Lopburi and the renegade monkeys
After the interesting couple of days in Ayutthya (see here) we decided it was time to start making tracks North towards Chiang Mai. Before that we wanted to make one more stop on the way before getting the sleeper train.
Upon consulting the Lonely Planet guide we decided that the next destination should either be Sukhothai or Lopburi. Our mind was soon made up when we discovered that Sukhothai’s primary attractions were more temples (something we had already seen plenty of). Lopburi, on the other hand, had been described in the guidebook as being “over-run by renegade monkeys”. That line alone was enough to sell me on Lopburi.
We promptly hopped on a local bus from Autthaya and chilled out on the back seat watching the bus slowly fill up with locals and school kids along the way. It was nice to take the local bus instead of the VIP tourist bus for a change as it gives you more of a feel for the culture around you.
Once we jumped off the local bus in Lopburi it was soon apparent that the town really was being over-run by these monkeys. There were everywhere, swinging from the telephone lines, on the streets and climbing over the front of our hotel and generally reeking havoc with the locals. We witnessed one cheeky monkey slash a bag of bean sprouts open from the side of a locals motorbike, much to her anger and outrage. Once we checked in we slid open out room window only to be treated with iron bars and a view of the street outside. It soon became apparent that the bars were there for a good reason, not to keep us in, but to keep the monkeys out. They were climbing up and looking through the window and staring at us like we were the zoo animals. I cracked open a packet of American Corn Snacks and began feeding them. The reached out an grabbed with the precision of a human hand, occassionally fighting with each other over the food (see video below).
After staying the night we had time to kill before getting the sleeper train to Lopburi so decided to head to one of the ruins where most of the monkeys hung out during the day. American Corn snacks in hand we were walking towards the ruins when I felt something run up the back of my leg. One of the monkeys must have been stalking my movements from above because one found just the right moment to run up my legs, slash the carrier bag with the Corn Snacks and make off with them up the lamp-post. It then proceeded to open the crisps and eat them while gloating at us from above.
The madness only got better at the ruins when a monkey jumped onto my back and retrieved the Corn Snacks from my hand. Once he had devoured the corn snacks he began to get impatient at the lack of more snacks. His attentions soon turned to the sunglasses on the top of my head. I could feel him grab them but there was no way I was letting him make off with them so a tug of war ensued. Needless to say I won but the monkey was far from happy and proceeded to pull my hair in anger at having lost the battle. The aftermath of the battle can be seen in the video below. You can see from the first few frames of the video that the monkey was pulling my hair.
All in all Lopburi was a priceless experience and well worth the 1 day stop to see the madness. You can see all the pictures from Lopburi by clicking here