In most places around the world, humans continue to expand their cities, pushing animals into smaller and smaller living spaces, leading to extinction and starvation – many people simply don’t believe that wild animals can share our space.
But in the small town of Lopburi in Thailand, things are a little bit different – there, crab-eating Macaque monkeys rule the town …
Whatever happened to turn this otherwise peaceful town into a monkey haven I don’t know, but somewhere along the way the residents of Lopburi accepted the fact that the monkeys were there to stay.
In Lopburi, people have adapted to the monkeys being everywhere, and to prevent them from getting into their homes making a mess (and perhaps stealing their food), iron bars have been put up on every window.
Some hotels have even “locked” themselves in by creating a sort of cage around the building so that guests can open their windows – how often do you see humans locking themselves in rather than the monkeys?
The Perception and Truth about Lopburi.
Often the perception is that Lopburi is a place to be avoided, and just as we arrived in Lopburi, another backpacker tried to persuade us into not staying the night but go somewhere else instead.
If it’s one thing we have learned from traveling it’s that what you hear and read about a place rarely is the truth, and that it’s alway better to go there and see it for yourself.
Not only did we find that the guy’s fears were completely unfounded, but we actually liked Lopburi so much that we decided to stay an extra night.
The people were wonderful, the small food stalls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants served great and ridiculously cheap food, and it was a nice break from the chaos of Bangkok.
The only thing I would recommend people when they visit is to be careful with the monkeys.
They’re literally everywhere – hanging from the trees above your head or running around your feet, and they’re often very curious so look after your bags.
Other than that, nobody seems too bothered about the monkeys that roam the streets and temples – in fact, they believe that the ancient Khmer temples are considered to bring good luck precisely because the Monkeys are there.
Today the macaque monkeys are the symbol of the province, and every year a festival is held in Lopburi celebrating the monkeys.
So next time you are in Bangkok, why not jump on the train and head north 150km to spend a few wonderful days in Lopburi surrounded by wonderful monkeys.
Here is a video of our trip to Lopburi: