Simian Madness

A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I decided to take a week off, for a short trip to one of my favorite quiet tropical beaches around the Cambodian/Thai border, just a few kilometers away from the beach I wrote about in “Beach Beyond The Guidebooks” We decided to go to this beach, because the Beach Beyond The Guidebooks beach did not have any water or electricity, and this time I was determined to be conveniently clean, and be able to recharge my laptop.

It is a very beautiful beach with many types of restaurants within walking distance, usually cooked by the nationality themselves, things like French Food, Chinese, Italian, Cambodian, Mexican, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, American, and there is even a Canadian restaurant, I never knew such things existed!

The beach itself has a white powder like sand, the kind of sand that sort of jumps up and separates as you step down on it, there are lots of little crabs running around, who will run and hide in their sandy holes as you approach. The sand continues right deep into the ocean where on stormy days, waves decent enough to surf on, break in the shallow bay.

The two of us ended up renting a normally vacant, thirty year old or so teak house part way up a cliff facing the beach for about twelve US dollars per night, it was clean, had air con, electricity, hot water, and also a very large balcony, with a beautiful sunset facing view, below you can see exactly what I saw from my patio every day. I found I spent a lot of time there on the patio, every morning, afternoon, and evening was a stunning one, but all was not perfect in our little the house on the hill.

View Of The Beach From Our Balcony

View Of The Beach From Our Balcony – Click to Enlarge

Now as you can see in the image, everything pretty much from the water up is covered in virgin rainforest, the kind of stuff that is hard to see these days, because it is first growth, ancient, rainforest, that has probably been there since before the dinosaurs. The area around and above this house was all ancient rainforest also, and in that forest not only are there foot long grasshoppers, centillions of ants, giant moths, scorpions, crocodiles, huge lizards, pythons, cobras, bear, boar, deer, and wild elephants, but there are also some little, annoying, chaotic, but always amusing monkeys.

Monkey Behind Us On The House

Get Off Our Turf

The house had been vacant for a while before we got there, and I think the troop of monkeys that fed daily around and above the house had pretty much decided that we were invading their turf. Mostly they just left us alone, and we hadn’t had any real problems with them, we watched them each morning for a few days, and listened to them calling at one another from a distance in the jungle, but on the fifth day, while returning from a swim on the beach, we found them around and on top of our house, some of them were actually standing right in front of the door. They are fairly large and a few of them together defiantly demand some respect. We approached them slowly and they backed away from the door slowly, eventually we could get in the house. As the monkeys were still running around on top of the house and around the doors we decided to stay inside a bit until they left.

After a while we went out on  our balcony and looked around to see where they were, I brought my camera to take some picture if I could. Some of them were on the trees above us, and some of the others had run over to another house down the hill a bit. After a short while there was a huge bang on the roof, a very large branch had dropped a hundred meters or so from the trees above us where some monkeys were, onto the roof, putting a fairly large hole in it, after a while we went outside again to try and get some pictures, and look what decided to come down and inspect the freshly made hole.

Monkey On The Roof

Are You Seriously Going To Blame Me For This?

There was quite a bit of movement on top  of the house again, so we took shelter back inside, after a few moments, they dozen or so monkeys started screaming, then things started banging all over the house, as the monkey had all decided to throw  branches and fruit at the house for a while. After a  couple minutes of this, all calmed down, and we were once again able to go outside, they had finally moved on.

Later that evening when we were heading out for dinner, we discovered they had stolen one of my girlfriends shoes. We looked around for it for quite a while but it was no where to be found. The shoes were not very expensive, and thankfully she had brought another pair so it was not that big a deal. We enjoyed our evening  and went to sleep to the sound of the monkeys occasionally fighting with one another in the trees.

In the morning I woke up itching, to my horror I soon discovered fire ants all over the bed, I jumped out and onto the floor only to find out there were millions  more all over the floor also, I had never experienced quite so many ants running all over me in my life, nor seen so many in such a small area as I did that morning, and fire ants are some of the worst ants around as they are very aggressive. I jumped in the shower and quickly got the ants off me, then turned on all the lights so as to see a safe passage through the house without getting too many more on me. I went outside on the balcony to see the reason for the invasion. The fruits the monkeys had pelted the house with had attracted all the ants. It is amazing the amount of trouble a group of monkeys can cause in just a matter of minutes. We left later that day, as was planned, though I am sure the monkey were all high fiving each other as we left, thinking it was a victory well fought.

I will return to the beach a few more times over the next couple of years, although the monkeys were an occasional pain in the behind, they provided entertainment, and I am glad they were there. I plan on staying in the same house, and we will probably see them again soon. They probably won’t be there much longer however, as there has been some roadway development on the bluff, someone has begun building condos on a hill, and a five star hotel is being built right in the center of the beach, so soon the trees will be gone, and with it the monkeys, the beach will become spoiled, and in order to find an unspoiled beach, we will be forced to go back to Beach Beyond The Guidebooks once again, hopefully by that time they will have running water.

21 Responses to Simian Madness

  1. What an amazing vacation, truly memorable! I’ve heard monkeys can be incredibly rambunctious, and love to steal shoes and other clothes. The place looks astoundingly beautiful, and I’m glad to hear that , all in all, you considered it a happy adventure.

  2. Wow, there’s a dark side of paradise. Those ants sound brutal, do you have a remedy for ant bites? The monkeys sound interesting, but a little intimidating.

  3. @nothingprofound

    Thank you NP, It was a great an memorable time, writing this had made me want to go back ASAP.


    Hi Debra,

    Once you have a fast shower the fire ant bites don’t usually hurt anymore.

    The monkeys were defiantly a bit intimidating for sure, though I never knew anyone that actuality got bit by one. They were more fun to watch than television though just the same.

  4. Oh, man! When I saw the first photo and $12 a night I thought, “What a bargain!” Well, it looks like you got more than you bargained for, huh? I’m glad you had such good humor about it. It’s hard not to smile about monkey antics. As for the fire ants, though? YIKES!

    Very entertaining post. 🙂

  5. @Janene Murphy
    Thank you JM
    I am defiantly not a fan of the ants. I think they are still getting me back for my magnifying glass experiments when I was young.

  6. Wow! What an adventure that was. Thanks for sharing your vacation story. You are a good storyteller and I had no trouble at all envisioning what you depicted. I have friends who have experienced monkeys on their trips to Asia and they were singularly unimpressed by them. One stole a passport right out of a handbag and went up a tree. My friends tempted it with fruit to come down the tree and it dropped the passport. Whew! As for fire ants I hope I never experience them — scary!

    P.S. I admire this maximalist theme and the excellent organizational structure in this blog. 🙂

  7. @timethief
    Thanks TT !

    The monkeys were a bit of a pain for sure, but the experience was not all together unpleasant, without them there, I would have no story to tell, the same would probably go for your friend, who I could imagine laughing as he tells his tale. I went there knowing the monkeys were there, and they did not fail to entertain us, and make us laugh. Once the trees and monkeys are gone, I will likely not return to this beach.

    I could defiantly do without the ants…. it makes me itchy just to think about it.

  8. Looks like that you had an amazing holiday at such a beautiful place. But sorry for your girlfriend’s shoe. But i am sure you must be laughing a lot while thinking about this incident.

  9. @Pooja Singh
    Thanks Pooja,

    It was a fantastic holiday, one I am hoping to repeat very soon.

    Don’t tell my girlfriend, but I didn’t like those shoes anyhow, good job monkeys ! 😉

  10. Monkeys are wild creatures, esp when they come in a pack, they certainly look formidable….Once in a blue moon, we used to have monkeys steal fruits from our backyard in India…and guess what they make faces at you if you want to chase them away 😉 I am glad you enjoyed your vacation after all, and the picture is pristine!

    • Thank you SB,

      I am counting my pennies until the day I can go back.

      Where are you from in India by the way? I backpacked around there for about seven months once. Amazing place.

  11. Armand @ Travel 2 Where

    Simian mischief can be altogether fascinating, endearing and at times infuriating. Some of the funniest stories I have heard were from friends who attended vet school in St. Kitts. I think the monkeys there are even more over the top since the have a habit of stealing beer from the outdoor bars there. Gotta love ’em.

  12. @Armand @ Travel 2 Where
    Lol, just what the world needs, drunken monkeys, thanks for the comment.

  13. Armand @ Travel 2 Where

    Indeed! As you said, you were fortunate to come across Virgin rainforest, it is a rarity in this day and age.

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    Wow! What an adventure that was.The monkeys were a bit of a pain for sure, but the experience was not all together unpleasant, without them there.

  15. @offensive t shirts
    Yes they really did make a lot of trouble for a short while, they probably just got sick of us staring at them for so many hours each day.

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    I am glad you enjoyed your vacation after all, and the picture is pristine!

  17. Thanks for sharing your unforgettable moments with the monkeys and the ants!
    And I love the pictures so much…

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