During a recent visit to Thailand, I wanted to see some of the country’s beautiful animals but didn’t want to contribute to any animal exploitation (which is rife in Thailand). I didn’t want to see tigers in cages, nor did I want to ride an overworked elephant. I had resigned myself to the possibility that I might not see any exotic wildlife in Thailand—until I visited Hua Hin. There, a local told me about Khao Takiab Mountain, aka “Monkey Mountain,” a popular spot 6 kilometers from the city center.
Monkey Mountain is much loved by the local people—and not just because there’s a very important temple at the top of the mountain that holds what is believed to be a tooth of Buddha. The mountain, which is surrounded by beautiful ocean views, is also home to hundreds of monkeys that roam freely in packs. Seeing the monkeys’ antics up close is an experience like no other. The monkeys are very playful—the youngsters have a grand old time clowning around, exploring, and playing tricks while loving and easygoing older members supervise and appear to break up play fights that go too far. I watched athletic monkeys swing from wires and trees, while the mother monkeys fed their babies nearby.
The Buddhist monks from the Wat Khao Takiab Temple are the monkeys’ caretakers, and the rapport between the two is very visible. To describe feeding time as somewhat of a frenzy is an understatement. The standard meal consists of corn, bananas, and peanuts—and when the bananas come out, the excitement reaches fever pitch!
Tourists are permitted to join in the mealtime experience by helping to feed the monkeys. It is a unique experience that I would highly recommend. For only 50 baht, you can interact with the monkeys—but don’t be alarmed or frightened if a monkey jumps on you and tries to eat out of your bucket of food! Monkeys will jump from rooftops as they take their chances at getting to your food buckets. Anytime I became overwhelmed by the number of monkeys surrounding me, I found it useful to simply empty my bucket and walk away.
My visit to Khao Takiab Mountain was a joyous and unforgettable experience! With beautiful scenery, a historic temple, and of course, a chance at a fascinating encounter with local wildlife, this place has something for everyone!
To help protect wildlife, always boycott zoos!
Posted by Samantha Pulsford