I ventured down into the heart of Monkey Forest Street and I found what I had gone there for, the Sacred Monkey Forest. Tourists littered the sidewalks and cars trying to park and leave the parking lot held up traffic. Trying to cross the street to the entrance I almost got hit by many a vespa.
I made it to the entrance, where near by there was a sign that explained how the Monkey Forest was a free range monkey sanctuary, it was their home and it was not to be damaged. I entered, at the small price of 30,000 rupiahs or $3.
When you enter the Monkey Forest a quiet follows you in. The sounds of the bustling city don’t seem to penetrate the foliage, even though the forest is in the middle of the city. Everything is paved, but the forest is green and lush around the pathways. Monkeys do really roam free everywhere. Some are more docile than others.
I made my way towards a few stairs which led off into the middle of the jungle. It’s interesting how they can keep a jungle lush and alive in the midst of a city. I walked across a beautiful bridge with gorgeous statues at one end. There was a small temple there and, as most temples, was closed apart from scared ceremonies. I continued to follow the path and found myself looking into the eyes of two stone reptiles, large and beautiful, perched over a small stream of water.
Then, heading back towards the main pond, I took another path that led me to the Sacred Monkey Temple. It stood proud and solemn on the edge of the jungle. It was by far the largest temple I had yet to see and the intricate stone carvings that made up the structure were impressive to say the least.
I took another path that led me further into the jungle and as I progressed it looked as if I was deep in the heart of the jungle, when really I was technically still inside a city.
I followed this path and the monkeys were everywhere around me, in the trees and running along the path. Some were lounging, others were jumping from branches above me, some where brawling with one another, and others were slowly walking the trail. I walked to the end of the trail and turned to make my way back, a little ways in I saw a mother with her baby clung to her chest. I bent down close to take a picture, which I got, but as the infant noticed me he let go of his mother, walked up to me and held my fingers. He was so sweet and curious. I almost went to pet him when I felt something pushing on my backpack.
An adolescent monkey was posed, ready to jump up on me. I stood up and the baby scurried to his mother, while the adolescent looked intrigued. I watched him and he made to jump up on me. I quickly blocked him with my foot and he hit it, dumbfounded as to what had happened. He gave me an angry look and was about to try again when I began to walk away. The cheeky monkey was angry and began to stalk me down the path. He wanted something on my pack, one of my pins I suspect. I feared this may result in me being bitten and subsequently having to get a rabies shot. Luckily, a french couple walked right between me and the angry monkey, severing his attention. The adolescent monkey jumped onto the french girl’s backpack. While I felt bad for her, I was relieved that I had avoided a monkey bite.
At this point I felt that it was likely time to stop pushing my luck and get out of the Monkey Forest. I headed back towards the entrance and as I did I was able to capture a few more precious monkey moments on camera. I caught a couple of mothers with their infants clinging to her, two infants wrestling through the leaves, and an over-indulged elderly monkey chowing down on a pile of yams.