Bali, Day 8. Visit the Monkey Forest, carefully planned and intensively desired. The day before, we arrived in Ubud at Liyer House, the home of the healing old man who appeared in Eat Pray Love and about which I told you in the previous article. We installed ourselves, we got familiar with the area and the distances and we made the itinerary for Ubud. We set the order for the tourist attractions and concluded that the Monkey Forest should be the first tick, given that it was only 15-minute walk away from where we were.
Like any good mannered guests, we could not visit the primates without bringing them something. So, first of all, we went to the marketplace where we bought some star fruits, papaya, and other locally-specific fruits, we packed them in a bag, and headed to the popular sanctuary belonging to the Padangtegal village. From this and from others, comes the complicated and long name of the forest, Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
The forest is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm, and we visited it around 11 am. How much do you want to spend admiring and playing with the primates depends only on you, but for us, 3 hours were more than enough. The ticket price is 50,000 IDR, which translates to about $4. A reasonable price, I would say, for the over 600 monkeys, 115 species of trees and 13 hectares of forest.
In addition, in the woods you will see many statues, a small pool where people throw coins, hoping that this will fulfill their wishes, many bridges, waterfalls, other animals, but also three temples: Pura Dalem Agung, Pura Beji, and Pura Prajapati, to which, as far as I know, visitors do not have access. Monkeys in Sacred Forest Sanctuary are Balinese long-tailed monkeys, in English called short macaque. They are omnivorous monkeys, their food generally consists of sweet potatoes, bananas, papaya leaves, cucumbers, and other local fruits, so no meat in their daily meal. Although it will be difficult to realize it, the over 600 sympathetic animals are divided into 5 groups, depending on their age and geographic position within the forest. You will see monkeys of all ages, from adults, adolescents to infants.
What impressed me the most:
- how monkeys interact with humans. I am aware of the fact that for them it has become normal to get in touch with people every day, but even so, I can’t feel unsurprised at how natural people have become for them and how comfortable they seem to feel around them, although hundreds of visitors invade their space permanently
- how females protect their offsprings. I have always been fascinated by monkeys, and I always wanted to have one so I can study the incredible similarity between us and them, so seeing how affectionate the females are with their infants made me appreciate them, even more
- their speed of perception and reaction. We were prepared for the visit and, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, we bought a bag full of fruits. But guess what? We were just getting through the gates when they quickly set up a plan of attack. In less than two seconds, they stole the bag and took the fruit out of it, after which they ate them with the speed of light, a sign that it was a gift to their taste.
- the monkey babies, of which any sweet word I would say, would not be enough to describe their candor and innocence in their looks and gestures. Better come and see them with your own eyes. No, you can’t compare it to a ZOO
Recommendations and tips:
- for the health of the primates, do not give them snacks meant to be consumed by humans, such as biscuits, chocolate, and other things
- keep clean inside the park
- if you forgot to bring bananas, do not worry. There are special places inside where you can buy them. I bought a mini banana bouquet for 20,000 IDRs, which was instantly stoled by monkeys
- if a monkey has jumped on you, do not panic! just keep calm until she has decided to get down
- if monkey bites you, don’t be scared! The monkeys here are healthy and regularly checked by a research center. However, it would be good not to feel safe 100% about this because although you may not take rabies, you might get some flies
- do not bring valuable things that can be easily stolen. Monkeys have abilities that you may not expect but believe me when I tell you that they can easily grab your glasses, telephone, and other personal goods if you do not have big take care of them
- do not deviate from the specially arranged alleys. Even if you feel an adventurer and want to have more natural contact with the small groups of thefts, do not forget that the monkeys are wild animals that protect their territory
- do not dress in the most beautiful clothes you put in your holiday luggage because monkeys may easily damage them