Some tourists have gone bananas over this attraction in China – and they may have even brought some to share with Sun Wukong himself.
Last year, the operator of the mountainous Taihang Wuzhishan Scenic Area Wuzhi Mountain in Hebei, China hired an actor to play the mythical Monkey King and interact with tourists – it was so successful that they decided to keep it, according to local media reports.
In some viral Douyin videos, Wukong can be seen sitting in a mountain crevice, popping his head out to interact with tourists who pass by.
The bemused tourists spare no effort, with children going ape as they surround the actor, feeding him various items like bananas, biscuits and even noodles.
Wukong – the protagonist of the Chinese classic novel Journey To The West – is said to have been trapped in the rocks of the Wuzhishan mountains by gods after he caused havoc in the heavens.
Being Wukong is no easy feat however.
On social media, a manager at the site surnamed Shen explained that the actor earns a monthly base salary of 6,000 yuan (S$1,140).
They are required to work from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm daily and must be “lively and cheerful, approachable, and able to interact with tourists”, 8world reported.
He also shared that 6,000 yuan is only the base salary and will be adjusted based on the actor’s performance.
Shen also expressed that he isn’t monkeying around when it comes to the safety of his workers – he explained that he has actors working in shifts to share the burden.
“Actors have to lie down in the cave and one person alone can’t hold on for very long, so we hire substitutes.
“One person acts for two hours, and the other does the same. Tourists kept feeding him,” he said.
He also added: “Our ‘Monkey Brother’ (Sun Wukong’s actor) didn’t even need to eat lunch, he was so full after eating snacks.”
In fact, there’s so much food offered to the Monkey King that the actor keeps some to share with other staff after work, Shen revealed.
On Douyin, many netizens joked that these actors might be biting off more than they can chew – quite literally.
“When they start the job, they’re 90kg, but when they leave, they’ll be 180kg,” a netizen wrote.
Another said in jest: “This actor can be Sun Wukong in the first half of the year, Zhu Bajie in the later half!”
One user also asked: “Will Sun Wukong grow too fat and get stuck in the hole?”
Shen later replied in the comment thread: “This has not happened yet. The hole is quite big, so this can’t happen.
“Of course, if it’s just the same two guys for a long time, they probably won’t be able to get out in two years’ time, so we want to recruit a third.”