When vising Bali one must make a point to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud. This extraordinary forest hosts over 600 Balinese long-tailed macaques. “The presence of sacred forest is a demonstration of the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature. In Bali, sanctuaries such as the Monkey Forest are usually in sacred village areas, often surrounded by temples. These cultural sanctuaries are not only an important part of Balinese heritage, but also an important part of everyday life.” [source: http://monkeyforestubud.com/forest.html] The entry fee is 50,000 rupiah (approx. 3.75 USD).
Before entering take heed and read the rules and guidelines very carefully as it can save you from a monkey attack. A few of the key rules worth mentioning are:
1. Don’t have any exposed containers/personal items.
Before I even had a chance to read this rule, my hand sanitizer was hijacked right out of the side pocket of my camera bag by a monkey. That little guy was so fast as he sprinted down the street that there was no hope of recovering the sanitizer.
It’s interpreted as an act of aggression. Well, unfortunately, Noel had to learn this rule the hard way. He was so mesmerized by these creatures that he couldn’t help but stare at them. Caught in the act, a couple times, he found himself confronted with an angry monkey.
Here’s a video of him feeding a monkey and the monkey getting upset. You’ll see how the monkey pulls at his shorts and bares its teeth. Noel does the right thing by turning around and walking away.
3. Do not feed the monkeys any peanuts or crackers.
Outside vendors will say it’s okay to purchase their items to feed to the monkeys, but the only thing allowed are bananas because of a strict diet. Bananas can be purchased cheaper just outside the sanctuary, but are also sold inside. Feeling a little more confident and having the rules down, Noel feeds a monkey on top of his head. I on the other hand try to hide a banana (which a rule is not to hide the food) and surprisingly had it snatched from hand when not looking.