Cute little face. Makes you almost want to pet him. Don’t be fooled. Nasty, evil little monkeys!
After our overnight stay on the boat, we made our way across Cat Ba Island and then took another little boat to get to Monkey Island. We kept expecting Gilligan to jump out of the bushes with the bamboo huts and their castaway feel.
We swam a bit and worked on our burns, and then our guide suggested that we hike across Monkey Island to see the creatures that gave the island its namesake.
We were told to wear shoes, because the rocks were sharp. He wasn’t kidding! The limestone karst that forms the island is made of jagged sections of rock that even crawling over is difficult. Al kept asking if anyone had sliced an artery yet, because that was entirely possible!
Luckily it only took half an hour to get to the other side. As soon as we stepped foot on the sandy beach, we saw the first nasty little critters making their way to us. Some people had brought bananas, and the monkeys immediately pounced on their gifts.
Everyone was snapping photos when I looked up and saw a monkey snarling at a guy from Maui, baring his pointy teeth and hissing. I learned later that the poor guy had accidently stepped on the monkey’s tail, and I became acutely aware that these are wild animals.
We walked further along the beach which had several tourists from boats that ferried people to the beach, many of whom were in their early 20s and lurking in the bar. People warned us that we needed to pay attention to our drinks, as the monkeys would swoop down and steal your pop can or beer.
We weren’t interested in ordering anything, so we continued snapping photos of monkeys in trees, monkeys and their babies, monkeys fighting with each other etc. Once the girls had had their fill of monkeys, we walked down the beach to take a swim.
The guide asked if he could put his phone in Al’s day pack. “Safer there,” he said. I had a vague notion that the monkeys might come check out our stuff, so I stuffed our hats, sunglasses etc. inside.
As I was floating in the warm water, I noticed a monkey heading for our pack. I saw Sophie walking over to shoo the monkey away when suddenly the nasty little critter jumped up with his sharp teeth and lunged at her. He chased the poor girl all the way to the water.
The monkey soon spotted another pack and headed in its direction. I went up to our pack to hopefully discourage him from coming back. I felt helpless as I saw the monkey zip open the second pack and fish out a phone and wallet inside. I wanted to stop him, but thought it’s just not worth it. Luckily the pack’s owner saw me staring at the monkey, and headed over. The presence of both of us made the monkey move on.
Sophie was still a little traumatized the next day, and has absolutely no interest in seeing more monkeys. A woman in our group summed up our experience perfectly: only people who have never seen monkeys in the wild could possibly think they are cute!