Lop Buri Province is just 154 kilometres north of Bangkok and situated on the western end of the Korat Plateau. Lop Buri's main attraction is that of its historical value and is one of several provinces in central Thailand where many significant prehistoric settlements and historical artefacts have been discovered. Lop Buri was once called "Lawo", and for centuries had been ruled by several Kingdoms.
Lop Buri's is home to historical remains that date further back than 1200 years and confirm the strategic significance of the Lop Buri province to many of its previous rulers. Historical relics ranging from the Bronze Age to the Rattanakosin period have shown Lop Buri as a blend of east and west, a mixture of ancient and modern, revealing Lop Buri's turbulent history and a glimpse of Thailand's extraordinary past.
Lop Buri Past
It was during the Dvaravati Kingdom (6th - 11th centuries) that Lop Buri was first developed into a major town, and most historians agree that the first settlers were the Lawa hence it's former name of Lawo. During the 10 th Century the town came under sovereignty of the Khmers who made this town one if their oldest provincial capitals. The Lop Buri style architecture was influenced heavily by the Khmer Mahayana Buddhism style and remains of Khmer-Hindu architectural motifs that can be seen at Lop Buri include San Phra Kan , Wat Phra Si Mahathat, Phra Prang Sam Yot and Shiva's Shrine (Prang Khaek). In the late 13th century the Thai people migrated north and battled with the Khmers and declared their independence.
Lop Buri first became known when King U-Tong sent his son, the Crown Prince Ramesuan to govern the city. Moats, city walls and battlement towers were built during this time to make the city easier to defend. In 1664 King Narai the Great of Ayutthaya named Lop Buri the Kingdom's second capital. The King rebuilt the city with the help of French architects and chose to rule the Kingdom from Lop Buri instead of Ayutthaya .
After the death of King Narai the Great Lop Buri gradually faded from the Kingdom's political scene; it was not revived until approximately 200 years later when King Rama IV restored Lop Buri including amongst his orders the restoration of the old palace which he named "Phra Narai Ratchaniwet" which translates as Narai Ratchaniwet Palace, in honour of King Narai the Great.
Lop Buri Present Day
Although mainly a historical attraction Lop Buri is also home to the famous Sap langka Wildlife Sanctuary and is an excellent place for nature lovers to experience the wildlife of Central Thailand . Lop Buri is well known for its population of monkeys as well, and is known to tourists as the land of monkeys. The people of Lop Buri believe the monkeys are descendants of Hanuman who built Lop Buri as his kingdom according to the Ramayana.
The monkeys have been drawn to Lop Buri by the food offerings in San Phra Kan , and these monkeys have taken over the attractions of San Phra Kan and Phra Prang Sam Yot and have become one of the largest tourist pull factors of the region for many years. Annually on the last Sunday of November a big feast for the monkeys is held at Phra Prang Sam Yot and this is when Lop Buri is at its busiest as many foreign and local tourists travel to Lop Buri for this much talked about event.