One of the best known places around Bangkok – most likely because of its proximity to Thailand’s capital is Lobpuri. The city itself is a small one situated North of Bangkok. It’s a two hours drive there and totally worth it.
Lopburi is the home of the famous Crab-Eating Macaques Monkeys of Phra Prang Sam Yot and Sarn Phra Karn. Better known to us foreigners as the “Monkey Temple in Lopburi” it is also the home of the Lopburi Monkey Festival and everything seems to be related to the miniature primates that you can meet everywhere around.
Getting to Lopburi is easily done from Bangkok and this is the reason why I wouldn’t recommend actually staying in the small city unless you really want to. If traveling around the area is all that you are looking our for, the best bet is to go get a hotel close to the airport in order to avoid the hustle and bustle of the main city and schedule your trips from there.
I usually choose this type of accommodation when I don’t want to mingle with the locals and get some air. This usually happens after a few visits to a city (or a longer one) when I am more interesting in the surroundings and the beauties the nearby cities and attractions have to offer. If you have never been to Bangkok before though, the city itself is an experience.
Accommodation aside, let’s focus on today’s topic: the Phra Prang Sam Yot Monkey Temple in Lopburi, Thailand!
As I said before, getting there from Bangko is extremely easy and you have all sorts of companies, buses and minivans going there. I personally went with the minivan from the Victory Monument in Bangkok and is extremely comfortable. The round trip costs around 240 baht (around $8) so it’s a steal! You can even take a taxi there if you can pay more, but the minivan worked fine for me.
If you choose to go my way, though, you will be left by the minivan in the city’s center and you will have to get a taxi from there to Phra Prang Sam Yot and Sarn Phra Karn. I don’t remember how much was the taxi ride, but it was really cheap as it’s just a 5-10 minute drive away.
Phra Prang Sam Yot
Once you get there, the fun is about to begin. You will have to pay a basic entrance fee of 50 Baht (but you can enter for free if you are Thai). You can also buy some fruits and food for the monkeys at the entrance for 50 Baht more and it’s highly recommended as this will attract the cute animals.
There are about 1,000 monkeys in the area – the two temples and around them in the old town. They are basically anywhere you look, climbing up the buildings, running around and scouring the area for tourists who come there to feed them. I even saw some hanging from what was probably telephone wires (hopefully no electricity!) and jumping around. It’s a bit of a chaos there if you just sit back for a while to look around.
If you want to interact with the little fellows, you definitely need to feed them. They get really friendly if you have food (read: they surround you and even jump on you), but if you don’t have any food they won’t turn you into their next “victim”.
Monkeys are always unpredictable so they might jump on you and hold you tighter or pull your hair, but overall they are very friendly. I personally had no problems with them and actually got to pet them as they were sorting through the seeds that I was holding for them.
Sarn Phra Karn shrine
If you made it all the way to Lopburi, it’s worth walking a bit more over the railway line and visit the Sarn Phra Karn shrine. It’s also monkey madness here and, even though not as impressive as the temple itself, it’s a nice find. The place is free to visit and you can get more food for the monkeys if you didn’t have enough of them already.
The area also offers some souvenir shops if you want to get back home with some (usually) monkey-themed objects, but expect everything to be priced for tourists, so try to stay away from getting scammed.
All in all, due to the proximity to Bangkok and the uniqueness of the place, as well as the interaction with the monkeys, Lopburi makes for a great one-day trip during your stay in Thailand.
I kept delaying visiting it during my previous visits in the country and I do think that there are much better things to do and see in Thailand, but if you have time, if you have seen most of the big attractions or you are a big animal / monkey lover, this is a must visit.