A province in the
central region of Thailand, Lop Buri Province is located
approximately 154 kilometers north of Bangkok. Covering an area of
6,199 square kilometers, the province is situated on the western end
of the Khorat Plateau. It borders Chaiyaphum and Nakhon Ratchasima
Provinces on the east, Phetchabun and Nakhon Sawan Provinces on the
north, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya and Saraburi Provinces on the
South. Lop Buri Province is one of several provinces in central
Thailand where many significant historical artifacts and prehistoric
settlements have been discovered.
Formerly known as “Lawo”, Lop Buri had for centuries been ruled by
several Kingdoms. The remains of Lop Buri, dating over 1,200 years
attests to the strategic significance of Lop Buri to many rulers.
These relics, ranging from the Bronze Age to the Ratanakosin period,
have made Lop Buri a blend of east and west and ancient and modern,
revealing the city’s turbulent and alluring history and a glimpse of
Thailand’s extraordinary past.
Lop Buri was first developed into a major town during the Dvaravati
Kingdom (6th – 11th centuries). Most historians believed the first
settlers of the town were the Lawa (an ethnic group related to the
Mons) which is the reason for naming the town Lawo. In 10th century,
the town came under absolute sovereignty of the Khmers who made it
one of their oldest provincial capitals. The Khmer Mahayana Buddhism
style was a major influence on the town’s architecture and was later
commonly referred to as “Lop Buri Style”. Remains of Khmer–Hindu
architectural motifs found in the city include the Shiva’s Shrine
(Prang Khaek), San Phra Kan, Phra Prang Sam Yot, and Wat Phra Si
It was in the late 13th century when the Thais, who migrated from
the North, fought against the Khmers and declared their
independence. Since then, Lop Buri has been ruled by Thai Kings.
Lop Buri first became known when King U-Tong, who established the
Ayutthaya Kingdom, sent his son, Ramesuan the Crown Prince, to
govern the city. The Prince commanded the building of moats, city
walls and battlement towers.
Lop Buri reached its height in 1664 when King Narai the Great of
Ayutthaya named Lop Buri the Kingdom’s second capital, which came
after a threat of invasion from Hollanders. King Narai the Great
rebuilt Lop Buri with the help of French architects and ruled the
Kingdom from there, instead of Ayutthaya., Thus the city’s
architecture mostly reflected a mixture of Thai and Western styles,
which can be seen today in the remains of the Royal Palace, the
Royal Reception House etc.
Lop Buri gradually faded from the political scene with the death of
King Narai the Great. It, however, made a comeback approximately 200
years later when King Rama IV of the Ratanakosin Era decided to
restore the city. He also commanded the restoration of the old
Palace and named it “Phra Narai Ratchaniwet” (Narai Ratchaniwet
Palace) in honor of King Narai the Great.
After Thailand’s democratic revolution, Marshall Poh Pibulsongkram
rebuilt a military camp near the city’s railroad, therefore,
dividing the city into the old (ancient) and new zone.
Today, Lop Buri is administratively divided into 11 Amphoes
(Districts) including Muang, Ban Mi, Chai Badan, Khok Charoen, Khok
Samrong, Phatthana Nikhom, Tha Luang, Tha Wung, Sa Bot, Lam Sonthi
and Nong Muang.
Apart from historical attractions, Lop Buri provides opportunities
for nature lovers to visit its famous Sap langka Wildlife Sanctuary
in the north.
Another special landmark of Lop Buri is monkeys. To tourists, the
city is known as the land of monkeys. To the people of Lop Buri, the
monkeys are descendants of Hanuman who, according to the Ramayana,
built Lop Buri as his kingdom. The food offerings in San Phra Kan
drew the monkeys from nearby forests. These mischievous monkeys have
taken over several attractions such as San Phra Kan and Phra Prang
Sam Yot. A big feast for the monkeys on the last Sunday of November
is held annually at Phra Prang Sam Yot and is one of the most
attractive and most talked about tourist events in Thailand.
Distances from Amphoe Muang to