Lopburi is a well-known destination among foreign travellers as the Monkey City. It is also important historically as during the 17th Century is was the centre of culture, religion and diplomatic relations in Thailand. Indeed, the French Ambassador visited here in 1685 during the reign of King Narai the Great. Every year, during February, they hold a festival honouring this king. I drove up to Lopburi the other day to attend this festival. Along the way I did side trips in Saraburi on the way up and Ang Thong on the way down. The following photos were tweeted live during the trip.
Trip date: 9-11 February 2018
DAY ONE: Setting off on a 3-day road trip to Lopburi. I will be attending a festival in the city on Saturday. Travel time looks like two and a half hours
Wat Khao Wong (Narai cave) is a well-known Dharma and mediation center in Saraburi Province. There is also a cave here with a large Buddha image. It’s a nice peaceful place with limestone cliffs on one side. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/8DHzmPXMhZo
Wat Praputthabat is the most sacred temple in Saraburi Province. It’s famous for a mondop on top of a hill that enshrines a large Buddha footprint measuring 60 inches by 21 inches. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/g68SKg9YL3r
Drone photos of the Mondop at Wat Praputthabat in Saraburi Province.
Lopburi city is famous for monkeys and the best place to see them is at Phra Prang Sam Yod. It was originally built as a Hindu shrine in the 13th century. The distinctive three Prangs are the symbol of the province. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/55yGZYKjxnJ2
Lopburi city really belongs to the monkeys. If you don’t like them, stay away. A word of warning, they can be vicious and are expert pickpockets. Please don’t feed them as it just causes problems for others.
A floral display is being set up today at Prang Khaek in Lopburi for the King Narai Festival that starts on Saturday. Should be spectacular once finished. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/tTV4BtViqdy
All historical buildings and ruins in Lopburi have free entry during the King Narai Fair from 10-18 February 2018.
This is my hotel room for the next two nights in Lopburi. It’s 200 Baht per night which is about $6. The cage is to stop the monkeys getting in through the open windows. For this price there is no air-con and only cold water. I’ll buy breakfast on the street somewhere.
DAY TWO: Good morning from Lopburi. I was woken up early by a noise outside my room and saw these guys peering into my bedroom window.
Exploring the early morning fresh market in Lopburi. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/rDMuKHrrsC32
Khao Yam Gai Saep, a spicy chicken salad on rice for breakfast. 35 Baht. Not bad, but they do a much better version in my schools canteen.
Khanom Krok, a rice pudding, is a good choice for a breakfast snack. I like them when they are still hot. 20 Baht.
My plan for this morning is a walking tour of Lopburi. All of the historical buildings are free for eight days during the King Narai Reign Fair. This afternoon there is a parade at 3pm to Narai Ratchaniwet Palace.
There will be a religious ceremony at Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat this afternoon at 4pm marking the start of the King Narai Reign Fair in Lopburi. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Xdgfxt9DggT2
If you’re heading to Chiang Mai by train from Bangkok, Lopburi is a good stopover for the night. It takes about two and a half hours. There is also a van from Mochit in Bangkok that takes about two hours.
The Buddha and the Monkey.
Phra Prang Sam Yod in Lopburi. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/HiSqkZAtBm82
Many people wearing Thai traditional clothes this weekend in Lopburi for the eight day long King Narai Reign Fair.
Wichayen House in Lopburi was built during the reign of King Nari to serve as the residence of the French Ambassador in 1685 and as a reception hall for the French Envoy in 1687. It was later taken over by Constantine Phaulkon. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/AkGgWDtCceu
Kuay Jub Nam Kon (ก๋วยจั๊บน้ำข้น), Rolled Noodles in 5 Spices Soup for lunch. 30 Baht.
4pm The parade for the King Narai Reign Fair is about to leave Pibulwithayalai School and will head through Lopburi city to Narai Ratchaniwet Place. See map below:
The King Narai Reign Fair parade in Lopburi
Thais dressed as ‘farang’ at the King Narai Reign Fair parade in Lopburi.
The King Narai Reign Fair in Lopburi continues until 18 February 2018.
DAY THREE: Good morning from Lopburi. I’m driving back home this morning but I will do a couple of stops in Ang Thong to see Thailand’s biggest Seated Buddha and the longest Reclining Buddha.
Drone photos of Lopburi.
The oldest and most sacred meditating Buddha statue in Ang Thong can be found at Wat Chaiyo Worswihan (วัดไชโยวรวิหาร). The large seated Buddha image is 22.65 metres high and 16.10 metres wide. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/51D8CrVpC722
The longest Buddha image in Thailand is at Wat Khun Inthapramun in Ang Thong province. It’s 50 meters long and 11 meters high. It used to be inside a building but that collapsed many years ago. The images faces north. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/S49heuV1wa12
Wat Muang, in Wiset Chai Chan District of Ang Thong, has the largest Buddha image in Thailand. It is 95 meters high and 63 meters wide. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4unmAuvmhXN2
Wat Muang, in Ang Thong, not only has the largest Buddha image, but also a large silver Buddha image, a chapel building surrounded by a giant lotus and a representation of Buddhist Hell.
Drone photos of the massive Buddha image at Wat Muang in Ang Thong province.
That’s a wrap on my three-day road trip to Lopburi for the King Narai Reign festival. I also did side trips in Saraburi and Ang Thong provinces. I hope you enjoyed my pictures and I’ve inspired you to visit.