Monkeying Around in Lopburi

18 10 2008

Lopburi, Thailand

After a short train ride from Ayutthaya, during which we were able to fully grasp the value of air conditioning, we arrived in Lopburi. Though it does have a small amount of ancient temples, most tourists visit Lopburi for the monkeys. We were some of those tourists. Now I have no idea how several thousand monkeys came to live in a small section of Lopburi but they have completely taken over about three city blocks and the ancient Phra Prang Sam Yot. They have also made themselves at home at the Phra Kan Shrine where worshippers make food offerings to Buddha and the monkeys help themselves to the offerings. Now when I say these monkeys have taken over, I’m not kidding. Our first time walking into the monkey district I was looking at the top of a building and marvelling at how big the birds were. Only after we got a little closer did I realize that those were monkeys.

Those aren't birds on that rooftop.

Those aren't birds on that rooftop.

We walked by this warehouse where the monkeys had commandeered the dolly cart and were frantically shaking the thing and screeching like it was an amusement park ride.

Monkeys at work/play.

Monkeys at work/play.

As we walked by the Phra Prang Sam Yot with a cup of Thai Iced Tea I heard Gage yell, “Watch out! He’s coming for you!” and I look down to see a rather large monkey reaching up and grabbing onto my pant leg. In case you were wondering, monkeys love Thai Iced Tea. I would have gotten a picture of that too, but I was too busy swatting at the little guy. Cute monkey or no, we love our Thai Iced Tea.

Thai Iced Tea - the gateway drug.

Thai Iced Tea - the gateway drug.

Like I said, Lopburi is pretty small and there’s not much to do besides marvel at the monkeys, so we really only spent one day in the city. Our last order of business before leaving, though, was to get a picture of Gage with one of the monkeys. I’m not the only person to have linked Gage’s personality and mischevious characteristics with that of a monkey. I think the picture below only confirms the likeness. And if only to prove it further, this picture was taken moments before Gage gave the monkey the infamous ‘opposite shoulder tap’. The monkey didn’t find it quite as funny as Gage did.

Brothers!

Brothers!

For more pictures from Lopburi, click here.

Lopburi Suggestions:
– As cute as they are, feeding those monkeys may put you at risk since you will instantly attract the (often aggressive) attention of the surrounding monkeys. If you just have to feed them, wait until you see a lone monkey and only give it half of your food. Save the other half as bait to throw when he starts following you.
– Lopburi is divided into old and new cities. Stay in the old city to see the monkeys. Don’t bother hauling yourself all the way to the new city to get to the night market. The old city night market on Na Prakarn Road is fantastic and a lot closer.

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