Situated 150 kilometers north of Bangkok, Lopburi is one of the oldest cities in Thailand, dating back to the Dvaravati period when it was known as Lavo. The influence of the Khmer empire is particularly evident throughout the city, but it reached the peak of its commercial, cultural, and political importance when the seventeenth century Siamese King Narai made it his second capital. The ruins seen in Lopburi today are mainly from this era, including the large palace on the Lopburi River. Narai was also responsible for restoring many of the Khmer temples, as well as various monuments that he restored and transformed into Buddhist shrines.
Today, hundreds of monkeys have made some of the major ruins of Lopburi their home. These macaques have become as much a part of the city as the ruins themselves, but it’s wise for visitors to stay on their guard as they will steal cameras, small bags, and, in particular, anything that remotely resembles food!