Monkey Forest and Elephant Cave

Feeling cultured. 

I slept ok, glad I didn’t have to get up in the night and venture out to the loo. 

I had a bit of a lie in and got up at 10am. I did some research as I lay in bed and got changed into long trousers and a tshirt. I swapped my locked up stuff in to my handbag and put on my bumbag with just a bit of money and my phone. I took off my necklace and left my sunglasses. 

I was ready for Monkey Forest. 

There are lots of horror stories on the internet about being attacked by the monkeys, or having them land on you and bite. I haven’t had the rabies injections and so I really can’t get biten! 

I felt quite nervous and decided to have some breakfast first. I found a funny pirate themed place that had cheap breakfast. I sat on a table at the back, just paddy fields and new houses that were being built in front of me. 

But then it started to rain! Not heavy, but enough to make me move back to be undercover. 

I had poached eggs which came with 1 slice of toast cut into quarters and topped with lettuce, tomato and cucumber. A bit strange but the eggs were good! 

The monkey forest was about a 40 minute walk from the hostel, but with the traffic it probably wouldn’t have been much quicker in a taxi. 

I bought my entrance ticket and followed the small trickle of people going in. 

I felt jumpy and kept my eyes out for monkeys. There were stalls selling bananas and fruit to give to the monkeys, but I knew this is what gets you into trouble with them as they come and take it from you. 

I came to a large open circle where there were lots of people and even more monkeys. The monkeys were moving through the people, looking for fruit or any food. 

One guy had a bunch of bananas and was trying to hide them from quite a large monkey. His girlfriend was telling him to stay away from her. I moved away sharpish. 

The actual forest and pathways were beautiful. They felt old, and if there weren’t loads of monkeys around they would have been so peaceful to walk around. 

I walked down the steps towards a little temple. There were lots of people in front of me and so we walked slowly down, taking photos. A monkey ran past on the floor and then jumped onto the wall of the bridge. 

A guy in front had his hands resting on the wall, and the monkey sat next to him. He moved his hand towards the monkey, so his friend could get a photo. The monkey pounced, grabbing his arm with both hands and then sinking his teeth into his skin. 

To give credit to the man, he didn’t scream or shout as I would have done but managed to calmly move his arm out of the monkeys clutches. As he lifted his arm, the monkey bit him again and then moved further down the wall. 

The guy looked shocked and started talking animatedly to his friend as they went further down the steps. 

The monkey was still on the wall, which meant if I wanted to go further I would have to pass it. 

I was just about to turn around and flee when the monkey jumped down and made his own way down the steps. Phew!

I walked to the bottom where there was a pond with fish in and a small temple that you weren’t allowed in but looked very settled in the forest. All the statues were covered in moss and the temple roof was covered with vines and leaves. It had been accepted by nature.

There was a wooden boardwalk round to the main temple. I started to walk along it but came to a cluster of people and about 5 monkeys that were on the fence. 

People were turning their backs to the monkeys to take selfies, and then one monkey jumped onto the shoulder of a woman. She shrieked slightly and then the monkey jumped onto the head of a boy who was about 8. He thought it was great and laughed, until it bit him on the shoulder and he started to cry. 

The monkey was shooed off him by his mum and it sat on the fence laughing. Actually laughing, with his huge fangs on show. 

Another few monkey then leapt onto a woman, and pulled a banana bunch out of the waist and on her shorts which she had obviously been hiding. The long claws scratched her stomach as they clung on. 

I turned around and walked straight back up the steps away from these monkeys. 

I saw a sign to get to the main temple on a different route and so made my way. It was a wider path and I could keep away from the edges where the monkeys were on the wall and trees.

Again, no one was allowed into the temple so it was just a case of peering over the high wall. There was a lot of gold status and carvings which made it look very ornate and impressive.

All around the edge of the wall were figures of different gods and animals. There were also monkeys, everywhere. 

The humans were so stupid, they would tempt the monkey up onto their shoulder with a banana but then scream when the monkey then wanted to eat the banana. 

I saw an exit and headed straight for it. I was only in there for about 20 minutes but it was long enough!

I consulted Googlemaps to see where I had come out as it was different to where I had gone in. I was 8km away from the hostel. 

I carried on walking thinking I would pick up a taxi enroute. It was a long residential road and it took about 20 minutes to reach the end. 

I checked the map again and then decided I would walk to the Elephant Cave which was 3km away and then get a taxi back from there. 

3km didn’t sound bad, an hour at most and it wasn’t like I had anything else to do. 

What I hadn’t factored in was the pavement-less roads of Bali. At some parts I was walking onthe road with cars, vans and bikes beeping at me. 

At a busy crossroads I had caught up with 2 girls who were following a route on their phone too. I walked behind them, hoping a group of 3 of us was more obvious than just me to the other road users. 

It was nearly 2 hours before we arrived at Goa Gajah, the Elephant Cave. 

A huge stone elephant was positioned at the top of the stairs, but this was the only elephant I saw. 

I knew there weren’t real elephants, but I had thought the cave mouth was supposed to be an elephant. Instead it was more like a gargoyle with an open mouth, rather than a specific animal. 

A guide came over and offered to show me round, I declined at £10 and I’m glad I did.  Apart from the cave which was obvious and only a few metres deep, there wasn’t much else that would need a guide. 

In the centre is a water feature, separated into 3 pools and woman with water coming out of the pots they are holding on each one. 

I walked up to the Buddhist Temple and received a blessing from the lady with a flower behind my ear and rice on my forehead. 

There were then steps down to a pond and garden, with a huge tree that had roots as tall as my waist. 

There were not many people and so it felt calm and peaceful as it should. I sat by a water hut and just relaxed for a few moments. 

When I left I thought there would be loads of taxis around but I actually had to ask a group of men sitting in the car park. I got a motorbike taxi back which wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be. The driver was young and promised he would go slow with his precious cargo!

Back at the hostel I felt the niggle of a migraine. As I hadn’t eaten since breakfast I guessed my sugar levels were low so I went back to Umah Pizza and wolfed down a bolognaise pizza, caramel bananas and 2 cokes. 

I just had time to wonder back and then it was time for my massage. I had decided that as I had walked instead of taxi earlier I was allowed this massage! Plus I’m not drinking alcohol so saving money there!

The hot stone massage was so good, although near the end my head began to hurt and my face went tense. 

The facial was slightly uncomfortable due to this but I think it helped slightly with my tight jaw. 

I floated out at 7pm and had a shower to wash the chocolate oil off so I wouldn’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes. 

I got into bed early, my alarm set for 1.30am ready to hike up Mount Batur. 

As always because I know I need to sleep, I can’t. My phone keeps buzzing with stupid texts from G and O. 

I want my migraine tablet to kick in to get rid of the headache and also send me to sleep. 

I did a bit better today, when horrible thoughts of him came into my head during the massage I concentrated on my breathing to clear my mind. 

B has landed and is home. Still a few days before G gets home but she’s glad not to be travelling anymore. I always find that once you set off home, however good the trip has been, I just want to get home as soon as possible. 

I am readjusting to solo travel again, although I’ve not yet made any effort to get a new buddy. The people at this hostel all seem to be with people or just happy to be alone.

I’m one of them at the moment, I’m just enjoying exploring by myself, just having a few days of calm. 

I really don’t know if the old Sazzle is there to be found anymore. I just can’t get there. 

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