Wild Monkeys in Thailand Almost Carried Us Off in Our Sleep
There are a few things I am afraid of. Dark/deep water. Falling from heights higher than 3 feet (okay, even 6-inches from the ground it takes me a while to build up the courage to jump off a dock). Butterflies and birds with their flappity wings and suddenly changing flight paths. Terrifying encounters with lint.
Being attacked by wild monkeys while I sleep may seem like a ridiculous notion, but it’s a very valid fear that almost came to be reality when my then-fiancé and I were backpacking in Southeast Asia.
Thailand is a beautiful place. There are so many different places to see and interesting things to do. Adventures to be had all around. We enjoyed checking out the busy, crazy city of Bangkok, spent some time with elephants and their human companions in a fantastic elephant camp, swam in the 7-tiered, crystal blue waters of Erawan Falls, and hikes through the national park of Khao Yai, snapping photos of interesting wildlife and incredible landscape.
The place I feel most connected to and keep dreaming about returning to one day (even though there are so many other places I want to see and will once I win that lottery), is a tiny little island on the South West Coast of Thailand. We stumbled on information about this island randomly. Near Koh Phi Phi – the big party island off the Andaman Coast – this very small island is almost hidden away and off the beaten, tourist path. This is why it was so perfect for us, without a 7-Eleven and rudely entitled tourists on every block, we really got to get to know a lot of the locals and experience what this part of the world was like in a more intimate way.
On this little island, the locals were so genuinely friendly and helpful. They asked questions of us and answered ours as best they could. They invited me into their schools to meet the children, and rescued us with gas when our moped ran out up a country road, without wanting anything in return. They taught us words and games and traditions, and invited us to share in a special BBQ just for us, again, asking nothing in return but sharing what little they had.
The Terrifying Monkey Experience
One thing the locals couldn’t save us from, though, was our own stupidity, and the large tribe of wild monkeys.
Our home for the week or so we stayed in the island was a sweet bungalow right on the sandy beach. We loved being so close to the ocean, and would watch out the window early in the mornings as primates would parade down the beach, hunting for food and monkeying around.
On our first night in the bungalow, we had a bit of a fright. The buildings in this hot and humid area weren’t what we’re used to in the cold north of Canada. It was usual for structures to be open to the air, with a space between the top of the walls and the roof. When I first noticed this, I immediately thought about the very large and poisonous snakes slithering through the jungle, which I didn’t want to meet and realized would have no problem slipping on in to our hit if they so wished.
So, sound asleep in our bungalow, something woke me up. I listened in the dark black of the night, until I heard it again. I shook my hubby. “Gare! There’s something in our room.” We sat on the bed and waited and peered into the darkness. Catching a glimpse of a larger-than-comforting, furry body in the rafters, we made some loud noises and scared the intruder out of the bungalow, and slept as best we could knowing that wildlife could pop in for a visit whenever it liked.
The next day we chatted with our new friends about the sneaky monkeys. The owners of the bungalows shared that they have to keep all the condiments and kitchen supplies out of reach of the apes as they will steal and try to eat everything. The bartender of the quiet beach bar we spent a large amount of time relaxing at told us that it’s important to keep the beers locked up tight over night, as the monkeys love the stuff and can open and drink it up if they find it, leaving a mess and inebriated monkeys stumbling around the bar when he arrives in the mornings.
As we were settling into bed one night, all tucked in and eyes closed, we suddenly remembered the bunch of bananas we hadn’t eaten sitting on our headboard. Knowing any food-like items left out would call in a troop of hairy visitors, we realized we had to do something with the bananas before we woke up to find an extra bedmate clamoring over us in search of the fruit.
Being a basic hut, there was no fridge, no lock box – no where to hide the bananas. The main food hut was long-since closed for the night. What could we do?
Brainstorming, we came up with the idea to throw the bananas out into the ocean, to hopefully be washed away in the waves. G plucked up the bananas, headed out onto the deck, and flung the bananas out to sea (that’s how close to the water we were).
Except, they didn’t quite make it.
Instead if solving our problem, luck was against us and the bananas went straight into a tree, bounced forcefully back, and landed squarely under our bungalow. Perfect. We briefly considered crawling underneath to find them, and then remembered those snakes and all the other interesting creatures we might find, so we hoped for the best and went back to bed.
In the early morning dawn, we were woken up by frantic sounds of monkeys screaming, fighting and stampeding right underneath us and throughout the bungalows. The fruit had been found. It was a noisy, frantic space of morning around the resort.
Luckily, the primates weren’t caught intruding inside our bungalow again. As we sat in the main food hut for breakfast later on, we played dumb and tried our best to hide the guilt in our faces as everyone remarked about the odd craziness that got into the monkey troop that morning.
So when you’re traveling in the monkey-inhabited jungles of Thailand, I hope you enjoy your trip, and beware of bananas and primate intruders.