My Monkey Temple Experience

I’m Sophie – the Catalan editor of The Linguist this year. I’m about to go into my third year studying Spanish, French and Catalan.

For as long as I can remember, travelling has been somewhat daunting to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love experiencing new cultures and testing out my ropey new language skills with the locals – it is merely the fact that I am absolutely terrified to step foot on a plane which has been a slight limiting factor.

However, this year I decided to push myself to the extreme… I boarded the 19-hour flight to Bali, Indonesia to embark on the trip of a lifetime, one which certainly would become my most memorable yet.

After a copious amount of chamomile tea and a pep talk from the cabin crew, we finally landed in one piece. I was immediately encapsulated by the overwhelming vibe of the island: everyone was so friendly and laidback which made us feel so welcome. We spent the first few days acclimatising – we wandered the manic streets and discovered the breath-taking beaches, with every corner we turned uncovering another unique and awe-inspiring element of the tropical paradise.

Without a doubt the most incredible experience I have had to date was visiting a monkey forest and temple. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. We were sternly told not to touch/entice the monkeys at all for obvious safety reasons, so when three came bounding towards me and climbed up my legs I genuinely thought I was about to die (but apparently this was safe?!). Bali is a predominantly Hindu country – a religion which worships Hanuman, the monkey God, meaning that monkeys are sacred on the island. For this reason there are many incredible statues in the forest which represent the energy surrounding the temples. The sheer vastness of the forest was incredible in itself, but the history and culture behind it were what really made this experience so unforgettable.

This trip really inspired me and my love for travel and I can’t wait to carry on exploring more of the world in years to come!

Sophie Isbell

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