Before the world shut down, we travelled to Bali. Time had flown quicker than a whisper, as we had not been back to Bali in just over 26 years! Luckily, we spent eight days there and by grace of circumstance, we left a week or so before the pandemic took hold.
Most of my time spent in Bali was in, on, under or near the ocean. For the most part, it was a beautiful blue. Blue in the way one hopes the sea will always be.
please don’t hate me, we had a private beach……..
Almost every day was spent diving, swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing. Being in places I could not have dreamt to be more perfect and eating the local food……. but more on that later.
I suffer varying degrees of confidence – mostly lacking – and find navigating some tasks more difficult than others but I have always found great certitude in the ability to go it alone. Happy in quiet solitude, I took a few solo trips and wanderings during our time in Bali and one was to the Sacred Monkey Forest.
We based ourselves at the southern end of the island of Bali. At the quieter and more secluded Nusa Dua. The Monkey Forest is located in Ubud, just over an hour and a half’s drive away.
Ubud is a lovely destination. Surrounded by lush green rice fields, temples, small farms and steep rocky ravines it is a place you can easily spend a day, a week or longer. Its streets and markets are gloriously colourful and it is not only home to the Monkey Forest, it is also the epicenter of arts and culture in Bali.
Home to around 1,050 Balinese long-tailed Monkeys, this flourishing and secluded forest is protected and owned by the village of Padangtegal.
monkey considers career as official taster……..nails it!
I am forever charmed by this dense, beautifully green space of natural forest and its endearing yet often obstreperous inhabitants. Along with its huge moss covered statues, shrines and temples, soft foliaged plants, walking tracks and trails it is an enchanting way to while away a few hours.
I have been to the Monkey Forest before. The last time being 26 years ago and it was during that visit, I had an unnerving encounter with a large alpha male. The memories of that experience remain but it certainly did not deter me from returning.
monkey comfort food – sweet potato, bananas, corn, local tropical fruit, coconuts, leaves and flowers which are bought in by the local villagers
Although I prefer a life well lived I am, to a fault, a perfectionist. And trust me. I can torture myself with the fixation of that perfection and that can be especially true of photos I take. I often want to capture a perfect moment but to the credit of these delightful rascals, so quick and lithe and cheekily charming, they do not much care for the prosaic. They will scamper and climb and they will not sit still so although I had many blurred and fuzzy photos, I did not care a dot. I was just happily grateful to be lost in their world.
The not so blurred…….
Tips while you are there…….
- Do not take any food or water bottles into the sanctuary and secure all other items
- Respect their natural behavior – they are wild animals not pets
- Do not attempt to feed the monkeys
- Do not make eye contact
- Do not attempt to touch the monkeys especially the babies – the monkeys are very protective and will attack
- Allow yourself plenty of time
- Wear respectful clothing
I loved revisiting the sanctuary which is open daily from 8:30am till 6pm and costs 80,000 Rupiah (Indonesian), which is equivalent to a little over $8 Australian……best investment ever!
Truly human in my imperfections and in spite of my many flaws, I am still ever grateful. We are all living in a world which is currently hurting and although not able to stem the flow of that hurt or end the suffering for some, the very least any of us can do is not take what we have or have experienced for granted.
No doubt we have all had moments where we have come undone, taken a brutal fall or found ourselves just trying to hang on yet somehow, even as physical distancing prevails and we await the world to return to some semblance of normality, everything still feels strangely alright……..x