Monkey magic takes on new meaning at the Phra Pranf Sam Yot Temples in Lopburi, Thailand. Home to some spectacular ruins and top attractions, Lopburi is an out of the way city, 150km from Bangkok, that has its own monkey population that reside on the ruins of the Khmer Empire. While monkeys are a common sight all over the city, many gather for the feast offered to them during this festival, one of the six life changing festivals to see in Thailand, making it a great opportunity to see a vast number of monkeys at one location.
The monkey citizens of the city intermix with locals in everyday life. It is not uncommon to see these mischievous creatures roaming the streets interacting with Thais and foreigners alike, although until recently the event has been a local festival and tourists are only beginning to realise that this amazing event occurs.
The festival begins with live performances and dances that draw the monkeys out. Long tables dressed with red tablecloths are laid and are filled with fruit, sticky rice, salads and Thai desserts, all designed in colourful shapes and patterns to please the animals. Culturally, the non-spirtual feast will bring good luck to the local townspeople. Visitors may even see frequent monkey foodfights, so be sure to not get caught in the crossfire!
There are also many musical performances on hand featuring the ethnic culture of the region, along with many other fun-filled displays and contests, including stalls featuring amazing Thai food, which fosters a real carnival atmosphere.
Lopburi is located in central Thailand, the city is 154 kms north-east of Bangkok. There is historical evidence to suggest that the city has been continuously inhabited for around 3000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the Kingdom. It is full of ancient ruins left over from the empires that ruled the region.
Lopburi is perfectly located for an overnight or weekend trip from Bangkok.
Air-conditioned coaches and non-air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2 Bus Terminal) every 20 minutes from 5.30 a.m. until 8.30 p.m. The ticket costs approx. 80 baht (ordinary bus) and 100 baht (air-conditioned). The journey time is 3 hours.
Bangkok-Chiang Mai trains leave Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station every morning. Rapid trains leave the station 5 times a day, with a travel time of 2.5 hours
The best way to see the two towns is on foot. City buses are also available. At a costs of 4 baht per passenger.
Lopburi has many hostel and hotel accomodation options for the festival. Higher-end travellers could stay in the new part of town at the shiny Benjatara Boutique Resort or Lopburi Inn Hotel, which has a swimming pool, but keep in mind that these are at least five kilometres from the historical sites.
Noom’s Guesthouse an old two-storey wood hostel house in the heart of the old town, and is the is the go-to spot for many backpackers. Most rooms are set on the upper floor of the main building and rely on shared hot-water bathrooms with rain showerheads situated on the ground floor. They’re clean and comfy but you might have to queue up for a shower in the morning.
The Sri Indra Hotel is located right in the middle of all the monkey madness, with hot-pink walls, plaid drapes, free WiFi, TVs on chunky wood desks and springy beds with comforters.
Head to the map below for the best hotel and Airbnb deals in Lopburi.
There are many attractions in the area to satisfy the wanderlust explorer, its especially good for its scenic hikes and walks.
The Phra Narai Ratchaniwet, also know as the King’s Palace, is a beautiful palace complex houses the home of King Narai the Great. It is a ruin that is known as the second capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and has a unique mix of Khmer and French influences, making this one of the best sites in Lop Buri for history fans, it also includes the town’s museum.
A 17th-century ruin that can be found in Lop Buri is Wat San Paolo, is a Jesuit church that was founded by the Portuguese. The ruins include the remains of one brick wall, a tower, and an octagonal, three story observatory. An attraction that not many tourists know about it is fitting for those who are interested in the trail of foreigners within Thailand.
The date for the Lopburi Monkey Buffet Festival is Sunday November 24, 2019.
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