The weight my backpack suddenly becomes a lot heavier and I struggle to keep my balance. I turn my head and my eyes meet the one of a macaque who grabs my shoulder and checks my backpack in search for food. As soon as he tries to open it another smaller monkey sways himself up on one of the straps, grabbing the tiare flower I am wearing in my hair. I was just trying to photograph a few of their buddies climbing up and down the Prang Sam Yot temple but first, I need to get them off me as they are very persistent!
Believed to be disciples of the Hindu god Hanuman, the monkeys are sacred in the town of Lopburi. They inhabit the two main temples, one being the ruin from the 13th century, the other being the San Phra Kan where on a daily basis offerings are made by Buddhists.
Doing any harm to these creatures means bad karma so they are left alone and rule this part of the city: swaying on electric cables, climbing up buildings, sliding down electric poles, stealing lunch boxes from tuk-tuk passengers driving by, f*cking in the middle of the street, playing trampoline on parasols and shades, sleeping on the railway tracks, stealing anything that can possibly be stolen from passers-by from food, drinks, caps, earrings, elastics to really anything!
“Asshole!” I hear Claire scream. My face turns white when I see how a little monkey has clenched its teeth into the skin of her hand as she is trying to get rid off three of them at the same time. Fortunately, the skin is not punctured, and the bite just leaves a small bruise.
If it is funny at first to observe the monkeys, it is hardly possible to remain only a spectator, even when not feeding them and be ready to jumped at. Hopefully, Lopburi offers a few other sites where one can take shelter from these hundreds of macaques and rhesus monkeys!
Claire & Marcella
- Lopburi is on the Northern train line between Bangkok and Chiang Mai and can be an easy stop for a couple of hours coming fromo Bangkok or Ayuthaya before taking the night train to Chiang Mai.
- Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!