Our travels have brought us to Ubud, Bali, which is home to the Sacred Monkey Forest; a park and temple complex that’s home to hundreds of crab eating macaques.
Visitors have the opportunity to feed, interact with, and hopefully not get bitten by these little cats-with-hands monkeys. They’re quite comfortable with humans, and it’s easy to get close enough to touch one. We had to keep reminding ourselves that they’re wild animals, and probably wouldn’t enjoy being petted or touched, and do possess sharp teeth and strong jaws.
There were macaques of all ages, and it was interesting to observe their social hierarchy. There were meek little baby monkeys, playful adolescent monkeys, and some much larger, grumpier, and more aggressive king monkeys.
The park itself was incredibly gorgeous. Indonesia has a fully tropical climate, so the growth never stops. The green mosses growing on rocks were such a bright and saturated green it almost looked fake in places.
There’s a small waterfall and river running through the lower level of the temple complex, which was flowing quite nicely due to a brief but heavy rain shower earlier in the afternoon.
We spent a pretty magical few hours on the evening of Jeff’s 26th birthday wandering around, looking at all the intricate stone carvings and lush jungle in the forest, which would have been pretty special even without the added bonus of adorable monkeys at every turn.
It was really fun to watch them expertly open bananas using both their hands and hand-like feet, although it was less nerve-wracking not to actually be the one holding the bananas. The monkeys were not afraid to demand the goods, and we saw several monkeys jump onto the backs, shoulders and even heads of visitors who were attempting to hide bananas out of reach. After one startled Jane by tugging on her pant leg like Aladdin’s Abu, we decided to go the safe route and hand them down as quickly as possible.
It was a great introduction to the tropical island of Bali and the next leg of our adventure!