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

The 22nd Standard Charter Bangkok Marathon

The 22nd Standard Charter Bangkok Marathon
Bangkok Marathon draws a record turnout
The 22nd Standard Charter Bangkok Marathon, 22 November, at the front of Wat Phra Kaew on Sanamchai road, Bangkok.
The Standard Charter Bangkok Marathon, 22 November, is now a firm fixture on the Asian marathon circuit attracting top runners and thousands of enthusiasts many of whom travel with their families for a welcome holiday at the close of the race.
But before the holiday can begin, runners need to cover 42 km on a course that wends its way through historical districts, past city landmarks, such as the National Museum and the Chao Phraya River to a finishing line in front of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha) on Sanan Chai Road, close to the vast parade ground known as Sanam Luang. On two scores, this marathon is special. It attracts an enormous turnout of more than 50,000 participants, at all fitness levels and categories. It is also one of the few marathons in Asia that beats the tropical heat by starting at 0200, when Bangkok’s usually grid-lock streets are almost deserted.The event has a time limit of seven hours for all participants with staggered starts that take into account the various performance levels of the runners.
For example, runners who estimate they can finish the course in five to seven hours assemble at the starting line on the road next to the Grand Palace at 0200. They have to be back at the same point by 0900, the cut-off time for all participants.
Wheelchair participants in the full marathon start at 0320, while elite runners with times of less than five hours leave at 0330
It makes for a very sensible and healthy solution that beats most of the heat and humidity with the last participants crossing the finish line three hours after sunrise at the very latest.
The event has some high powered support from Tourism Authority of Thailand, National Jogging Association of Thailand, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and they have determined that this event should show case the city’s tourism appeal and be open to the widest possible participation.

Not surprisingly, the event has a strong appeal to not only semi professionals racing for gold and enthusiasts determined to improve on their best times, but also to ordinary folk, who have set themselves an easier goal related to their favourite sport of jogging.
There are five categories including the 42.195-km Marathon; 42.195-km wheelchair. For those who are less ambitious they can join a 10.55-km quarter marathon, which is no mean feat as the pace is much faster and competition tough at all age levels. To appeal to the widest audience possible there is also a 5 km Walk-Fun Run and a Walk for Health and Environment. The award ceremony starts at 0800 for the marathon itself followed by presentations to winners in all other categoriesVisit: www.bkkmarathon.comCall National Jogging Association of Thailand at 66 2628 8361

River Kwai Bridge Week

River Kwai Bridge WeekDate : 27 November - 8 December 2009Venue : River Kwai Bridge, Mueang District, Kanchanaburi
Each year in late November to early December, the world famous River Kwai Bridge built by Allied prisoners-of-war during World War II, becomes the focal point of celebrations.
Event highlights include historical and archaeological exhibits, a carnival, folk and cultural performances, rides on World War II vintage trains, and a spectacular light and sound presentation re-enacting the bridge’s World War II legacy.
Watch the light-and-sound show in remembrance of the bridge and the construction of the "Death Railway" during World War II (There are 4 sets of headphones available in English, Japanese, Chinese and German). A wealth of entertainment and Exhibitions are on display.
Contact : - TAT Kanchanaburi Office, Te l : 66 (0) 3451 1200, 66 (0) 3451 2500 Fax : 66 (0) 3451 1200, E-mai l: tatkan@tat.or.th - Kanchanaburi Provincial Administration Office, Tel. : 66 (0) 3451 1778website : www.tourismthailand.org , www.Kanchanaburi.go.th