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Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

Austin, Texas
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51 posts
83 reviews
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Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

I posted this message on the Monkey Forest page, but I wanted to post it here also in hopes that I can be helpful for people in a similar situation in the future.

My husband and I are diligent researchers when we plan our trips, so we had read about the aggressive monkeys at the Monkey Forest. We made extra sure that we didn't even have a piece of gum on us when we arrived and didn't buy any food to feed the monkeys. We bought our ticket to go into the forest, and a monkey immediately ran up my husband's leg and started rustling through his pocket. He went to shoo the monkey away, and it bit him on the knuckle. The monkey ran away, and then came charging back at him, climbed up his body, and bit him on the arm. Then, it attacked me also, running up my body and lunging at my face with its teeth. Luckily, my husband was able to shoo the monkey off me before it bit me, but had he been 10 seconds slower, I surely would've had a chunk taken out of my face.

We were in shock. There were staff in the area when this happened and I was yelling for help, but no one even glanced our way. We went back to the front desk and asked what we should do about the bites, and the staff directed us to the first aid booth nearby.

The staff seemed surprised that the monkey had attacked us when we didn't have food, but they said that the bites were small and wouldn't cause any problems. They cleaned them out and had us sign a log saying we had received treatment; the log was PAGES long! The staff assured us that none of the monkeys had rabies, but we were very skeptical that they would even have this information, since the monkeys were free to come and go from the forest (they were running on the roof of our hotel at night), and there were stray dogs walking around in the forest also.

When we got back to our hotel, we did some research and found that there had been a recent outbreak of rabies in dogs on the island. We also found a study later that night that said that 40% of the visitors to the forest are either bitten or scratched. We talked to the people at our hotel, and they arranged for a doctor to come to our room. The doctor told us that there hadn't been a case reported of rabies being transmitted from a monkey to a human, but she had several rabies vaccinations on hand should we choose to get one. The visit and injection was very affordable ($60 USD total), and the doctor sold us an additional vaccine to take with us should we not be able to find a doctor in the next 2 countries we were visiting to give the remaining shots in the series.

Dealing with the rabies shots was very scary and confusing, and I would be happy to share any information that might be helpful to someone in a similar situation. Please feel free to send me a private message and I would be happy to help. After Ubud, we got shots in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

Anyways, I gave the Monkey Forest 2 stars because it was really beautiful when we went in. However, we saw monkeys jumping on and scratching NUMEROUS visitors, mostly children. The monkeys were chasing the children, running up them, and sometimes took things from them (ie. hats). Kids were crying, people had scratch marks on their arms, necks, and backs, and the staff didn't seem to be paying any attention. I would NEVER bring a child there, and I would recommend visiting ONLY if you are very, very cautious, and wearing long sleeves. Be VERY, VERY careful if you choose to visit!

south yorkshire
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85 posts
35 reviews
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1. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

I'm really sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience but I would just like to share my experiences with everyone in an attempt to reassure some people who may be rather alarmed by your post.

My family & I have been visiting Bali now for the past 6 years and we always visit the Monkey Forest when in Ubud as we find the forest area and its temples to be a magical place. We have never been attacked or chased by any of the monkeys. We have a healthy respect for the monkeys and, whilst enjoying seeing their interactions, do appreciate them as 'free' wild animals. I am always a bit saddened by some people who like to tease them with food and, quite frankly, treat them like a sideshow.

I have seen a monkey bite but only when teased or had food deliberately hidden & I have never seen them be as aggresive as you have described. I am not suggesting for one moment that you or your husband goaded the monkeys at all - I am just sharing the experiences of myself and my family. After all, we should remember that they are wild animals & we are entering into their habitat so we should not be surprised if they do not all behave in a domesticated fashion. I suppose the sad thing is that we humans are in some way to blame for their behaviour - by giving food for that 'cute' picture they then expect everyone to give them food & so should we then be surprised when one is 'angry' if we do not offer any titbits?

Sorry - philosophical rant over!

Hope the experience hasn't put you off Bali.

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12,777 posts
31 reviews
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2. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

I avoid the monkeys at this Monkey Forest at all costs and have done so for 5 years. I think their behaviour has gotten worse and they scare the bejeesus out of me . :)

Ipswich, Australia
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63 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

I was planning a visit to the Monkey Forest but am very uncertain now. Would love to hear from other members experience who have visited the forest.

Brisbane, Australia
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3,494 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

We walked through the monkey forest several times a day just recently and never had any incidents. If one came a little too close I would use my handbag to gently dissuade it, but they were not aggressive towards me. We even fed them all our left over friut on the last day and had quite a few monkeys arround us, but none acted aggressively. One monther monkey even stayed right beside me whilst she ate, as she seemed to feel safe with me shooing the others away.

I have heard many stories like the one above, and witnessed people just being silly with the monkeys (not directed at you suprchick), but have usually found the monkeys to be fairly quiet, as long as you are quiet with them and back away if they show any dominance.

Suprchick, you have had a bad experience through no fault of your own, but I guess these monkeys are wild and will occasionally do something unexpected.

Sydney Australia
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1,760 posts
29 reviews
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5. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

I agree with Linda52 I have noticed a huge difference in the monkeys behaviour over the last the few years. They are like spoilt brats used to doing whatever they want.

I do always get dragged in there as my hubby and daughter love it but I'm terrified the whole time. Mostly I'm freaking out about the thought of the kids having to have all those needles!

Last trip I tried as hard as I could to talk them out of it but our friends had never been and wanted to look around. I only went to keep an eye on my own kids. One of the kids had a huge monkey lunge at her on the way out, she hadn't even looked at it side ways, so it wasn't provoked in any way.

What that saying..."it's all fun and games until someone looses an eye" We have had a couple of very close calls and next trip we won't be going back.

Give it a miss unless the thought of all those needles doesn't worry you.

Austin, Texas
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51 posts
83 reviews
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6. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

Fabholslover - My husband and I literally paid for our admission and started to walk down the entrance path when we were attacked. There was a lady selling bananas near the ticket booth, so maybe the monkey thought we had bought bananas? Who knows. But I definitely agree with your view that humans are to blame for the monkeys' aggressive behavior, especially after reading the study that said that 40% of the visitors to the forest are either bitten or scratched. It is very sad that people think it's funny to tease the monkeys; at one point, I found myself scolding a stranger for doing so! And for the rest of our trip around SE Asia, my husband showed his bite to tourists who were taunting the monkeys, and reminded them that they were playing with wild animals. I think our monkey bite story definitely made some tourists think twice about what they were doing!

Mysticwosuum - The Monkey Forest is very beautiful. The reason why I posted my experience was to warn people to be very cautious, and to help people who needed information about rabies shots. After the attack, we decided to give the forest another try, and we had no problems that time. We stayed near park staff at all times, we steered clear of monkeys who were being aggressive with people, and we stayed away from people who had food. I would also recommend wearing long sleeves and completely emptying your pockets ahead of time.

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528 posts
40 reviews
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7. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

There is no way I would being taking small children anywhere near the place. Monkeys are unpredictable and carry potentially nasty viruses. Why risk it?

Bunbury, Australia
3 posts
1 review
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8. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

I am suprised after that experience you were willing to give it another try.

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366 posts
18 reviews
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9. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

I agree with Linda. These monkeys should be left to roam on there own and not to have human contact. You cannot blame the monkeys. We are the ones at fault. I have never visited the Monkey Forest firstly because I'am scared of them and I dont think we have the right to intrude on them. I think anyone especially families with children should think twice about visiting here. Thats just my opinion and everyone has the right to make up there own decision as to whether to visit the monkey forest or not.

Newcastle, Australia
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339 posts
29 reviews
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10. Re: Bit by a monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest

Last year we had a visit to the monkey forest with our children, and while i would say it was a most beautiful place my quiet, sweet 6yo daughter was bitten by a monkey, totally unprovoked and standing next to her 6ft2 dad at the time.

i agree with the above, it is a shame that people tease and taunt the wonderful animals to the point that they are behaving this way.

But i must say i visited here over 20 years ago and while there were no biting incidents they did go through your pockets and take hats and food even back then.

I would return but i guess u do need to take care and stay near the guides.

It really was a beautiful place.