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Monkey Business

Probably the cutest attraction on Bali has to be the numerous troupes of monkeys that are found in the jungles and temples across the island. I’m quite sure you have all seen them, had your photo taken with them or taken hundreds of photos yourself of these delightful creatures. The most popular place on Bali or these simians being the Sangeh Monkey Forest and a place inundated on a daily basis by hordes of camera toting tourist. The monkeys here are friendly, to a point, downright thieves and can be aggressive especially if there is a baby monkey in the vicinity. It’s a cool place to go but has more to offer than just monkeys. The other well-known place is the Monkey Forest in Ubud. I am not particularly fond of this place as I found the resident simians to be outright aggressive. However, there are several other places on the island where you can see our nearest relatives, or so Charles Darwin has us to believe.

Alas Kedaton: Alas Kedaton, is situated, some twenty-five kilometres north of Denpasar, near the village of Kukuh. I arrive to see rows of stalls selling tourist souvenirs, warungs around a carpark. There is a grand entrance gate where you will find a ticket booth and it’s the only way in. It really isn’t until you walk down the wide steps after you enter do you really get to see the troupe of monkeys. I remember talking to a local there who told me these monkeys were from various tourist places on the island and were there for rehabilitation. You could call it ‘Monkey Detention’. Monkeys of all sizes skit to and fro in the trees and all around you. On my last visit, my unopened water bottle was soon snatched from my hands and a monkey skilfully opened the lid and drank from it cheekily as I looked on. So, it’s a good idea to hang onto your bags etc when walking around here.

Kekeran: Along the main Antosari to Mayong road there is a small village, Kekeran. Just off to the side of the road you will notice a small one table warung, hastily put together with a few old planks and sheets of iron roofing. It is owned by a cheery fellow, Nyoman. His wife is quick to sell you freshly cut Papaya, Mango, and Watermelon and the most delicious Krupuk Pisang, or sliced and fried banana. The monkeys here are the kind you must be aware of. If they see food in your hand then they will go for it discounting any injury to your person. Fortunately, Nyoman’s wife keeps a good check on them.

North of Bedugul: As you travel along the road north from Pancasari on the way to Singaraja you will notice, after going through the switchback road, numerous monkeys darting to and fro across the road as well as sitting in small groups along the side. There is a small parking area where you can stop and, besides the excellent view of Danau Buyan, it is there you will find a quite a few monkeys posing for the cameras and waiting for a feed. Try and avoid buying fruit off the hawkers there as they charge an arm and a leg. Instead, enjoy the excellent vista but watch out for these playful but mischievous simians.

Uluwatu: On the tourist track, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is often referred to by as the temple on the cliff. As much as I dislike that reference, besides being a stunning and magnificent temple it does have a large troupe of monkeys and this you will notice as soon as you stop at the carpark. When you first start the descent to the temple you will see on the right-hand side a couple of troughs filled with water and a few ropes and tyres hanging from a tree. All these are for the monkeys and they adore to ‘ham it up’ for the tourists. Keep your distance with these fellows are they have a tendency to be aggressive. It is once you are down in the temple grounds that you have to be careful and also as you ascend the steps to the inner sanctum of the temple. These simians have a penchant for stealing, so hang on to your goods.