Friday, July 27, 2012

Bali: Attacked by a monkey in the Monkey Forest in Ubud

Right before I got bit by a monkey in the monkey forest in Ubud and had to get rabies treatment.

Monkey friend.
  One second a monkey was eating a banana and hanging out on my shoulder, and the next I was being bitten by a jealous hairy onlooker. Don't go to the monkey forest! As I sit cuddled up on the couch in Perth, Australia today after just being injected with my first shot of post exposure rabies treatment I am still shocked to say the least. On Monday morning, my last day in Ubud, I got dropped off by my guest house owner at the Monkey Forest a mere 5 minute drive from his house. He smiled and waved goodbye to me as I made sure to be back at the entrance in 40 minutes to catch a ride from him over to Sanur to stay with my friends family.
   After paying the entrance fee and walking past the women selling bananas I spotted my first monkey within a minute. Tons of foreigners were in the park as it serves as one of Bali's biggest tourist attraction. I took some photos of the monkeys and watched as the other foreigners fed them bananas and admired them in awe. The monkeys were walking right up to us and hopping on peoples heads hanging out as they curiously climbed up your body.
    A sweet girl from the States offered me a small piece of her banana and mentioned to me that she had the same camera as I did. She offered to take a video of me while I fed the monkey and only 20 seconds later I was attacked. The cute monkey I was feeding sat on my shoulder and climbed around my head. He was getting alot of attention. And then, out of no where, a monkey that had been standing nearby jumped towards me and before I knew it there was blood pouring from my leg. Everyone in the forest was shocked and I casually wiped off the cut and walked through the forest for my remaining 20 minutes knowing there was nothing to do until Danu my friend and driver came back. None of the nearby "monkey staff" seemed concerned about my bite and they simply told me to wash it off.
Monkeys eating breakfast.
    I took out some anti bacterial spray and my Neosporin ointment and patched up my leg. When Danu arrived he laughed and told me not to worry, that all of the monkeys in Ubud get vaccinated for rabies every 6-12 months and that he had also been bitten before. No one in the park that I talked to seemed worried and I got in the car and started my relaxing beach vacation in Sanur. By Thursday afternoon, I had wireless access in an internet cafe with my girlfriend and I started researching the monkey bites. Several people said not to worry and that it would be extremely rare for a monkey in Ubud to have rabies. Over precautionary people did get treatment, but they strongly advised not seeking treatment in the hospitals in Bali where the vaccinations are in low supply and are extremely expensive. Knowing that I was flying to Perth, Australia at midnight on Thursday night gave me a little piece of mind. But I started getting anxiety at the airport where I broke down and bought a giant chocolate croissant and 10 doughnut holes from Dunkin Doughnuts thinking to myself "Well if I'm going to die from rabies, I might as well enjoy the little time I have left!"
In shock in Australia as I received my first rabies shot of 5. 
     I landed in Perth at 4:10 am this morning and was greeted by my best friend from college and her boyfriend. Jillian and Marko were thrilled to see me and there were many tears shed at the airport. And then the monkey bite news was shared. We went home and napped and before work Jillian helped me contact a hospital and made an appointment for me to get checked out.
Baby monkeys. 
     Once at the hospital the doctor explained to me the very low probability that the monkey was infected, although it was still a possibility as there was an extreme outbreak of rabies in 2010 that killed over 100 Indonesians. However, there has never been one rabies case reported from a monkey bite among any foreigners and the rabies was rabid in dogs throughout Bali although monkeys could still be a carrier. After contacting 2 doctors and the Center for Disease and Control the answer was clear. I heard an immediate "Yes" on the other line from all 3 phone calls and I knew bad news was coming. I would need the series of injections for post-exposure rabies treatment over the next 30 days. But how could I possibly do this while I am traveling to 6 countries in 30 days? In only a week I'll be heading to Bangkok, Thailand and then Cambodia and finally Vietnam. Luckily, the treatment shots take place on day 0,3,7,14, and 28. I am able to get the first 3 shots during my time here in Perth and one while in Vietnam and my final shot in California. Getting the shots gives me peace of mind that I will not go crazy and die a terrible death. 
A beautiful bridge inside the forest.
     I still cannot believe this crazy event has happened to me. As I sit here looking at the pictures of Monkey Forest and my first rabies shot vaccination I am in disbelief. I was so worried about protecting myself from crazy people and thieves while in South East Asia and I didn't even consider any animal borne diseases. This has definitely been a wake up call for me during my travels and I feel blessed that I am able to continue my journey.
     As for the Monkey Forest in Bali, I would never recommend for tourists to go there. Apparently people get bit there all the time. The monkeys are very dangerous and although many people brave the forest and never have any issues, there is a high chance that a monkey could bite you. After a party with my friends family in Sanur, her great uncle shared his story about being bit over 15 years ago, and his daughter had also been bitten. I had no idea that their were so many cases of monkey bites in the forest, and although it is a beautiful place to visit, I would never recommend it to anyone. Stay far away from the monkey forest and you will be safe! Or else, you might find yourself paying over $1,000 for rabies treatment or even worse go crazy and die from rabies itself.

The monkeys are everywhere, currently there are over 600 monkeys in the Monkey Forest.

Women selling bananas at the park entrance.

If you have any questions or comments about "Bali: Attacked by a monkey in the Monkey Forest in Ubud" please leave them in the comment box below or email them to 
  Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

3 개의 댓글:

Anonymous said...

Hello My name is Matt and I am a fellow expat living in SoKorea. I was recently bitten by a monkey in Thailand while on vacation as well and would also suggest you ask your doctor about Herpes B ...a type of Herpes that is similar to human herpes but found only in macaque monkeys. It is rarely transmitted to humans but if it is via bites or scratches it can be a serious problem. You may want to consider post exposure prophylaxis for it.

Marie W said...

Hey Matt. Sorry about your monkey bite in Thailand! I went through post exposure prophylaxis for rabies however not for Herpes B. Herpes B is extremely rare and you must undergo treatment for it immediately for it to be effective. That would be a terrible way to go through!

Wowbeauty said...

This post is top-notch. properties in gwalior

Post a Comment

We love comments!

Total Pageviews


Creative Commons License
Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...