My first visit to the Monkey Forest was fraught with an unnecessary amount of anxiety.
One of us, can’t remember who it was (all I know is that it wasn’t me 😀 ) mentioned how the monkeys in the forest were kinda crazy and would attack people for food or even for things like their cameras or flip-flops.
Suffice to say, after being chased by a monkey in Singapore, I was fairly wary of monkeys and felt absolutely no need to get attacked or bitten by one.
I then went on the internet to read stuff about the Ubud monkey forest and there are just a plethora of stories about how people got attacked by monkeys, chased by monkeys, robbed by monkeys and so much more.
After a while, I just didn’t even want to go to the Ubud monkey forest… or perhaps just leave it till the end, best to get bitten by a monkey near the end of your holidays than at the start I reckoned.
I left my camera at home and went armed with just my cellphone and wallet, which I shoved down an extra pair of short I wore under my main shorts – I refused to be pickpocketed by a monkey or left wallet-less during my time in Bali.
Turns out, it was a major over-reaction! The stories you find online about people getting attacked are mostly about people who didn’t pay attention to the rules in the first place. For starters, the monkeys care about food and only food. Your cellphone is of no importance to them. Nor is your camera.
If however, you have something as small as a pack of tic-tacs, you will get harassed by the monkeys (their sense of smell is pretty good so don’t think they’ll only go after it if they can see it).
Secondly, I realised an uneventful visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest is probably not something most bloggers or journalists would write about and so for the thousands of uneventful visits to the Ubud Monkey Forest, you’d only ever really hear about the few where people did get attacked (I mean some of the stuff is stupid – like people coaxing the monkeys to sit on their heads for photos and then wondering why the monkey decided to take a bit chomp of their hair).
I’m sure there have been unprovoked incidents of monkeys attacking people – they’re individuals and some of them are just rascals but on the whole, I didn’t experience a single thing that was cause for concern and not just from my own point of view or from the point of view of our small group of 4 but across the Ubud Monkey Forest the entire time we were there.
Long story short – before you visit Ubud Monkey forest, pay attention to the rules. If you do, chances are that you’ll have nothing to worry about when you visit.
Don’t bring extra stuff you don’t need, don’t bring any food of any kind, don’t bring any plastic bags with you and definitely don’t go rogue and play with the monkeys, unless of course if you’re fluent in Simian and are perhaps are partial to scratches and bites from hungry monkeys.
Check out the official monkey forest website here for all the rules before you visit!