Stealing monkeys scam

Bali-scam-stealing-monkeysYou will see monkeys virtually everywhere in Bali except in the cities, but they are most present at the Ubud Monkey Forest and the popular tourist destination Uluwatu temple (also known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu), a century old Hindu temple and maybe one of the spectacular of the hundreds of temples across the island.

But beware of these monkeys, they may look cute and cuddly at first sight, but in reality they are after your valuables. Most tourists won’t suspect that these monkeys are actually trained to cooperate with locals swindlers in a tourist scam designed to rip off the visitors of the temple out of a handful of Rupiah. And the monkeys? They get paid in fresh fruit.

Also read: Monkey stealing sunglasses at Uluwatu

Bali-rip_off-stealing-monkeysAs you let the monkeys at the Ubud Monkey Forest or at the Uluwatu temple come close, they can quickly grab your sunglasses, handbag, keys or even your thongs and make a run for it, taking your belongings into a tree where you won’t be able to reach them anymore. As you are unsuccessful at getting your belongings back from the monkey, a friendly local will suddenly come to help. He or she will lure the monkey down from the tree with some fresh papaya or banana and trade this delicious fruit for his loot, so they can give it back to you. When you take back your belongings, the local will subsequently ask for a reward in a friendly manner, and because you are so happy to get the “stolen” goods back, you’ll be happy to show your appreciation by giving them a couple of Rupiahs.

It’s just a small sum and nothing to get worked up about, but still it’s a cunningly designed scheme to take unfair advantage of the tourists. And as they do this all day long to the thousands of tourists who visit the temple or the Monkey Forest every day, this still adds up to a significant catch, while the commission for the monkeys is just a handful of fresh fruit.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Bali Tourist Scams Forum.


  1. Keep your goods secured and be vigilant. The Balinese mostly nice people but like any human being who live in poverty they found a way to make a living by being honest or dishonest .

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