When visiting Bali we decided to settle our HQ in Kuta – a mixture of beautiful beaches infused with local flavors and a vibrant night live. In this post I will be talking about our visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest and the peculiarities of the monkey business in Ubud Bali.
We found out there were no pedestrian walks and the streets were as wide as a single lane in most European countries. The heavy traffic and various food rickshaws made it really difficult to travel in an efficient way.
On the second day of our stay we decided to head to Ubud,a small city situated 35 kilometers from the melting pot that was Kuta. We were interested in the Sacred Monkey Sanctuary and were eager to visit the place. During our stay in Bali we didn’t use our GPS navigation, but an old map we found in the hotel room.
We thought that a short journey of 35 kilometers should take less than an hour, but the traffic proved us wrong. The small streets were filled with motorcycles and cars and there weren’t any signs to point the directions. We stopped few times along the way to ask people for directions and we were pulled by the police few times as well.
Just like a real bad ass travelers we were travelling with our UK driving licenses (we have always been too lazy to issue an international one). Indonesia forbids to drive with anything different than an international or Indonesian license. It turned out that the police were happy to settle for few Indonesian Rupiah (in our case around 100,000).
Short story long, after few hours and few attempts to ask for directions we reached the rice field surrounded town, often referred to as the cultural heart of Bali. We then drove to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques.
For a mere 20,000 rupiah (or around $2), we entered the shady jungle that houses three holy temples. I’ve had a healthy appreciation for how bold these monkeys can be ever since Dilyan had his corn stolen right from his hands last year on a trip to Koh Phi Phi. The monkey troops are not afraid to jump right on you to gain access to your wallet, snacks, or other valuables that they may fancy.
At the entrance we did buy two bananas, but as it turned out, it was no easy task to keep away from all the monkey business (especially with a delicious threat in hand). We were surrounded by the monkey troops and few of them climbed onto our shoulders.
Dilyan was really hungry so he hid few almonds in his palm and was eating one at a time. Unfortunately for him, the monkeys figured him out and surrounded him from all sides. He managed to escape the bullies only after he threw away the almonds from his palm (and even then there were few monkeys suspecting he was hiding more).
The temples were closed at the time of our visit, but we didn’t mind a bit. We were walking through the delicious green forest and were often surrounded by the monkeys. Many of the residents were mothers and they were sitting close together, breastfeeding their babies. Some of the juveniles were playing with the tourist.
There was one couple sitting on the steps talking to each other. I saw how one of the younger monkeys approached them from behind and super quietly in ninja-stealth mode, unzipped their backpack. As the monkey was trying to put his hands on something valuable the couple moved away.
After visiting the Sacred Monkey Sanctuary we drove to the famous rice terraces in Bali. Beautiful and peaceful, the view in the mountain was stunning. The refreshing cool air made it perfect after a long day of driving and learning about the monkey business from first hand.