When it came to choosing where to stay on the island of Bali, there were two distinct choices:
- The Beach
- Ubud - further in land and north
I knew that I would be traveling from Bali to Lombok (another Indonesian island). And in Lombok, one of the main draws was the beach. So I chose Ubud in Bali. And when it came to choosing which hotel to go with, I chose a really nice one close to the Monkey Forest.
(One of the gates to the Monkey Forest.)
For the cost of $1.70 USD, I got to enter the sanctuary where monkeys ("hundreds of them," according to my driver from the airport) live and play. I wasn't sure what to expect. But the forest was a 10 minute walk from my hotel. And the price was more than awesome.
At first, when I entered, all I saw was lots of jungle forest and old statues...
Some of them got a little aggressive and creepy-looking. But they were old, with moss growing on them. So there was a natural beauty to take in while looking at them.
Then I turned a corner, and got a surprise...
A monkey! Just hanging out! Not in a cage or anything. But just chilling out in the middle of the path. (Take note of the "First Aid" notation on the marker behind him.) I was surprised to see him so calm and still. I wasn't sure at first if he was real, but then he moved and began to walk to another side of the path.
"They must be used to people coming in here," I figured. "I'm more startled by him than he is of me, for sure."
I came across one of my favorite statues, of course, the "Three Wise Monkeys"...
"See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil"... One of my favorite things about the forest!
It was surreal to see monkeys just calm and relaxed. But that could easily change. For example, look at how calm this fellow is...
Eyes closed and meditating at the top of a stair case.
BAM! He jumped up on another guest's back!
The caretakers in the forest encouraged people to just let the monkeys do their thing. They weren't going to hurt you. But if you had any food, or anything hanging off of you that attracted them, they would jump on you. They'd jump off a few seconds later. So need to panic.
Thankfully, no monkeys jumped up on me. Because all I had running through my head when I saw this is Patrick Dempsey in the movie "Outbreak", and how he gets scratched by that pet monkey he captures... And catches the virus.
I came across something so incredibly fun just after this, which made me smile and swoon...
A baby monkey!!!!
He wasn't the only one I saw though, I quickly discovered quite a few in the forest...
There were four in this little area. The little guy on his own. And then there were three mama monkeys, each with a tinier baby. SQUEE!!!!
I saw and watched - and videoed - them for quite a while. But eventually I moved deeper into the forest, down a path.
There were lots of vines, and trees... Stretching deeper into the sanctuary.
And the further down I climbed, the more eery the statues and very old temples became...
It was very "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."
I spent a good hour and a half exploring the sanctuary and watching the monkeys play, and in some cases - fight.
Bt here is my favorite video... Enjoy!