Lopburi is a historical region in central Thailand and a pilgrimage site for many Thai people. There are historical ruins dating as far back as the Khmer era and a monkey temple where many people come to make merit. In light of this temple, Lopburi has become famous as the city of monkeys and its annual monkey festival in late November. This is a small sleepy central Thailand town that can be explored for one weekend easily. The monkeys aren’t the only attraction in Lopburi. The city is also famous for sunflower fields that bloom in late November to mid-December.
A trip to Lopburi also places you nearby Khao Yai national park. This is a great spot to pass through on the way to or after visiting Lopburi. Seeing Khao Yai and Lopburi is easily doable on one weekend, making it a great little getaway. After driving to Lopburi (only two hours outside of Bangkok), we drove 1 hour into Saraburi province to see the sunflower fields and finished our trip with a visit to Khao Yai National Park on our way home.
Things to do in Lopburi
Monkey Temple, Phra Prang Sam Yod
Prang Sam Yod is a historical landmark reminiscent of the Cambodian style Angkor. There is a small shrine with grounds where you can see the monkeys and then a larger temple structure across the road. The one across the road has an entrance fee whereas seeing the monkeys at the shrine is free. The parking next door is 20 baht per vehicle. The monkey temple sits on a busy roundabout with some of the main streets in the city. It’s a very busy area and the monkeys are often jumping all over the cars in traffic and the road. We watched them pull on car antennas and saw one break off a car mirror. They are very lively and aggressive, making for an entertaining show. But you need to be careful when you visit.
Ancient Ruins in Lopburi
If you have visited Cambodia and explored the ruins in the city of Siem Reap then this is probably a ruins area of Thailand that you can skip on your bucket list. The ruins actually have such a similar style and the ones in Cambodia are larger. The stuccos of these ruins were created by post-Angkor artisans. If you have not seen those then this is still a beautiful area of ruins to explore. You can also see Wat Phrasi Rattana Mahathat, Phra Narai Ratchanivet and Ban Chao Wichayen. They are all within a mile of one another in the city center. The entrance fees for the ruins are around 50 baht per person and you can get the ticket at the door.
Lopburi Sunflower fields, Jumpee Sunflower Field
Jumpee flower field and Khao Chin Lae sunflower field are two of the biggest and most popular in the city with the best views of limestone hills in the background as well. So, unfortunately, this year when we came at the end of the sunflower bloom. It happened earlier this year so we were not able to catch the biggest blooming when they were gorgeous and all open. One of the fields we visited was completely empty and never planted this year. Depending on the year they may only plant certain fields as well. Luckily as we were driving through the country where the fields were supposed to be I had another field of flowers cafe that I had found. It was a hidden gem that saved from the disappointment of missing the sunflowers. You can track the progress yearly of the flowers blooming and call the fields to check on them. We would definitely love to go back another year to try to catch the big blooming of the fields. There is also a popular winery where you can overlook the sunflower field as well which in thai is called รุ่งทิพย์ฟาร์ม. You can find it on google maps by Jumpee flower field.
กระเพรา & Coffee, most beautiful flower fields
This coffee shop is a gem that sits on a flower field on the same road as Khao Chin Lae sunflower field. The entrance fee for the flower boardwalk is 20 baht a person. There is a wooden boardwalk that overlooks the limestone hills in a field of flowers. As you walk on the boardwalk, you are surrounded by an endless sea of yellow cosmos. This was a beautiful spot to get a coffee in the morning and take a walk in the flower fields or sit on one of the benches to take in the beauty. Make sure to go pretty early because this place does fill up with a lot of people later in the day, at which point it ceases to be a pleasant spot to sit and see the flowers.
This is a small temple in the hills above Khao Chin Lae sunflower field and on the same road. You will drive through a dragon mouth arch over the road and that is when you know you are almost to the temple grounds. The temple is called Peacock temple because there are so many peacocks that roam the grounds and live in the hills of the temple. They are beautiful and are seen on the hillside going up the stairs. It is a quiet non touristy temple spot that has no entrance fee.
Where to stay
This is one of the best budget and modern hotels in the city that accommodates foreigners. There are mostly small home stays and not many places to stay here. This is in a safe area and they have great free parking. There is a restaurant and coffee shop that serves breakfast with your stay. The cost is around $15USD/night for a modern and clean room with a balcony and a modern not wet bathroom.