Just steps away from the busy restaurants and yoga studios of Ubud, Bali lies a hidden sanctuary where over 600 monkeys roam free. There are no gates or fences around the perimeter of the massive forest, they choose to live here and it’s easy to see why. With colossal trees reaching hundreds of feet into the sky, it is a natural playground for these primates. And with tourists pouring in to get a glimpse of the uncaged monkeys, the food supply is abundant.
People warned us that they may snatch food, take your jewelry or even bite, but we figured as long as we were cautious, we would be fine. With our cameras in hand, David and I set out to document these amazing animals. The only time they snapped at us was when we were in close proximity to their babies, understandably. Most humans would react in the same way… luckily, they backed off when we did.
We spent several hours exploring the forest and the temple within it. The beauty of the sanctuary was almost as intriguing as the animals themselves. Cascading waterfalls and hidden walkways were located throughout the park as well as grand statues and architecture all integrated in very tastefully.
Towards the end of our visit, David convinced me to get closer and let one of the monkeys rest on my shoulder. Reluctant, yet excited, I finally gave in and I’m glad I did. To overcome our fears, no matter how small, is one of the most important things we can do.
Monkey Forest was definitely one of the highlights of our trip through Bali. To observe these animals in their natural environment was an incredible experience, they are so adorable and hilarious!
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