One of the most ravishing tours we took in Bali was the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud (beautiful area in the heart of the island). The ride itself announced that something amazing was about to come.
We took a taksi in Kuta, in the south of Bali, and headed to Mount Batur. It was very far to go by scooter (about 40 km of mountains and curves), and besides it was a cloudy day with rainfall forecast. We negotiated an affordable price with a taksi driver who was willing to spend the day with us, making stops wherever we wanted.
We drove through the chaos of Kuta and the capital Denpasar, with the architecture of the marvelous temples mixed with the maddening traffic noise, the millions of motorbikes coming from and going everywhere (sidewalks, median strips, red lights), the dirt of the streets, the offerings all around.
Not far away from the center of Denpasar, the green of the rain forest started to appear among the bigger terrains, the wider streets, the banana trees and creeks creating a passage from urban to rural. It did not take long to reach the first artistic villages. Painting, sculpture in wood, rock, bamboo, silver, dancing… hard to describe the charm of these places where the art meets the forest.
Next surprise: terraced rice paddies. Taking advantage of the mountainous topography, people from Bali – as well as other Asian peoples – cultivate rice in paddies carved out of the mountains by hand. It helps decrease erosion and surface runoff, besides making irrigation easier. All this creates a breathtaking view.
So, after all these unexpected gifts, we arrived in SACRED MONKEY FOREST in Padangtegal, Ubud. Really inspiring, mystical and charming.
Rainforest, dense and with lots of green, paved paths for pedestrians who must respect them (right at the beginning people are told not to invade the monkeys area, they might become aggressive in case it happens). It is an ecological reserve where 300 long-tailed maquaques live freely and in harmony with the visitors.
The sanctuary has 3 temples, built in the second half of the 14th century, during the Pejeng dynasty.
According to the Hindu-Balinese philosophy, peace and liberty are obtained only when we respect and observe three harmonious relationships known as the Tri-Hita Karana Doctrine: 1) the Gods blessed life and created nature and everything that belongs to it; 2) nature provides subsistence and nourishment to human activities; 3) human beings have the obligation to establish traditional artistic villages, to build temples of worship, to make daily offerings, to preserve nature and to solve problems together.
Indeed, during the walk through the forest, you feel indescribable peace, and the balance among nature, animals and humans is impressive, a case study for researchers worldwide.
We spent a few hours there with a feeling of awe, doing trails and playing with the monkeys. We lost track of time, we would have stayed longer if it were possible. They are playful, they scratch, clean their nails and pick lice. They sit down and drowse off, they walk all over you if you let them. We saw a group of monkeys playing in a lake, jumping into the water from the trees and swimming like kids.
Preparando oferendas no mercado publico de Denpasar – Preparing offerings at he public market of Denpasar