In the long march toward the north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, you shouldn’t miss a half-day stop at Lopburi, perhaps the most funny place in Thailand.
Most travelers leave Bangkok in a hurry to reach Chiang Mai, with a single stop in Ayutthaya, but in the middle of the road to Northern Capital of Thailand there are some treats that will give you fantastic memories, beautiful photos and funny anecdotes to tell about at your return.
One of these cute places is definitely Lopburi, an anonymous town with a terrible suburban area, but coming closer to the center you will find that it’s definitely worth a visit since the Thais are not the only inhabitants of this place. In Lopburi, actually, there is a huge colony of monkeys frolic in the city, leaping from roof to roof, swirling on the phone cables, or simply laying on the old Khmer Old Town ruins.
The first macaques found a shelter in the town temple where, due to the Buddhist faith of the local population, they began to be fed, so in a short time the colony grew a lot and now counts a few hundred specimens (Continue under the Gallery).
THE LOPBURI MONKEY TEMPLE
Visiting the San Phra Kan is a great experience. Here the monkeys find the food that the locals leave for them as sacred offerings, refresh themselves in the water tank, jump from tree to tree, “attack” the visitors and snatching to distracted travelers.
Macaques tend to subtract objects from bags and backpacks, intrigued by something sparkling or what can easily be mistaken for food.
Even more impressive are the ruins of the Khmer temple in front of the train station. The Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat dates back to the 13th century and is the best place to take some memorable monkey photos with the ancient monastery in the background.
The coexistence between inhabitants and macaques seems to have found its balance despite a real invasion. The monkeys are harassing the locals, especially commercial businesses that are frequently threatened by them. This is why it is normal to see old Thai ladies armed with sticks to frighten and drive away the hairy guests out of their stalls. But in a true Buddhist style it is forbidden to hurt any animal. These, in fact, might be the reincarnation of a distant relative.
WHERE TO STAY IN LOPBURI
For a good night’s sleep, Noom Guesthouse is certainly one of the most pleasant places to sleep, offering clean and affordable rooms as well as a cozy bar / restaurant for every need, from sweet to salty, from breakfast to dinner.