Travelling SE Asia // Lopburi and The Monkey Temple!

Friday 22 April 2016
After spending 2 amazing days exploring Ayutthaya, we decided to get the train to our next destination, Lopburi. I'm pretty sure this is another town that people usually visit on a day trip, but again David and I decided to stay for a couple of nights! We didn't want to feel like we were rushing through these towns on our way to the north of Thailand, and even though there isn't much to Lopburi, we really enjoyed our stay here!

The train lasted about an hour and a half, and the tickets cost 680 Baht, which is roughly about £14. We were so confused when the train attendant starting handing us free juice and a packet of cookies each, but as it turned out we had somehow managed to buy 1st Class tickets without even realising! The cookies were so good though, and massively appreciated after an early morning with no breakfast!

Lopburi is a small, quiet little town, with its main attraction being the hundreds of wild monkeys that roam both temple grounds and surrounding streets alike! There really isn't much to see in this town apart from the monkeys, but we had pre-booked two nights in our accommodation, Noom Guesthouse, so we used the time to relax and plan our next few days of travels. 

Noom was a great little place to stay, we really loved it! We booked into a fan room, which turned out to be a mistake as the weather was so hot it got incredibly stuffy! Luckily they had a really great restaurant downstairs, where we spent most of our time, either reading, playing cards or planning our next few days! It was a busy little restaurant, but the staff were all amazingly friendly and there were 3 chihuahuas running about who were completely adorable. The food was great too! It had the best sweet & sour chicken I've ever eaten, and David discovered his love for masaman curry with roti bread!
Check out the joy on David's face...
Like I said before, there really isn't alot to do in Lopburi. Once we'd got ourselves checked into Noom and had some lunch, we decided to go for a walk and see where our feet would take us. 

Our first stop was to a temple ruin we had noticed that morning, just opposite the train station. It cost 50 Baht each to get in, and the ruins were amazing but it was just so hot I could barely appreciate them! 

Against our better judgement, apparently a running theme of our travels, we were out walking during the hottest part of the day and instead of taking in the beauty of the ruins all I was interested in was, is there any shade in this part?! 

Aside from melting in the midday heat, these ruins were beautiful. And they were so empty! Apart from the two of us there were a couple of school kids taking shelter in some shade, and that was it. I have to admit, it was great having the whole place pretty much to ourselves!

Next up we decided it was time to find some monkeys! We had seen a couple playing about on the rooftops near our guesthouse, which was a little surreal, but nothing could have prepared us for these monkeys! 

There are hundreds of them, and once you reach a certain part of town they are literally everywhere! They run across the road, climb lampposts and wires, dangle from balconies, jump on top of cars sitting in traffic and rifle through the back of a pick up truck looking for something to steal...It is so surreal!

They mainly live in the grounds of a ruin, Prang Sam Yot, which is bordered by a fence in the photo above, but they spill out all over the surrounding streets aswell. We couldn't belive just how many there were! Or how normal it is for the local residents, they treat them the way we would treat cats or dogs, for these people the monkeys are a normal part of their lives! But for us, seeing this amount of wild monkeys roaming the streets is just so bizarre!

Entrance to the temple costs 50 Baht per person, which is pretty standard, but I'm not sure it's worth it this time! This ruin is very small, and unless you're brave enough to get up close and personal with the monkeys, you can't really get close to the temple! The main draw here is 100% the monkeys though, and it is cool to be able to walk so close to them. 

What's not so cool, is when two of the monkeys decide that you're a target, even though you've been trying to keep a safe distance from them and not look like you'd make a good climbing frame. I saw the first one coming for me and tried to run away without really running away, if you know what I mean? It jumped on me anyway, launched itself onto my legs and was quickly on top of my head!

Thankfully, we'd read about the monkeys before we went looking for them, so my hair was tied up, supposedly out of reach, and we weren't carrying anything apart from our bags. My ponytail didn't stop this monkey from trying to steal either my hair or the bobble, I'm not sure which but he was pulling at something! I put my hand behind my head to try and hold onto my hair and he bit my finger! It wasn't hard or sore, and it didn't draw blood or even scratch me, but it shocked me a bit! Then I felt his sneaky little hands close around one of my glasses legs and he almost got them off my face. Luckily I grabbed onto them in time! 

We'd also read that you can get the monkeys off you by spinning quickly round in a circle, so here I was spinning round looking like I'm playing dizzy dinosaurs, the monkey was just like nope! and he didn't get off me until a second monkey jumped on my back! Thankfully this little guy wasn't a big fan of my spinning and he quickly jumped off, leaving me with a disheveled ponytail, a bitten finger and my glasses in my hands! David just kinda stood there, understandably not really knowing what to do to help me, and we didn't even get a photo of them on me! It was an interesting experience, to say the least. 

On our last full day in Lopburi we decided to visit the Somdet Phra Narai National Museum.  Our ticket out of Lopburi was a sleeper train to Chiang Mai which didn't leave until 20:45pm,  so we had a whole extra day in Lopburi than we'd planned. 

The day before had been spent mostly at Noom GH, with the odd walk scattered throughout the day, so we decided that we actually wanted to do something that felt productive on our last day!

We'd noticed this museum on our walk the day before, and decided to head back to see if it was open. Thankfully it was open and we took some well needed respite from the sun that was beating down on us! The museum was really quiet, there was hardly anyone else in it with us which was great! It was also really cool inside, it felt like we'd found a really peaceful oasis with great air con! It was full of different displays and galleries, of statues and tapestries from many different eras of Thailand history. It was really interesting to walk around and read some of the background and meanings of the many relics that the museum held. 

The museum tickets cost 150 Baht each, and I would really recommend it if you're ever in Lopburi! Even if you're not really that into museums,  it's nice to walk around somewhere cool and quiet for a while! 

The grounds around the museum are also completely worth a visit. They are really pretty, and lovely to just walk around in the calm before going back to the chaotic traffic outside!

After the museum we spent the rest of the day at Noom GH, charging everything that required charging before our first experience of the 12 hour sleeper train to Chiang Mai!

Until next time!