If Tinder has taught me anything (actually it’s taught me a lot) it’s that people love the chance to hang out with exotic animals. The only problem is that picture with a tiger comes with as much moral confusion as a Tinder hook-up.
If you’re going to spend the time researching flights, spend the time researching how to ethically hang out with your favorite animal. I did some research on the spots listed below so, if you’re looking for an encounter with some wildlife but don’t want to sacrifice you’re animal loving morals stick to these recommendations.
Can Gio, Vietnam
Monkey Island is in the mangrove forest about 2 hours south of Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll need a motorbike for this adventure, but the drive is pretty easy once you make it out of the city traffic. The hardest part of the drive might be negotiating yourself on and off the ferry boat. You can see the route below, it’s a pretty straight forward, just Google Map the directions before you take off. (Goo
It’s an easy peaceful drive if you need a break from city life. You’ll find quite a few stops along the way for gas or snacks, but make sure to bring your own sunscreen, 2 hours on a motorbike and you’ll end up lobster red pretty quick.
You’ll have to pay an entrance and a parking fee, it’ll be a grand total of about $3 USD. So maybe that $3 is a little steep when all you do is walk around the mangroves and watch monkey’s go at it but the whole day makes for a great day trip from the city.
The morality factor is pretty low here, the monkey’s seem to run wild and free. They are also very smart and have become accustomed to humans. I’ve seen hats stolen off peoples heads, and most commonly plastic bags ripped from peoples hands. I highly suggest not taking in any food and swapping the plastic bag for a sturdy backpack.
If you’re looking for motorbike rentals in HCMC check out Chi’s Cafe. Chi is Queen of Bui Vien lunch, motorbikes or visas, Chi does it all.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Monkey Forest is just a short walk from the heart of Ubud and has more to explore than just monkeys, it’s also home to 3 Hindu temples. Entrance fee will also set you back $3 USD.
If you’re feeling up to it, you can also buy bananas at the entrance, but beware that you will be swarmed by monkeys.
You can also pay people in the park to tempt the monkeys with food so they will sit on your shoulder. Or if you’re me, a monkey will climb on up unabated and start cleaning your hair.
The morality factor is pretty low here. The monkeys are well fed, probably too well fed, and run the show here. You may see park rangers with slingshots, used in case a monkey decides to take on a human. I think this is the reality if you want to interact with wild animals, there has to be precautions in place in case something goes wrong.
While the previous 2 locations offered an opportunity to interact with monkeys, Uluwatu is all about observing and pretending to be a NatGeo photog. I add it to the list because you can’t get a more picture perfect location to catch some monkey action. I think this picture does all the talking for me.