Lopburi is a great city for temples in Thailand and a must-visit if you have an interest in Thai history, culture, and some natural areas. It’s also famous for the monkeys that hang out in the old city.
Getting to Lopburi from Bangkok is an easy day trip in which you will see the Lopburi monkeys and ancient temples, and if it’s the right time of year, the Lopburi sunflower farms.
This is a guide to the best things to do in Lopburi after having spent two years living in the area. It’s truly a great place to go to and one that sees much fewer tourists than other areas of Thailand, which gives you a more unique experience of local Thai culture and people.
Without a doubt, if you tell any Thai person you are going to Lopburi the first thing they will say is “Lopburi monkey!”
It’s what the city nowadays is famous for and the ancient temples seem to take a back burner on that, although there are the famous ‘monkey temples’ that are covered in them.
Beware: monkeys are cheeky things and can steal your stuff!
The monkeys jump around on cars, buildings, everywhere.
There is a monkey festival that happens every year called, rather simply, the ‘Monkey Festival Lopburi’.
It happens for a day and involves lots of food put out for the monkeys nearby the temples in Lopburi’s old city.
It occurs on the last Sunday of November.
Lopburi is an ancient capital of Thailand and has a decent amount of temples around, albeit in different states of restoration or disrepair and doesn’t compete with the likes of Ayutthaya or Sukhothai.
All the temples are generally located in the old city and as far as things to do in Lopburi go, it is the main attraction.
You can easily walk between all the temples and the ones shown below are the most popular.
Phra Khan Shrine.
The ‘Monkey temple’ of Phra Prang Sam Yod.
Wat Phra Sri Ratana Mahatat.
The Phra Narai Ratchaniwet is not a temple but is an old king’s palace you should take a look at, as well as the temples as it’s close by.
Occasionally they hold festivals there.
Festival at Phra Narai Ratchaniwet.
Sunflowers in Lopburi can be seen between November and January and the best time is towards the end of December.
They are massive sunflowers and there are numerous sunflower fields in the area but the most convenient and one of the most popular ones is the KhaoJeen Lae sunflower field.
It’s the easiest to get to from Lopburi taking around 20 minutes of driving to reach.
KhaoJeen Lae sunflower field.
Depending on the weeks that they are in bloom you will either see a few around or a whole field full.
Opposite the turnoff from the main road for KhaoJeen Lae sunflower field is another sunflower field, and although less scenic it can have some decent sunflower pics as well (see photo below).
In the hills to the north-east of Lopburi can be found numerous Buddha statues clinging to the sides of the mountains, and the most impressive of these is the golden Big Buddha.
There is a large Buddhist temple complex at the bottom of the hill before you climb several hundred steps up to the Big Buddha.
If you have the stamina, to the side of the Big Buddha is a path that climbs up 3790 steps to the top of the mountain and another temple complex.
At the Big Buddha.
At the temple complex before going up to the Buddha you can meet Thai Buddhist monks and even get a blessing from them and a wristband which makes for a great souvenir.
Getting a blessing from a monk.
The only real and practical way to get out to the Big Buddha and that area is with your own transport, which takes around a 30 minutes drive to reach.
Otherwise, you could try to organise a tour with Pee Homestay (also a good small guesthouse to stay at in Lopburi) which has a truck to take tourists out to these and other places.
Where To Stay in Lopburi
The best area to base yourself is in the old city as that’s where the temples and monkeys are, plus places to eat.
Nooms Guesthouse in Lopburi old city is a popular choice for budget travellers and the bar underneath is the main ‘hangout’ for foreigners visiting and living in Lopburi.
A personal favourite for a place to stay and mentioned before is Pee Homestay which is a small guesthouse not far from the station down a quiet side street and she’s a lovely lady who can help with anything Lopburi-related.
There are a few other budget hotels in the old city but if you want something mid-range that’s quieter and cleaner then Hop Inn Lopburi is a great choice.
Although the Hop Inn is not located in the old city it is easy to reach there by local transport ‘trucks’ that cost only 10 baht and take around 10 minutes.
The Inn is also located across from a Big C shopping complex where you can get motorbike taxis (around 60 baht to the old city).
Getting To Lopburi
Getting to Lopburi from Bangkok is easy.
The train is more comfortable, relaxing, and cheaper (good for budget travellers in Thailand).
But trains only leave in the morning or evening which technically should be good for you if you’re planning a day trip to Lopburi, leave early, and come back late.
This is a good site to check timetables for the trains.
The other way is to take a van which leaves from the bus station area of Mo Chit in Bangkok.
The vans run regularly every 30 minutes or so from 6ish in the morning until 8 at night.
Also, vice versa time-wise from Lopburi and you will see plenty of van agencies in the old city near the front of the train station.
When travelling to Lopburi there are a few things to know before going to Thailand to help you in planning your trip.
Strange fake money and sunflowers await you at Lopburi train station.
On the train that connects Bangkok to Lopburi.
Food in Lopburi
If you like coffee there is a small cafe called ‘Mellow Cafe’ along one of the same streets Nooms Guesthouse is on and has the best coffee (and atmosphere) in the area.
If you love sushi then the small sushi place across from Mellow Cafe is a good choice.
Nooms Guesthouse itself has food options, but they are geared more to travellers and to be honest, the food is not the best.
You’re better off hitting the early morning market in the old city which is a few minutes’ walk from Nooms and getting fresh fruit etc for breakfast and trying some of the eateries near the train station.
There’s a very good Chinese restaurant along the same street as the van companies near the monkey temple that has Thai options. You will recognise it as it’s always busy.
Mellow Cafe on the left and sushi on the right. Nooms Guesthouse is just down the street.
Other Things To See Near Lopburi
Although most people come just for the temples and monkeys for a short visit, as already stated, if you have extra time on your hands you can go check out these places as well nearby.
The cave bat temple of Wat Khao Wongkhot.
This temple is home to numerous bats and is located in a mountain nearby Lopburi.
If you go at dusk, late in the evening, you’ll get a view of the bats flying out of the cave as they go hunting for food.
Ang Sub Lek Lake.
Chill out at this small lake and get some peace away from the city.
Be aware though it is busy on the weekends with locals.
Waterfalls in Lopburi.
Lopburi has a few waterfalls nearby in the mountain area that are good to see but if you visit during the dry season there won’t be much water.
The best time to visit Lopburi is between November and January when it is mostly dry and you can see the sunflowers as well.
However, if you want to see the waterfalls it’s also the dry season in those months and there will be little water.
For more articles on Thailand check out our guide to our favourite national park in Thailand, Doi Inthanon.
Be sure to take travel insurance for a visit to Thailand just to be safe.
And a good guidebook for travelling to other parts of Thailand is – Lonely Planet Thailand.
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