Top 5 Animal Encounters: Monkey and Baby

Seeing animals in their natural environment is one of the highlights of our travels. Our mini-series on animal encounters represents some great memories. Monkeys are common in many parts of the world, and they are always a great source of entertainment. We’ve spend hours at a time just watching their antics. With any species, it’s always special to see mothers and babies. Below, in no particular order, are our top monkey and baby animal encounters.

1. Langur: Bundi, India


On a long bike ride from Bundi, India you might find yourself at Rameshwaram temple.  This temple has TONS of langur monkeys who seem to permanent residents.  These monkeys hang out all day doing what monkeys do: playing, grooming, eating and lounging.  While the playful ones, who were running around and leaping off everything, were a bit unnerving, the real scary part was walking up the stairs to the temple and trying not to step on any tails!  We stopped and snapped this on the way up.

2. Long-Tailed Macaque, Malaysia

Long Tailed Macaque

Another religious site where monkeys abound is at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  The Hindu temple is dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey aide of the god Rama, so it makes sense there are monkeys here. Some locals and tourists feed these monkey treats on the way up the tall stairs that lead to the cave.  While seemingly playful, some of these guys got a bit, understandably, grabby. We kept our distance as much as possible, but were able to capture this moment as a monkey made away with a half-coconut in her mouth and a baby snuggling tightly underneath. Even the baby’s tail is wound around for support.

3. Macaque, Indonesia


Lombok doesn’t seem like a bad place to be a monkey: ocean views, nice weather and beaches!  We spent the night on Lombok before our epic journey to the island of Flores.  We arrived via boat from Gili Air and on the way into town we stopped in the Monkey Forest.  Our driver just so happened to have a bag of peanuts that we could buy in order to get up close to the macaques. These monkeys seem to be a regular stop for vehicles. They seemed to know the drill as soon as the door opened! On this day, there was a lot of mother and baby action going on. The babies stayed close to their caretakers while they were fed and groomed.

4. Baboon: South Africa

Baboon and Baby

On the tip of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Point, there is a car park with a spectacular view as well as restrooms and snack bar.  This, of course, is a logical place for a baboon tribe to set up camp.  There are loads of tourists with little knowledge of how to deal with baboons, who get easy meals from the humans who dare to try and share the space with them. Tourists are warned against carrying any sort of plastic bag, and to consume all food and beverages inside the snack bar building. Seeing the baboons up close, it’s easy to see how strong they must be. Just look at the girth of that tail!  The mama in the photo is clearly on her guard. We were lucky enough not to have a close encounter but we did get close enough for a photo or two.

5. Capuchin, Costa Rica

Capuchin and Baby

It’s no secret that Costa Rica displays some of the richest biodiversity on the planet.  The country boasts four species of monkeys, including capuchins and howlers. We saw capuchins on both coasts, Caribbean and Pacific.  They seemed to be everywhere and playing on everything.  On one walk through the forest heading to the beach we were approached by a group that appeared to be surrounding us for our lunch!  They’re very attracted to plastic bags . . . one more reason not to use those. A little sand kicking and shouting did the trick, and the group dispersed. This photo was snapped while watching some capuchins play in Manuel Antonio National Park.

About the author

A 30 something traveler with insatiable wanderlust. Veteran of 2 RTW trips now focusing on slow travel.