Lopburi

Lopburi is off the beaten track for most tourists, and those who do come here are generally outnumbered by the city's monkey population. Some foreigners show up on their way to or from Ayutthaya, but few stay overnight. The rarity of foreigners may explain why locals are so friendly and eager to show you their town—and to practice their English. Samlors are available, but most of Lopburi's attractions are within easy walking distance of downtown and the train station.

One of Thailand's oldest cities, Lopburi has been inhabited since the 4th century. After the 6th century its influence grew under the Dvaravati rulers, who dominated northern Thailand until the Khmers swept in from the east. From the beginning of the 10th century until the middle of the 13th, when the new Thai kingdom drove them out, the Khmers used Lopburi as their provincial capital. During the Sukhothai and early Ayutthaya periods, the city's importance declined until, in 1664, King Narai made it his second capital to escape the heat and humidity of Ayutthaya. He employed French architects to build his palace; consequently, Lopburi is a strange mixture of Khmer, Thai, and western architecture. Lopburi is a day trip from Bangkok or Ayutthaya. Its sights can be covered in a few hours. There are few comfortable overnight accommodations.

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