When I asked my 3-year-old what she liked best: bird park, the Monkey forest or the rice terrace walk, she said “the monkeys”. This rather surprised me- though the Sacred Monkey Sanctuary might be fun for for bigger kids, I’m not sure if recommend it for toddlers…
On the way in from gate 1 there was a sign (albeit in Chinese) with pictures showing you what not to do. I stopped and got Daisy to look at the pictures.
“Do not look the monkeys in the eye.” I said, pointing at the picture.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because they will think you want to attack them.”
“Don’t give monkeys our food.” I continued.
“As their tummies are different and they can’t eat the same things.” I explained. I didn’t go on and on about the not looking in the eye but maybe I should have emphasised more…
Shortly after, we saw a small group of monkeys and a lady selling bananas.
“Can I have some and give them to the monkeys?” The monkeys seemed chilled so I bought a small bunch. I immediately had a big monkey jump on my head and try and take the lot!
I pulled them away letting it have one and then gave Daisy one at a time after asking which monkey are you going to give it to?
All was fine until the bananas finished: then Daisy picked up one from the floor. I’m not sure if it was empty or not but even though I said “No! Wait!” she passed it to a big monkey (maybe the one that had jumped onto me) and it grabbed her. I had to pull her away; it had it’s hands on her face and was trying to pull her towards him. I got her away ok, but it was rather scary!
“She mustn’t look them in the eye!” said the banana seller unhelpfully: not ‘Is she ok?’
“I told her and showed her the sign but she’s only little. Maybe she didn’t understand or forgot.” I replied. I didn’t say more as poor Daisy was crying. I managed to calm her and she was then determined to see more monkeys. Off we set.
Inside there were monkeys of all ages playing and up to all kinds of antics. We even saw one throw himself off a branch into a pool of water.
Beware your belongings, though; one tried really hard to grab stuff from my bag then to take the whole bag but was unsuccessful. I guess it’s from doing this that some monkeys had things they shouldn’t have: tissue; a water bottle; a strip of square white tablets or sweets? I wasn’t sure what it was, took a photo then saw a member of staff so went to tell him, thinking he might try and do something about it.
“He’s not eating, just peeling.”
“I saw him eating- makan .” I added for emphasis
“Ah so you think you can speak Indonesian?! ‘terima kasih’ ” mocked the man.
That was two members of staff I was unimpressed with. Time to go.
I asked a girl working near the exit what the job description was of the people in the forest.
“They do all sorts.” she replied
“For example?” I enquired.
“This is a holy forest and they help clear the way so people can bring offerings to the temple and also to protect the cemetery.”
I didn’t bother asking if they were meant to do stuff they clearly weren’t doing; I didn’t see the point.
All in all it was a bit stressful, but for some reason my little one enjoyed it after the initial fright. I’ll leave it to you to decide if Monkey Forest Ubud is worth a visit…