Monkeys and Le Mayeur

By John Reality, Cambodia, January 2012

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For an excursion that is equal parts chaos and culture, a day trip from up-and-coming Ubud in Bali to the established resort area at Sanur comes highly recommended.

Among the many points of interest worth exploring at the confluence of the 14 tiny villages that make up Ubud, one of the most popular and certainly one of the most stimulating is the so-called Sacred Monkey Forest (Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana). Alternately known as the Ubud Monkey House and the Enchanted Monkey House, this nature reserve and temple complex presents a singular experience for visitors interested in an intensely interactive experience with the community of more than 300 hundred crab-eating macaque monkeys who call it home. A note of caution: If you don’t want to be swarmed by greedy and aggressive primates, take care to conceal any bananas or other snacks you might have on your person, as the monkeys are notorious for scrambling up visitors’ legs and prying into bags and packages in pursuit of food.

Located roughly 20 miles south of Ubud, the town of Sanur has an assortment of spas, resorts, and other tourist attractions. The trip shouldn’t take more than an hour (traffic conditions permitting). Once you’ve made arrangements for your evening’s lodging, make your way to the Museum Le Mayeur for a bit of restorative culture after your encounter with the monkeys. The museum houses more than 90 paintings by the Belgian artist Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpes, as well as a guidebook in English and a collection of historical photographs.

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