Thinking about making a trip to Lopburi, Thailand? Monkeys, a little bit of history and some more pesky Monkeys… this it what you should expect to find!t At first glance you’d think the monkeys run this town and you wouldn’t be far off, but there is more to Lopburi and the surrounding areas than first meets the eye.
Everything is pretty centrally located nearby the train station in the Old Town. As soon as you arrive you’ll realize how significant monkeys are to the culture of Lopburi, and you’ll see statues of monkeys as well as monkeys as close to you as the train platform! If you want to see the monkeys straight away, then head to the Monkey Temple known as Phra Prang Sam Yod, where officials feed the monkeys daily at 10am and 4pm!
It’s easy to hop off the train in Lopburi, take some photos of the temples and monkeys and jump back on the train heading to Chiang Mai or Phitsanulok to get to Sukhothai. Personally I thought it worth staying there for two nights to see what the town had to offer apart from the cheeky monkeys.
Simple enough from Bangkok, just grab a train from Hualamphong Train Station heading towards Chiang Mai, it takes about 4 hours and costs ฿150.
I travelled from Sukhothai, where I took a bus from Sukhothai Bus Terminal for ฿39 to Phitsanoluk, taking about an hour. From Phitsanoluk I took the No.1 Songtheow from the Bus terminal to the train station for ฿15 and then a train for ฿99 to Lopburi. Total journey time is pretty long with delays fairly frequent and it took me about 10 hours, as you’ll see in the video below!
Where to Stay
In my opinion there is really only one decent budget choice in Lopburi and that is Noom’s Guesthouse, this is the go to place for backpackers staying overnight. Occupying an old 2 story wooden house with a restaurant on the ground floor and rooms above, the place is basic but nice. Single rooms are ฿250 and a double ฿350, all the rooms have fans and there is a shared bathroom downstairs consisting of two showers, which means you may have to queue in the morning. The restaurant downstairs is decent and the staff is incredibly helpful at booking tours, arranging motorbike rental and providing information on how to get around.
Where to Eat
At night the street opposite the train station comes to life as a street food market, if you are staying at Noom’s it is literally on your doorstep. You will find some cheap local cuisine and there is a great variety of snacks, noodles, curries and desserts.
If you prefer consistency with a menu: stick to Noom’s restaurant, the food is pretty fantastic. Delicious rich curries, a decent selection of western food and all for a reasonable backpacker budget, I ended up eating here 3 or 4 times and everything I ate was delicious!
Things to Do
Monkey Kingdom – Phra Prang Sam Yod- This is what most people come to Lopburi for. The temple is small; less impressive than you’ll see in Sukhothai or Ayutthaya but the Monkeys are the star of the show. They are fairly comfortable with human contact but remember they are still wild monkeys so don’t let the big ones climb on you as their claws are sharp. The baby monkeys will always be inquisitive and also adorable, so just be careful as the mothers have been known to attack if they feel the baby is being threatened.
Peacock Temple- About a 20 minute drive outside Lopburi, passing through vast fields of sunflowers, is this peaceful Buddhist temple. As you’ll have guessed from the name it’s been overrun by peacocks! There are about 500 steps between you and the main Buddha sitting on top of the hill. You’ll find no peacocks up there but the views are pretty sensational looking out over Sub Lek Reservoir and countryside.
Sub Lek Reservoir- Well worth a visit if you are at the Peacock Temple; the reservoir is huge and on the southern side you’ll find restaurants floating on bamboo platforms serving up Thai cuisine. This is a popular spot with locals, in fact I didn’t see any westerners, so best to visit on a weekday as at the weekend it’s difficult to get a spot on the floating dining areas.
Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace- The second most popular tourist attraction within Lopburi, this ancient palace is about a 10 minute walk north of the train station. Built in the 17th Century by European engineers for King Narai, it was used to host foreign envoys and store the King’s vast wealth. Entrance fee is ฿150.