Tales of Monkey Forest

Tales of Monkey Forest

I was hoping there'd be more people so the chances of me being attacked by macaques was lower

Before I arrived in Ubud, I read about the infamous sanctuary that had wild macaques roaming it. ‘Infamous’ because of the terrible stories of people getting bitten, scratched, or attacked by the monkeys that reside in the forest. One article states that 40% of tourists get bitten. That’s almost half!

Some even speculate that the monkeys possibly carried 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 behavior disturbing. I don’t find them cute unless represented by 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 my paranoia, I stood at the forest gate and took a peek inside. It looked empty. I was hoping there’d be more people so the chances of me being attacked by macaques would lower. Finally, a group of tourists arrived and bought tickets, so I went along with them holding onto my dear camera. The cheeky mammals were known to take things from careless tourists which is why I only brought my camera, room key, a 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 was telling me to watch my back. I’m taking its photo to identify the culprit if it decided to attack me.

Further in, I saw more people. I was so relieved I finally relaxed. There are vendors selling bananas at the entrance so you can feed them, but I didn’t buy any because I didn’t want to attract their attention.

With daily tourists running hundreds, 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. People chanted and sang mournful sounds.

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

Monkey joining in to watch the event. Another thing Putu mentioned was that, after the cremation, they gathered the ashes and spread it out to sea. As he was telling me this, a thought popped into my head about whether the ashes were thrown on the beaches of Kuta.

‘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. I forgot to bring my sarong so I couldn’t enter it.

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 realized that the crowds had disappeared. Normally, I would just turn back and follow the main path, but this time, I felt like exploring so I went on without stopping.

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


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