Why I avoided the Uluwatu temple.
My recent trip to Bali was meant to be educational, enlightening me on the many customs of this small and captivating island. Days were spent visiting impressive temples, UNESCO rice fields, and many an evening did we spend watching traditional dance performances. Yet when it was suggested we visit the Uluwatu temple located in south Bali, I couldn’t have been more against the idea.
While the Uluwatu cliff temple looks spectacular, it was online reviews which made me reconsider visiting. Being a little fearful of small monkeys, mostly Macaques monkeys, I was shocked to read that the entrance is surrounded by a forest containing the little creatures. Whilst I can just about manage an impromptu visit to Ubud Monkey Forest, knowing I would have to encounter more monkeys when visiting this pura made me feel sick with dread.
My irrational fear of monkeys is a recent problem that has developed after a long confined bus ride from Tha Khaek in Laos across to Vietnam with a small unleased monkey on board. For the whole duration of the bus ride the monkey was allowed to run amok; jumping on people, going through bags and drinking red bull which made it extra wild. As a result any close encounter with this small species leaves me shaking with fear, wondering what irrational action they might suddenly do.
It was after reading on Tripadvisor that the monkeys at this temple were viscous and into the art of theft that helped me to decide against visiting, regardless of how spectacular the temple and the views had been described. To read multiple entries of monkeys stealing sunglasses, cameras and even shoes made me appalled with the lack of care taken by visitors over their personal possessions… That was until I read that to get your possessions back, caretakers of the monkeys will distract the monkey with fruit, all for a small fee. Whilst the distraction of fruit can be seen as a reward for the monkey, the idea of having to pay to receive your stolen items from men who are meant to be stewarding the monkeys screams SCAM.
Although it would have been nice to visit this temple in person, I do not regret my decision to skip Uluwatu. By missing this temple I avoided a potential close encounter with the local monkeys but also avoided the promotion of this deceitful trade, tricking and mistreating curious tourists.