Photo du Jour: Into the Wild Blue Yonder – Uluwatu Temple, Bali

A Balinese macaque (monkey) sits on a column looking out at the ocean at the Uluwatu Temple.

Perched on a column near Bali’s sacred 11th-century Uluwatu Temple, a wild Balinese Macaque gazes out over the Indian Ocean. This critter’s serene stance could be misleading, however, given the mischievous nature of many of the monkeys on Uluwatu’s scenic grounds.

During our visit last autumn, a monkey commandeered our water bottle (which we’d accidentally dropped) and a protective mother monkey nipped a tourist on the arm when the young woman got too familiar with her baby monkey. Visitors to Uluwatu Temple are strongly encouraged to latch onto their shades, hats and purses, or risk losing them to the playful primates!

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

20 thoughts on “Photo du Jour: Into the Wild Blue Yonder – Uluwatu Temple, Bali

    1. Marianne, I’ve always wanted to go to Gibraltar! I’ll have to search your site for your accounts from your time there. It’s fun and interesting to watch the wild Macaques interacting with the urban environment, isn’t it?

  1. Nice shot, cool silhouette, many years ago my son and I walked to the top of the ‘Rock’ in Gibraltar, after saying to him the Monkeys won’t come near us, one jumped on my backpack, it took me the next hour to calm him down.

    1. Mark, I can see how it was a frightening experience for your son! When I was in the outskirts of Jaipur, India a few years ago, I was carrying a sealed bag containing small bags of treats (nuts and crackers). One of the monkeys decided he wanted them for himself and tried to spirit them from my hand. I’d started the Rabies series before I left home, but since they’d run out of them, I wasn’t technically protected. Fortunately, the monkey only grazed my skin, but I was still a bit shaken. If you make it to Bali anytime soon, your son will probably want to avoid the Monkey Forest in Ubud. We saw monkeys hop atop tourists’ heads while we were there.

    1. Lynne, we really enjoyed the Monkey Forest, though we were careful to guard our accessories. The afternoon we were there, we had fun observing the different generations of Macaques interacting – grooming each other, protecting their delicate babies, and definitely communicating in a language of their own.

      We found it really comical to watch the monkeys that decided to leave the Monkey Forrest — what little tightrope artists they were, climbing on the power lines. :) Other monkeys frustrated the local shopkeepers by sneaking into the trash cans and stealing the bags and crumbs. Visits to the Monkey Forest could easily provide days of entertainment.

      1. I agree. From what we read beforehand, we walked through the Monkey Forest with out earrings and watches, sun glasses and no food in our bags. We made it through with no problems but watched a monkey jump on a man’s head. He was thrilled, however.

  2. We saw monkeys at a temple in Thailand who behaved in exactly the same way. The tourists who had bought nuts to feed to them were being chased by the monkeys when the nuts ran out. It wasn’t pleasant. Monkeys might look cute, but they’re not my favourite animal.!

      1. It was at Wat Tham Sua at Krabi. There was a temple and large reclining Buddha inside a massive cave, and also a cage where a tiger used to be kept. There was also a golden pagoda on top of the mountain in the same place.

      2. Krabi is on the mainland, on the coast of the Andaman Sea. It’s kind of opposite Phuket. We stayed a little out of the town in a gorgeous resort and did some day trips. The best one was to James Bond Island. The limestone formations are simply astounding and the boat trip out to them was unforgettable. We also visited a floating fishing village and a gorgeous garden on that trip.

      3. That sounds quite beautiful! Were there any areas that you can recommend that were a bit remote, and not too touristic?

        James Bond Island sounds really neat, as does the floating fishing village.

    1. From Bali to India, the monkey observations and interactions were some of the highlights of our Asian trip, Rachael. Definitely, the spunky ones in Ubud were some of the most memorable characters.

      …Just another reason for you all to return to Bali. :)

  3. Such a great shot…it belongs on a wall. I have to agree though monkeys in Asia are the cheekiest I’ve come across, I nearly lost my mobile phone to one…never ran so fast in all my life ha!

    1. Jules, oh no! Sometimes comments get sucked into a black hole, and it seems yours did (thus my late reply). Happy to hear that you were able to keep a steady hand on your phone. Which countries were your favorite for monkey spotting in Asia?

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