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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monkey Mayhem in Bali

About a 15 minute walk from my home stay in the center of Ubud is the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, where over 340 hundred Balinese long tailed macaques monkeying call home. According to the brochure, there are approximately 32 adult males, 19 male sub adult, 77 adult females, 122 juvenile and 54 infants that inhabit that belong to 4 distinct troops. Before you even pay the Rp. 20.000 or US$2 to enter the forest there are monkeys waiting for you, 20 plus statues line the street and depending what time of day it is there maybe macaques wandering around gorging themselves.

I thought with the 1,ooo's of visitors feeding them every day they would never go outside there forest to scavenge, but one late night on my walk past the forest at least 5 monkeys were gorging them on the leftover street food, maybe they are greedy or just want something different then there usual fair. Seeing this I could only imagine the antics I would see when I actually entered the depths of some of the lushest green forests that Bali is famous for.

The first monkey that greeted me kindly showed me where the toilet was, but I declined and wandered further in. Everywhere you looked there were macaques, who all seemed well accustomed to humans.

Some even climbed up and sat on peoples shoulder in return for a treat or to clean their hair like one of their own. I personally had no monkeys using me as a jungle gym because I didn't want to spend money on overpriced bananas or finding out if I was allergic or when there was no one patient enough there to take of picture of it just in case I was. I'll save the possible rash until next time.

On the other hand I did have one feisty macaque grab on to my bright red WiLDCOAST water bottle and try to tear it lose, but never fear my carabinieri held tight until the little rascal got sick of dancing in circles with me. I was one of the fortunate souls that did not lose anything that day, I did watch one mischievous macaque take off with one tourist Ray Band sunglasses, and another a bottle of water which the little guy quickly unscrewed the cap and drank to all of our amazement.

When not watching and photographing these crazy creatures I was enjoying the beautiful ancient tombs, sculptures, temples interspersed between trails and the all consuming greenery. Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana as the locals call the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a wonderful place, I only wish the next time I go one of my best friends, Sara Martinez, is there with me to tell me more about the monkeys and take my picture with them just not around me.

Location:Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

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