I can’t finish this travel series without dedicating one post to animals and Bali monkeys. All of you probably know stories about the Monkey Forest or the Uluwatu Temple complex where Bali monkeys often take sunglasses and cameras from tourists. I told you already that you should buy fruit before taking a walk toward Uluwatu. Monkeys here are believed to be guarding this holy complex, so they are not to be disturbed. You will come across them sitting on the fortified walls, peacefully, waiting to be given a treat.
A similar scene awaits at the Monkey Forest. But have in mind that Bali monkeys live among the lush rainforest trees. While going around the island, we were driving inland up the misty hills. The road was curving up with a dense forest on both sides. At times, it almost seemed like entering one of those white thick clouds. By the time we started worrying about the thick fog, the cloud was clearing before us.
As we approached another curve, there was a small stall. In the middle of nowhere, it seemed. There was nothing else around, at least nothing was to be discerned because of the forest and the fog. Still, the stall was full of small fruit. The guide asked if I would like to feed small Bali monkeys. Those were not the ones circling the famous landmarks, but they came out of the forest expecting some fruit.
As soon as I bought fruit, there were small monkeys all around, cautious and scared at first. But it didn’t take long before they came out more freely, ready to grab anything remotely eatable. They snatched the fruit with such speed that we were hardly able to take any decent photos. But this was a great experience and so much fun, especially for someone coming from Central Europe where the only animals one might encounter by the road are squirrels. And they don’t come out of the rainforest.
Even though I visited the Singapore zoo before arriving in Bali, I was too curious to skip the local one. I just had to see what was there. Even more so when the guide told me that we can take the ride through the zoo in a small glassed bus, driving through the terrains occupied by various animals. So, there were no cages? I just had to see that. And now when I think of the Balinese zoo, the first thing that comes to my mind is one huge ostrich running like crazy – chasing our cart. What a site and a story to tell!
Anyway, this really was a good idea. If you are traveling with children, this would be the right choice for you. It takes less than an hour for the small glassy bus to do the route, but you will be able to visit the white tiger’s section and even cuddle one. Such a huge animal with such soft fur! The one I approached was sleepy, and resting, and I tried to be as quiet as possible. Who could even imagine that this animal can be dangerous and even deadly when hungry, when it was so cuddly, purring like a kitten.
And so, our small bus took off, up the hills and down through ponds where hippos were resting. The lovely part was that you could actually take a glance at them through the window, even though they were inside the pond. The vehicle slowed down when we passed the herd of buffaloes or wild goats. And then, there it was! An ostrich was running behind our small bus. It went faster and faster. By the time our driver speeded up the bus, it got very close.
“Don’t worry, her eggs just hatched and, like any other good parent, she has to protect its offspring” our driver said.
Oh my, wait till I get home and tell the story!
This was also the place where I took the elephant ride for the first time. She was funny because she was walking astray all the time, trying to eat the greenery by the pathway.
“Oh, she’s just a teenager, a spirited girl, hope you don’t mind. Sometimes I think that she does that just to defy me”, the guy who took care of the elephant said. I found it so cute since he wasn’t trying to force her but rather, it was like they had a “family fight”.
Python at Tanah Lot
And one more thing I did here for the first time when it comes to fauna. It was during our visit to the Tanah Lot Temple. While strolling around after a priest gave me a blessing at the shrine, and while admiring the lavish vegetation all around, I saw – a python. A real, big, scary python! There was a guy next to the snake saying I could hold the python for a while.
I never thought of pythons or snakes of any kind, and neither was I thinking about holding one, ever! But when I saw this, it made me wonder. I know, I know, so touristy of me. But hey, the only time I saw the actual python is at the zoo, through the glass window.
My guide was speaking to the guy and tried to reassure me, “not to worry”, “it won’t take more than five minutes”, and “he’s going to take a quick photo” and that would be it. Well, why not, this was a perfect opportunity to do something like this. It’s not like pythons are crawling the streets of Serbia, luckily.
So, the guy helped me with putting the snake around my neck. It was heavy! They said about 50 kilos. I took its neck in one hand and the tail in the other. The guide took my camera, I tried to smile for a photo but it seemed like it was taking forever.
“Hey, would you please hurry,” I said.
He was smiling, saying that “the lighting was not perfect for the picture”. He took one, but then said he would have to do it again because I didn’t smile. It went on and on for a couple of minutes that seemed like 15 to me. And then the snake moved! Its body curled, all cold and heavy, it gave me the chills. My guide noticed how serious I got and started to laugh:
“Don’t worry, Danijela, it got its meal earlier, it’s not hungry!”
Oh, I started laughing myself. What a crazy experience! I was holding the huge snake around my neck, but luckily it wasn’t hungry. That sounded so surreal.
Just like my whole Balinese journey. Surreal and so memorable!
The full Bali SERIES