In a patch of jungle nestled in the hills of Bali, there's an area that has made its way high up on the bucket lists of travellers.

A forest, inhabited by over 600 grey-haired, long-tailed monkeys (and 186 species of trees, if you're into that sort of thing), is open to tourists for feeding - and getting very up close and personal - with monkeys.

Instagram the must-see attraction and you'll find thousands of photos of travellers feeding, holding, playing and posing with Balinese macaques. But this isn't your average tourist trap. Bali's Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a 28 acre nature reserve, and monkeys are free to roam (and eat) as they please.

These monkeys run, jump, fight and play all over the places. No cages here. If you intend on visiting, you'll be as close to them as it gets.

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via @svenvolker

But the spot means so much more to the Balinese culture than just a habitat for monkeys.

The forest has been around for so long that its history was unknown and eventually determined through an analysis on the site. Based on the findings, researches say the temple's construction dates back to the 14th century, making Monkey Forest older than it's home country, Indonesia, which was governed by separate kingdoms during that era.

The area that the forest is in, Ubud, was once a royal neighbourhood where families lived in magnificent palaces, many of which still stand there now. 

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via @maryazam

Now, the forest is a tourist hot spot where you can touch, feed, watch and take photos of daily monkey life - all for the reasonable price of about $4.

But be warned, the greedy macaques are nothing like the innocent-looking monkeys portrayed in the brochures.

In fact, with the recent surge in tourism, monkeys here have gotten so used to humans that their sense of personal space is close to zero. Reports of tourists being attacked or bitten are not uncommon, though most trips here are safe and travellers often experience nothing worse than a moody alpha male or two.

via @everyborder

A safe way to hang out with the monkeys is to not carry any food with you and avoid wearing loose, flowy clothing. Monkeys here have also trained themselves to open backpacks and rifle through pockets, so keep your valuables safe.

The forest is open to guests from 8:30am until 6:00pm. Learn more about the sanctuary here.

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