Bali Travel Page Three

The Enchanted Monkey Forest

All the info here was gleaned from several sources. Any mistakes are mine.

The original text of this page was written in November 1998 and has been edited once or twice since. Photos were updated in 2002.

All photos here have been color corrected. Photos whose names end in "a" have been cropped.

When travelling to another very different country there can be so much new information in ones face that a person has trouble processing, evaluating, and remembering what the heck just happened.

The Enchanted Monkey Forest on the south end of Ubud is the epitome of this phenomena.

South is the most inauspicious of directions according to the Balinese, which is something one can't help but see evidence of when one visits. The area immediately surrounding the Monkey Forest is deserted and neglected for the most part, which in Bali is especially creepy. Within the Monkey forest is a cemetery, a cremation area, and a temple. The temple is referred to as "The Temple of the Dead" by the Lonely Planet guide.

Since the Balinese believe that demons and ghosts walk the earth after midnight, you won't find anybody out after that hour unless they have good reason. Because the area is mostly deserted, it can get rather dark. If you enjoy a good adrenaline rush from being spooked, it is the perfect place visit after midnight.

Although they are pretty cool to look at, the monkeys here are wild, not particularly friendly, and don't do cute tricks.

Outside the Monkey Forest, not 10 feet from a sign which says "Don't Feed the Monkeys!" a vendor will sell you bananas to feed the monkeys, but it isn't a great idea to wander around the place carrying food. The monkeys do not think twice about jumping on a startled tourist to grab food out of their pockets.

If you take a right just before where the monkeys congregate, you go over this bridge to an area with an artificial pond. The serpents have something to do with the turtle that holds up the universe.

Here are some carp in the pond. A great deal of effort and trouble has been taken on most of the statues in the Monkey Forest. Under the water, below the white fish, one can see a fish carved out of stone. See its face?

No doubt, this is a creepy danged place. This statue sits next to the pond. If you look closely you can see water coming out of its trunk, which splashes into the pond.

Since Bali is so small, there is basically not a square foot of land which is not put to use. The hills and mountains are all tiered with rice paddies. Almost all the roads are completely lined with houses or shops. If an area has been left alone there is some good reason. Thus, unlike in the US, it is rare to see an area which has been left to its own devices like this. It gives one maybe a little taste of what the island must have been like a long time ago.

Here we are at the Temple of the Dead. It is deserted and locked up and only opened when there are ceremonies going on, and thus I was not able to get photos of the interior.

The demon statues outside the temple are the most gruesome I saw during my visit. My friend pointed out that several of them resemble illustrations from the traditional Balinese Calendar.

This demon is mostly head. The arch shape on the upper left of the demon is the eyelid for its single eye. It has no nose so directly below is the mouth, with a very long and pointy tongue (maybe a tooth?) curling out. To the very right of where the nose should be is an ear, which looks very much like a flower.

Some of the gargoyles here look less like demons than they do the damned. This crouching figure does not look like it is very happy. Further along there is another gargoyle which is made of two female figures much like this one, except that they are clutching each other and wailing like they are about to be eaten by something horrible.
If you're still reading this page, I can only imagine that you enjoy things like monsters and horror stories. If you do, you should visit.

This statue of Garuda can be found in the first area one comes to when entering the Monkey Forest, and is a "good guy." This statue is unfinished. The lump on its face should be a beak. It stands near the cremation area. Note how the ground behind the statue has been tiered as if for agriculture, but left undeveloped.

One last fish picture from the Enchanted Monkey Forest!

More photos from Bali!
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