"Home of Monkeys and Soldiers" Top 5 Page for this destination Lop Buri by riproy
Lop Buri Travel Guide: 85 reviews and 308 photos
The small town of Lopburi was home for me between 1994 and 1997. While living in Bangkok after that i still visited frequently. I spent time in all the amphurs (districts) but lived and worked in the Amphur Muang (the district surrounding the town itself).
Lopburi is very historical as it was a summer home for King Narai the Great about 300 years ago (he actually spent more time in Lopburi than he did in his capital of Ayutthaya toward the end of his life). So if you like ruins, you might be interested, although the ruins in Ayutthaya are more intact and numerous. The advantage in Lopburi is that they are all close together and you can see them all while walking. There is a palace in the old town that is worth visiting. It has peaceful grounds (respite from the town) with shade and large trees and ruins scattered about. The museum at the palace devoted to his life is really interesting and signs are written in English as well as Thai so you can follow along. I went there many times. This is the period when the French and Greek diplomats made their way to Siam and their early relations are fascinating.
There is also an artifact museum next to it that i found less exciting, but lots of Buddha images and pieces dating back to the Lopburi period in the 1st millenium.
Lopburi is the western most point that the Khmer empire spread to before its decline less than 1000 years ago, and the museum contains some reminants of this.
If you happen to be there in Feb, actually the 3rd weekend in Feb, you could visit the Pra Narai Festival at the palace grounds. In my six plus years in Thailand, this was the best festival i had ever gone to. The whole town gets involved in this celebration of King Narai, and the atmosphere at the palace is magical. Above is a picture taken of the parade of Thai dancing in the palace grounds. At night the atmosphere is wonderful with candles placed in the hundreds of coves in the palace walls. I have written more about it under Must See Activities.
Now Lopburi is mostly known for its monkeys and its military. In November there is usually a monkey festival that draws photojournalists from around the world as a big table of food is set up especially for monkeys. For some reason, photos of this spectacle end up in newspapers in Canada all the time. Interesting to see, but a little anti-climactic. Everyone seems to be after the shot of the monkey drinking out of a Coke can.
Lots of military in Lopburi. The forces here are the front line defence for the capital. I have heard that soldiers number over 80,000 in this province. If there is a problem, troops here are able to flood Bangkok in short order. There are bases all over the province and in town. I used to live backing onto the Special Warfare Centre (hard to get in to unless you are visiting someone).
Lopburi was a walled city, a wall around the palace, and then another wall around the town. The style of buildings are thus quite different in and outside of the wall.
There is a zoo, but i don't recommend it since it is run by the military. The elephant there used to dance when you sang to it, but now???
There is an OMF missionary Thai language training school there too so you do see some foreigners out in the streets and markets.
In short, there are lots of ruins to see, but less than in Ayutthaya. What i found fascinating is that the local people just sort of live around the ruins of this formerly walled town. When you think about it, it is wild to see laundry drying on a 1000 year old structure, or a motorcycle taxi driver seated on a wall hundreds of years old waiting for customers.
Every year in early December, usually the first weekend, Lopburi holds a sunflower festival. That is the time of year... more travel advice
Every November, a wealthy businessman in Lopburi holds a dinner for the monkeys of the town, complete with long tables... more travel advice
riproy's Related Pages
Lop Buri Travel Guide
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- "Home of Monkeys and Soldiers"
- "LOP BURI"
- "Our introduction to the Central Plains -15/01/2005"
- "My Job in Thailand"
- "Lopburi - not only monkeys"
- "Around Lop Buri"
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Latest: Nov 19, 2013