Tales of Monkey Forest

March 6, 2014

I was hoping there’d be people so the chances of me being attacked would be reduced.

Before I came to Ubud, I had already read so much about the infamous Sanctuary that had wild macaque monkeys roaming around it. "Infamous", I say, because of the terrible stories of people getting bitten, scratched, or attacked by monkeys that reside in the forest. One article wrote that 40% of tourists get bitten. Almost half! That is crazy!

Some are even saying that these monkeys could have rabies due to the outbreak of the disease among dogs in Indonesia. I am not a fan of monkeys. I find their humanoid looks and movement disturbing. I don't find them cute unless they are cartoon figures with enlarged heads. So why bother going there? I don't know but part of me wanted to know what was going on inside. I was driven by curiosity.

Battling with my cowardly self, I stood at the forest gate and took a peek inside. It seemed empty. I was hoping there'd be people so the chances of me being attacked would be reduced. Finally, a group of tourists arrived and bought tickets so I went along with them holding on to my dear camera. The cheeky monkeys were said to take things from unaware humans that's why I only took my camera, room key, few bucks, and a cheap phone with me.

I think this monkey sensed my fear. It was looking me in the eyeballs and seemed like it's telling me to watch my back. I'm taking it's picture so we can identify the culprit if it starts to attack me.

Further in, I saw more people. I was so relieved I finally relaxed a bit. There are vendors selling bananas at the main entrance so you can feed them to the monkeys but I didn't buy any because I didn't want to attract or touch them.

With hundreds of tourists going in daily, these monkeys don't need to find food. I'm just curious though how that would affect their lives.

The men in green are the staff that managed the forest. The monkeys don't seem to bother them anymore.

There was a cremation taking place inside the sanctuary. You could hear the people chanting and singing mournful sounds.

Putu, the caretaker at my inn said that when a normal person dies, they need to wait for one or two more person to die so they can have a group cremation. He said that funeral services are very expensive. Only priests, government officials, and other important people can hold cremation services without waiting for others.

Monkey joining in to watch the chanting.

Another thing he mentioned was that, after the cremation, they would take the ashes and spread it out to sea. As he was telling me this, A parallel thought popped into my head about the beaches of Kuta and wonder if they disperse the ashes there.

"So then he says to me..."

Mother and baby monkey. Looks like the little one found a leaf to play with.

So disappointed. He wanted a banana but all he got was a hug.

A temple inside the forest. Forgot to bring my sarong so I couldn't enter. Inside, there were several temples like the water temple perhaps because they have so many of Gods.

mmm-kay.

There were huge koi fish in this water temple. I saw a couple of people throwing coins there. It must be a wishing pond? I wanted to try it too but I forgot to bring coins so I just stood at the side, lowered my head and sent my wishes to the water God.

As I went deeper into the forest, I realize that the crowds had disappeared. Normally, I would just turn back and follow the normal path, but this time, I felt like exploring some more so I went on walking.

To end this post, here's a very weird series of shots from a monkey who seems to be in love with the post.

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