The Ubud Monkey Forest
The Ubud Monkey Forest is definitely one of the places that you must visit when you are in Ubud. Located on one of the busiest main road in Ubud, Monkey Forest is a home for around seven hundred monkeys and three of Hindu Temples are located. Apparently, you may see a lot of monkeys in Ubud. They are everywhere. Once I arrived at the hotel, the first thing to say by the owner was, “do not put your belonging outside. The monkey could come anytime and take it,”. I kept in mind. I did not need to wait longer. Still at the same day, in the evening, I heard something noisy on my roof. It was almost midnight, and I was too scare to go outside. I called the receptionist and told him that there are a lot of noises upon my roof. The receptionist merely answered, “Oh. Don’t worry. They’re the monkeys,” . The next morning, when I wanted to open the window to feel the freshness of Ubud’s air, I was shocked by unfamiliar face on the window. The monkey was there, staring at me.
I am actually a bit afraid of this creature. I had not so memorable experience in KENYA when a group of monkeys stole my lunch box by force, let me starving for the whole day. However, considering that monkey forest is just a couple of steps from the hotel where I stayed in, I decided in one morning to visit the home of our primate relatives.
The Ubud Monkey Forest, located in Padangtegal- Ubud, lays on 12,5 hectares of land of forest with more than 180 species of tress. The forest was established by using Tri Hita Kirana concept, a traditional philosophy which is used to achieve physical and spiritual well-being. They are: the relationship harmonization between humans and the Supreme God, relationship harmonizations among humans, and relationship harmonization between humans and the environment. As monkey is considered as one of the holy animals in Hinduism, in Bali, the sanctuary such as Monkey Forest is always in sacred areas and includes temples within the sanctuary. It is not only part of the heritage but also part of the daily life of Balinese people. In the Ubud Monkey Forest, there are three temples inside the forest, they are: Beji Temple, The Main Temple (Pura Dalem Agung) and Prajapati Temple. The third temple is also purposed for temporary cemetery while waiting for the mass cremation day which is held every five years. The temples are not opened for public, unless you come for worshipping purpose.
Back to the monkeys, they are split into six groups. They are placed at the cremation temple, central point, the main temple area, the new forest area, the central point, and the the north east area. Normally, they eat sweet potatoes and combined with other foods, such as: banana, papaya, seasonal fruits, etc. The forest is equipped by many facilities, such as: toilets, clinic, and forrest officers guarding throughout the forest. There are leading paths (some are made by concrete and some by wooden trails), which make the trips become easier. The bridges are also available to connect areas separated by the river. It was a peaceful feeling to listen to the sounds of the stream while standing on the bridge and enjoying the nature.
While entering the forest, there are some facts that should be remembered. First of all, monkeys are aggressive creatures. Generally, they will not come to you if you do not attract them by foods or any sparkling stuffs. Additionally, they are not pet, so do not give a try to pet them. Therefore, it would be great, when visiting monkey forest, visitors stick with these regulations and keep their belonging, including water bottle, inside the bag. Avoid eyes contact with the monkeys. Looking at them straight in the eyes could be interpreted as an invasion. In order to protect their territory or dignity or possibility that they would be attacked first, the monkey would not hesitant to attack you once you had eye-to-eye activity. Secondly, in order to keep the monkeys healthy, do not feed them with any foods brought from outside. If you want to feed them, kindly ask the guides and officers inside the sanctuary. They have some bananas to share. Thirdly, well, as I said, the monkeys are easily attracted by sparkling stuffs, as jewelry, sun glasses, watch etc. If you can not avoid the ‘stealing’ or attacking incidents, you may contact the staffs inside the forest. They will do their best to help you. If you got bitten, small clinic is also available to give the first aid.
I finished the visit for two hours. There was no tragic incident during my times there. To go back to Ubud Center, the forest management also provided shuttle bus. Visitors just need to show the entrance ticket, and the bus will take you anywhere you want to the center town.