As the centre of traditional Balinese Art and Craft, along with its famous lush greeneries all around, there is no wonder if Ubud has been –and will always be– one of the main tourist destinations in the island. The green (and yellow when it’s near harvest time) paddy fields and cool, clean air just adds to the already long list of reasons to visit the area. You might have heard your friends mention the area during your weekend meet-ups and have finally get the chance to go there yourself.
The town of Ubud, in the uplands of Bali, Indonesia, is known as a center for traditional crafts and dance. The surrounding Ubud District’s rainforest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines, are among Bali’s most famous landscapes. Ancient holy sites include the intricately carved Goa Gajah (“Elephant Cave”) and Gunung Kawi, with its rock-cut shrines. Ubud is home to around 75,000 people and host more than 3,000,000 tourists from around the world each year. If you are one of them, then it’s the right article for you.
Ubud is, in many ways, the cultural hub of this tiny island we love so much called Bali. Home to one of Bali’s royal families, this traditional country town has royal palaces and ancient temples within its border. It is also where some of the world’s notable artists and collectors have visited and worked in fror years. Among rows of unique little shops selling everything from antiques, woodcarvings, crafts, textiles, paintings to jewellery and exotic art galleries, you can also pick the great outdoors for you to explore.
Don’t forget to join a tripto local villages like Campuhan, Peliatan, Penestanan and Batuan shere you can see the locals making and selling authentic Balinese crafts.
If you are more of a nature person, fear not; you won’t be bored since the area is packed with acres and acres of paddy fields and forest as it is home to the famous Ubud Monkey Forest; home for hundreds of monkeys (600, to be exact) that are divided into 6 groups scattered around the area where you can see and interact with the intelligent primates in a relatively safe environment. Although there is no record of Rabies outspread in Ubud Monkey Forest, it is still a good idea to come prepared and have the knowledge on how to stay away from rabies in Ubud Monkey Forest.
Now, what exactly can you see in Ubud Monkey Forest? Well, aside from their indigenous Balinese Long Tail Macaques or Macaca Fascicularis in Latin, there are three temples that you can see within the 30.8 acres vicinity: Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal where the local worships Lord Shiva, the Water Temple to worship the Goddess Gangga, and the Cremation Temple in which they worship Lord Brahma Prajapati. Visitors are allowed to see all three temples from the outside but are not allowed to enter as they are exclusively for local Balinese prayers only. If you are interested in Biology and Plants, there is also an old Banyan Tree that is over a hundred years old for you to admire.
Okay, okay, you might ask how much more time will be wasted before we get to the tips for how to stay away from Rabies in Ubud Monkey Forest. Well, first of all, you should know that, yes, as a mammal, monkeys are able toget rabies; however, they do not tend to be the source of the virus. Ubud Monkey Forest is in cooperation with the Primate Research Center of Udayana University to make sure that the monkeys are always in excellent health. Furthermore, a research of 14 years conducted by Dr. Agustin Fuentes from the Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, USA, never found any case of Rabies in Balinese monkeys.
That being said, you might still want to take extra measure to make sure you get nothing from Ubud Monkey Forest other than photos and sweet memories. We get it. Being bitten by a wild primate will always bring a certain amount of panic and self-doubt. Even though the management claims that their 600 monkeys are perfectly healthy and there are no case ever recorded in regard of Monkey Rabies, the fact is, there are many case of monkeys biting or scratching visitors. However, you should know that there is a First Aid Clinic to which you’re supposed to go when you get scratched or bitten by a monkey within the Ubud Monkey Forest Area. There they will clean your wound with alcohol and antiseptic cream, giving you time to find a hospital or bigger clinic that offers more serious anti-rabies procedure like Unicare Ubud, for example.
Now, seriously, here are some things you can do to stay away from Rabies in Ubud Monkey Forest
- Don’t come at all. Heheh, just joking. You should totally come; where else would you find a forest full of monkeys that you can take pictures with?
- Speaking of taking pictures, do note that the Ubud Monkey Forest staff will warn you to keep a good distance from the tiny primates during a photo session as they tend to grab, steal, scratch or bite anything that stands too close. Well, funny as they are, they’re still wild monkeys, after all.
- No plastic bags inside the area. Other than helping the Earth, it is also a very wise idea to ditch plastic bags in the car or at the gate. Due to their intelligence, these monkeys have learned that plastic bags usually contain food and will therefore snatch them from your hands. When you don’t let go, monkeys can be triggered to bite your hands.
- Speaking of food, it is best for you to leave any kind of food in your vehicle or eat them before you go inside to avoid tiny, naughty hands ransacking your bag of chips. Just like that bit with plastic bags, these little monkeys will try to snatch away your food and might give you a fresh scratch when you don’t let go.
- Do follow the guidelines issued by Ubud Monkey Forest staff at all times, particularly when it involves interacting with the monkeys. Should you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to ask for help from the staff. Never try to handle any problem regarding a monkey by yourself as it might cause you danger.
- If you do got bitten, immediately go to the on-site clinic to get your wound cleansed and sterilized. This should then be followed by an antiseptic ointment spread over the wound.
- Depending to the animal’s health, it might be necessary for you to find a bigger clinic that facilitates a proper anti-rabies procedures. Our Ubud clinic is just around the corner, assuring you to have adequate time to get healed.
- If you missed your Tetanus shot before, it might be a good idea to get it now since it’s common for animal bites to get infected from Tetanus. Believe us, you don’t want Tetanus to disturb your long-scheduled vacation to this corner of the world. Or should we say the centre of the world? We are located in the equator, anyway.
Now, we hope this how to stay away from Rabies in Ubud Monkey Forest article doesn’t scare you into not going to Ubud Monkey Forest. Honestly, you should. There have never been any Rabies case recorded with Balinese monkeys and we assure you it is a safe place for you to go to, as long as you follow the rules. Also remember to watch your children all the time if you decide to go there with the whole family. Small children are at risk to get bitten because they tend to try playing with baby monkeys, or at least try to do so. This might make mama monkeys think that their babies are in danger and will therefore defend them by proclaiming war with your child. Do keep them at your side at all times to prevent such tragedy. Another tip for you if you are bringing your kids to Ubud Monkey Forest is to bring strollers as it is quite a big area and you might end up having to carry your little ones around if you forgot the strollers.
So those are the tips on how to stay away from rabies in Ubud Monkey Forest for you travellers who are planning to go there. There are also some tips for you expats who live in the island to protect your lovely pets from Rabies, but we’ll talk about that in another article. For a sneak-peak though, it includes vaccinating your pets, keeping them confined, protecting small animals from predators, reporting stray animals to local police (though it may not apply in this country and particularly this island since it’s home to hundreds or thousands of stray dogs and cats), keeping your distance from wild animals, keeping bats out of your home (we do have bats here, so do be careful), and of course, consider getting the anti-rabies vaccine in trustful clinics like our Unicare Ubud Clinic. See you in Ubud!