Songkhla's Monkeys

One of the monkeys living on the slopes of Tung Kuan hill.

I was standing under the Bo tree in Songkhla's Wat Teemanin, trying to frame a shot of the temple's ubosot with Khao Tang Kuan hill in the background, when I heard a thud on the ground next to me. I ignored it, but when a second thud sounded I looked around to see what had fallen from the tree. Then I heard a rustling sound from the branches and looked up to see around half a dozen monkeys perched on the branches, snacking on the ripening fruits that looked like Concord grapes.

A crowd of children and a few adults soon gathered around. Since the Bo tree is sacred, they couldn't climb it to pick the fruits, but if some monkeys are causing it to fall off the tree, there's no harm in enjoying it. I couldn't quite figure out if the monkeys were just being careless in letting the fruit drop, or if they were actually throwing it at the spectators.

The monkeys eventually picked the tree clean and proceeded to move off using trees and rooftops as their path. After looking around the temple a little longer, I soon followed the monkeys, although I stayed on the ground.

Monkey Bridge
A bridge for monkeys to cross the road safely.

As I approached the high point of the road that runs between Khao Tang Kuan and Khao Noi, I noticed a curious construction of heavy ropes crossing the road. It looked like a rope bridge, but was too small for a person to use. It didn't take long to figure out that this particular 'pedestrian' bridge was intended for monkeys rather than people. I've never heard of such a thing, but apparently the city fathers in Songkhla thought it was necessary. Of course, after watching the monkeys around the area for a while, I noticed that, like their Thai human counterparts, most of the monkeys were too lazy to climb up the poles to cross the road. Instead they scampered across the street hoping that nobody would run them over.