Our Favourite Monkeys in South Asia

Have you wondered why our blog is called Monkey’s Tale? It’s because we love monkeys! While travelling in Asia for 20 months we were entertained, amazed and even frightened by many different monkeys and apes. Here are some of our favourites.

Some monkeys made us laugh with their playful antics.

Click on the arrow at the side of the picture to see a monkey play-fight.

  • Play fighting macaques, Cave Temple, Tangalle, Sri Lanka
  • Play fighting macaques, Cave Temple, Tangalle, Sri Lanka
  • Play fighting macaques, Cave Temple, Tangalle, Sri Lanka

Some monkeys made us laugh because of their peculiar faces.


We saw many taking care of each other.


They eat almost anything.

We often saw monkeys eating fruit but they also ate temple offerings, chips and sugary drinks. Our favourite, however, was when we saw monkeys eating in the wild. Below you can see a long-tailed macaque pulling out a lily from the Kinabatangan River in Borneo. (Click on the arrow on the last picture to see the action in sequence.)

  • Kinabatangan River
  • Kinabatangan River
  • Kinabatangan River

Some monkeys were quite aggressive.

In Phetchaburi and Lopburi, Thailand, the downtown streets and temples were overrun with aggressive crab-eating macaques. Monkeys would sit on electrical wires, roofs and sidewalks waiting for their opportunity to pounce. This was long before animals took to the streets during the coronavirus lockdown. Staff at a few temples had sling shots to control the ones that were too aggressive. In some places we had to scare them off with a stick (don’t worry, no monkeys were harmed). Shimla, in northern India, also had aggressive monkeys. Rhesus macaques hounded worshipers on the steps leading to the Jakhoo Temple. Ironically the temple is dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman.

The most aggressive and scariest were the Silver Leaf monkeys in Borneo. They charged at us, growling and baring their large teeth. Even the gentle Proboscis monkeys were afraid of them. In all of these places it’s best to not carry a bag that looks like it has food and the bring a stick to ward them off.

While others were very gentle.

Grey Langurs are gentle monkeys with fine grey fur and black faces. They always seemed so even-tempered. The muppet-like proboscis monkeys were also very passive. Both would come quite close to us, but weren’t aggressive or afraid.


Many monkeys seemed to like posing for pictures.

Coming Next: The Granite Spires of the Bugaboos.

For pictures from other blogs go to Gallery at monkeystale.ca

To read about more of our adventures go to Destinations.

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