So, here I am in beautiful downtown Lopburi with half a day to see the sights. Just for the record, it’s about 160kms north of Bangkok, at the end of much flatness. From here on northwards it’s rolling hills and picturesque scenery.
Although I’ve been here before, this morning was the first time I’d had an opportunity to go downtown. And I have to say, beautiful it ain’t. It’s not entirely unappealing, and as you will see from my photos, there are some things worth looking at. But overall I’d describe it as “grubby.”
I probably picked the wrong day. Today is the King’s Birthday – a public holiday. The “must see” National Museum was closed, as were a few other places. At others the person assigned to collect entrance fees was on holiday, so there was some financial benefit to the special day.
I had intended to miss the shrines and temples where the monkeys live, but it’s not easy. The damned things swarm everywhere, not just all over the shrines, but along the streets … jumping on vehicles, along power lines, all over buildings, generally trying to steal anything and break anything they can. They surround you, they chase you, they jump on you given half a chance. Aggressive nasty creatures. The tourists love them! I pity the poor shopkeepers who are armed with sticks trying to prevent the monkeys coming and stealing things. So, a detour was needed.
The first place I visited was Chao Phraya Wichayen. King Narai built this Thai-European palace as a residence for foreign ambassadors. There’s conflicting information on how old the place is. Maybe 18th century. If so, they may as well knock it down and clear the land. If it’s really that “new” it’s an eyesore. If it’s a 1000 years old it’s worth visiting. You be the judge…
From there it was on to Phra Narai Ratchaniwet. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:
The King Narai’s Palace in Lopburi was built by King Narai the Great, the king who ruled Ayutthaya from 1656 to 1688. He ordered the palace built in 1666 in the same area as King Ramesuan’s Palace. King Narai stayed here for about 8–9 months a year, except during the rainy season. He designated Lopburi as the second capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The palace was a place for relaxation, hunting, administering the country’s affairs, and welcoming official visitors. When the king died in 1688, Lopburi and the palace were abandoned.
This place is quite impressive, partly because it covers such a large area. It’s well away from the hustle of the town … and the monkeys. Here’s some pics:
And I finished off the morning with a quick walk through the tran station. No real reason. I just like trains 🙂
So, I would say, if you have some reason to visit Lopburi other that tourism, there are things to see, and a half-day is enough to see them. Otherwise, I don’t think you’d want the place on your itinerary.