Although I adore animals, I really, really hate monkeys. I learned from my trip to Cambodia that these seemingly-cute little munchkins are actually sneaky, mischievous little monsters.
But my boyfriend loves them, as adamantly insisted that we go to Bali’s Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud. Reluctantly, I gave in.
What I love about Indonesia is that getting around may be expensive, but all of the omg-take-your-breath-away experiences are dirt cheap. Most temples and the monkey forest cost only $2 per person for foreigners to get in; for locals, almost all of them are free.
At the entrance, we shelled out another $2 for a bunch of apple (mini) bananas for the monkeys. I waited to the side hiding a giant water bottle. And while my man was buying frickin bananas “to get the monkeys to come to us” one snuck up behind me and snatched away my bottle. I yelled at him and grabbed it back, and stuck out my tongue as it hissed at me and eventually admitted defeat. Except that I realized it bit a little monkey-teeth sized hole in the bottom, which meant that our much-needed water supply was pau. Damn monkey.
As we started down the wide, sloping pat into a gorgeous forest, my beau was literally bouncing with excitement. He hid the goods in his pockets and couldn’t wait to feed the evil things. I mentioned we should’ve just brought more water bottles.
To be fair, the monkey forest was beautiful. There were cute, perhaps not-so-evil monkeys swinging from the giant trees. The paths were dotted with beautiful sculptures and occasional small temples, all of which were ringed by a gorgeous forest. The different paths led across a rushing river and coinciding waterfalls or onto more temple grounds.
We figured out the mean monkeys mostly hung around the entrance, where they could get first dibs on unsuspecting banana-toting tourists. As we got deeper into the forest, they became much friendlier. One even took a liking to my boyfriend, and sat right next to him while he munched on some fruit and stayed there for a while just looking at him.
It was cute seeing the baby monkeys clutching onto their mothers and the teeny little munchkin that tugged expectantly on my boyfriend’s shorts for more treats.
As you can probably tell, I kept my distance. I let my man run around and play with the damned monkeys while I took pictures. We even bought more bananas when we saw some of the workers getting the monkeys to climb on top of the tourist’s heads. When the cutest little monkey climbed on top of my bf’s shoulder and began picking through his hair (‘grooming’ him, I guess) I decided to join in.
Of course, the cute monkey was preoccupied with my man while a fat, mean one clawed his way up my back and took out some of my hair when he jumped off. Thankfully, one of the ladies felt bad for me and got a little one to sit on my shoulder for a while. This one, I decided, was okay.
I still don’t trust monkeys, but the Monkey Forest was pretty awesome – and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I haven’t changed my opinion entirely, but I think monkeys are kind of like people; some are nice, some are mean, and some are somewhere in between.
Till next time,