“Please let me like those rude, rowdy and wild animals again!”
Yes, after a visit to the monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud (Bali) you know how rude they can be! I guess they are famous for that. When you travel with your family to Ubud, should you visit the Forest or not? Could it be that you are a little bit afraid?
We were! We were made scared by warnings about visiting the Bali Monkey Forest like:
- Monkeys are aggressive!
- Keep a close watch on children!
- Feeding can be very dangerous!
- Don’t carry any loose items!
- Stay on paved paths!
- Don’t let your children play near the river!
- Do not stare at the monkeys directly!
- Do not tease them!
- If you are bitten or scratched, seek help immediately! Monkeys can carry diseases like Hepatitis C and rabies!
Well thank you…still feel like enjoying a lovely day-out in the Monkey Forest? With your children?
Human disturbance of habitat has important consequences for the demography, the morbidity, the behavior, and ultimately the survival of non-human primates.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRIMATOLOGY
Measures of human influence in habitats of South Asian monkeys
You know what you can expect if humans disturbe the normal habitat of monkeys. Can you imagine what happens if monkeys are disturbed and challenged, day by day? That’s what happens in the Monkey Forest. But does that mean you should avoid the place when you are in Ubud? Might there be something you and your children can learn?
We spent almost a week in Ubud, but intentionally wanted to skip the Monkey Forest (Sacred or not). Really, we didn’t want to get rabies. I didn’t want my glasses stolen, hiding the rest of my travel behind a blurry window of nearsightedness. We didn’t want some monkey climbing up our legs, swinging our hairs, stealing bananas and then laugh (in that typical monkey style grimace). No way!
But you know what happened. We arrived in Bali, walked the streets of Ubud and felt less afraid. Really, if I can give one piece of advice here it would be that all kinds of travel fear silently floats away quickly after your arrival. Including fear of monkeys…
Bali Monkey Forest
So there we were, in front of the Monkey Forest. You could already see some of the animals sitting on the front gate, waiting for us to come. Staring. Grinning. The Monkey Forest is also used for scientific research, so the website mentions.
“Dad, let’s go inside and watch those cute monkeys!”.
Dian Fossey felt more comfortable with gorillas than people. She even could anticipate what a gorilla was going to do. I admire here. Although these Ubud monkeys were anything but gorillas, we decided to enter the Forest. And this is how the animals showed us their way of life:
For families traveling to Ubud I have 2 major points of advice about visiting the Monkey Forest:
- Don’t carry any food for the animals. They are smart, they know when you have bananas (even if you hide them). Don’t stimulate rude behavior. Just walk the Forest and watch the animals, nothing more, nothing less.
- Go at the end of the day, when the sun starts to set. It creates the best light for some amazing pictures! All the pictures in this post I took between 4 and 5pm.
So don’t be afraid, have fun. How they behave is not the monkeys fault. It is us humans disturbing their habitat. All over the world we are trying to dominate the animals by taking over or diminishing their habitat. You can decide not to visit the Monkey Forest, but if you do, just observe and learn. Learn that we humans are the reason for their rude behavior.
- Related post on this blog: Relax, you’re on the island of Gods: Bali