monkeys have teeth, sharp teeth

Be aware when these monkeys do jump on your back. They have teeth, sharp teeth. The best practice is to let the monkey do what they do and before too long, they will jump off and leave you alone.

I was lucky, in the shock of a monkey jumping on my back the first time, I tried to nudge it off with my hand, not knowing what to do. I tried to gently force it off me, before realising this monkey tried to have a swipe at me with its teeth. Luckily, I moved my hand in time. I have though heard bad luck stories involving monkey biting incidents, so tread carefully. It is important to know that these monkeys are not fierce creatures, but they too get protective.

Sacred Money Forest

These monkeys have some sharp teeth.

 

Buy a bunch of bananas

Inside the Monkey Forest, there are stalls that sell old bananas. Buy a bunch for around fifty-cents and in an instant moment you will be surrounded by a bunch of new friends desperate for a banana or two. Quick tip, if the big one is close by, you’ll recognise him, give it to him first without hesitation, he is the king and he demands it.

Another fascination in the Monkey Forest is the feeding time itself. One moment you are walking in the grounds of the forest, the next you see a whole army of monkeys descending to a central location for feed time. It is quite a sight to see so many monkeys up close in large numbers waiting for a feast.

a monkey feast.

They all descend for a feast

 

The action can happen outside the enclosure

You don’t want to pay the small entrance fee? Remember the Monkey Forest is only semi-enclosed which means the monkeys do escape and wander the streets. Therefore, you can hang around the boundaries of the enclosure and let the monkeys come to you.

There are not too many places in the world where you can walk the streets and see monkeys crossing the road like a casual pedestrian. It can happen in Ubud, well close by to the park anyway and that is what makes it so unique and for that matter so is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

Heading to Ubud, Bali, Check out TripAdvisor for hotels in the area.

Monkey Forest

Outside the grounds of the forest.

Monkey forest temple

Temple with in the forest.

A Few Travel Tips to help for your next trip to Bali

A Few Travel Tips to help for your next trip to Bali

Bali is the ideal holiday place for any type of adventure, but as always when entering the unknown in a foreign country, especially for the first time. There are a few things you need to know, such as tips for dealing with money or choosing the right food to eat.

Never fear. Below is a few handy Bali travel tips for that will hopefully get you through your vacation with a piece of mind and a clean bill of health and it should help you avoid the dreaded Bali Belly.

Bali travel tips

Bali is the ideal holiday destinations, make sure you follow some basic Bali travel tips for your trip.

 

A few Basic Tips for Travelling in Bali

 

Stand firm upon arrival at the Airport:

The Airport is probably the most daunting experience you can have in Bali, especially if you haven’t organised a transfer with the hotel. Hundreds of taxi drivers and freelance drivers will be waiting for you at the front, like you are a Rockstar arriving at an event.

Keep composed, they won’t hurt you, but they will try and tug you towards their own vehicle. Just trust your instincts and be sure to bring the price down as you can go.

 

Watch where you eat:

Lots of good places to eat in Bali and there is not any major need to be real concerned. Still, beware what you eat, or what restaurant you dine at, eating at the wrong place could leave you in bed for a while or worse taking a trip to the hospital.

Good tip, dine when the other tourist dine, and take a look for reviews on TripAdvisor. There is more than likely to be a review on most restaurants in Bali on the popular travel App.

Alaya Resort

Watch what you eat, although Great food like this at Alaya Resort will be fine..

 

Drink water only from the bottle:

Like most Southeast Asian countries, you would be nuts to drink from the tap. The good old Bali belly would keep you holed up for a few days. Most hotels will supply you with a few bottles of water, probably not enough to get through the day. Stock up at the local stores for a very cheap price and keep healthy.

 

Keep your belongings secure:

Most of the locals in Bali are friendly and are great socialise with. But like any country in the world and even your home town, there are a few bad eggs who get joy out of ruining your fun. When out on the streets, keep your cash and cards secure, in a money pouch or similar item attached to you.

Take the amount of cash you need only for the day and leave the rest secured in your hotel safe. Lock up your room and enjoy your day in Bali.

Keep your belongins secure on any adventure in any country.

 

Exchange money only at a certified dealership:

You will find no shortages of places to exchange your hard earn cash you have earned for your holiday. Some dealerships will come at an incredible rate that can seem too good to refuse.

Tread carefully. Exchange your money only at banks or proper licenced facilities, you will know what is dodgy and what is legit by the appearance of the building. No matter what, most rates are good away from the airport, so you will still be better off going with the bank.

 

Barter, Barter and Barter again:

Need a driver for the day? negotiate a fair price. Buying a singlet at the markets? Once again, barter that price down. Most places on the streets of Bali are open to negotiation and the storeowner, or the driver on the street, will always try and make the price higher.

Stand firm and walk away if you are not happy with the price. There is probably another store next door with the same junk items.

Ubud

Take a stroll through the Markets in Bali, but don’t forget to Barter.

Need more Bali travel tips,  check out this pocket guide from Lonely Planet.

Heading to Bali anytime soon, check out some of these hotels from TripAdvisor.

 

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Meeting the Locals – Bali, Indonesia Edition

Meeting the Locals – Bali, Indonesia Edition

Meeting the locals is one of the best experiences you can have on any adventure in any foreign country. To me, it is right up there alongside discovering a hidden beach, coming across a raging waterfall, or hiking through famous landscapes, where the scenery is nothing short of sensational.

Travelling is more than discovering a country’s own beauty, a trait that we understandably get lost at times. A country’s own values often comes its very own people, the locals. The very same folk who make the country we visit that much more memorable.

Therefore, I ask, do you ever stop to have a good chat with the locals on vacation? Not just a basic, “g’day, how you are doing” chat. But a genuine conversation. It may surprise you what you can learn about an individual and their upbringing in the country they are from. I can guarantee you at times it will be fascinating.

In this new series of meet the locals. I will take you to different countries and introduce to the fantastic men or women I have met on my adventures. In this edition I head to Bali, where I had the privilege to meet some amazing people who made my visit that much more enjoyable.

Hari

Hari in the middle, works the bar at the Sakala.

 

Meeting Wadi

Wadi is a barrister at a little coffee box in Ubud, The Monkey Cave. A neat little coffee shop I was able to stumble upon on my way to the Monkey Forest. Wadi, who makes a mean coffee, had been working at the shop for over a year and it was the best coffee I had tasted in Bali, without a doubt.

Wadi travels an hour every day from his home to get to his job ad he does it without regret. He loves his work and takes great honour at meeting people all over the world and delivering  top class brew. If ever in Ubud, make sure you get to the Monkey Cave and say ‘hi’ to Wadi, the best barrister in Ubud. Maybe Bali.

Ubud

Meet Wadi at the Monkey Cave.

 

 

Chatting with Hari

Hari works the pool-bar at the Sakala Resort in Tajung Benoa. An honest worker, trying to earn an honest buck. Hari likes his job at the Sakala but he longs for a different life eventually and that is working as Indonesian coast guard.

I spent a few hours chatting to Hari over a couple of days. He taught me about life growing up in Bali and on a very small wage. I learnt about customs and the strict rules applied in the country. Chatting with Hari was certainly fascinating and I wish the young man all the best in his endeavours to get into the coast guard. We also became friends on Facebook.

Meeting the locals

Catching up with a few locals on the streets

 

My very own personal driver – Wayan

I met old man Wayan by chance (Wayan is a popular name in Indonesia), walking the streets of Tanjung Benoa. Obviously in Bali, it is not hard to find a driver, the hurdle is negotiating a fair price. Anyway, Wayan became my driver after a brief chat and the rest became history, taking me to Ubud and then to the airport when it was time to leave the country.

Wayan was bubbly on the streets telling me about his wife of over thirty years and his two kids. Yet on the road, he was concrete and very focused on navigating the busy streets of Bali, making sure I get to my next destination safely. It was a pleasure to meet Wayan and an honour to make him my brief driver during my stay in Bali. I certainly got his contact details for future visits.

And a whole lot more

They were a few of the notable locals I met in Bali. Although meeting the locals in Bali ran deeper than that. General workers on the street who were willing for a photo, or a pretty waitress in the restaurant happy to serve you a beer. Bali is full of great people, honest people, and they are more than worth your time if you give them a chance. Happy travels.

travelling solo

meeting the locals

Meeting the locals

The pretty waitress of Black Tom’s Restaurant.

 

Have you met some great locals on your adventures? Please comment below and let me know and let me know about your experience when meeting the locals.

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Picture of the Month: A Restaurant Tucked Away

Picture of the Month: A Restaurant Tucked Away

A restaurant tucked away in the rice fields.

I love this picture taken at the Alaya Resort. Not far away from the busy streets of Ubud in Bali, the resort’s superb and perfectly located Mansion Restaurant, is conveniently located in the middle of the lush green rice fields.

As the sun sets away for another Bali day, the final sun’s glaze hovers over the majestic rice fields, giving the Manisan it’s glowing appeal. Thankfully the Indonesian cuisine served at the restaurant, matches it’s appeal and lure as the food is simply delicious.

With the main Alaya resort off to the right, when looking at it from the lobby. It is a glorious walk through the rice fields, on top of the board walks, an almost feels spiritual effect. If ever in Ubud, give the Alaya Resort and the fantastic Manisan Restaurant a try. you won’t regret it.

It is a Restaurant Tucked Away in the Rice Fields.

A Restaurant Tucked Away in the Rice Fields

The sun sets over Ubud, Bali.

rice fields

The rice fields are glowing.

Manisan Restaurant

Through the boardwalks to the Manisan Restaurant.

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Travel Guide to Tanjung Benoa – Bali

Travel Guide to Tanjung Benoa – Bali

Tanjung Benoa is in the South-east part of Bali, Indonesia. A beautiful location, with some stunning sunrises, gorgeous beaches and a laidback township. Walking around in this boutique town won’t get you mobbed with locals desperate to sell you a stubby holder.

A little away from the popular Nusa Dua area and a twenty minute drive from Kuta. Tanjung Benoa is great for those who wish to escape the hustle and buste, with drinking cocktails by the beach and relaxing in the sun a popular past time.

Tanjung Benoa

Let’s go parasailing

 

Town Centre

The streets of Tanjung Benoa is an easy place to walk without the manic stress to buy a souvenoir. Go shopping in the boutique market stalls or stop in for a drink and feed at a relatively cheap price. You will find stretches of shops and restaurants in-between the luxury resorts.

Tanjung

Evening time in the town.

Praying

Praying on the streets

 

 

Shopping

As in any part of Bali, shopping is conveient in the streets. However, Tanjung Benoa is not saturated with hundreds of markets and jewellery stalls. If it is basic women’s clothing or a singlet you are after, you will find a handful of market stalls in your travels down the main street.

Tanjung Benoa also has a few more upmarket retail stores with air conditioning that feature goods such as luggage/backpacks, picture frames, jewellery and other accessories, for those looking for a bargain.

Markets

A quiet market stall in Tanjung Benoa

 

Eating and Drinking

Restaurants, cafés and bars are naturally found in large numbers in Tanjung Benoa. If you seek a feed with a budget, then hit the streets and the smiling staff will be waiting outside, attempting to persuade you into their restaurant.

If you want to eat in style, then there are number of resorts with top notch restaurants who will welcome you with open arms, serving both Indonesia and Western Cuisines. Not to mention the world famous Starbucks for your coffee kick.

Popular restaurant and bars in Tanjung Benoa

–          Sakala Beach Club (luxury)

–          Meads Beach Bar and Grill (budget)

–          The Tao Bali (luxury)

–          Black Toms (budget)

–          The Tree (budget)

–          Eight Degrees South at Conrad Bali (luxury)

–          And many, many more, just check out TripAdvisor for more Information.

Great burgers at Black Tom’s.

Sakala

The Sakala Restaurant.

Sakala Beach club

Sakala Beach club.

 

 

Accommodation

The area is made up of luxury resorts that do come at a price, but that does not mean you won’t find a few hotels at a cheaper price. If you do prefer to stay in style, then Tanjung Benoa is perfect for that large slice of paradise with stunning beach views and fine dining.

Popular Resorts in Tanjung Benoa

–          The Sakala Resort from $129 pn (luxury)

–          The Novel Bali Benoa from $149 pn (luxury)

–          Grand Aston Bali Beach Resort $200 pn (luxury)

–          Hotel Ibis Benoa $44 pn (budget)

–          The Benoa Beach Front Villas $54 pn (budget)

–          Check out TripAdvisor for more great prices on resorts in the area.

Sakala Resort

The Sakala Resort.

Luxury rooms at Luxury Resorts.

 

Activities

Activities all belong on the beach in Tanjung Benoa and the crowds gather to the sands in large numbers. Day trips submerge to the popular area for tourist who are keen for a little water activity on the beach.

Jet skiing, parasailing, a cruise to Turtle Island, boat fishing and much more can be found on the popular beach. Even if you haven’t booked a tour, you can rock up to any tour company located on the edge of the water. There you will find one of the friendly staff that will help organise a few activities at a great price.

Parasailing

Getting high in the blue sky.

Jet skiing is popular hobby on the beach.

 

Buy this In-depth Guide to Bali from Amazon

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Beach or Rice Fields – 4 Great Places to stay in Bali

Beach or Rice Fields – 4 Great Places to stay in Bali

Bali – a holiday destination so unbelievable that choosing an ideal location, while fun can also be a little stressful. Questions fly through your head, is that resort right for me? Is the dining ideal? What is the customer service like? Or is the resort in an ideal location?

So many questions and so many reviews to look at. Some people give rave reviews, others such negative reviews and on the very same resort. That wonderful app of TripAdvisor where everyone’s point of view is different. There is no right and wrong answer, it is just the way people think. Opinions differentiate.

Talking about point of views, how about I throw in my two cents. I have been fortunate enough to stay in some magnificent resorts/villas throughout various countries, including Bali. And whether it is on the beach or in the beautiful rice fields, these four resorts or villas will make your Bali stay that much more enjoyable.

Sakala Resort

The Sakala Resort’s large swimming area.

 

The Sakala Resort

  • Where is it: In the Tanjung Benoa area of Bali and on the doorstep of Nusa Dua. The Sakala Resort is in a quieter part of Bali, that is famous for its adventure on Beach. The resort is only about twenty minutes from the Airport.
  • The features: The stunning Sakala Resort contains large rooms, fabulous dinning and swimming pools that are surrounded in tropical gardens with great pool bars to sip down a few cocktails in the Bali sun. The Wellness Spa is also incredible experience that needs your time. Relax, be pampered, and enjoy an incredible massage in gorgeous rooms. The Sakala is your 5-star resort and is worth the dollars you will spend during your stay.
  • Dining Experience: Two amazing restaurants that will have you licking your plate clean. One on the resort side where breakfast, lunch and dinner is served, with delicious local and International cuisines.
    Then cross the road for a different dining experience altogether. The Sakala Restaurant not only has a fine-dining area, but a sparkling swimming pool, with deck chairs to enjoy the views of the nearby beach.
Sakala Resort

Sakala Resort.

Sakala Resort

Fun in the sun at the Sakala Restaurant.

 

Alaya Resort Ubud

  • Where is it: Alaya Resort is smack bag in the middle of Ubud with plenty of action all around you ad only 200 metres from the Sacred Monkey Forest. The Alaya Resort is a good hour from the airport.
  • The features: Great dining, spacious rooms and the Dala Spas are the main treats at the breathtaking Alaya Resort. Not to forget the boutique swimming pools that is surrounded by gorgeous landscaped gardens and rice fields. It makes it easy to unwind and take in the nature that you are surrounded in.

 

  • Dining Experience: You will love the Alaya Resort dining experience with their pick of two tantalising restaurants. The Petani and Manisan. The Petani, is situated at the front of the resort and off the streets of Ubud, near the lobby. It has a lively vibe about it with some live entertainment during the evening and a menu that will have you spoilt for choices.
    Then there is the Manisan. Tucked away in the middle of the lush rice fields, with the fabulous resort in full view.  Serving divine Indonesian food, it is a great dining experience and even better with your loved one opposite to you.
Bali

Alaya Resort.

Alaya Resort

Take the path to the Manisan Restaurant.

 

Ellora Villas

  • Where is it: Ellora Villas is situated in Sanur and close by to beautiful beaches. There is shopping, restaurants, and massage parlours all nearby. It is about 20 minutes from the airport or the popular Kuta area.
  • The features: The feature is own your very own villa with a private pool. Great for families, with the two bedroom villas and even single room villas for those who require a little less space. You will have a perfect time at Ellora Villas with its large rooms, bathrooms and even a private kitchen area by the pool.
  • Dining Experience: The Beach Café and Club is a small walk from the Villas and serves fine meals. The treat though is at breakfast time when you get your own personal chef to cook you up some excellent foods, such as waffles, eggs of your choice and pancakes to name a few. It is a five-star experience each and every day at Ellora.
Bali

Ellora Villas, Sanur.

Fun in the pool

 

Alaya Jembawan

  • Where is it: Alaya Jembawan is tucked away in Ubud. A short drive from its sister resort, Alaya. While hidden away from the busy Ubud streets, you will still find many activities and boutique market stalls to find on the streets nearby.
  • The features: It is a Wellness retreat for those looking for ultimate hideaway With only 38-rooms, you won’t get the large crowds that you get with some resorts. But you will get some rejuvenation for your body with the Dala Spa and daily yoga classes. Of course, there is the blissful swimming pools to occupy your time, be it in the water or sunbaking on the deck chairs.
  • Dining Experience: Healthy eating only at Alaya Jembawan, in the laid-back Herb Library Restaurant. Mainly a vegan menu but it does have its selected choices of white meat. At the end of the day, the food is all good for and their juices, incredible.
Alaya Jembawan

Alaya Jembawan

Alaya Jembawan

The Duluxe Rooms.

 

 

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