The top thing on my to-do list in Ubud, Bali was to go to the Monkey Forest. Imagine a lush Balinese forest filled with traditional architecture and statues-all teeming with wild monkeys….
We make the short trek down to the forest and pay a nominal fee which I can’t remember at the moment. (It’s the monkey’s fault!) Outside there are plenty of warnings. “Take Care Your Stuff” was the first and most innocuous. Things quickly escalated.
Do not put fruit in your pockets.
If you have fruit and are followed by monkeys, just give it to them.
Do not play with monkeys.
Be careful of your shiny objects, like cameras, jewelry, sunglasses, glasses.
If accosted by primates, do not run.
All that was missing was basically a sign saying “If harassed by monkeys, simply fall to the ground and play dead. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.”
So, yeah I was a little apprehensive, but whatever, I had only my camera with me. I’m not the type to risk it with a bunch of flea-bags. Oh, and I was carrying no fruit. We walk in and of course SOMEONE starts to attract the attention of our new buddies. Literally, we were in the Monkey Forest for less than 5 minutes and things were already going south. Noticing the rolled up tickets in his hand, Mr. Monkey starts to wonder if it might be a tasty snack or interesting toy for him. Then, SOMEONE sits down. And starts playing with the monkey. As the monkey starts to climb up around his neck and on his head, a small crowd draws around us. The monkey is being played with and riled up as if it were our beautiful, well-mannered house cat and not some wild, if slightly overweight, possibly rabies-carrying, animal. Someone even starts to record this encounter, so you can probably find us on YouTube somewhere.
Then it dawns on me: We are those people.
Thankfully, the monkey escapes only with the rolled up tickets. (Hence why I can’t remember how much it cost to get in!!!) Fortunately, the monkey bites were only superficial and didn’t break the skin. We continue on with our journey on the Planet of the Apes.
The landscape and architecture is really quite beautiful. There are temples, statues and bridges all in a wild-seeming jungle landscape. Although there were a ton of people there, it didn’t seem over-crowded as the place is rather expansive. The only place where I noticed it the most was just after the bridge, where people were snappin’ selfies with their selfie sticks and such. We followed the trail to a pretty narrow walkway near a little river. As we were down there, I noticed water coming down in a pretty heavy stream. But it wasn’t raining. I’ll give you one guess to figure out what it was.
On our way out, we saw some pretty hairy stuff go down. A monkey jumped up on a lady and stole her earring. I came closer than I would have preferred to a hissing monkey bastard. We saw one larger primate ambush a girl and steal her water bottle. (He proceeded to open it and spill it all over himself and the floor.) Leave a bag on the ground and you can be sure a little freaky monkey hand would be in there in no time. We also witnessed monkeys doing you know what. Ew. Well, we noticed that that caused a monkey fight in the middle of the walkway. There was some chasing, a few monkey slaps and a lot of loud monkey screams. We were all afraid to move anywhere, lest we too be assaulted.
Let’s recap. Overall, we saw stolen: our entrance tickets, one bottle of water, many bananas, one earring. I almost got peed on by a primate. We also definitely witnessed a child who will be scarred for life after being stuck near the aforementioned monkey fight. Was it worth it? Duh. I’d go so far as to say it was a highlight of the trip.