Monkey Buffet Festival in Thailand

Why Are These Monkeys Treated to an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet in Thailand Every Year?

It’s a strange sight to behold – an enormous spread of fresh fruit and vegetables set out along the street and hundreds of monkeys enjoying their fill. Why do the people of Thailand set up such an elaborate banquet for these simian creatures every year?

The Lopburi Monkey Buffet Festival is an event that is held every year in Thailand in order to promote tourism. It takes place in the Lopburi province, north of Bangkok. 4000 kilograms of fruits, vegetables, cakes and candies are set down in front of the temples for the 3000 monkeys living in the area. The Festival was actually invented by a local business man in 1989 in order to boost tourism in this area of Thailand.

Lopburi Monkey Buffet Festival
A monkey looking sternly at a slice of watermelon. | photo credit: Chris Gusen via photopin cc

These days thousands of visitors come every year to see the numerous monkeys, as well as watch the music and dance performances. During these celebrations people will dress up like monkeys and you will also see a lot of monkey sculptures and decorations. The buffet is very high quality – no kitchen scraps here! It is lovingly prepared by real chefs and beautifully arranged, worthy of a five star hotel.

The people of Thailand believe that monkeys bring good fortune, so it comes as no surprise that they would have a festival to honour them. In fact, there is an ancient Sanskrit legend about a monkey with human traits that helped Hanuman to rescue a bride from a 10 headed demon. Hanuman was believed to have founded Lopburi and it is believed that the monkeys in the town are direct descendants of his bloodline.

This huge Monkey buffet festival is a great way to thank the monkeys of Lopburi for drawing tourists to the town. Thousands of long-tailed macaque monkeys will come to the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple to take part in the massive picnic. If you would love a chance to observe these monkeys and take part in this unusual annual festival, why not plan your trip to Thailand during the Monkey Buffet?

Lopburi Monkey Buffet Festival in Lopburi
Drinking Coke! | photo credit: Wikimedia Commons cc

Tips for Attending the Lopburi Monkey Buffet Festival

If you want to take part in the Lopburi Monkey Buffet Festival, here are some tips to help you plan your trip:

  • This year’s festival will take part on November 25th, 2014.
  • You can get from Bangkok to Lopburi via bus or train. The trains will depart from the main Hualamphong station and will take around 3 hours.
  • Be careful around the monkeys, they are accustomed to humans and have been known to snatch food or belongings from your hands.
  • The festival is free of charge, but bring some money along so that you can make a donation to the temple or buy some food.
  • While you are staying in Lopburi, make sure that you visit some of the amazing temples that are there. The architecture is beautiful and you will see the resident monkeys climbing over the ancient carvings.

Have fun watching the monkeys feast at this strange and fascinating festival and enjoying the peaceful sights of Lopburi.

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About Kelly Dunning

Website: http://global-goose.com/

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run Global-Goose.com, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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