A few hundred meters from the Royal Palace is the Sacred Monkey Forest.
One minute you’re walking down an overstimulating commercial thoroughfare, the next you’re in the cool quiet jungle.
But it’s not like it was unexpected… we saw a handful of monkeys in town as we got close, and there was this right outside the gate…
The monkeys are long-tailed macaques, and there are about 600 of them. They can leave any time, but they mostly stay in the reserve: lots of nice trees, no motor scooters, and a steady diet provided three times a day. Sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, etc.
You are warned when you enter to not make eye contact, not to smile at the monkeys, and to remove all your shiny jewelry or the monkeys might steal it.
Mostly, the monkeys seemed way more interested in their own lives than ours… you could instantly see the social hierarchies being played out around the feeding area.
This monkey was posing, minding her own business, and then this happened:
There are several temples inside the reserve, with a lot of cool and/or disturbing sculptures.
All in all I was fascinated and a little creeped out. I kinda want to go back and just observe quietly, maybe next trip.