My Lopburi Monkey Festival, Thailand experience

Last Sunday, November 29, me and a bunch of friends went to Lopburi, a province in Central Thailand located 150 km. Northeast of Bangkok to experience the annual Monkey Festival, a unique event especially created for the Macaque monkeys held every November. It is believed by local folks that if they feed the monkeys, it will give them good luck throughout the year. Apparently, for one of my friends, her luck is not present that day because just minutes since we arrived in the area, she sprained her ankle in an uneven road pavement so throughout the festival and in other places that we visited, she was in pain and can barely walk.

The festivity of the Monkey Festival is concentrated in an old Khmer temple, Prang Sam Yot. In here, hundreds of monkeys young and old alike wander around the area which is surrounded by a steel fence. Locals say the fence is actually like a border delineating the territory between the “good monkeys” and the “bad monkeys”. They say those outsiders (bad monkeys) try to steal food from inside the temple grounds but many of the so-called monkey guards from the inside try to protect their territory from the “invaders”. While we happily take pictures with the now hyper-active monkeys because they eat a lot of sweets and colas, we heard two monkey’s squeal. When we look further, we found out that these 2 monkeys are actually in a fighting mode. The guard monkey tries to prevent the invader from getting any food inside or even step within their territory. At the end he was successful.

Along the street and some short distance from the temple you can see monkeys in the electric post climbing, crossing the road through the electric or telephone lines, or trying to grab food or drinks from unwary tourist or pedestrian. We wonder how often the telephone or electric companies replace their lines because of this.

Since we arrived in the area around 10 am and after watching the monkeys eat the food being served and taking a lot of pictures, we decided to head for lunch. We went to Big-C Supercentre and eat a tasty and spicy chicken meal in KFC. After lunch, we wonder where our next stop is. Since the sun is shining intensely, we almost hesitate to go somewhere riding at the back of the pick-up but at the end, we decided to move. We went to another old temple ruins but decided not to enter because there is an entrance fee of Baht 150 per person. However, the scenery is almost the same as outside so we just spend sometime outside the temple grounds and drink a refreshing iced coffee while taking random pictures.

After that, we headed to a Sunflower farm in Saraburi Province which is almost an hour ride on the way back to Bangkok. The sunflowers are so beautiful in full bloom. Since we arrived in the area almost at dusk so many of the flowers seem bowing down as expected. Still, we managed to take excellent pictures and bought pure Honey for only Baht 100 for a tall long neck bottle.

Next, we decided to go to Pasak Jolasit Dam also in Lopburi Province. This dam is smaller than the previous one that we visited in Nakhon Nayok Province but is also an ideal place for relaxation and recreation. We see many families do picnic or engage in many recreational activities along the dam. The dam is teeming with live fish. Moreover, the landscape is very nice for picture-taking because of the good cloud formation and very calm looking backdrop.

After the visit to the dam, we decided to call it a day and head back to Bangkok since we have work the following day. Along the road within the Bangkapi area of Bangkok, we saw the local Thai Buffet style BBQ restaurant called Mukata. Price per person is only Bath 109 excluding drinks which is actually value for money if you love eating. There is a wide selection of raw food you can cook in a charcoal heated Barbecue dish. You can pick Barbecue pork or chicken, prawns, squid, chicken or fish balls, fresh vegetable and noodles and a variety of finger foods, appetizer and desserts. It was such a big big dinner that we finished after 2 hours of non-stop eating.
Finally, I arrived in my room around 11:30. It was a very tiring day but definitely worth it. At first, I am quite hesitant since it is a Sunday and next day we have to work. Moreover, I’m not a big fan of monkeys because I know that at times they get so unruly and try to grab anything that caught their fancy. However, I decided to go cos it’s a new experience for me. Luckily, I joined and definitely not regret doing so. It was such a fun traveling with lots of friends and we are in fact discussing when and where will our next trip be.