Sacred Monkey Forest

Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. IndonesiaIn central Bali near the town of Ubud lie three 11th-century Balinese Hindu temples on 27 acres dedicated to (again) monkeys. Around 600 of these sassy simians, otherwise known as Balinese macaques, live in two distinct troops known as matrilines. Like any group of animals that compete for limited land and resources there are sometimes conflicts but for the most part they manage to coexist peacefully. As with their human cousins, it is not uncommon for some of the male macaques to wander between matrilines in attempt to find mates.

Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. IndonesiaAlso like in human societies, parenting styles range from highly permissive to very protective with mothers bearing most of the burden. It is however not uncommon to see females caring for unrelated young and occasionally adult males will take on some of the responsibility. The brochure for Monkey Forest Sanctuary says, “Both males and females, have set of dominance relationship, but they are not always clear and consistent [Sic].” This puzzling sentence is cryptic enough that, in my experience anyway, it also could be used to define human relationships.

Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. IndonesiaA visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest, known in Balinese as “Mandala Suci Wenara Wana”, would be pleasant even without the monkeys (although the name would be a little weird). Over 155 species of trees shade wide pathways and clear, fast running streams flow through the preserve. The sites contains three mossy, fern covered temples are at once mysterious and inviting. Birds and butterflies flitter through shafts of sunlight and the music of cicadas fills the air.

Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. IndonesiaIn addition to the macaques watching the humans is pretty fun too. There are signs saying, “Don’t Feed the Monkeys” at the entrances and entrepreneurial banana vendors selling monkey snacks right next to them. It is comical to watch as people take fruit out of their bags and the monkeys, sensing a treasure, start climbing up their backs and onto their heads as the visitors attempt to raise the bananas out of reach.

Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. Indonesia

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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