MAGNIFICENT AND TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE AT THE SACRED MONKEY FOREST

  (Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.)

 Sacred Monkey Forest Temple, Situated in Ubud is a popular tourist attraction, but you might just want to read about our experience first!!

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The Balinese locals believe that monkeys are sacred.
The original Balinese , known as Bali Aga believed in ancestor worship and animism (souls can live within landscapes and objects and can help/hinder with human life) the temple within the forest and the forest itself are believed be sacred for housing several Bali Aga spirits

Miky and I were excited to venture through the forest swarming with over 1000 long-tailed macaque monkeys to visit the temple. When we arrived, we payed a sum of 30,000 IRP (£1.50) to help pay the few sweeping staff and bought some bananas by the little lady at the front entrance. Before we had even paid we had met a our first “cheeky monkey”, casually stealing things from the local shop across the road.We walked through the mysterious lush green forest, accompanied by the sound of buzzing, shrieks, squeals and screams made by both the monkeys and the tourists and quickly met 100s of monkeys. One was sitting on the floor proudly showing off his rather large testicles. He was clutching a small green banana and darting his eyes around looking for potential banana thieves. The big balled monkey was taking little bites of his banana and then letting the bites drop to the floor before examining them and eating them. The monkey seemed completely calm, despite the wild eyes and so we got up close with our camera lens to enjoy his gentle features

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Monkeys grooming each other, fighting monkeys, monkeys wrapping rocks in banana skin and throwing them at other monkeys, monkeys fighting over rocks, baby monkeys jumping from tree to tree, or tourist to tourist, monkeys in the trees, monkeys on the walls, the floor, MY LEG. The next baby monkey took a liking to us well to our bananas! Mikhail gently outstretched his arm holding a banana when the monkey gleefully jumped aboard and started to play. We noticed mummy monkey sitting on a wall just above us and she seemed content. Miky then held out his hand to allow mummy monkey to take some banana, she immediately grabbed the banana laying on his hand but didn’t move her hand away. She got eye contact with Mik whilst I was holding the camera and recording this amazing experience. Suddenly mummy monkeys body stiffened clutched on to Mikhails hand, aggressively bearing her scary long teeth and screeching! Miky rapidly and with strength pulled his hand away and threw a banana at her, which luckily diverted her attention. (I have this on camera but internet is too poor to upload at this time)

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Then as we were waling away another young male monkey takes a liking to Miks backpack, he starts biting and pulling at the backpack. We were literally being MUGGED by a MONKEY. Luckily we managed to refrain from being robbed and continued sheepishly down some steps and along a narrow bridge over looking a beautiful fast flowing river with hundreds of bounding monkeys playing in and around it. We watched another sitting tourist being harassed by 5 baby monkeys, they jumped all over him and bitt and scratched before and employee (in a funky bandana and sarong) asked him to stand and managed to scare the monkeys off with his hand made broom. The monkeys closer to the temple were fighting, biting, scratching each other and tourists they were chasing and trying to attack. By this point I was EXTREMELY nervous, and we decided it was time to go. On the walk outside we noticed a first aid point with many visitors, and even as we left monkeys followed us out attempting to grab at our backpacks and cameras. They have learnt tourists bring both food and treasures!

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Whilst the experience was one I will never forget, I don’t think I will be rushing back to monkey forest temple! We only got a quick glimpse of the temple due to the commotion and have since heard that there is an average of 5 serious bites a day, and I assume thats along with many more unreported bites. There were no warnings or advice offered at any point. Another horror to consider in Indonisia is the rabies that the diseased monkeys carry. We were lucky to get out unscathed with no scratched breaking the skin and no bites!

Still- what an experience!

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