Ubud in Bali, Indonesia is an amazing place. Nestled towards the center of the island of Bali, its tucked away from the overly tourist scenes of places like Kuta, yet it still caters towards foreign visitors with its quaint shops and delicious restaurants that line Monkey Forest road. It is this road that also leads to….yup, you guessed right, the Monkey Forest. This was my highlight of Bali and a place you have to visit if you ever go to the island.
Before you enter the Monkey forest of Ubud, you don’t know what to really expect unless you’ve been there. Prior to our visit I thought to myself, “I hope we see a good amount of monkeys.” I eventually realized that wouldn’t be an issue. Not even entering the grounds of the forest, monkeys are already sprawled out near the entrance and there are several more awaiting within. The deeper into the forest you get, the higher the number. As you reach the central plaza of the park, monkeys can be seen from all angles – in the trees, laying out on the rocks, drinking water from the ponds, fighting with each other, running, grooming one another, picking their butt and then smelling their finger (yes I witnessed this) and observing their human ancestors are only some of the countless activities that you can catch them doing. It’s truly entertaining to just sit there and watch them in their daily interactions – until they decide to approach you.
These monkeys are not shy. Aggressive is the more appropriate adjective to describe them and you better be ready when they approach you. Their curiosity and appetite will lead them to searching you over for food or any loose articles and equipment. The numerous visitors to this park along with the food handouts that are permitted from park rangers selling bananas have made these monkeys unafraid of humans. I was closely watching one of them when I heard a shriek behind me. A gentleman who decided to open up a bag of chips was mobbed by the monkeys from every direction. The loud crumpling sound that the bag made is a sound very familiar to the primates and it signals to them a snack is nearby. The poor guy emptied out his entire bag in order to get them off of him. I had a fun encounter with one who was interested in my camera. Ensuring that the strap was firmly secured around my wrist, I reached out to the monkey so that he could grab it. After grabbing the mysterious object and realizing it was strapped to my wrist, he quickly jumped on me and began to climb all over me. He eventually settled on my thigh and ate his snack until I motioned for him to get off.
After watching and playing with them, we took a stroll through a Hindu Temple within the forest that was lined with statues and an adjoining walkway that runs beside a creek. Its a beautiful scene that is lush with trees and vegetation, sprawling over the concrete walls and statues. The vines that hang from the trees are so dense and look like shredded curtains that divide the area. We eventually walked towards the other end of the park and exited out onto an open field of rice terraces where locals were harvesting their crops. Adjacent to the terraces was a large bamboo house structure with ladders that reached up to several landings. We climbed in and settled on one of the built-in bamboo benches and watched the sun slowly set. After resting and cherishing the gorgeous setting, we eventually made our way back through the forest, played with the monkeys one last time, and walked back towards our room. If you’re an animal lover, visit this place and you’ll have a blast with these always entertaining animals. But beware, if youre not comfortable, it’s possible they can jump onto you and try to grab things. Read about a mom’s experience with her child at Indonesia for Kids.
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