The 21st Monkey Party, 29 November, at Phra Prang Sam Yod, Mueang district, Lopburi province.

The 21st Monkey Party
Party tricks courtesy of Lopburi’s monkeys
The 21st Monkey Party, 29 November, at Phra Prang Sam Yod, Mueang district, Lopburi province.
This is perhaps the most comical event you could witness on holiday, a claim that can be attested by the video clips that have found a place to park even on You Tube. A local businessman started this bizarre grand bash in the small historical town of Lopburi that stands on the northern rail line, about 150 km from Bangkok.
He was concerned about the welfare of the town’s monkey population residing in one of town’s historical pagodas. But he was also wondering why this town that played a prominent role in the country’s history in the 17th century is largely ignored by international tourists.
So he set about organising a grand party for the monkeys that roam freely around the town’s historical centre near the railway station. Of course, the monkeys take the buffet spread in their stride feasting with great relish on the finest Chinese cuisine the town can provide, all under the spotlight of TV channel crews, who run in circles trying to gain the best angle possible.
They have to be quick. Monkeys are not well known for table etiquette and despite the fact that this annual party is now in its 10th year, they haven’t learned any manners at all.
It is all part of the local’s community scheme to get some attention for a “living museum” town centre, where visitors can visit former palaces and buildings that were once used by one of the country’s revered monarchs during the golden Ayutthaya period.
Although the city dates back 1,000 years or more, to when it was simply called Lavo, it is best known as Thailand’s second capital. In 1666, King Narai, the Great, built a summer palace and resided in the town for around eight months of the year. It was here that the King granted an audience to the French Ambassador as well as other foreign dignitaries who travelled by boat up the Lop Buri River from Ayutthaya, the formal seat of government. Including temples and government administration buildings, the palace was used until the King passed away in 1688. In the early 60s the complex and gardens was renovated and turned into an interesting museum.
Today, very few foreign tourists spare an overnight to explore the town’s historical assets. They usually visit on day trips, many of them arriving on the early morning train from Bangkok. They tour the sights and catch the train in the evening on an overnight trip that takes them to Chiang Mai.
Lopburi, from a historic perspective is worth more than an afternoon peep and that is apparently why the monkeys are treated to a party to give this largely forgotten destination a plug in the media. At least that way we get to see what we have missed both in historical attractions and the Chinese delicacies that are served by the town’s best kitchens.
The event is hosted by Lopburi Inn Group. Call Lopburi Inn Hotel at 036 412 300 or Email: monkey@lopburiinnresort.com and monkeypartys@yahoo.com.

Tags : monkey, party, lopburi

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