Finally I am pretty busy with a creative project (coming soon!), but still can’t stop myself from exploring — in particular, exploring monkeys!
Almost unbelievable for me that in Bali you should go somewhere and pay to see monkeys — to compare with India, where they are a lot! But this is good, at least I don’t need to stay with my clothes while they are drying to protect from monkeys (hello, Varanasi!).
My very first visit to monkey forest of Ubud (of course, I start from the most popular) was in rainy day back in March 2014. A monkey jumped on me for a banana, scratched my chest, came in my bag to grab all the stuff, and finally bited me — not to the blood, but the bruise became my companion for long weeks! Never again, I decided. Of course, never say never: I want to show mr. Cat the nice stone stairs and pounds and a river in Ubud Monkey Forest.
Yes, I showed him, and sure he was impressed: it took us nearly 1,5 hours one way from Kuta because of traffic (Galungan days), and the place was so crowded with tourists that for all photos in nice places we were waiting in line!
That was an adventure, truly! But now it’s high season, and, after all, Ubud’s Monkey Forest is in Ubud. Which is overcrowded itself thanks for «Eat. Pray. Love». Grrr!
Sangeh Monkey Forest is just a little bit outside of Ubud’s touristic area, and, moreover, it was the first monkey forest opened for tourists, but it is completely different. Yes, it is smaller — just 13 ha, and by foot it takes only near 1 hour around with all stops. But it is quiet, and have the feel of sacred place (still). It also has some history background: the place was announced a sacred in 17 century by Raja (king) Mengwi, who built here the temple Pura Bukit Sari Sangeh.
The huge nutmeg trees are very impressive, and their crowns make you feel a small guest in a giant’s palace. The untouched temple still decorated with the statues from the foundation ages.
And the monkeys. They are, first of all, much calmer — maybe because of the forest atmosphere, maybe just because they are not so many. And some of them can jump on you and play — but with the supervision of forest staff. My impression of this guy was that they are also more accurate: he jumped to me from mr. Cat’s shoulder (2 meters!), and didn’t hurt at all.
In Sangeh, unfortunately, there is no nice river with mossy stone path nor pounds. But the atmosphere of calmness and tranquility makes me more happy after visit to this place 🙂
The last but not the least — admission fees! Ubud’s Monkey Forest costs 30 000 per person, Sangeh — 15 000.
If you choose, my advise would be for Sangeh, if you look for a calm and special place and are a little bit afraid of monkeys, and for Unud, if you look for action (not always safe) around you and don’t mind too touristic place! Enjoy!