Lopburi Monkey Festival: Know Before You Go
While I was living in Thailand, it was brought to my attention that there was an actual festival dedicated to monkeys in a small town called Lopburi. My goal during my stay in Thailand was to venture to this small town and watch the Lopburi Monkey Festival take place.
So you want to visit Lopburi for the monkey festival, too? Here are some things you should know before venturing to the monkey festival.
What is the Lopburi Monkey Festival?
When I told people that I was going to the Lopburi Monkey Festival, I got the same response over and over… “what is a monkey festival?”
Fair question. I had never heard of this before moving to Thailand either.
The Lopburi Monkey Festival is a ritual that has happened every year since the 1980s. The local people of this province spread a large amount of food onto old ruins in the center of town. This attracts the local monkey population and a feast ensues.
The point of the monkey festival is to lure tourists to the area to watch the festival take place.
How to Get to Lopburi, Thailand
Lopburi is located just three hours outside of Bangkok and the easiest way to get there is by bus or mini-bus.
Catch the bus or a mini-bus from the Mochit Bus Terminal in Bangkok. You’ll pay approximately $2-3 USD for bus fare or $5-6 USD for mini-bus fare. I always took mini-buses because they were much more comfortable than the bus.
You could also set up an ultimate adventure and motorbike up to Lopburi. This is an excellent way to see the countryside and see more of Thailand.
Note: if you aren’t comfortable driving a motorbike, I would suggest taking the bus or mini-bus.
Is it Worth it to Go to the Lopburi Monkey Festival?
The Lopburi Monkey Festival is a unique experience, however, I don’t necessarily recommend it to travelers. Unfortunately, the festival is quite uneventful and the monkeys aren’t very nice.
If I were you, I recommend checking out a different festival in Thailand; there are many! You’ll save valuable time spent in Thailand by going to other festivals or provinces.
Why I Didn’t Like the Monkey Festival
I’m going to share a traumatic story with all of you. Keep in mind, this incident still haunts me to this day. In fact, it has made me avoid macaques at all costs. I truly HATE them.
Prior to visiting Lopburi for the monkey festival, I had an idea. I wanted to get a selfie with a monkey.
Seems pretty awesome, right? How can you live in Thailand and not get a picture with a monkey? Do it for the ‘gram (*cough cough* so stupid)! The monkey festival seemed like the perfect place to do it.
With this in mind, I went to the festival with my camera in hand. The monkeys were devouring the food, fighting over scraps of treats, and running rampant through the ruins. I noticed that some other travelers were letting the monkeys jump on their backs; that’s what I needed to do!
As I approached the Prang Sam Tod Temple, I turned my back in hopes that a monkey would jump on. To my surprise, a monkey DID jump on my back, but what happened next, I was not expecting.
The monkey clearly thought that my ponytail holder was food. He started ripping and tearing at my hair in a desperate attempt to eat my hair-binder. As he was doing this, I started to panic. His gnarly teeth were getting dangerously close to my scalp. What if he bit me?
The thought of getting rabies from a crazed monkey in Thailand seemed all too real. Thankfully, one of my friends put himself in danger and pushed the monkey away (while almost being bit himself). I was set free and that was when I decided, monkeys are AWFUL.
The monkeys at the Lopburi monkey festival are wild animals. They are not always friendly and they are very aggressive. Keep this in mind when planning your trip.
With that said, if you’re completely set on witnessing the Lopburi Monkey Festival, don’t let me stop you. Here are some tips for booking your trip to the monkey festival:
Where to Stay During the Lopburi Monkey Festival
There are several accommodation options in Lopburi and new hotels are being built every day. There are budget options and resort options depending on your spending limit.
During our visit to the Lopburi Monkey Festival, we stayed at the O2 Lopburi Hotel, a new hotel just 15 minutes from the Prang Sam Yod Temple in the city center.
We highly recommend this hotel for the excellent staff and clean rooms. At just $50 a night, this was an amazing deal. They also help travelers get to and from the Monkey Festival by providing information about songthaews (local transportation) or setting up taxi rides.
Another excellent hotel to consider while visiting the Lopburi Monkey Festival is The Tempo Lopburi. Our friends stayed in this hotel and loved the convenience and location. Both of these hotels are immaculately clean, which can be difficult to find in the Thai countryside.
Other Activities Near Lopburi
Lopburi is an off the beaten path destination in Thailand. It is typically unexplored by travelers, but there are a few things in the area to add to your itinerary during your monkey festival trip.
Stroll the Lopburi Carnival
During our time in Lopburi, not only did we get to enjoy the monkey festival, but we also had fun walking around the local fair. There were rides, games, and plenty of food to go around.
If you get the opportunity to experience this province during the festival, I highly recommend spending the night walking around the carnival.
Explore the Lopburi Sunflower Fields
Another great activity to do while in Lopburi is to experience the sunflower fields. There are many different sunflower fields next to Lopburi, so I recommend setting up a small tour with your hotel.
When we explored the sunflower fields in Lopburi, we hired a man that took us in his pick-up truck. We rode through the countryside in the back of the pick-up and enjoyed the beautiful sights.
Ayutthaya is the former capital of Siam and it’s an excellent place to explore while visiting central Thailand. Ayutthaya is filled with ancient ruins from the 12th century.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit, especially if you’re in the nearby province of Lopburi. It takes approximately an hour to get to Ayutthaya from Lopburi.
The Wrap-Up: Lopburi Monkey Festival
If you plan on visiting the Lopburi Monkey Festival, prepare yourself for a very unique experience. Take all necessary precautions around the monkeys and enjoy this celebrated ritual.
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