“Eat, Pray, Love” rocketed Ubud, the town in which leading lady Julia Roberts discovered the key to inner peace and a small city a bit inland on Indonesia’s Java island, into pole position for Southeast Asian Yoga, meditation, vegan food (often “made with love”), and other grass-eating pastimes. While that’s all fine and copacetic, a healthy dash of Planet of the Apes style monkey fraternizing is sure to provide the balance needed for your emotionally sated soul. The monkeys await you with open arms.
Give me that banana!
Do you think that monkeys are cute, lovable little humanoids that exist to both bemuse you and brighten your day? If so, you are in for a life changing experience at Ubud’s Monkey Forest. After paying your 20,000 IDR (1.50 USD) price of admission, you will have the opportunity to buy bananas for the monkeys. Wise souls would probably not buy the bananas (prices vary by bunch size, but figure on about 30,000 IDR/2 USD for about seven small bananas or so), but if you are the live and learn type, you should feel free to stock up. Be aware, though, that those with bananas will be groped, stared at, and have things stolen from their vary hands or even from inside their pockets. By the monkeys, of course.
We are family
Rid yourself of bananas post-haste because once you are banana-free, you will find interloping quite a bit less stressful. It’s nice to see mama monkeys with a little one attached, like the one pictured above at right. Sometimes the monkeys do some playful things too. However, more often than not, it’s about guerilla, or, rather, monkey warfare. Things get thrown, shrieks belted, and stares stood down. Yes, surely the monkeys would have no sympathy for us if the dystopian future of Planet of the Apes came to pass. At Monkey Forest, it sometimes seems their domination is just barely being suppressed as it is.
Nice grounds encourage scrolling
Lest it seem like we are not painting a picture of a pleasant outing, it should be mentioned that the grounds are quite nice in parts. This moss-covered, stone Komodo Dragon is an atmospheric touch, and there are varied landscapes across hills, valleys, and plains. There’s even a deer preservation enclave, which is a bit of a non sequitur. The monkeys are, however, always lurking, plotting their domination.
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Breathe in the flora
If you’re a sucker for ancient flora, you’re going to love Monkey Forest. Crossing the stone bridge pictured above gives you a unique perspective on some very old banyan trees. The extensive, probing root systems paint a romantic picture of the jungle. As a bonus, since most of the park is under the forest’s canopy, so it’s not unbearably hot either.
Summing up who the monkeys are, and also who we are
The monkeys’ uncanny resemblance to humans, loathe as we are to admit it, probably extends beyond their facial expressions and dexterity. Maybe if our emotions were left unchecked by societal norms, we too would throw things at each other and scream at the drop of a hat. Good thing we out-evolved the apes!
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