Lopburi is a small town north of Bangkok particularly famous for the crab-eating macaques that wander around one of its temples, the wat Phra Prang Sam Yod, all day long.
The town also has numerous remains of buildings and monuments dating from historical periods when it played an important role.
In November the wildest lunch party in the world takes place in honour of these cheeky macaques, called Lopburi Monkey Banquet.
Close to Ayutthaya, you can combine both visits at the same stage of the trip.
Lopburi has a population of approximately 30,000 and is located some 153 km north of Bangkok, not very far away from the last capital city of the Kingdom of Siam, Ayutthaya, so that you can do the two visits at the same stage of your trip.
From the 6th century, that is long before the Thais took control of the Chao Phraya river basin, this city was under the dominion of the Mon and Khmer peoples, who left their visible mark in the form of ‘prangs‘ or towers with a religious function that came from the cultural tradition of Angkor.
Forming part of the Kingdom of Siam, in the 14th century, Lopburi became for some time the city of the prince, where the crown prince would acquire experience in governing before ascending to the throne.
The city gained momentum again in the 17th century under the rule of King Narai the Great, who realized that the capital Ayutthaya was too vulnerable to possible confrontations with the European powers with which it then traded. Thanks to its strategic position Lopburi became the second alternative capital of the Kingdom of Siam in the event of a war.
Every year in February a festival is celebrated in its honour and to commemorate its legacy.
Today, the city’s development revolves around tourism and the cultivation of products such as sunflowers as well as standing out for its large military units thanks to its strategic location.
For those visiting, the main hub of activity is centred on one of its temples, the Phra Prang Sam Yod, and the large community of monkeys that live in the vicinity and that are a symbol of the city. They are very much used to humans and are trusting as well as rather cheeky. They adore fruit and this is what they expect to receive from tourists.
The monkeys are divided into two gangs that live in two areas of the city, one of them around the temple. The limit is drawn by the train tracks and, once in a while, they make a big mess.