5 Top Things To Enjoy In Lopburi, Thailand

5 Top Things To Enjoy In Lopburi, Thailand
Sarah J
Sarah J 

Located in Central Thailand, Lopburi (sometimes also spelt as Lop Buri) is the charming provincial town of Lopburi Province. Whilst the province is pretty expansive, the town of Lopburi is easy to explore, with many of the main sights concentrated within a fairly small area. You’ll find most of the key attractions within a short walking distance of the train station, located in the old part of town. Do note, however, that the bus station is in the newer part of Lopburi town, and you will need to negotiate a price for a tuk tuk or motorbike taxi to take you to the old town.

Well connected by road and rail and within a couple of hours of Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Singburi, Saraburi, and other cities and towns in Central Thailand, here are five top things that you can enjoy in atmospheric Lopburi:

1. Wander through ancient ruins

5 top things to enjoy in lopburi, thailand | wander through ancient ruins

If you have visited several of Thailand’s other ancient cities, such as Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, you may notice that the ruins in Lopburi feature different architectural styles, rather like those that you would find in Cambodia or Thai destinations that are close to the Cambodian border.

One of Thailand’s oldest cities, Lopburi was once part of the Khmer empire, a mighty regime that spread from the lands that are now within present-day Cambodia. It was later part of the formidable Siamese Ayutthaya Kingdom, used as the capital for a brief period in the middle of the 17th century.

With a history that dates back more than 1,000 years, you can see varied architectural styles, with remains from almost all periods from throughout Thailand’s history.

One of the best sites to explore is Wat Phra Sri Ratana Mahatat, the remains of a 12th-century Khmer temple. There are soaring stupas and chedis rising up from once-grand terraces and now crumbling walls, as well as several statues of the Lord Buddha. Admission costs 50 THB (approximately 1.40 USD) for non-Thai visitors.

2. Meet the town’s mischievous macaques

5 top things to enjoy in lopburi, thailand | meet the town’s mischievous macaques

One of the main reasons that people visit Lopburi is to see the many cheeky monkeys that rule several streets in the old town. Don’t be surprised if you see many shopkeepers in possession of large wooden sticks; the macaques aren’t averse to running into stores and making a grab for anything they think may be consumable. Do keep hold of your bags tightly, as snatch and runs are fairly common by the impish macaques, and it’s advisable to secure any loose items, such as sunglasses, hats, and cameras.

Phra Prang Sam Yod is the best place to get up close to the frolicking creatures, a historic Khmer-era temple that features three prangs (towers). Wander through the grounds and you’ll find yourself surrounded by inquisitive monkeys. Watch as they clamber over the outer parts of the temple’s remains, even making themselves cosy on a statue of the Lord Buddha.

If it’s all a bit too much, go through the gated door and into the temple and watch the animals from behind the barred and meshed open windows. Whilst the macaques will come right up to the windows, they cannot get inside the ancient structure.

If you visit Lopburi at the end of November, don’t miss the annual Monkey Banquet, held on the last Sunday of the month.

Admission to Phra Prang Sam Yod is 50 THB (approximately 1.40 USD) for non-Thai visitors.

3. Experience local spirituality at the Phra Khan Shrine

5 top things to enjoy in lopburi, thailand | experience local spirituality at the phra khan shrine

Another historical spot in Lopburi, the Phra Khan Shrine is home to the remains of a Khmer-period shrine. Ascend the steps and you’ll find a small active place of worship, frequented by many Thais to make merit, pray, and leave offerings. The grounds have stalls that sell incense, flowers, and other items to be used as offerings.

Interestingly, you’ll also find collections of bright and colourful statues of animals and people. In addition to typical Thai animals, like elephants, tigers, buffaloes, and monkeys, don’t be surprised to see the odd zebra amongst the groups.

If you didn’t have enough of the macaques at Phra Prang Sam Yod, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are even more monkeys roaming freely around the grounds and swinging through the trees in this complex. Keep a tight hold of your possessions!

There is no charge to enter the grounds or the shrine, though donations are appreciated. Visitors are reminded to dress modestly, with shoulders covered and no sheer clothing.

4. Relax at Ang Sub Lek

5 top things to enjoy in lopburi, thailand | relax at ang sub lek

Ang Sub Lek (sometimes also spelt as Ang Sap Lek) is a shimmering lake located around a 30-minute drive outside of the heart of town. You can take a tuk tuk or motorbike taxi out there if you don’t have transportation, but be sure to also agree your return journey to avoid being stranded. Transportation costs vary widely, largely depending on your negotiating skills and how many people there are.

Once at the lake you’ll find a number of cute eateries perched on rafts over the water’s edge, great for grabbing a cooling drink or snack. The sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves is particularly tasty.

You’ll find a larger resort-style restaurant too, where you can enjoy tasty meals and drinks in the shade of the main covered area, in one of the private bamboo shelters, or at the tables on the lakeside sands. Paddle boats and kayaks are available to rent, and there are various inflatable water toys and slides that are ideal for the young and young at heart. Expect to pay around 50 to 100 THB (approximately 1.40 to 2.80 USD) for the different activities. The restaurant is called Paeng Ram, though the sign is only in Thai. Across the road, there is a small ATV track too if you want more of an adventure.

5. Explore the cave temple of Wat Khao Wongkhot

explore the cave temple of wat khao wongkhot

Located near Ang Sub Lek, Wat Khao Wongkhot is perched up a hill that overlooks the beautiful lake. Set into the craggy rocks, you can wander through the rocky chambers that are filled with Buddhist statues, icons, and images. It’s not unusual to see saffron-clad Buddhist monks strolling around too.

An active temple, visitors are reminded to dress respectfully. There is no admission fee, though donations are welcomed. The opening times do, however, appear to be fairly arbitrary, so don’t be too disappointed if you arrive and cannot access the temple; the great views are enough to make the journey worthwhile.

The main reason to visit though is to see the many bats that live within the cave’s chambers. If the temple is open, you can climb up to the upper terrace and step inside one of the main bat caves, where you’ll hear the squeaking of the flying mammals, as well as being able to experience the overpowering pungent smell of a bat home!

Try and visit just before dusk and you’ll see the bats slowly start to flit out of the cave, before hundreds and hundreds of the winged creatures make their mass evening exit in search of food. Streaking the sky, the line of bats seems never ending! The small car park is a great vantage point for watching the bats.

Bonus seasonal attraction: admire the gorgeous sunflower fields

bonus seasonal attraction: admire the gorgeous sunflower fields

Lopburi is well known for its vibrant stretching fields of sunflowers. The best time of year to enjoy the sunflowers is between the months of November and February. You will either need your own transportation to get to the fields or to arrange locally with a tuk tuk or motorbike taxi to take you to the areas that are in bloom at the time of your visit. It can be a mission to find the best fields, so be prepared for a fair bit of driving around! The rolling views of yellow, set against the mountainous backdrop, however, definitely won’t disappoint.

Other things to enjoy in Lopburi

There is a small but interesting museum located in what was once King Narai’s Palace, now home to numerous statues of the Lord Buddha and historic artefacts. Admission costs 150 THB (approximately 4.20 USD) for non-Thai visitors. Do note that the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; it is open from 8.30 am to 4 pm on the other days of the week.

See a variety of religious items in the small amulet market in the grounds of Wat Sao Thong Thong, enjoy a range of street fare from the vendors near the train station, and admire the detailed pictures, depicting the life of Buddha, in Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahathat (admission for non-Thais 50 THB / approximately 1.40 USD).

Don’t miss visiting Lopburi when travelling through Central Thailand.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Originally from the UK, Sarah has been mostly based in her second home of Thailand for the past five years. As well as exploring new places, learning about different cultures, and sampling lots of...Read more

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