Uluwatu Monkey Mafia

Our first stop in Bali was towards the Southern tip of the Bukit Peninsula, home to some of Bali’s best beaches and the famous cliff-hanging temple at Uluwatu. Cassie was excited to see the famous monkeys of Bali and it took only one day here to find them. The Uluwatu temple is home to over 400 hundred monkeys who are honored and taken care of by the guides. Because of this they have become very confident and mischievous critters. Upon arrival we put on our customary sarongs and entered the temple grounds. Our guide brought a slingshot along in case any monkeys got aggressive. He also had us remove our sunglasses and hats because they are attracted to an kind of  “bling” (his exact words). Evidence of successfully stolen bling included sandals, bags, and other oddities the the monkeys grabbed and later discarded in the bush. Needless to say we were a little apprehensive when we encountered our first monkey.  We offered him some peanuts to start things on the right foot. Instead he grabbed Matt’s fingers, climbed up his arm and sat on his shoulders, while the guide signaled us to continue on with the tour. I guess the little mate was just looking for a free ride.

Later we encountered the king monkey who reminded us all of Panzo, Cassie and Gabe’s bulldog. He waddled over to us slowly, took a seat, and  grabbed for our peanut offerings one-by-one with both hands. The king was plenty familiar with this ritual. We had our taste of the nasty monkey business when a snide bugger jumped on Gabe’s back and bit his head, then later his finger for a second time. It was a “Charlie bit me” kind of moment, more funny than anything. Luckily no skin was broke, just minor monkey teeth indents.

We learned here that Uluwatu is one of 9 key directional temples and was only in use during the 2 big festivals every year when Hindus come from all over Bali to make offerings to the God of the Sea. And a perfect place to honor this particular God it was. Even more impressive than the temple itself is its location, perched on a steep cliff 70 meters above the Indian ocean waves. It’s worshiped by the surfer Gods as well, with the wave break being some of the best in Bali. A cool place to start the trip.

[Click on any photo to enlarge and view frame by frame]

Categories: Indonesia

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