If you only saw the stones on this guy.
Well ya kinda can.
Peep this pimp macaque just laying there, all but strutting his stuff like a simian cock-of-the-rock (please Google I am not talking porn), laying out like an OG in Bali.
Kelli and I have visited Monkey Forest in Ubud many times. Emphasis on many. But this guy took the taco out of all the monkeys we saw.
The Banana Bandit.
But before we move on to the belligerent Banana Bandit I want to talk Pimp Macaque.
Note the eyes lazily glancing askance, without a care in the world. Definitely a big dawg.
The right arm stabilizes. The left arm appears to be….by the backdoor. Maybe a scratch? Maybe a Simian Message? Who knows, but the mesmerizing macaque monkey, wondering if he could possibly be more chill, calm and at ease, all while the heat and humidity of the faux jungle in Ubud leveled us tourists.
Pimp Macaque is too cool to sweat.
Cooler than the other side of the pillow.
But it’s time to talk about the BB.
Let’s throw it back though….7 years prior….when it all began.
The Banana Bandit
7 years ago we arrived in Bali, setting off our current around the world tour.
Virgin foray into being a full time digital nomad.
Anyway, during our short but sweet 2 week trip to Bali we read about a place called Monkey Forest in Ubud.
One transport aka taxi ride later we noted monkeys chilling in the street beside the forest. We had arrived.
We pay the entrance fee. See a few huge bushels of bananas. Pay for one large bushel.
The video has since been removed from YouTube – aka the channel I ran was mass flagged for some reason, I know not, and of course the channel was taken down – but I had pretty solid video of this international incident. Or, this Monkey Forest Mayhem.
Kelli takes 2 steps inside the park clutching an over sized bushel of bananas. Chiquita on Steroids.
Immediately, a huge male monkey sprinted toward Kelli. She offers the beast one banana. King Kong reaches us in one lightning fast moment and yanks the entire bundle from her, bananas flopping all over the ground as he greedily grabs them all, keeping ’em close to the vest, bolting into the jungle.
The Banana Bandit was at it again.
Note; during repeat visits we saw the same dominant male yanking bananas or even entire bushels from unsuspecting tourists.
If you want a funny and quite harrowing tale of more Monkey Business in Monkey Forest, read this entertaining post by Maria at Nerd Nomads:
Monkey Forest Experience
Monkey Forest is a little slice of jungle in the center of Ubud, the art center of Bali.
Ubud offers a wide range of sensational restaurants, warungs, galleries and spas. Popular tourist spot; although we always rent places in the rice fields about a 15 minute motorbike ride from town center, for some rest and relaxation and jaw-dropping views.
The Macaque monkeys in the forest are semi-tame I mean definitely wild animals accustomed to being around people, and, accustomed to being fed by people. The monkeys are semi-managed by Balinese handlers whom they have bonded with. On some level.
Pay your entrance fee. Walk into the park. Snap shots, record videos or just simply be in the moment, watching mama monkeys, the impossibly cute baby monkeys, males, troop leading males with huge balls and even bigger fangs, and every type of monkey in between.
Understand this; this is an unstable situation. People think of cute little monkeys and do not realize that these are fast, sometimes highly aggressive, territorial, possessive creatures who take what they want, and don’t give it back, flashing fangs and swiping at you in the process.
I cannot lie; I felt more nervous among the dozens of monkeys in Monkey Forest than when I sat with three, 400 pound tigers in Mae Rim, Thailand. You get the feel that the tigers would break your neck and kill you instantly. Split second deal. Split second suffering, then immediate.
Like the female raptor in Jurassic Park….when the monkeys look at you, you can tell, they are working things out. Smart as a whip, lightning fast, clever, bold and daring, you know on a deeper level that these monkeys know how to maim you horribly.
Said evidence of maiming can be seen by anyone who has tried to keep a monkey or chimp as a pet, when said monkey goes literally ape shit, when you see people’s eyes torn out, gonads ripped off and other forms of savagery from close relatives who know how to put us out of commission, for good, without killing us.
Monkey Forrest Tips
- head on a swivel at all times; these seem semi-tame but are wild animals that may seem like they are playing gently, then, all hell breaks loose
- zip up money, jewelry or anything of value; monkeys can and do steal aka take anything not fastened to you, or stowed away, including food, of course
- visit in the early morning to avoid the heat and humidity of Ubud
- bring your camera for some eye-popping shots and videos (but hold it tight!)
- grab a seat on a bench or rock, sit, and observe; watching monkey social behavior, bonding, bickering and grooming is a fascinating experience
- have fun!