hey, hey where are the monkeys?

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.

Monkey Island

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.

monkey in the road

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.

Monkey Forest

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.

toilet monkey

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.

monkey forest

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.

Uluwatu Temple

Bali, Indonesia

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.

IMG_2335

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

city inspiration: cocktails in saigon

I lived in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for about two years. In those two years I matured from street side beer drinker to sch-mancy cocktail drinker. Below I give you my run down of the best cocktail bars in Ho Chi Minh City….and one brewery.

Living it up at Eon Heli Bar
Racha Room 

I fall asleep at night dreaming of the cocktails at Racha Room. The Racha Room is a Thai, street food inspired restaurant in central District 1. I HIGHLY recommend the Concubine, a sweet vodka and lycee concoction and the Sin Gin Sling, gin based (surprise!) with a  nice basil aftertaste . What makes their cocktails even better is that the Racha Room has happy hour Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 8pm.  

The Racha Room 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, D1, HCMC

O.M.G.
Normally I would never advocate drinking at a bar named after a valley girl expression, but the view will soon have you forgetting about the name. O.M.G. is on the 9th floor of the Tan Hai Long Hotel, overlooking the always busy Benh Thanh round about. It’s a great alternative to Skybar or EON Heli Bar (Bitexco) you still get a killer view and drink without the ear popping elevator ride. Or is that just me? I recommend the passion fruit mojito with less sugar (ít đường)
O.M.G.-Tan Hai Long Hotel, Nguyen An Ninh, D1 HCMC
 
Broma: Not a Bar
When O.M.G. gets too loud head to Broma for another rooftop with a more chill/laid-back vibe.  Broma has a solid cocktail menu and a serves an even better sangria. If your lucky enough to become besties with the staff you can host your own 90’s dance party. If your going to add to the noise pollution 90’s music is the way to go.

 

 The view from Broma- 41 Nguyen Hue, D1, HCMC
The Deck
The Deck is the most expensive on the list especially if you factor in the Uber ride to get to District 2. It’s definitely worth the ride as you’ll be sitting right on the Saigon River, plan it accordingly and you can be sitting on the river at sunset, swoon. My experience with their menu is limited but not much experience is needed to conclude they were perfect. 
The Deck- 38 Nguyen U Di, D2, HCMC
Pasteur Street Brewing Company
I don’t discriminate when it comes to alcoholic beverages, but beer is usually low on my list, except this beer. Pasteur is a craft brewery that literally makes the best beer I’ve ever had. I always recommend the flight as the beers on tap. My personal favorite is the passion fruit wheat ale and the jasmine IPA. The location on Pasteur can be difficult to find as it’s hidden down a sketchy alley, but that’s part of the charm. 
Pasteur Street Brewing Company- 144 Pasteur, D1, HCMC