If you are traveling across Thailand from Bangkok to the north, you will no doubt pass through Lopburi Province and City. If you have any sense, you will stay for a few days to explore this beautiful region of central Thailand. The province is divided into 11 districts and is home to over 750,00 inhabitants. If you want to explore the stunning natural beauty and a real slice of Thailand, Lopburi is an inspired choice.
Lopburi is located approximately a 3-hour drive north from Bangkok and is 180km away from the city.
Did you know that Lopburi is quite old and was originally a stronghold of ancient Ayutthaya from as far back as the 1300s? Before that is was a stronghold of the Khmer Empire. In this day and age, Lopburi is more known for its national parks and its fun and friendly monkey inhabitants.
Lopburi and its Monkeys
Lopburi has a famous link to monkeys and is synonymous with primates. You will find monkeys assembling daily in many places across the city. Most famously at 10 am to 4 pm daily at Phra Prang Sam Yod and San Phra Kan shrine. Here you will find the monkeys running amok and hanging from power cables and every conceivable place. If you visit one of these places to see the monkeys, be careful when you are eating food because they will snatch it from you without a second’s hesitation.
Things to see and do in Lopburi
Lopburi City separated into two main areas: the old town, and the new town. There are many things to see and do in Lopburi City, most of which generally centred on its vast culture and Buddhist temples. Here is a list of some of the most popular places to visit when you are travelling through Lopburi.
Located in the heart of the city on Narai Maharat Rd, Ban Vichayen is the remains of Constantine Phaulkon’s residence, which was built in the 1600s by the ten King Narai the Great. There are only the outer walls remaining of the three main buildings, but with an admission price of 30 THB, it’s well worth a look.
Phra Kahn Shrine
Also located on Narai Maharat Road, the Phra Kahn Shrine is the remnants of a Khmer prang from hundreds of years ago and filled to the brim with monkeys. Be careful with these purse and food snatching primates, but it’s lots of fun and only 50 THB entrance as well.
Phra Narai Ratchanivet
Known as King Narai’s Palace, Phra Narai Ratchanivet was initially built in 1677 by engineers from Portugal, Italy and France. By the 1800s, the palace had become dilapidated but was renovated in 1865 by King Mongkut. And by 1924, the palace had been turned into a museum. Here you will find lots of remains and ruins, prehistoric exhibits, lots of Buddha images and a vast plethora of ancient relics. The entrance fee to the museum is 150 THB for foreigners and 30 THB for Thais.
Phra Prang Sam Yot
Another famous old temple that was built by the Khmer people is Phra Prang Sam Yot. A massive amount of monkeys also flanks this temple. The entrance fee for foreigners if 50 THB, while the price is 10 THB for Thais.
Wat Phra Phutthabat
Located approximately 17km to the southeast of the city, Wat Phra Phutthabat is an ancient temple that offers a more laidback experience when compared to the other temples in the heart of the town.
Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahathat
As one of the oldest temples in the entire region, built back in the 1200s, Wat Phra Sri Rattanmahathat is not just ancient, but also extremely important to the Buddhist roots of the area. One of the best parts about this temple is there are no monkeys whatsoever. The admission price for Westerners is 50 THB, while the price is 10 THB for Thais.
Other things to do in Lopburi
There are lots of natural delights on the outskirts of the city, such as the tall and imposing Jiin Lay Mountains. It is the ideal place for a spot of rock-climbing and is a place where many rock climbers visit.
Lopburi City might not be a Mecca for international shopping, but it does have a few options. There is a Big-C shopping centre in the middle of town that has a KFC. There is also a Tesco Lotus at the Monkey Mall, which is a great place to relax in the evening. You will also find numerous market options at the Monkey Mall in the evenings.
When it comes to food and drink, we would recommend that you head to the old town part of Lopburi. Here you will find numerous restaurants and food vendors and even some Western-style eateries such as the Belgian-owned Louis Steakhouse, the New World Steakhouse and the popular White House restaurant.
If you are looking for some nightlife or a place to have a few beers, the old town is once again the place to be. You will find a myriad of curbside bars in the old town. The centre in the city has a wide variety of bars, but they are generally for the younger Thai crowd, so that might not suit your needs.
Getting Around Lopburi
As Lopburi is relatively a small town/city, it is straightforward to get around. You can rent bicycles in the city for as little as 50 THB per day, but most travellers opt to use the local blue buses that circle the city route continually. The price of these buses is just 8 THB per person. The buses pass through the town centre, Phra Kahn Shrine, and the TAT office on Phraya Kamuad Road.
Although you can rent motorbikes in the city for 300 to 400 THB per day, we would recommend you stick to the cheap and inexpensive blue buses. As the city is so compact, a motorbike is not essential. If you do want to travel outside of the city, we would recommend you get a bus from the local bus station or a metered taxi.
A visit to Lopburi City is an exciting move if you are looking for somewhere inexpensive. Perfect place off the beaten track to explore on your way from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for a few days. As not so many foreign travellers visit Lopburi, it still retains a genuinely Thai charm and is the ideal place to visit for an avid traveller.
You can easily reach Lopburi from Ayutthaya Bus station as buses run every 20-minutes, take about 2-hours and only cost 35 THB per person. The value for money is simply immense.
We hope you have a great stay in Lopburi, remember to keep an eye out for the purse-snatching monkeys! You have been warned.
Map & More
Location: Central Thailand (180KM north of Bangkok)
Area: 6,200 km²
Population: 758,406 (2014)
GPS Location: 14.769863, 100.670831