When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


Bali - Part III: The Elephant Safari Park and Monkey Forest

We took several day trips.  Thankfully, the hotel had a car big enough to transport our family together.  One day we visited the Elephant Safari Park.  It is a sanctuary for rescued Sumatran elephants whose homes are being destroyed by slash-and-burn farming.  We were able to ride the elephants, feed them, watch demonstrations (the kids especially enjoyed the elephants playing soccer and painting),  and eat a delicious lunch.

Then there was there was the Monkey Forest.  Cuh-razy.  According to Wikipedia, as of 2011, there were over 600 monkeys inhabiting this forest.  Yeah, kind of wish I knew that before we went.  Actually, our first visit there was quite nice.  It was the late afternoon.  The hotel dropped us off in the middle of downtown Ubud, and we walked and walked and walked to get to this forest.  The concierge at the hotel warned us not to feed the monkeys, as they can scratch, but when we got there and saw just how cute they were, and how there was a banana stand just outside the entrance, and other people were feeding them, well, we just couldn't resist.  And it was fun!  How many times in your life will you be surrounded by wild monkeys and be able to feed them?  Too bad Jack was asleep in the stroller the entire time.  He missed it all!  We decided we just had to go back.  

1st visit: Happy kids
Sleeping Jack

Sweet, docile monkey

We decided to return on a different day, early in the morning when Jack would be wide awake.  Early in the morning…Do you know what monkeys are early in the morning?  Hungry!  Hungry, aggressive little monsters.  We were swarmed.  It was bad.  The minute the bananas were in my hands, monkeys began to jump on my shoulders.  Poor Caleb was in the carrier on my back and had monkey butt in his face.  My shorts were all muddy from their paws.  It was nuts.  The kids just threw the bananas at charging monkeys.  Jack was screaming.  Ah, the stuff memories are made of, right?  Oh, but it gets better.  Aaron thinks we should leave, but I whine that we just arrived, and there were cute baby monkeys to see, and ancient temples to explore, and besides I'm sure it's safe now that we don't have anything they want.  Yeah.  Well, I guess we did have something they wanted.  Turns out untrained monkeys can actually work a zipper.  As in the zipper on the backpack that is hanging off the stroller.  One really big guy unzips the pack, steals Caleb's bottle, and pops it in his mouth.

"Hey!" I shouted angrily, instinctively taking a step toward him.  Um, did I really plan to arm wrestle this giant monkey for a baby bottle?  With a baby strapped on my back?  Did I mention monkeys have claws and fangs and diseases.

Each time I retell the story this monkey gets bigger.  Let's just call him an ape, shall we?  So this big ape gets up on two legs, shows me his fangs, and lunges at me.  He swipes as I run away (backward - so I can keep an eye on him).  The whole thing lasted only a few seconds, but even writing about it now makes my heart race.  Needless to say, we decided we had seen enough monkeys for one day (or lifetime) and practically jogged out of that park.  There is a reason people don't feed wild animals, kids.  Lesson learned.

2nd visit:

My first visitor

Baby monkeys I just had to see

Monkey temple

More monkeys (I know, I know.  Enough already.)

Okay, just one more...


  1. The elephants sound like so much fun! After reading about your monkey experience I may never feed another animal...ever.