Travel Memories: Ubud

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April.  As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams.

Ubud

Ubud Village

U is for…Ubud (Bali, Indonesia)

Our visit to the beautiful island of Bali was memorable. We stayed in a beautiful hotel in Ubud, for rock bottom prices, that spoiled us rotten. We snorkeled, we saw beautiful rice fields, we ate delicious food while watching the daily downpours. But thats not it. Our trip was also memorable for reasons that you might not guess.

Ubud

Our immaculate villa at the Ubud Village Resort (not pictured, personal plunge pool, outside bath, outside shower and outside full size bed!)

On our first stop on the north coast, my husband and I both got the worst sunburn of our lives while out snorkeling. For a good week of our trip we could barely sit down or move without wincing in pain. And if that wasn’t bad enough, my husband was attacked by monkey’s at the Sacred Monkey Forest! Maybe I should have titled this post Attack!

Ubud

Cute monkey on Paul’s head at the entrance of the Sacred Monkey Forest

I have had many experiences with monkey’s in the wild, enough to remember they may be cute, but they are indeed wild. I have been chased by a mama monkey in Mammalapurum (India) because I was taking a photo of her baby, I have had food stolen out of my hands at the Khaneri Caves in Mumbai and I witnessed thieving monkeys on the trek up to Emeishan in China. I try to remain cognizant that they are wild and do not follow our rules of engagement.

But most people forget this simple fact when they visit the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. Everyone is excited by the prospect of being up close and personal with monkeys, even feeding and petting them.  As we approached the entrance to the forest, I could see groups of tourists sitting on concrete steps letting monkeys climb all over them as they fed them bananas. As first sight, my mind said “aww, so cute” and then it said “eek! keep those things away from me!”

Ubud

Nothing cuter than a baby!

I absolutely adore animals, and there is nothing greater in my book than seeing them in their natural habitat. But I do not want them climbing on me or invading my personal space. My husband (boyfriend at the time) was not scared at all. Thankfully, because as soon as we walked in, several jumped right up to say hello to him, one perching on his head for ages, waiting for bananas. Excellent. A great photo opportunity!

Seeing some of the monkeys get a little too handsy with the tourists, we decided to head deeper into the forest away from the banana sellers, tourists and masses of monkeys. The forest was beautiful, and reminded me of our time in Angkor Wat. The moss covered bridges, picturesque banyon trees and monkey’s scattered around minding their own business was much more up our alley.

Ubud

Moss covered bridge, Sacred Monkey Forest

Quietly sitting on a concrete ledge, we were busy watching a monkey across the path from us get his blue belly scratched by another monkey when all of the sudden a small monkey ran up to my husband, taking shelter under his arm. It soon became apparent that it was being chased by other monkeys and had just brought my husband into the middle of their fight!

Within seconds, my husband was covered in monkeys – one even hanging off his arm by it’s teeth (look closely at the photo!).  And of course the good wife I am, I jump up to snap photos, while laughing hysterically. Once I realized they were actually biting him I got a bit scared and started to yell “Get them off!”. My husband was trying, but the little guy only climbed higher and held on for dear life.

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UbudIt felt like eternity, but the monkeys finally ran off and left my husband and the monkey they were chasing alone. My husband was left with bite marks on his elbow and his shoulder, all of which broke the skin. I, of course, was freaking out since rabies is rampant in Bali, and particularly so in the monkey forest. I kept suggesting we go to the hospital to get rabies vaccinations, but my husband refused.  (Cue me worried like mad for the next 4 months hoping symptoms would not appear! Thankfully they did not. However I do not recommend following my husbands blase approach!)

Ubud

I was shaken, but my husband wanted to continue on our way through the forest. Was he brave or just brazen to let them climb on him again? I was a nervous wreck by this point and not interested in letting them anywhere near me! We continued on our walk through the forest, which was much calmer towards the end. Every day we walked past this forest I would tense up, knowing what those crazy monkeys were capable of and feeling bad for all of the unsuspecting tourists piling in!

Ubud

They may look cute, but they learn young how to attack for food and property!

The sad thing is, it’s not the monkeys fault. People should not be allowed to feed them or touch them. It will be hard work to train them now after so many years of conditioning, but something needs to be done. I have heard more and more reports in recent years that they now steel your food, cameras, and even pickpocket! Hopefully someone will step in at some point and forbid food or drink inside the forest, otherwise I imagine it will eventually need to be closed to the public.

So take this as a warning if you go, be prepared with pre-rabies vaccinations and do not carry any food or anything dangling with you!

Other posts in the A to Z Challenge:

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Belchite, Spain
Czesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Devi Garh Hotel, Udaipur India
Emeishan, China
Flores, Guatemala
Gimmelwald, Switzerland
Highway 1, California
Istanbul, Turkey
Jaisalmer, India
Kashmir, India
Lily Beach Resort & Spa, Maldives
Machu Picchu, Peru
Niraamaya Retreats, Thekkady Kerala India
Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima Japan
Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Queso – all over the world
Red Square, Moscow Russia
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Spain
Tonle Sap Floating Village, Cambodia
 
This post is part of the #TheWeeklyPostcard Linkup. Click below for more posts from around the world.
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16 Responses to “Travel Memories: Ubud”

  1. Diane Coto Says:

    What an interesting and lovely place. BTW, I’m dropping in from a shout out to your blog from Rosie Amber’s blog https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal – Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

    Reply

  2. S. L. Hennessy Says:

    My cousin is in Bali right now and keeps sending me the most amazing pictures (like yours). I want to go.

    Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  3. Heather Says:

    I had the chance to visit the Monkey Forest while visiting Ubud a few months ago. I must say that my brain is like your brain, when it said “Aw, cute” then “Eeek! Don’t come near me!”
    Fortunately we didn’t get into the middle of a monkey fight, I bet it’s hard to fight back against those little guys!
    I really did love Ubud, and I hope to go back to Bali someday. Your post makes me want to go *now*!

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      I can’t wait to go again with my son. This time I’m not sure we’ll be going to the monkey forest though!

      Reply

  4. Katrina the Two Week Traveler Says:

    OMG! That’s really scary, I would have been freaking out to be bit by a monkey! I was chased by a monkey in Nepal and I ran for my life-they have some big teeth! I have to admit though, I would have probably let the monkeys climb on me.

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      I think for most visitors having them climb on you is probably fine. Although I did see a photo the other day of one of the monkeys with someone’s phone they swiped out of the pocket!

      Reply

  5. Lisa Wood Says:

    Oh I have heard about how crazy the Monkey’s are in the wild over in Ubud. Gosh how scary for your hubby – so glad he is all okay.
    They sound a bit like our dingoes over here on Fraser Island – tourist are no longer allowed to feed the dingoes because they became too territorial and too dangerous. Then they had to re-locate the dingoes to help with “Training” them not to search for food.
    Monkey’s sure look cute, but I am not sure that I would want them hanging off me – your hubby scratch/bite marks sure look scary, but you sure did get some great pics!!! So glad he is all okay:)

    Reply

  6. Anda Says:

    Ubud, exotic name and fascinating place! I’ve never traveled to Bali and I bet it must have been quite an experience. I envy you for being able to play with those little monkeys. It sounds a bit dangerous to get scratched or bitten by one because you never know what strange disease they may transmit, but I wouldn’t have resisted either.

    Reply

  7. Dan Bibb Says:

    We loved Ubud and the Monkey Forest. The monkeys have gotten more aggressive over the years, but still worth the visit. Out friend had a monkey grab baby wipes, but an attendant shot him with a slingshot and the monkey dropped them, but was okay. The other area we loved was the market place and rice paddies in the area.

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      I probably would have been just as horrified that an attendant shot him with a slingshot! lol we loved Bali as well. We spent time on the far north coast and then driving through the interior rice paddy area. Loved it all. Need to actually go back to see the touristy beach areas!

      Reply

  8. samiya selim Says:

    The baby monkeys look so adorable! Don’t fancy being bit by adults though. Would love to visit this place. We were in Bali many years ago with the family but only did the beach scene then. Need to be back now to explore so much more.

    Reply

  9. Purist Says:

    I live around Monkey forest,you must hide your glass before to be near to the monkeys.This type of monkey love play with the human accessories.

    Reply

  10. Gabriella Says:

    Hello I wanted to check in and ask how your husband is doing? I went to the monkey park a few days ago and was also bit on the arm…. I am a bit paronoid but the staff at the park assured me there were no rabies in the monkeys.

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      He is fine. He never ended up doing anything and didn’t get rabies. Sorry to hear you were also bit. I would take into account the behavior of the monkey and if it looked sick. I think overall most of them are fine, but they don’t really know 100%.

      Reply

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