If you love Monkeys then you’ll love Lopburi. If you like Monkeys but prefer them not to be not climbing all over you or in close proximity then probably you’ll have a lot of fun in Lopburi trying to keep your distance.
The old town of Lopburi is almost exclusively run by a large troop of Macaques. Shop owners and residents of the town have got it down to a fine art warding off the Monkeys, armed with slingshots or long sticks with plastic bags on the end they try to go about their daily lives. Homes are fenced off by wire meshing, electric fences line the roofs, and even some with barbed wire now and again too – I assume all in an effort to stop the Monkeys ransacking your homes. I’ll always the remember the first time we stayed in Lopburi and thought it would be okay to open the windows – but within seconds Monkeys were at the window trying to get inside.
The city is divided into the old town and the new town. The majority of tourist only see the old town as that is where the Monkeys are and where most of the other tourist sites are. This part of the town has manage to retain its old world charm and feel of a small town. Probably this is due to the many historic ruins scattered through the old town. The sights are within easy walking distance of each other. The ruins and the Monkeys would give you plenty to do and see.
If want to be able to feed the monkeys the best places to do that are at Phra Kahn Shrine and Phra Prang Sam Yot – both places generally have a large number of Monkeys present and there will often be staff nearby to ward off any unwanted Monkey attention. You might even be able to have the Monkeys climb up your body to get the food, if you are brave enough. Both of these sites are close to the train station.
Lopburi is a fairly easy but long day trip from Bangkok. You can catch a minivan from Victory Monument and will be in Lopburi within 3 hours. But to get full enjoyment out of the Monkeys I would recommend staying overnight. Most tourists don’t stay overnight in the town, so once it starts to get dark the town feels even smaller and the Monkeys head off to bed so you can enjoy your dinner in peace at the food stalls alongside the railway tracks by the Phra Kahn Shrine.
Every year in November the residents of Lopburi give thanks to the Monkeys for the prosperity they bring by throwing them one large party. We recently went and it was definitely a spectacular occurrence. It was a little concerning how many sweets they got, but an exciting sight to see.
But whenever you go to Lopburi whether it be for the next Monkey party or an average week I am sure you will come away with at least one interesting Monkey story to tell.