Friday, September 18, 2009

Monkey Forest Park & Sanctuary

Monkeys are prominent figures in Balinese mythology and culture, for example the Ramayana tales speak of powerful monkey gods and monkey armies. The temperate climate of Bali does provide monkeys with the lush forests to live in and in the town of Ubud on the road that connects major roads Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Hanoman lies the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana or Sacred Monkey Forest Santuary. It's not hard to miss the park due to the large columns pictured above announcing the entrance to the sanctuary. Ubud is a quaint and chic little town in the middle of Bali. It is hard to image that among the boutique and contemporary restaurants, bars and cafes that line the two major roads there is a forest full of long tailed macaque monkeys.But it is true, evident by the numerous shop keepers who sit out front of their open stalls with brooms and sticks to smack away any monkey looking for a quick snack or a small shiny souveniour. We paid the small admission fee which helps fund research and preservation of the sanctuary to spend the day with these lively, loud, funny and always entertaining monkeys that live so close to town.
The sanctuary has many areas to visit, including a Holy Sacred SpringA beautiful Hindu only temple
A deer park and a small hill area with a small graveyard where the monkeys battled it out over a small pool of water
Yes, alittle frightening when they get all crazy and start screaming and biting, especially when you're pinned on a small walkway and monkeys are bickering on the only stairs out and in particularly frightening when we realized we decided against getting those rabies shots back home. Although monkeys aren't suppose to carry rabies. Here is the beautifully mossed stairway leading down the Holy Spring and Holy Spring Temple.
And here are those instigators of the big stairway fight.
There are much worse places to be trapped by a fierce mob of crazy monkeys. The jungle is absolutely gorgeous. Lush, mossy and vibrant with crazy vines draped over tall tree limbs, making us feel as if we stepped into a surreal tarzan movie.
We followed the path down towards the riverAlong the river path were numerous moss covered statues tucked into the hilly ravine.
We walked down along the river pass crazy carved statues in the hillside, before turning around and heading over to the other riverside viewing area. The downriver viewing area was being watched by these very realistic statues of the famous Indoensian komodo dragons.So real that I poked one of the statues just to be sure because these dragons, who live on islands in Indonesian can take down a person easily.We started to head back up the incredibly beautiful stairway up to the main sanctuary.

We then headed over the beautiful and ornate temple in the sanctuary.

The temple was closed possibly because either no events were scheduled at the temple or it is a Hindu-only temple, which is common in Bali due to a law passed at some of the more famous temples banning non-Balinese Hindus on temple grounds because tourist have been known to be disrespectful during ceremonies. But the temple grounds were lovely and we walked around looking for the deer park.We made our way back to the main sanctuary area and there were monkeys everywhere: monkeys hanging out on the stairs.
monkeys looking for food

monkeys groomingmonkeys hanging out in the treeslounging monkeysmama and baby monkeys cuddlingmonkeys "monkeying" aroundnursing monkeysmonkeys fighting over toys

Our favorites were the baby monkeys
We especially liked this guy, who took a liking to Mike
Just like human siblings older monkeys like to tease their younger brothers or sisters alsoas well as comfort them
The monkeys at the Monkey Sanctuary were mischevious, loud, frightening, funny and truly amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed our day with the monkeys.