Where our ancestors still rule the ruins ;)
15.04.2011 31 °C
Lopburi has lots of old Khmer style ruins and a royal palace that has been turned into a museum, but the biggest attraction – and at the same time biggest annoyance – by far, are the monkeys. They’re literally everywhere: on and around the ruins, on the electricity cables, the sidewalk, cars and even scooters. And though they look cute, trying to pet them is ill advised, because a) they steal your stuff, anything they can get their hands paws on, especially shiny things like glasses and b) they bite. They also attract a lot of tourists to town though, so Lopburi has a sort of love-hate relationship with them. Add to that the fact that these people are Buddhist and therefore not allowed to hurt any sentient living being (and that does include the monkeys) and you’ll understand it’s complicated.
So that’s why all around town you can find signs that warn tourists that feeding the monkeys is punishable by law, while at the same time they are fed every day at 10 and 16 at special feeding places to keep them from bothering the tourist. This is also why, if you want to go into the ruins, it’s advisable to take a guide with you. Not to show you the way, but because they carry a catapult and shoot at monkeys that come too close. While those same guides encourage you to feed the monkeys at the ruins, because the tourists find it fun. Complicated indeed.
Another advantage is that Lopburi is small so it’s easily doable to walk around town and see most of the sights in a morning. Even if you have to go back to the hostel because the ice coffee from the 7/11 turns out to be made with milk.
Phra Narai Ratchaniwet – the former royal palace – also houses a museum. Once again we saw lots and lots of Buddha’s but little else of interest. Actually, the museum building and its environment (the ruins) were more eye catching. We sort of stumbled onto Prang Khaek Sactuary and I was once again fighting off Tomb Raider associations.
The main attraction was the most interesting though, mostly because of the monkeys – that were everywhere – and the bats – that hung from the ceiling. We went back at 16 to see the feeding of the monkeys, but when the only thing that had happened by 16.15h, was that my arms were turning red, so we gave up and went back to the hostel.