Lopburi: Sunflowers and Monkeys

During the cool season months of November through February, many farms in Thailand grow sunflowers for their seeds and oil. In November, I went on a day tour of the sunflower fields in Lopburi province. Lopburi is about a 2.5 hour drive northwest of Bangkok, with lots of farms growing many different crops in addition to sunflowers. But the sunflower fields are the main attraction.

We drove through miles of farms where there were sunflowers as far as you could see in every direction. The amount of yellow was amazing.

After the sunflower fields, we went to a couple of temples in the town of Lopburi. The temples themselves weren’t that great, but what they’re more famous for is the monkeys that live at the temples. There were hundreds and hundreds of monkeys climbing all over the temples, on the grounds around the temples, and just about everywhere in between.

And they’re not shy monkeys. They will grab at anything loose or dangling on you – sunglasses, backpack, water bottles, etc. Or they will just jump up on your back or shoulders while you’re standing there. And as soon as one jumps on you, usually at least 2 or 3 of his friends will then also jump on you.

That might sound fun, until you realize that monkeys are not the cleanest animals. And with the hundreds of them at the temple, they’re constantly walking around in their own waste…and then climbing on you!

We were there the last weekend of November, which just happened to be the annual monkey festival week. During that week, the people in the town put out a huge buffet of food for the monkeys, with the belief that feeding the monkeys will bring them good luck during the year. The amount of food was unbelievable – crates full of all different kinds of fruits and vegetables. And for the hour or so that we were there, there was an almost constant procession of cars and trucks stopping and dumping off more food. I don’t know what it’s like during the rest of the year, but at least during the monkey festival week, those monkeys are very, very well fed!

The vast sunflower fields

The vast sunflower fields

See if you can find me in the sunflowers

See if you can find me in the sunflowers

Being cool in the sunflower fields

Being cool in the sunflower fields

 

Me and my monkey buddies

Me and my monkey buddies

A face only a mother could love

A face only a mother could love

Monkeys running around the grounds *everywhere*

Monkeys running around the grounds *everywhere*

 

The buffet of food dropped off by people for the monkeys

The buffet of food dropped off by people for the monkeys

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