Monkey Forest - Ubud
Now this is a crazy place - it's like the Wizard of Oz monkey's gone wild! Can you tell I really didn't like it?
I've been to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary twice. It's very interesting, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't overly impressed and here's why.
When you arrive, a guide is selected for you follow through the paths of the forest. She tells you not to feed the monkeys and that's about all. It's not a very informative tour.
It's very cool to be inside the jungle listening to the sounds of the monkeys, the forest is amazing. The monkeys are called macaques and supposedly there are just over 200 monkeys in the forest, I swear there was at least 2,000. It was scary.
At the end of the tour, your friendly guide takes to you her store and wants to buy something. Anything. If you don't, they make it known that they are not happy (now she's not so friendly). Then, if you don't buy, you're asked to provide a tip for the guide. I've found that it's easier to give her a few rupiah and just let it go.....and not that I'm against tipping, I just don't like the whole 'set up' feel that it has.
At the end of the tour (after the awkward moments with the guide), everyone gathers along the fence to take close up pictures of the monkeys. What the guide doesn't tell you is that they are EXTREMELY agressive with the tourists. I am not kidding. They will jump from the tree or the fence and literally grab whatever you have that they can get. They will take the peanuts that you purchased, they will take your hat, your camera or whatever else they can get their little human-like hands on.
And agressive? Wow. The monkeys will FIGHT to get what they want - which means with other monkeys or even tourists. They will swipe at you, grab you and worst of all, even BITE you. This can be extremely dangerous as I don't think any of us tourists are vaccinated against monkey bites. And if there is a baby monkey? STAY AWAY! The mother will do just about anything to protect her baby and getting too close for a picture will probably get you attacked!!
You're probably wondering why I went twice if I hated it so much - well, two different friends, two different trips and both had heard so much about those cute little monkeys! Monkeys from hell, more like it. [more ]