LopburiBangkok in the Chao Phraya Basin region of Thailand. Lopburi has a mountain called Khao Chan Daeng.
HistoryLopburi is one of the oldest cities in Thailand, a former capital and the second capital after Ayutthaya was established in 1350. It was abandoned after King Narai passed away in 1688, but parts were restored in 1856 by King Mongkut (King Rama IV) and in 1864 it was made the summer capital.
Lopburi had been an important part of the Khmer Empire and later a part of the Ayutthaya kingdom. It was Ayutthaya's second capital under the reign of King Narai the Great, who used to spend eight months a year in Lopburi. Later on King Mongkut of the Bangkokian Chakri Dynasty used to reside here. Thus the remains of almost all periods of Thai history can be found.
OrientationThere are two central areas in Lopburi: New Town and Old Town. Most of the important sites, plus the train station, are in the Old Town; buses arrive and depart from the New Town.
MonkeysLopburi is famous for the hundreds of crab-eating macaques that overrun the Old Town, especially in the area around Phra Prang Sam Yot and Phra Kaan Shrine, and there's even a monkey temple/amusement park where you can buy snacks to feed to them.
Keep an eye out for monkeys hanging from trees and wires and sitting on roofs and ledges, and be aware that they have some unpleasant bad habits including defecating on unsuspecting pedestrians from their overhead perches, jumping on people to snatch food and stealing bags that they suspect may contain something edible.
DogsAt night nothing much is going on in the Old Town, thus the street dogs consider everybody running around after midnight very suspicious. While most of them will just look at you, some might bark, run behind you and jump at you. While common at night, it is very rare during the day.
By busFrom Ayutthaya, local buses run every 20 mins, take around 2 hours and cost 35 baht.
There is a minibus service from Mo Chit to Lopburi.
From Kanchanaburi it's necessary to take a local bus to Suphanburi taking 2 hours and costing 50 baht, then another from there to Lopburi taking 3 hours and costing 52 baht.
From Sukhothai take a bus to Phitsanulok and then to Nakhon Sawan first.
By minibusFrom Bangkok, air conditioned minivans leave from the main Mo Chit (northern) bus station, take about 2 hours and cost 110 baht. There are several van services in the area, so if the timing for one service does not work, try another. The last minivan departs around 18:00.
By trainTrains from/to Bangkok's main Hualamphong station take about 3 hours. Take the Northern Line from Hua Lamphong Railway Station everyday, many rounds per day.
Trains from/to Ayutthaya take about one hour and cost 13 baht for third class.
- From Bangkok, take Hwy 1 (Phahonyothin Rd) passing Phra Phutthabat District, Saraburi, onto Lopburi. The total distance is 153 km.
- From Bangkok, take Hwy 32 which separates from Hwy 1, passing Ayutthaya. There are three routes as follows:
- Enter Bang Pahan District, passing Nakhon Luang District into Rte 3196. Then, pass Ban Phraek District onto Lopburi.
- Enter at the Ang Thong Interchange to Tha Ruea District and turn left onto Rte 3196, passing Ban Phraek District onto Lopburi.
- Pass Ang Thong, Singburi, and take Rte 311 (Singburi–Lopburi), passing Tha Wung District onto Lopburi.
Ban VichayenThe remains of Constantine Phaulkon's residence, built in the reign of King Narai the Great. Only the outer walls of the three main buildings remain, in a small grassy area.
Phra Kahn ShrineThe site of a small shrine, the remains of a Khmer prang, a few stalls and lots of monkeys. The stalls sell offerings to be dedicated at the shrine, and food and drink. The monkeys eat the food, drink, offerings and anything else going. Good for a few photos. There are signs warning of purse-grabbing by the monkeys, but they appear docile if not provoked.
Phra Narai RatchanivetBuilt in 1677 by French, Italian, and Portuguese engineers, the palace was used by King Narai to host receptions for foreign envoys. Restored in 1856 by King Mongkut, it was converted into a museum in 1924. The palace grounds consists of the remains of various buildings in an enclosed park, with the central palace serving as the Somdet Phra Narai Museum, which houses prehistoric exhibits, along with Buddha images of Dvaravati, Lopburi and Khmer styles; and King Mongkut's bedroom.
Phra Prang Sam YotA Khmer-style temple known for its three linked towers.
Wat Phra Phutthabat
Wat Phra Sri RattanamahathatBuilt in the 13th Century, this is one of the town's most important monasteries; visitors can view a bas relief illustrating the Buddha's life on the central prang. No monkeys.
Wat Sao Thong ThongA viharn in the compound of a working wat, also has a small amulet market in the grounds. Previously used as a Christian chapel and a mosque, it has now been restored and features a large Buddha figure, with several smaller Lopburi-era Buddhas in wall niches.
Rock ClimbingAt Jiin Lay Mountain.
Bualuangphone: +66 36 614227address: 46/1 Moo 3, TasalaCash only.
Louis SteakhouseA great restaurant owned by a Belgian. A great change if you are looking for something a little different from Thai food.
New World Steak HouseGood English cuisine. Run by Barry and Noi, an Englishman and his Thai wife. The prices are higher than typical Thai food, but the steaks are huge, the Shepherd's pie is excellent, and sometimes has tacos.
White HouseRomantic Western architecture with a beautiful yard and second floor, offers good food. Crab meat fried rice and red curry is very good. The owner, Mr Piak, speaks English and will tell you everything you need to know, even if you don't dine there.
The centre of town has a variety of places, from hole in the wall local dives, to "The Bank", a disco that is frequented by Lopburi's young crowd, but is not recommended for foreigners unless you know your way around well. Uptown has few drinking establishments on the main road, but there are a variety of karaoke bars and such down the back roads. Some of these out-of-the-way places are OK for a drink and some offer short-term female company but this not recommended for the newcomers.
Butterfly Baraddress: Phayakamjad RdNice little street side bar with beer, whisky and food. Gung and Steve are great hosts and the bar stays open until there is no one remaining. There are usually a few Westerners hanging around.
Old TownHotels in the Old Town offer generally similar medium scale standards for 140-500 baht. The monkeys run around freely, but usually stay in just one small area. Depending on your preference you can choose a place with lots of monkeys running (and hanging) around, or opt for somewhere with low or no monkey presence.
Places with lots of monkeys
Lopburi City HotelProbably the best of the hotels within the monkey area, and enclosed in a big "cage" that keeps the monkeys out, so you can open the windows. All rooms are air-con.
Muang Tong HotelThe least likable hotel in the monkey area. It's not enclosed in a "cage", so opening the windows isn't a good idea. However, it does have the best view of the monkey area and the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple. Rooms have Thai-style bathrooms with squat toilets.
Sri Indra HotelEnclosed in a big "cage" that keeps the monkeys out, so you can open the windows. The rooms are neat and clean, but don't expect more.
Places with few monkeys
Lopburi Asia HotelRooms are low to medium standard.
Nett HotelGood location, with a small food market in front, and no monkeys running around. Rooms range from medium standard to a decent standard.
phone: +66 36 427 693address: 15-17 Phayakamjad RdHas fan rooms, also offers motorcycle rentals and rock climbing, and is close to an Internet café. Serves English breakfast, 08:00-11:30.
Suphon Phong HotelHas only two good points: location and price.
Lopburi Innaddress: 28/9 Narai Maharat RdHolds a dinner party each November for the monkeys. The hotel has a shuttle and may be willing to pick you up from the train station.
Lopburi Inn ResortThe only hotel in town with a swimming pool.
O2 Hotelphone: +66 64 967 7474address: 120 Moo 4Clean and spacious rooms. Seventy-five superior rooms and four deluxe rooms. Each room has a private balcony. It is about eight kilometres to Somdet Phra Narai National Museum and Phra Prang Sam Yot Khmer sanctuary. Room price includes a (modest) breakfast for two. Free Wi-Fi.