Central Thailand – exploring Lopburi and Saraburi

Further trips out with the family

In the same week I explored Ayutthaya with my girlfriends family, we explored the Central Thailand Provinces Lopburi and Saraburi. Within these provinces we visited the cities of Lopburi and Saraburi as our main focal points.

Lopburi Province, Central Thailand

In preparation for Lopburi, my girlfriend showed me a video of monkeys that roam and inhabit the city. When we reached Lopburi I saw hundreds of monkeys which I believe to be crab-eating or long tailed macaques. I read that they are supposed to bring good luck to the city’s residents. Nonetheless, I imagine and shop holders and businesses may disagree as the macaques are constantly food hunting. Some businesses deploy large toy crocodiles to try to deter them as I had watched in the video.

Phra Prang Sam Yod (Monkey Temple)

The three prangs (towers) of Phra Prang Sam Yod.

We stopped at Phra Prang Sam Yod, a thirteenth century temple which was particularly popular with the macaques. I discovered that like many shrines at Angkor Wat, Phra Prang Sam Yod was originally Hindu. We witnessed the brick Viharn and beautiful Buddha statues, added when the Central Thailand kingdom of Ayutthaya rose to power. Phra Prang Sam Yod comprises of three prangs (towers) linked by corridors and we walked through these. Moreover, macaques enjoy climbing the statues, exterior structures and power lines.

Roaming close to humans means the macaques are not afraid to snatch food and personal belongings from our hands or clothing. When we entered the grounds we were offered a stick for protection. Similarly, this is a useful deterrent for those uncomfortable with the macaques coming close to them. Inside the prangs I noticed that the macaques were not allowed to enter. However, I did enjoy watching them congregate on ledges and stare through openings in the metal mesh.

A macaque stares at the camera from the exterior of San Phra Kan..

San Phra Kan Shrine

Another sanctuary we examined was San Phra Kan Shrine, a Khmer style structure with an additional Buddhist shrine built in 1951. The latter houses a standing image of Vishnu, the Hindu God with four arms. Again, the macaques were a real feature of San Phra Kan and Lopburi in general. In the event I revisit, I endeavour to be more liberal with them.

Saraburi Province, Central Thailand

Wat Phra Phutthabat (The Temple of the Buddha’s footprint)

The dazzling Mondop (square based building with pyramidal roof) with the ornate Naga staircases.

Saraburi, a small city close to Bangkok, is one that we drove through on our return to Korat. Our main stop was a visit to Wat Phra Phutthabat, founded in 1624. Further, the Phra Phutthabat Museum displays artifacts and artwork dating back to the 17th century. The intricacies and impressive nature of the architecture left me awestruck, and I highly recommend visiting.

The level of detail on the Mondop is incredible.
Wat Phra Phutthabat is an important pilgrimage and a real must-visit site.

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