A Tale Of Ubud’s Monkey Forest
Before you read on we just want to say that this post isn’t meant to put anyone off going to Monkey-Forest-Ubud.
It’s just our personal experience and in no way reflects what normally happens there.
Do your research. Make your own minds up and enjoy it if you decide to visit.
We spent a month in Ubud, Bali and we knew all about the tourist attraction of Money Forest.
In fact we’d heard some nasty stories about the monkeys there and didn’t plan on visiting the forest at all.
But then we had some friends who visited with their young children and they loved it and had a really good experience there, so much so they went back a second time.
So one day Sue and Annabel went out while I stayed at our villa working online.
The day passed by and later in the afternoon they arrived back at the villa looking rather dismayed.
Annabel came to me and told me that Sue had been bitten by a monkey.
I didn’t believe her at first, thinking it was just a prank.
That was until I saw the bites on her hand.
While out Sue had decided that as our friends had such a lovely time in the forest, a visit would be fine.
So off they went to Monkey Forest which is situated near Ubud town.
Lets get one thing straight here.
We knew all the things not to do around monkeys and Sue was very careful.
No food to be carried
Don’t tease the monkeys
Don’t go near them
Etc etc etc
She had a camera and a small bag with her.
While walking she saw a mother and baby on a wall and took a photo of them from a distance.
The female decided for what ever reason to jump at Sue and landed on her back.
Sue tried to keep calm but the monkey went down her arm and bit her hand not once but three times.
There were no rangers around to help and to make matters worse ( this is while Sue is being bitten ) a women even asked if she could take a picture of Sue with the monkey on her.
Finally the monkey jumped off but not before giving Sue three nasty bites on her hand.
So there I am listening to what happened in the forest and I’m panicking and just saying to Sue she has to get rabies shots.
Now the monkeys in the forest are supposed to be regularly checked for rabies but as anyone will know there would be nothing stopping one of the monkeys getting bitten by an infected creature, most probably a bat and getting the infection.
So what to do?
Luckily the owners of the villa we were renting came to our rescue and drove us to a clinic in town to see the doctor.
The wounds were cleaned ( which Sue had done immediately after getting bitten ) properly.
The doctor said that monkey bites are very common and that Sue would definitely need the anti rabies shots straight away.
These are the same shots as you would have to protect yourself against rabies but by having four of course it’s a much bigger dose.
This takes the form of one shot in each arm on day one.
One shot one week later and another shot two weeks after that.
The shots are actually pretty expensive in Ubud compared to other places but there was no option.
The other thing to realise is that Indonesia doesn’t carry Rabies Immune Globulin which is the other drug that should be administered after a bite.
You know those days where something happens and you just can’t quite believe it’s all going on.
This was definitely one of those days.
It creates antibodies to fight off the infection before the anti rabies drug takes effect after a few days.
The nearest place to Java that would have the RIG drug would be Singapore.
So that would mean obviously flying to Singapore and buying the drug which is very very expensive.
We made the decision to just rely on the anti rabies jabs and by the time we could fly to Singapore it would probably be too late for the RIG injection anyway.
We were due to leave Bali a few days later and travel across to Yogyakarta, Java.
With the timings we would need to find a hospital in Surabaya where we were stopping for one night on our way to Yogyakarta to be able to get Sue’s third injection.
Luckily the hospital was near to our hotel and was efficient and modern.
The doctor administered the injection and we paid for the appointment and drug, which was much cheaper than it had been in Bali.
Her final shot was two weeks later in a hospital in Yogyakarta.
Again the process was pretty easy if a little odd.
We had to see the doctor for them to give us a prescription for the drug, then go to a desk where we gave them the pescription, then we had to go to a pay kiosk to pay for the drug before collecting it and taking it to the doctor to administer.
All was well after that and Sue has had no symptoms or side effects.
Rabies can take up to a year or so to show up but all is fine.
This was just our experience and hope it helps other in some way.
Lots of people visit Monkey Forest every year and have no problems but there is a risk as in anything in life.
Doubtless to say we won’t be going anywhere near any monkey forest again.
In fact Sue now has a fear of monkeys.
Remember that they are wild animals even if they look cute they have big sharp teeth.