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Tourists Warned Not To Interact With Bali Monkeys As Passport Destroyed

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Bali tourists are reminded once again not to interact with the wild and semi-wild monkeys on the island.

The monkeys that reside at the world-famous Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, at the Sangeh Monkey Forest, and at Uluwatu Temple are more street-smart than visitors first give them credit for, sometimes with disastrous results.

Monkeys in Bali

New footage of a monkey is circulating online. The video appears to have been recorded at the Scared Monkey Forest.

Shockingly, the monkey in question is tearing up a tourist’s passport. In the video, the monkey has already stolen the passport from the woman’s bag.

The woman approaches the primate to try and retrieve the document before he starts to tear it apart completely. The monkey swipes at the woman before she retreats and seemingly accepts the fate of her passport. 

This is not the first time, and sadly, it won’t be the last time a monkey in Bali has damaged or stolen a high-value item from a tourist.

Despite numerous warnings to tourists and strict guidelines at the entrance to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, tourists still run the risk. 

At first glance, most of the monkeys at these venues are relaxed and calm. Tourists can approach for a photo or to get a closer look.

However, these monkeys are super intelligent and have learned that if they stay calm and quiet, the tourists approach, giving them the opportunity to grab food or other items. The monkeys know they will then be bribed with food to let go of the stolen items. 

Monkeys are also incredibly curious creatures, and so every day, there are thousands of new novelties in their space that they want to explore.

Tourists can enjoy observing the wild monkeys of Bali from a distance and take a few simple steps to ensure that they don’t have their passports, phones, cameras, jewelry, sunglasses, and other high-value items stolen in the process.

Tourists, first and foremost, should leave their valuable items in the safe at their accommodation.

All bags should be zipped up, with any bagging straps, charms, or side pouches secured tight.

Food of any kind, wrapped or unwrapped, should not be brought into areas where the monkeys reside. 

Data from the travel insurance provider Southern Cross Travel Insurance, a company that specializes in policies for Australian tourists, shows that around AUD 17,000 worth of claims related to Bali’s mischievous monkeys have been submitted.

In some cases, these claims have been borne from monkeys stealing high-value items; in other cases, it has been due to monkey bites and the potentially deadly consequences of such attacks. 


Reports show that last year, tourists were scratched or bitten by monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud and at Uluwatu Temple.

Although the monkeys at Monkey Forest are regularly vaccinated against rabies, tourists can never be too careful in the event of a bite or scratch from a potentially rabies-carrying animal. 


Tourists are encouraged to be up to date on all their travel vaccinations, including rabies, before visiting Indonesia.

If a tourist is bitten or scratched by a monkey, dog, bat, or other potentially rabies-carrying animal, it is imperative to follow the guidance of the World Health Organization regarding rabies and to seek medical attention immediately, even if the skin has not been broken.

sangeh monkey forest

These kinds of negative interactions with monkeys are just part of the reason why World Animal Protection says that there are no ethical animal tourism venues in Bali and Lombok.

The results of an undercover infestation by the animal welfare organization showed that interactions with wildlife and domesticated animals at tourism facilities in Bali and Lombok all fall short of the high welfare standards captive and wild animals need to be healthy. 

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Saturday 20th of January 2024

Within all the articles here, there is an underlying notion that the people who play dress up in uniforms and purport to run this place, governor etc.. are in some how, some way in control of things here. This is absolutely not the case.

Wayan Bo

Thursday 18th of January 2024

🐵: Those monkeys belong to Monkeys Forest passport and customs control.

mathias sutbeck

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

Passport damage: Immigration will deport her or ask her money.


Thursday 18th of January 2024

@mathias sutbeck,

Exactly. Who are the real primates here?


Wednesday 17th of January 2024

Quote "Tourists, first and foremost, should leave their valuable items in the safe at their accommodation."

Law No.6 of 2011 on Immigration. Article 71(b) of the law states that every foreigner present in Indonesia is obliged to: “Show and submit any travel document or stay permit they possess when required to do so by an active Immigration officer in the interests of Immigration control.” Violators of Article 71 face a maximum penalty of three months in jail or a maximum fine of Rp.25 million.

The official Indonesia Travel web site it is stated that tourists need to "carry their passport at all times".

The immigration law and tourist advice should be clarified so that tourists are allowed to bring copy of passport and visa page and leave their passport in a safe.


Wednesday 17th of January 2024

I went to the monkey forest once and only in 1978. I hadnt got past the pay booth when a monkey ran up and began grabbing at the peanuts i had bought. It bit me! Luckily army personnel were there too and they dressed my bite. Never, ever again. Vermin, in my books.