Sangeh Monkey Forest or ‘Obyek Wisata Bukit Sari Sangeh’ is a sanctuary filled with beautiful grey long-tailed macaques (old world monkeys), located around 20km north of the island’s capital Denpasar. The monkey forest boasts six hectares of fertile forest land with prehistoric, giant nutmeg trees, which grow to an incredible height of 40 metres.

The sanctuary is considered sacred, where the macaques inhabit both the woods and the 17th century Pura Bukit Sari, a temple located deep within the woods. The thirteen hectare forest is a nature reserve and is best known for its vast number of monkey kingdoms within its grounds. The grey macaques that live in the nutmeg forest each have a ring leader. As a whole, there is also one highest ‘king’ who hangs around in the largest area where a sanctified temple is also found, namely the Bukit sari temple or ‘Pura Pacak Sari’ as it’s better known amongst the locals.

Pura Pacak Sari temple is the largest of four temples; the others are Pura Melanting, Pura Tirta and Pura Anyar, Pura meaning Balinese Hindu temple. It was once a ruin until the Mengwi kingdom ordered for its restoration and even the expansion of the temple. It was named Bukit Sari or “essence of the hill” and due to the people’s aptitude of worship, the purity of the temple led to its grounds and the whole forest, thus preservation was guaranteed to its whole perimeter. And an important nature reserve was established, culturally and through generations and more.

Sangeh Monkey Forest is open to visitors from 7:30am until 6pm daily, with out question it is a definite must see as the forest also includes art and souvenir shops and amazing walking trails that are guaranteed to take you on a journey throughout the breathtaking green forest.

Image photo credit: Sam Scholes