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Day Trip to Lopburi from Bangkok, Thailand
Lopburi, Monkey Temple Town, Lopburi Province, Thailand.
We planned and carried out our own visit to Lopburi, Thailand whilst we were staying in Bangkok.
Leaving Sam Sen Railway Station in the north of Bangkok on the 07.14 State Railways of Thailand 'rapid train', destination Chiang Mai, arriving at Lopburi at about 09.45. We travelled 'second class' in reclining seats for the princely sum of 141 Bht single (each) returning later that day in 'third class' (second class was already fully booked on this train) from Lopburi to Bang Sue Junction in north Bangkok for a mere 40 Bht each as 'standees' - ie. seats not bookable (or guaranteed)!
When we arrived at Lopburi (Grand Central!) we were greeted by a couple of trishaw peddlars, or is it peddlers? and not really knowing how far 'The Monkey Temple' was in relation to the station, we were placed in the position of not being able to refuse the, (bargained for) 20 Bht each, ride in the back of this novel transportation. I won't say it was the most comfortable journey we've ever had as the canopies are designed for Thai passengers that rarely get to be over five foot eight (one of us is six foot two)!
The 'Lopburi Monkey Temple', Phra Prang Sam Yod (entrance fee applies), is about 800m from Lopburi Railway Station, close to the Phra Kata Shrine. Phra Prang Sam Yod is a three prang, Khmer style temple from around the year 1200. You can feed the Macaque monkeys here but don't tease them, they may bite! If you haven't taken your own monkey food, you can buy packets of roasted sunflower seeds, that the monkeys love, from the entrance booth for 10 Bht, this comes with the free loan of a split bamboo cane to use as an arm extension, for the wary! This cane is also a great 'swing' for the junior ranking members of the troupe.
After becoming all 'monkeyed out' we crossed the road for a welcome cup of coffee (a bit over priced at 40 Bht each) and a quick photo of the San Phakhan - Phra Kala Shrine just over the railway line. We walked westward along Vichayen Road, passing Prang Khaek, a single Khmer style Prang, to see the ruins of the Wichayen Residence, a ruined complex that was used as an international centre for visiting dignitaries during the reign of Kings Narai the Great and King Mongkut (of the Bangkok dynasty).
Dog-leg right and then left around a 'new' archeological site (without a name at this time) and turning left down Tumbol Ta Hin Road we passed the City Temple of the Arrow Shrine, San Luk Son, on the spot where the town of Lopburi was founded. As legend would have it, it was founded by an arrow falling from Hanuman's (The Monkey God) bow. Hence the favoured position of monkeys in the city today! The temple has a crematorium for ex-monkeys at the rear!
We did not use any transport once we left the monkey temple. The next place we visited was just a few yards away past Wat Sao Thong Thong, at the end of the street and follow the high wall round until you get to the huge entrance gates on Sorasak Road where you enter the Phra Narai Ratchanivet (Ratchanivej) Palace of King Narai the Great, Lopburi. This is also the location of the Lopburi (National) Museum and park.
Following the Sorasak Road a little way further fetches you to the high hedge surrounding Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahha That, probably the best temple ruin complex in town, a bit of a mini-Ayuthaya, with (free) glimpses of the site within. The main entrance is opposite the Railway Station.
Other places to visit further out of town are Wat Mani Chonlakhan, Wat Thong Pu and San Phakhan plus views of the Lopburi River.
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