Lopburi is very laid back, and its convenient location from Bangkok makes it a good place to escape the stress and pollution of the capital.
Lopburi is one of the oldest cities in Thailand, a former capital and the second capital after Ayutthaya was established in 1350. It was abandoned after King Narai passed away in 1688, but parts were restored in 1856 by King Mongkut (King Rama IV) and in 1864 it was made the summer capital.
Lopburi has been an important part of the Khmer Empire, later a part of Ayutthaya kingdom, and Ayutthaya's second capital under the reign of King Narai the Great, who used to spend eight months of the year in Lopburi. Later on, King Mongkut of the Bangkokian Chakri Dynasty resided here. There are remains from almost all periods of Thai history.
There are two downtown areas in Lopburi: New Town and Old Town. Most of the important sites, plus the train station, are in the Old Town; buses arrive and depart from the New Town.
As you come here from Bangkok, you usually go via Saraburi and will come to the first roundabout which has mainly Government offices, then you go about 2Km to the second roundabout (the New City) which has many shops and some restaurants (as well as street eats), and then a further 2Km to the Old City.
Lopburi is famous for the hundreds of crab-eating macaques that overrun the Old Town, especially in the area around Phra Prang Sam Yot and Phra Kaan Shrine, and there's even a monkey temple/amusement park where you can buy snacks to feed to them.
Keep an eye out for monkeys hanging from trees and wires and sitting on roofs and ledges, and be aware that they have some unpleasant bad habits including defecating on unsuspecting pedestrians from their overhead perches, jumping on people to snatch food and stealing bags that they suspect may contain something edible.
At night nothing much is going on in the Old Town, thus the street dogs consider everybody running around after midnight very suspicious. While most of them will just look at you, some might bark, run behind you and jump at you. However, whilst common at night it is very rare during the day.
From Ayutthaya: local buses run every 20 min, take around 2 hr, and cost ฿35.
From Bangkok: air-conditioned buses leave every 20 min and take either 2.5 hr and cost ฿117, or take 3 hr and cost ฿96. Take the air-conditioned bus from the Bangkok Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) which departs every day 05:00–20:30 every half hour. It costs ฿80 per person.
From Sukhothai: take a bus to Phitsanulok and then to Nakhon Sawan.
From Bangkok, air-conditioned vans leave from Victory Monument, take about 2.5 hours and cost 120 baht. There are multiple van services in the area, if the timing of one service is not convenient then try another.
Air-conditioned vans also leave from the main Mo Chit (northern) bus station for the same price. The last minivan normally departs around 18:00.
From Saraburi, a minibus from the bus station will cost B60. It comes in through two large roundabouts, the second one is the main minibus stop. (is actually the City bus station)
Trains from/to Bangkok's main Hualamphong station take about 3.5 hours. Take the Northern Line from Hua Lamphong Railway Station everyday, many rounds per day. Fares range from 13 baht in ordinary class (which is fine) to 370 baht in aircon coach with a meal.(March 2014) The expensive train is also a little faster.
1. Enter Bang Pahan District, passing Nakhon Luang District into Hwy 3196. Then, pass Ban Phraek District into Lopburi.
2. Enter at the Ang Thong Interchange to Tha Ruea District and turn left into Hwy 3196, passing Ban Phraek District into Lopburi.
3. Pass Ang Thong, Sing Buri, and take Hwy 311 (Sing Buri–Lopburi), passing Tha Wung District into Lopburi.
There are no tuk tuks at all here, only a few motorcycle taxis. To go to anywhere along the road from roundabout one to Newtown then Oldtown there are numerous songteows (two bench pickup trucks) in various colours which do the rounds. The brown ones appear to be the most common.
The blue local bus (8 baht) circles constantly between the bus station about 2km from the town centre, passing Phra Kahn Shrine, going south on Thanon Sorasak, and ending up in front of the TAT office on Phraya Kamuad Rd.
There are two supermarkets: Big C in the town and Tesco Lotus in the Monkey Mall further down. The latter has a very large outdoor market in the evenings.
Evenings, a lot of street food stalls are set up on a road in front of railway station. The street vendors in the Old Town are very nice and have all kinds of tasty things. Don't be afraid to stop and check them out.
You might find the nightlife in Lopburi fairly quiet for a town of its size but there are places for a drink in the evening. Old Town has a few curbside bars, which are excellent for those who are still new to Thailand, as there are usually some foreigners. There is also a small club (look for the large "Ben More" sign) next to a local park near the train station in the Old Town, but it is a little pricier than average.
The centre of town has a variety of places, from hole-in-the-wall local dives, to "The Bank", a disco that is frequented by Lopburi's younger crowd (not recommended unless you know your way around well; foreigners are rare in the Bank). Uptown has few drinking establishments on the main road, but there are a variety of karaoke bars and such down the back roads. Some of these out-of-the-way places are decent for a drink and some offer female company (also not recommended for the newcomers).
Hotels in the Old Town offer generally similar medium scale standards for low 140-500 baht range prices. Do not expect upmarket facilities in most of these hotels (Oct 2015) The monkeys run around freely but usually stay in just one small area. Depending on your preference you can choose a place with lots of monkeys running (and hanging) around, or opt for somewhere with low or no monkey presence.
Places with lots of monkeys:
Places with few monkeys:
036 411343, 413601. There is a large pink sign on the left hand side as you approach the second roundabout from Saraburi. The sign is in Thai only.
This hotel is quite decent although close to the first roundabout from Saraburi, which means that if you do not have your own transport, you walk 2Km to the bus station. There are no restaurants nearby, so again, 2Km to the bus station area. For B650 walkin price you get a decent room - lift,aircon,hot water, bar fridge, TV etc and buffet breakfast (Thai or American). The staff are very friendly but speak little English. The hotel restaurant is usually not open in the evening.
Across the river from the Old Town
At the bus station, there are buses and minibuses to all of the surrounding destinations.
. Korat An aircon bus to here goes from the bus station every hour from 9.30am. They come from Nakhon Sawan and then head via Saraburi to Korat. Bus is first class, and costs B153. It takes 3.5 hours.