Robin's Adventures

Tales of the South Pacific
A Tropical Island Adventure

Hiking through the Monkey Forest

There are more than 100 different species of trees in the forest and some are considered sacred. Shrines in Bali are built from the wood of the Majegan trees and the leaves of the Banyan are used in cremation ceremonies. The Pule Bandak, which is believed to contain the spirits of the jungle, is used to carve masks.

We crossed over a stone bridge designed to look like a dragon and came across a pond filled with large koi.

Monkey Forest Hindu Temples and Batcave

Within the monkey forest, there are three Hindu temples which were built in the mid 14th century. The temples are still in use by people in the local community.

We also saw large numbers of Indonesian short-nosed fruit bats roosting from the ceiling of a large pavilion located in the monkey forest.

The bats, which are active at night, fly more than a mile to find fruiting trees, such as mangoes and figs. These bats use their sense of smell and their large eyes to find their food because, unlike many other bats, they do not echo locate.

Mischievous Monkeys

The monkey forest is home to about 700 macaques or Balinese long-tailed monkeys. They can be very mischievous and we were warned not to bring hats, sunglasses, keys, or food into the park. The monkeys are not shy about reaching into your pocket or unzipping your backpack to look for food or other items of interest.

The monkeys are fed sweet potatoes three times a day as well as bananas, papaya leaves, and other local fruits.

More Mischievous Monkeys

The tail of the Balinese long-tailed macaque is usually longer than the length of the animal's body and is useful in helping the monkey keep its balance as it jumps from branch to branch among the trees. These monkeys can jump distances of about 16 feet as they rapidly move through the forest.

Macaques sleep in trees with small social groups sharing a single tree and often huddling together for warmth.

Puri Lukisan Museum

The Puri Lukisan Museum, which is the oldest art museum in Bali, had a wonderful collection of paintings and woodcarvings in traditional Balinese styles.

The museum building, which was looked like a traditional Balinese temple, was surrounded by beautiful grounds with walking paths between the trees. We noticed a beautiful fan palm and several trees with interesting patterns of surface roots.

We stopped for a cold drink in the cafe and enjoyed the music of a traditional Indonesian gambang, which is a bamboo xylophone type of instrument.

Pura Besakih Temple

The Pura Besakih Temple, which is located on the slopes of the active volcano Mount Agung, is considered to be the largest and most holy of Hindu temples in Bali.

The temple complex, which actually contains 23 separate temples, is built on six terraced levels going up the side of the mountain.

After climbing a long stairway, surrounded by a terraced garden, we entered the temple through the candi bentar, or split gateway.

More Pura Besakih Temple

The traditional pelinggih meru, or meru towers, created a breathtaking skyline as we wandered through the temple complex.

The towers, which have a stone base, a small wooden chamber, and many levels of thatched roofs, represent the sacred mountain which, according to Hindu belief, is the center of the spiritual universe.

There are always an odd number of tiers and the number of tiers on a tower corresponds to the status of the deity to whom the shrine is dedicated. A small meru contains only three tiers, while the largest have eleven tiers.

Still More Pura Besakih Temple

The last major eruption of Mount Agung, in 1963, blew off the top 400 feet of the mountain and spewed lava and gas that killed more than 1,700 people.

The lava flow narrowly missed the temple and this miracle is regarded by the people of Bali as a sign of the importance of the temple.

Small Wonders at Pura Besakih Temple

While wandering through the temple, we came across a beautiful butterfly as well as some Golden Silk Orb-Weaver spiders. The webs of the spiders were truly golden in color and were very large and elaborately spun.

Using Your Head

It is a common practice among women in Bali to carry objects on their head. Sometimes a hat is worn or a rag is used to provide a flat surface on top of the head, but the people we saw carrying objects this way all appeared to do it very naturally with little thought or effort. It is an impressive skill.