Travel insurance is essential when it comes to traveling to Bali. For thousands of tourists, every year travel insurance saves the day in a multitude of ways; from helping pay emergency medical bills to helping cover the costs of delayed or even canceled flights.
But for some insurance companies helping tourists in Bali, recent claims have been getting wildly out of hand.
Bali’s famous monkeys are often listed as one of the big attractions of the island. Tourist attractions like the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud are consistently popular amongst domestic and international tourists alike. The monkeys are wild but have become very much accustomed to human presence…and it shows.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of videos circulating online of tourists in Bali under attack from the monkeys in one way or another.
And it is not only on troops in one location; monkeys across the island and across tourist attractions have become as brazen as can be.
The monkeys are not only stealing easy pickings like sunglasses or food, but according to travel insurance companies, the cheeky monkeys are getting their hands on big-ticket items.
@alyssaandthecity The poor monkey was just enjoying the view… #uluwatu #uluwatutemple #uluwatubali #fyp #traveltiktok ♬ original sound – Alyssaandthecity 🏙
According to Southern Cross Travel Insurance, a company that covers many Australian tourists on vacation in Bali, there has been a steep rise in the number of monkey-related insurance claims.
The company says that Australian travelers have lodged claims amounting to $17,000 over the last five years.
In one whopping claim, one traveler had their handbag stolen by monkeys in Uluwatu. The bag contained expensive items like hearing aids and a phone, as well as cash; the total damage was $8560.
@lccameron A monkey stole my phone at the #uluwatumonkeys temple. We got it back (eventually). Here are the videos and photos it took ✌️ #uluwatu #uluwatumonkeytemple #uluwatutemple #holidayfail #parentsoftiktok #wildphotos #travelbali #fyp #ladbible ♬ original sound – Lisa Cameron
Tourism managers in Bali have been clear that they are trying their best to tackle badly behaved monkeys, especially in areas like Uluwatu.
Speaking in August, the Head of the Pecatu Traditional Village, Made Sumerta, said that he doesn’t want tourists to be frightened of the monkeys and that he and his teams are working to mitigate interactions so both tourists and monkeys are kept sad.
@human4800 mission to outwit the monkeys begins 😅 #bali #monkey #fyp ♬ The Next Episode – Dr. Dre
He said “Don’t let this [rising number of monkey thefts] make tourists afraid to come to Uluwatu. These monkeys are one of the attractions of the Uluwatu Temple; this must be considered so that monkey mischief does not occur. Don’t let this become a bad image.”
Up in Ubud at the Sacred Monkey Forest and the Sangeh Monkey Forest just outside the heart of the town, there are strict guidelines in place to ensure that tourists are not at risk of monkeys showing too much interest.
The guidelines at Ubud Monkey Forest are available in 12 languages and there is staff stationed throughout the forest to monitor the behavior of both monkeys and tourists.
The guidelines state that tourists must not look the monkeys in the eye as this is a threatening behavior that can prompt aggressive responses.
Visitors must be mindful of their belongings, especially phones, cameras, jewelry, hats, and glasses.
Of course, tourists at any site where there are monkeys present are not permitted to touch, grab, or disturb the primates, but sadly this is not always obeyed, which is proving to only further encourage bad behavior by the monkeys.
While it is a massive inconvenience to have items stolen or broken by monkeys, it is far less serious than the potential implications of being bitten or scratched by one.
While teams around the island keep monkeys up to date with rabies vaccinations as best they can, the reality is that there is rabies in circulation in Bali and suspected exposure deadly virus requires serious and immediate medical attention.
Several people in Bali have died this year alone as a result of rabies, and insurance companies in Australia are also seeing a rise in monkey and dog bite-related claims.
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