February 24, 2011

Monkey Beach

We wanted to check out the beaches Penang had to offer, so we took a day trip to the north western coast of the island.
We got a couple of taxies to drive our group along the coast, passing the beach resort area of Batu Ferringhi. I had no idea how built up this area would be. It had tons of major hotel chains like Holiday Inn and Shangri La. Our cab drivers told us many wealthy people in Malaysia have beach homes and condos here. He said it is also a popular beach destination for Australians.
We wanted to stay away from the super toursity areas, so we headed to a small fishing village called Teluk Pahang. The ride to the opposite side of the island took around 45 minutes (so you can get a sense of the size of the island). The fishing villiage, Teluk Pahang, backs into the very beautiful Penang National Park. We read that the best beaches were in the park and the only way to reach them was by hiking 1-3 hours or hiring a fishing boat from Teluk Pahang to bring you there. We opted for the 20 minute boat ride.
The boat dropped us off at a small secluded beach called "Monkey Beach". There was maybe only 10 other people on the whole beach and we finally felt like we had reached paradise. However, we were unaware of the attacks that were coming our way.
While we were swimming, we heard some screaming by where we had put our things down. We swam in and noticed a group of monkeys were scavenging through our belongings and stealing all of our food. We got some locals to help us scare them away long enough for us to grab our stuff and run down the beach to some safety.
They look really cute and friendly, but trust me Cynomolgus monkeys are everything but. Once they learned that we had food in our bags they kept following us down the beach trying to attack our stuff and us. They are not scared of human at all and will run up to scare you, with their fangs out, hissing aloud. A couple of times we heard noises in the bushes and all of us jumped up and ran into the water in fear. Finally our boat driver, a local Malay, came back to the beach to hang out for awhile. He offered to be our guardian, keeping the monkeys away with sticks and noises. We were finally safe!
On our way back to Teluk Pahang our boat driver let Julie drive!

Monkey Beach was a beautiful secluded beach, which was exactly what we needed to take a break from all the site seeing we were doing thus far in Malaysia. However, we all could have gone without the monkey attacks. From now on I think I am going to skip all beaches named after animals.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Baily-I was looking up Monkey Beach and came across your story. I lived in Busan, So. Korea about 15-18 years ago. My husband works for Nike and we lived there for 3 years. We took some great adventures like you are doing-really fun! Anyway, our experience with Monkey Beach in Penang was a scarey one. Our kids were 3 and 5 and we took a boat to get there...we were the only ones on the island. First we just played in the water and walked around. Then we had our lunch that we had brought with us. We started to notice a couple monkeys at the edge of the jungle, so we threw them a couple crackers. Pretty soon more and more monkeys were coming to the edge of the jungle and you could see the trees filling up with them-there were hundreds! And so we kept throwing the crackers, but then we ran out of food. The monkeys kept filling the jungle and coming out to the sand. I was so scared, especially because our kids were so little. We didn't know what to do. We saw a boat out in the distance-it was a school bus boat taking the local kids to school, so I went in the shallow water and flagged it down-thank God he came and picked us up. We went out in the water and climbed onto his boat. I still get scared just thinking about what might have happened. So, needless to say, I wont ever be going back to monkey beach-haha. Glad you are having a fun time exploring Asia! There are so many beautiful places to see. Best wishes to you!