In all the research I did on Ubud, one thing kept popping up: the Sacred Monkey Forest. In fact, the whole town is situated around the forest, with one of the main roads even named the creative Monkey Forest Road.
We waited until a day where it was cooler, right after a sun shower, and popped into the forest. It was cheap to enter, Rp.30,000 ($2.25) and all the signs suggested to hide your sunglasses and not bring any food in. I’d even heard some of the monkeys knew how to unzip purses and book bags! We hid all our valuables (although I wouldn’t hesitate to chase down a monkey that stole my sunnies), and headed insides.
Right inside the entrance, there’s a stand to buy bananas. We bought some and all of a sudden were the most popular people in the park. Smaller monkeys grabbed my legs and crawled up my body to sit on my shoulder and eat a banana. There were other monkeys with precious babies hanging from their fur, so I tried to give them preferential banana treatment. There were also much larger monkeys who were obviously the dominant males. Don’t blow all your banana budget at the first stall though, you can get more when you go through.
We came to a large clearing full of people and monkeys, the monkeys seemed so happy and comfortable, surely because we all fed them! I bought more bananas (who knows how many I’d bought at this point) and we sat down so monkeys could come to us. They jumped on our head and shoulders, and even into our laps. The park attendants tell you the monkeys can touch you, but you can’t touch them, which was a major struggle because all I wanted to do was hug them
We were having the time of our lives, but of nowhere, one of the larger monkeys bit me! Hard! I didn’t really know how to react, if I needed stitches or shots or even how to get to a doctor if I needed one. Several of the other park visitors gasped and dropped all their bananas and rushed over to ask if I was ok. My arm was bleeding and a bruise had already started to form, turning into a perfect purple mouth shape. We ran over to the First Aid booth where I started washing my arm off. The doctor (I have no idea if he was actually a doctor or not?) put antibiotics on it and one bandaid (could have used 4 or 5 in my opinion!) and showed us the certificates proving the monkeys didn’t carry rabies. He told me to wash my arm with soap and water really well until a scab formed. Even now, two weeks after, I’ve got a deep greenish blue bruise on my arm.
Jer doesn’t think it’ll leave a scar but it would be a pretty cool story if it did!