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Advice is dished out to travellers like noodle soup from a market stall. As with soup, most advice is bland and not quite what you asked for. Occasionally, you get a tasty morsel of fish ball which really sets you up for a good onward adventure. (Good advice, that is.)

“Take a stick” was the advice offered me after I expressed interest to climb to a visible hilltop temple. “But don’t use it. Never use it, just take it. Trust me.” The speaker was a fellow Brit, and therefore unquestionably trustworthy – not like those foreigns – so before setting ofd I followed the advice.

Now, I’ve seen a fair few temples in the past two months. Many are occupied by dogs, birds are common and I have even visited India’s Rat Temple and Nepal’s Monkey Temple, both of which lived up to their name.

But never have I needed a stick more than this temple, atop ‘Mirror Hill’ in Prachuap, Thailand. Monkeys have turned it’s ascending staircase into a gauntlet of aggression. Weakness would soon be spotted, and any attempt to strike would likely result in an overpowering display of their combined force.

Some lounge about on the steps, others watch out with firm attention, while yet more tear into each other using their gnarly yellow incisors.

My stick held high, I marched on through, stamping down on every stone step in a resolute display of determination. The monkeys looked on carefully, except when they were too engrossed in their own brawls and tumbles.

Reaching this temple provided one of my most religious experiences so far, although perhaps I confuse religious experience with a sheer sense of human triumph over pathetically inferior animals.

The descent, sadly, felt no less scary, and quashed my sense inflated sense of pride.

“Beware of Monkeys” reads a sign on the way down, as if anybody could have ascended oblivious to their presence. Thankfully, my “take a stick” advice was more timely.

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