Lopburi, Thailand

“Bad monkeys!”

Buddha image with young monkeys, Prang Sam Yot

Lopburi, Thailand

Lopburi, the one-time site of the capital of Siam, has a large resident population of macaques who make their home in some of the city’s shrines and temples. The monkeys are quite fearless, even aggressive – as we visited one set of small temples, the ticket-taker came out of his booth holding a sling-shot, ready to warn off any monkeys who got too close. The monkeys, apparently familiar with the weapon, kept their distance.

Across the road from the historic temples at Prang Yam Sot, the newer San Phra Kan shrine seems to have been partly set up as a home from home for the animals. There was even a shallow swimming pool, with cables overhead: young macaques swam in the water, ducked each other, wrestled, dangled one-handed from the cables, and splashed explosively in and out of the water, for all the world like very small, furry teenagers having a noisy pool party.