Written by @Joehairie Photos by curiostraveller.com team members
Thought of the day-“Better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times.”-Asian Proverb
Welcome to Uluwatu Temple where first timers will get to see the monkeys and for repeat visitors, welcome home to their home. While there is another famous location to see some notorious monkeys (Ubud Monkey Forest), Uluwatu Temple does have some ‘clever’ monkeys too. Go and see one for yourself and you will feel like playing ‘Catch Me If You Can’ game with the monkeys, that is if you are not being careful enough. Try catching them to get your sunny back!
We’ve been to Uluwatu Temple quite often already. An activity that is mandatory each time we are in Bali, Indonesia. There’s nothing else new to see here, we’ve seen every inch of this place but we do keep coming back. Each time we both come here, we get to see the monkeys and most are indeed familiar!
Though they all look the same for most people, we both actually able to identify some of them. Our next visit will be in December 2017 and let’s see if the same monkeys are still there. If you are first timer to Uluwatu Temple, your guide will warn you about these monkeys, how aggressive they can be and if you are lucky enough you get to hear some ‘stories’.
Some people regard monkeys, cuties. Some don’t like them. Some wouldn’t mind their presence. Here in Uluwatu Temple, either you like them or not, you need to be a little bit careful but don’t be too paranoid about it. The monkeys just love snatching things from visitors, name it, they surely have snatched it from someone. They love playing ‘Leonardo’, and a little bribe is needed to get the items back.
Uluwatu Temple is definitely one great place to enjoy breathtaking view, feeding your Instagram with lovely pictures. You will most probably be wearing that Sarong which looks beautiful on you but the monkeys might be seeing something else. The monkeys love seeing bling-bling items be it your sunny, small bags, cameras, colorful hair tie and even water bottle!
@Lan was extremely thirsty and had one bottle of his favorite bottled Iced Tea, had half of it already when all the sudden a monkey came from nowhere, snatched it away from him. Seeing same incident for countless times made @Lan stood still, he did nothing to claim his precious bottled water. He understood perfectly the degree of the monkeys naughtiness. He’s aware of the warnings, repeatedly told by the same driver over the years.
Now, that’s one cheap bottled water but what if your expensive Ray Ban sunny being snatched by one of the monkeys at Uluwatu? Relax, get help from any of the staffs around. They will get it back for you, after bribing that monkey with some food. In return, give some little tips to your rescuer, not that I am teaching you to start bribing, but then as a kind of gesture towards his help.
There’s no need to be paranoid after reading all that negative comments about the monkeys in Uluwatu. Monkeys are monkeys. Remember, your driver or guide will warn you before you alight from your transport. He or she will tell what things should be left behind. Ignore the warning(s), you risk loosing some items.
The monkeys at Uluwatu are not the sneakiest animal as claimed in one article, citing Chris Packham’s findings (LINK). It’s their habitat, their place and please do respect that fact. Adhere to the rules/warnings and you will be all right already. Uluwatu temple is a one sacred place. Enjoy that amazing view of Balinese monasteries on towering cliffs along the beautiful rugged coastline.
If you are still not sure about your safety then drag along your guide, get a stick or something and watch your back, always. Ignore the monkeys and you will be perfectly all right. Fancy having your chips? Better give it to the monkeys if they are eagerly looking at you. Our ‘Sunnies‘ were on our head all the time, none of the monkeys dare to come and steal. The reason, we were watching our back all the time.
Our advice to the first timers in Uluwatu Temple, be an observant, obey to the rules and warnings. Respect the culture, the people and the monkeys, you will be ‘respected’ as well. All those funny things happened to foreign tourists and not the locals. Why? Simply because, most foreign visitors thinks that they are much better wandering around with their egos.
Don’t let the monkeys become ‘Leonardo’ otherwise you need to play that “Catch me if you can” game with them. Don’t say we didn’t warn you enough. Seasoned traveller to Bali will surely smile sarcastically as they do understand the content of this article. One more thing, a bonus reminder, if you get to see anything peculiar around any temples, keep quite, ask questions later, not on the spot!