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Meddling Monkeys In Bali Are Proving Costly For Tourists

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Travel insurance is essential when it comes to traveling to Bali. For thousands of tourists, every year travel insurance saves the day in a multitude of ways; from helping pay emergency medical bills to helping cover the costs of delayed or even canceled flights.

But for some insurance companies helping tourists in Bali, recent claims have been getting wildly out of hand. 

Monkeys at Bali MOnkey Forest.jpg

Bali’s famous monkeys are often listed as one of the big attractions of the island. Tourist attractions like the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud are consistently popular amongst domestic and international tourists alike. The monkeys are wild but have become very much accustomed to human presence…and it shows. 

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of videos circulating online of tourists in Bali under attack from the monkeys in one way or another.

And it is not only on troops in one location; monkeys across the island and across tourist attractions have become as brazen as can be.

The monkeys are not only stealing easy pickings like sunglasses or food, but according to travel insurance companies, the cheeky monkeys are getting their hands on big-ticket items.

@alyssaandthecity The poor monkey was just enjoying the view… #uluwatu #uluwatutemple #uluwatubali #fyp #traveltiktok ♬ original sound – Alyssaandthecity 🏙

According to Southern Cross Travel Insurance, a company that covers many Australian tourists on vacation in Bali, there has been a steep rise in the number of monkey-related insurance claims.

The company says that Australian travelers have lodged claims amounting to $17,000 over the last five years

In one whopping claim, one traveler had their handbag stolen by monkeys in Uluwatu. The bag contained expensive items like hearing aids and a phone, as well as cash; the total damage was $8560. 

@lccameron A monkey stole my phone at the #uluwatumonkeys temple. We got it back (eventually). Here are the videos and photos it took ✌️ #uluwatu #uluwatumonkeytemple #uluwatutemple #holidayfail #parentsoftiktok #wildphotos #travelbali #fyp #ladbible ♬ original sound – Lisa Cameron

Tourism managers in Bali have been clear that they are trying their best to tackle badly behaved monkeys, especially in areas like Uluwatu.

Speaking in August, the Head of the Pecatu Traditional Village, Made Sumerta, said that he doesn’t want tourists to be frightened of the monkeys and that he and his teams are working to mitigate interactions so both tourists and monkeys are kept sad. 

@human4800 mission to outwit the monkeys begins 😅 #bali #monkey #fyp ♬ The Next Episode – Dr. Dre

He said “Don’t let this [rising number of monkey thefts] make tourists afraid to come to Uluwatu. These monkeys are one of the attractions of the Uluwatu Temple; this must be considered so that monkey mischief does not occur. Don’t let this become a bad image.” 

Up in Ubud at the Sacred Monkey Forest and the Sangeh Monkey Forest just outside the heart of the town, there are strict guidelines in place to ensure that tourists are not at risk of monkeys showing too much interest. 

Monkey forest, Ubud, Indonesia

The guidelines at Ubud Monkey Forest are available in 12 languages and there is staff stationed throughout the forest to monitor the behavior of both monkeys and tourists.

The guidelines state that tourists must not look the monkeys in the eye as this is a threatening behavior that can prompt aggressive responses.


Visitors must be mindful of their belongings, especially phones, cameras, jewelry, hats, and glasses. 

Of course, tourists at any site where there are monkeys present are not permitted to touch, grab, or disturb the primates, but sadly this is not always obeyed, which is proving to only further encourage bad behavior by the monkeys. 

While it is a massive inconvenience to have items stolen or broken by monkeys, it is far less serious than the potential implications of being bitten or scratched by one.


While teams around the island keep monkeys up to date with rabies vaccinations as best they can, the reality is that there is rabies in circulation in Bali and suspected exposure deadly virus requires serious and immediate medical attention.

Several people in Bali have died this year alone as a result of rabies, and insurance companies in Australia are also seeing a rise in monkey and dog bite-related claims.

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Thursday 14th of September 2023

So what did the governor do this time. Is he still taking tourist item and climbing trees and not giving them back.Thet silly little monkey governor. Bad money


Monday 18th of September 2023


Oh my...these folks are not long from the trees. No planning skills, sit under a tree, when the wind blows a coconut falls and wakes them up. Mate, eat, take a shit, do it again. That beautiful old life doesn't work anymore.

Wayan Bo

Thursday 14th of September 2023

Very educative, our monkeys belong to worlds best.


Monday 18th of September 2023

@Wayan Bo,

I think you are a monkey, who knows how to type.


Tuesday 12th of September 2023

Tourism developments encroaching monkey habitats?

Near Candi Dasa a huge eye-sore of an resort is now under construction on sacred land forcing the monkey population into nearby villages. Locals are up in arm as resort encroaches scared land/temple. Tousands attend demos with people breaking into construction site. Search for "pura gumang detiga neano demo" and look at the images. Looks like the locals are nearing breaking point for what they have to accept of developments.


Wednesday 13th of September 2023

@Exp, typo in previous post: *sacred land/temple not scared!


Tuesday 12th of September 2023

Monkies are ranging out from Monkey Forest and preying on tourists at breakfast etc on verandas etc. Nobody wants to see them gassed or otherwise destroyed, but the offenders should be removed and relocated well away from tourist areas, since they show younger ones the benefits of being ruthless with too trusting people.