Colton's Asia Experience

Monkey Forest: Ubud Bali

By Colton Powell

The phrase goes monkey see monkey do, but after visiting the monkey forest deep in the heart of Bali, I think that I could be on board with doing what the monkeys do.

About two hours by car north from Kuta, lies a small community nestled on the large volcano that makes up the island.

The town Ubud, recently made famous from the popular book Eat, Pray, Love is a farming and artisan community that has become a mandatory stop on every traveler's Indonesian itinerary.

We had heard beyond the tight streets, eccentric markets and countless art galleries lies the Ubud Monkey Forest. I challenge you to pronounce the actual name: The Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Sanctuary is a nature reserve and temple complex that is home to over 600 resident monkeys.

Monkey Forest of Ubud Bali
A young monkey chews on a fresh banana
 
The forest spans just under 30 acres and is a lush jungle located at the towns edge. The forest is one of the main attractions in Ubud and is great place to escape the hot Bali sun under the thick forest canopy.
 
Monkey Forest of Ubud Bali
A father and baby monkey have a staredown
 
We headed into the sanctuary and were greeted by vendors selling the favourite delicacy among most monkeys; bananas. We opted to to not buy any of the yellow fruit as it seemed that anyone that had them became and instant target to the nearby monkey.
 
Bryan and I didn't know weather to be intrigued or scared of them.

No matter where you looked there were monkeys everywhere. Swinging from trees, wrestling for bananas even baby monkeys catching a piggyback ride on their parents back.

Monkey Forest of Ubud Bali
Lunch time in the Monkey Forest. Beyond bananas they love cucumbers and yams
 
As we made our way through the forest more and more monkeys came out to greet us and to see if we had any bananas for them. I finally figured out why what made Curious George so curious was he was always on the search for bananas. Some other tourists would try and pet the monkeys and receive a quick bite or scratch in return.
 
I gave one monkey a solid stare down and once we made eye contact he chased me and I gave a quick yelp and ran for my life.

Having never really been around monkeys before, their every move was unpredictable and we never knew what to expect. One of the sanctuary's handlers explained that they are quite tame and that if you place a banana on you head they will climb up to get it. We watched a young girl let out a loud shrill as two sizeable monkeys climbed her just like a tree to get to the banana prize that waited atop her head.

Monkey Forest of Ubud Bali
A resident monkey climbs a unsuspecting tourist to try and get a banana
 
We spent over an hour wandering through the trees in awe at how many monkeys there were. They would roam around in small packs and they came in every shape and size. We left the forest with a better understanding of our human lineage and realized that I'm not the only one who really likes bananas!
 
Monkey Forest of Ubud Bali
Trying to make some new friends
 
Click next to continue to Part 14 of Colton's Asia Experience

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