You know, Bali is an amazing place to holiday. It is filled with amazing ancient architecture and temples, places of which you are encouraged to follow the 'look but don't touch' policy. You might want to get your hands on some of the country's amazing artefacts, but we all know better. You have to respect the sacred sites, so that means you have to be on your best behaviour.
What's one place you can actually monkey around in? Bali's Monkey Forest in Ubud, of course!
The Monkey Forest in Ubud
The official full name is the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal and it is home to some of Bali's most curious primates, but it is also a place for Bali Hinduism. The jungle itself is called Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana, and it surrounds three sacred temples, so you do still need to be respectful. To enter the temple, you need to wear a sarong, but outside the temple you can just wear your normal attire! You can still goof around with the monkeys, of course - they're very interested in passing tourists.
There are paths that meander through the forest so you can go for a nice hike, but it is recommended that you stay on the paths as these animals can be fairly territorial.
Before you enter the forest, we thought we'd supply you with some interesting facts about monkeys. There are about 600 Balinese long-tailed monkeys living in the forest, however, there are five different areas of monkeys where the monkeys hang out, and some 30 groups that you can look out for. The groups are broken down into ages of the monkeys to try to control conflicts amongst the primates, though this can never really be avoided.
These grey-haired monkeys are relatively small creatures, the females reach an average size of about 2.5-5.7kg, whereas males reach about 3.5-8kg. A mother goes through roughly six months of pregnancy and they live up for 15-20 years. A baby monkey will stay with its mother for about 10 months before it starts to wander off and try to find bananas on its own.
Watch your belongings
You should be warned well in advance of entering the forest: these monkeys, they're a little grabby. And by a little, we actually mean a lot. You shouldn't go in with anything in your pockets. Leave your cell phones, wallets, treats, anything really at the door because these animals are smart enough to go fishing in your pockets for new toys. They even know how to get into zipped bags, so leave your bag at home or if you can lock up your bag, do so!
However, if a monkey is trying to take something from you, it might be your best option to just let them take it as they can get aggressive when they don't get what they want at times. There is usually a local on-hand to help negotiate back stolen objects. We're talking bananas for jewellery, people! Because the monkeys can be a little rambunctious, it's best to let them come to you - avoid prolonged eye contact as this may come across as a threat.
Local also appreciate it if you don't feed the monkeys anything but the bananas, as your food, even something like peanuts, could affect their diet. But there are plenty of bananas to go around, so you shouldn't have a problem with this.
Well there you have it. Now you're ready to go hang out with some of Bali's fuzziest natives! Have fun!
- Posted in Bali