I’ll admit it, I really wanted to see monkeys. And I really love temples! The Lopburi Monkey temple in Thailand sounded too good to miss. But, I never had my rabies jab – this was a slight misjudgement on my part, and I soon realised this after googling ‘Monkey temple Lopburi’ and landing on numerous blogs that explained monkey bites and several close encounters. My feelings were fluctuating between excitement and scarediness! But I couldn’t leave Thailand without visiting those little buggers!
Heading towards the Lopburi Monkey Temple
I took a day in Lopburi and thought I’d save the best till last, so I went around the rest of Lopburi, leaving the monkey temple as my final stop for this quaint little ancient town. I knew that I had to have food and drink before I visited the temple, and certainly avoid having ANY food in my pockets or backpack! So I downed a Fanta and scoffed ‘pork noodle’, which I was told I would eat by a local…
‘YOU TAKE PORK NOODLE!’
’40 Baht I give you good price!’
My lunch cost me just over £1. I looked out of the window and saw three little monkeys walking towards the restaurant. Cute! I thought. They came closer. They’re surrounding me, I thought. I looked at the PORK NOODLE guy. ‘Monkey’s are coming!’ I said. ‘Many monkey! They cause big problem here!’ he replied. I took a deep breath ready to venture out.
Just a few metres to the right, the extent of the Lopburi Monkey problem struck me right in the face. Around 20 of them hanging off signs, jumping of shops and even humping in the street! Three of the little guys had ransacked a motorbike. I think that if the keys were in the ignition, they would have driven off without question!
In all honesty, I was scared to walk past. I cautiously extended my selfie stick. I’d read online that monkeys were cautious of sticks as the temple guards used them to keep the monkeys in check. One jumped in my path and looked like he was gonna dive bomb me. I raised the stick slightly in he barred his teeth but backed off. I followed in the footsteps of a local who was passing by.
Meanwhile, over the road, around 100 of them were getting fed bananas by a local. These monkeys were all over him! They swarmed a shop front, fighting each other for any leftover bits – they were quite aggressive!
Well, there was nothing for it – the monkey temple was now directly in front of me. It was a case of holding my breath, holding up the selfie stick and walking slowly forward.
Welcome to Lopburi Temple
At the entrance to the Lopburi temple, two big fat bastards sat either side of the gate. I must have looked apprehensive straight away. The guard beckoned me forward to the ticket office. Other tourists were confidently walking straight past, many hand bananas at the ready. Not me, I thought!
I paid just 50 baht for my entrance ticket – oh so worth it for the experience!
I checked that my pockets were empty and tucked in, looked at the guard and announced ‘I’m ready now!’ ‘Nooooooooo!’ he replied, tapping me and gesturing for me to stop. He pointed to a dangly key ring attached to my bag. ‘Monkey liiiiiike!’ he said! He tucked it in for me and said ‘OK!’
He saved me from full blown monkey attack. I saw another girl confidently waltz in with a dangly keyring. Within seconds, she had a young monkey jumping on her trying to get it. This was followed by two more that thought they would join the party. She did the helicopter (spinning round quickly) to try and fling them off. They didn’t disappear two quickly. She started squealing and the guard headed over to intervene. ‘Aaaaaaah, ahhhhh, he’s on my head!’ she screamed! Phew! So mean, but I was just grateful that it wasn’t me!
I love doing Facebook live at temples, but this was funnier and less focused than most of my live videos. The short, wobbly film session consisted of me trying to explain things and then jumping to the left saying ‘oooooh, there’s one coming behind me!’ and ‘ugh there’s another one!’
My tactic was to stay back. Other tourists with food and dangly keyring were prime primate targets, but not me keeping a distance with my selfie stick protection.
When I realised I was probably the safest tourist at the temple, I then started to enjoy it more and take in the site. It was quite surreal to see monkey hanging out by their ancient Buddha. The temple itself is Cambodian style 3 pronged temple much like Angkor Wat. Looking at it from a distance, it looks like it’s covered in moving spiders, but you know it’s actually a swarm of Macaques!
I recommend staying for around an hour at the temple. Go round the back behind the Buddhas and have a look from a distance. You will see monkey mamas with their babies just chillin’ on their ancient shrine.
Many people don’t realise that you can actually go inside, and surprisingly, there are zero monkeys in there. Enter the temple and you are truly safe. The guard will tell you – ‘Go inside, go inside!’ The windows and door are gated to protect the ancient statues inside. The interior of the monkey temple is lovely and cool. You will find three ancient Buddha statues, many of which have received offerings. And you can watch the monkeys hanging out in full protection of the grated windows.
When I was about to exit, I thought I was stuck in there for good – a big fat mama was sitting right at the temple door! Two or three young ‘uns were eager to get inside. I retreated back into the temple and shut the door quicker than you could say Macaque! The guard gestured for me to continue, saying ‘Be careful! Mama monkey!’ Then he instructed me: ‘Walking, walking, walking!’ It took me about three attempts to carefully and confidently walk past!
I’m so proud of myself for not getting bitten! This was an experience and a half, one of my most memorable from Thailand.
Stay Safe at the Lopburi Monkey Temple – Avoid getting bitten by Monkeys!
- Carry absolutely no food or drink when you enter the Lopburi Monkey temple. They will take a bottle of coke out of your bag, take the top off and neck it!
- Don’t have anything in your pockets – no mints, no crisps, no tic-tacs!
- Don’t have anything dangling from your bag. Tuck in all keyrings and hide items attached to your bag.
- DON’T FEED THE MONKEYS! YOU ARE ASKING TO GET BITTEN!
- Keep a distance. Those who get too close to the temple are their prime targets.
- Carry a stick and raise it or point it at them to keep monkeys at arms length. You don’t need to hit them, they already know that sticks hurt because of the guards, so just the presence of a stick is enough to warn them off.
- Go inside – you are safe in there and can enjoy ancient Buddhas.
- Have your rabies jab – I was extremely scared as I hadn’t. Defo getting it next time!
- If you do get scratched or bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Rabies can be deadly and needs instant medical attention.
After the Lopburi Monkey Temple – Where to go Next
If you are looking for more temples, head for an Ayutthaya day trip from Bangkok. If you are up for heading North, you can travel to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, preferably via Sukhothai Historical Park, another ancient temple complex (the Second capital of Siam).
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:
What to wear when Visiting Temples in Thailand
What should you wear when visiting temples in Thailand? Dress conservatively when visiting temples in Thailand. Wear trousers or a long skirt and cover shoulders.
A scarf is a good thing to have handy in Thailand as you can use it to cover yourself if you are wearing a vest top or maxi dress. Men should avoid shorts and wear t-shirts or a smart-casual shirt.
You will need to remove your shoes before going up the temple steps so wear some comfortable sandals or shoes that you can slip on and off. Birkenstocks are a good option.