Monkeying Around in Phuket
I f you are in Phuket and are tired of going to the beach or lazing around the resort property at which you are staying — but want something to do that is memorable but does not cost anything — consider visiting Toe Sae Hill, which is also known as Monkey Hill…
…and for good reason: drive or walk up this hill, which initially seems to offer nothing extraordinary — even the views are not what I would consider breathtaking, if the high humidity is not veiling them from you — and you will suddenly see groups of macaques either wandering about or clinging to the trunks of trees.
While they may seem tame and will typically not be aggressive to you, humans have been known to have been attacked by macaques — such as with this woman back in 2010. Even as they may seem docile, I would recommend that you keep a reasonable distance, as they supposedly do carry viruses which can affect human beings — such as the Herpes B virus, for example.
One local man, however, arrives daily to feed the hundreds of macaques with food — usually fruit — and they line up to be individually fed by him, one at a time. I saw him arrive and witnessed the dozens of macaques clamoring to him, eagerly awaiting to be fed. In fact, there were so many of them that they blocked the road at one point and I did not want to disturb them by attempting to leave in the car I was driving. It was a sight to behold and one worth seeing.
By the way, the top of the hill has no appreciable view due to the buildings which house a few television and radio stations — as well as a lot of trees. Turn around and head back down the hill to see more of the macaques.
If you are feeling lucky, you can visit a shrine near the bottom of the hill which are devoted to three holy spirits — Toe Sae Dang, Toe Sae Dam and Toe Sae Kaow — from whom you can supposedly ask for numbers to play in the lottery.
I did not do that; rather, I engaged in an impromptu photo shoot with one macaque who apparently enjoyed the attention — so much so that I have to warn you that all of the photographs below are of this particular macaque. What can I tell you — I just could not decide; and I already rejected many of the other photographs…
…so get ready for some macaque overload!
All photographs ©2014 by Brian Cohen.