One Friday evening, while flipping through my Lonely Planet guidebook in search of a weekend getaway, I stumbled across “Lopburi,” a town about two hours northeast of Suphan Buri. Lopburi is a city that is literally crawling with wild monkeys.Swinging from the telephone poles, hanging out at the temples, and harassing the locals by stealing their food and drinks; they are everywhere. In Buddhist culture, it is considered “bad karma” to hurt or kill another being, even if it is pestering you. Hence the reason why this town has a wild monkey problem! Phil and I decided that night we wanted to go for the weekend. Lucky for us, our apartment is about a 5 minute walk away from the local bus station. For ฿60 (about $1.50 each) we bought one-way tickets to Lopburi for the night. We arrived around 4pm, and immediately headed to “Phra Prang Sam Yod” the abandoned temple famous for its’ monkeys. Phra Prang Sam Yod consists of three giant linked towers built by the Khmer in the 13th century as a Buddhist temple, though it was later converted for Shiva worship.
As soon as we crossed the gate into the temple, we could see hundreds of macaques running, sitting, and jumping on the temple grounds. Suddenly, I couldn’t think of why I wanted to come here; I was terrified. To me, these monkeys were both cute and scary at the same time (ha)! I stood at a distance from the temple and watched these fearless monkeys jump onto different tourists. They were in search of food, a drink, or anything shiny/fun to play with. Suddenly, I turn to my left and see Phil standing there with five monkeys attached to him. They are hanging on his backpack, chewing the buttons on my GoPro, and attempting to take off his hat. Like the wonderful girlfriend I am, I started laughing and taking pictures of him. It was completely surreal.
Five minutes later, one of the guards approaches us and hands me a long wooden stick to “distract or scare” the monkeys away from Phil. I attempt to tap the ground with this stick and the monkeys loved it (uh oh). Suddenly about three run towards the stick and jump onto it. So, here I am spinning in circles holding onto a stick with all the monkeys hanging on for a ride. Before I knew it, I had monkeys jumping on me! They were hanging from my purse (opening the zipper), pulling at my hair tie, and attempting to steal my earrings (note to self: remove all jewelry and accessories before entering monkey temples). These monkeys clearly had no intentions of leaving us alone. After about 30 minutes of monkey business, we decided it would be a good time to find a guesthouse for the night. We left the temple completely distraught and smelly. But hey, what an experience! It was wonderful and wild, basically everything I love about Thailand so far.
Next, it was time to find a guesthouse since we didn’t book anything in advance. After a quick google search we discovered a cluster of guesthouses about five minutes from the temple. We walked to the center and found “Noom’s Guesthouse,” a lovely (& farang friendly) guesthouse, where we stayed the night for ฿500 (about $7.00 each). After showering to remove the “monkey odor” we went to dinner and drank mojitos for the remainder of the night. It was the perfect weekend getaway.
We already have a few more weekend trips in mind, stay tuned!