Lop Buri was an ancient Khmer capital dating from the 10th
century. Today, it is a modern garrison town and provincial
capital 153 kilometers north of Bangkok. Several noteworthy
Khmer-style monuments attest to Lop Buri's antiquity, and the
Narai Ratchaniwet Palace, constructed during the mid-1600s by
the Ayutthayan monarch Narai the Great (reign: 1656-1688)
combines both Thai and western-style architecture, indicating
French influences prevailing during that time.
Attractions - in the city
King Narai the Great Statue
This statue near the town entrance commemorates the
Ayutthayan monarch who made Lop Buri his second capital, and
helped the town prosper. Narai the Great is remembered for
fostering close diplomatic ties with European powers, and
introducing western technology, such as terra cotta pipes to
supply drinking water to his palace.
Phra Prang Sam Yot
This former Hindu shrine is some 200 meters from the railway
station and is Lop Buri's best-known landmark. The laterite and
sandstone structure was constructed in the Lop Buri style and
decorated with stucco. The three towers signify the Hindu
Trinity of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva
the Destroyer. During the reign of King Narai, the shrine was
converted to a Buddhist temple.
San Phra Kan
This former Brahman shrine adjacent to Phra Prang Sam Yot
comprises two sections, the older dating back to the Khmer
period, and the newer dating from 1951. The latter contains a
four-armed deity with a Buddha's head that is an object of
worship. The shrine is noteworthy for a resident troupe of
mischievous and entertaining monkeys.
This charming and petite Khmer ruin in the market place on
Vichayen Road near Narai Ratchaniwet Palace was also a Hindu
shrine and is considered to be Lop Buri's oldest monument.
Wat Nakhon Kosa
Located north of the railway station, near the Phra Kan
shrine, this temple was formerly a Khmer place of worship. The
Lop Buri-style prangs fronting the temple was built around 1157.
The U-Thong-style cement Buddhas on the prangs were added at a
later date. The temple was probably restored during the reign of
Narai the Great.
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat
This Buddhist temple behind the railway station was probably
founded during the 12th century. Many restorations were made
during the Ayutthaya period (1350-1767). The prangs and chedis
seen today were built in the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya styles.
King Narai constructed Vichayen House as a residence for
Chevalier de Chaumont, the first French ambassador to Thailand
during the reign of Louis XIV. Later, Chao Phraya Vichayen (the
Greek adventurer Constantine Phaulkon) occupied the residence
until his death in 1688. Many ruined buildings dot the compound.
One served as a Roman Catholic chapel. Others were residences
for the ambassador and mission members. Ruined brick water tanks
and fountains are also visible.
Wat Mani Chonlakhan
Originally named Wat Ko Kaeo, this temple was constructed
during the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV, reign: 1851-1868) on
a riverine island in the Lop Buri River. Interesting sights
include the chapels, Chedi Luang Pho Saeng, and the large
riverside Buddha image.
Wat Sao Thong
Parts of this temple, north of Narai the Great' s palace,
may have originally been constructed either as a church or a
mosque. Narai the Great restored the monastery and initiated the
western-style windows of the secondary chapel. Near this
building are the Pichu and Khotchasan Buildings, which were
formerly used as reception houses for the Persian ambassadors.
Narai Ratchaniwet Palace
This palace was constructed over a 12-year period from 1665
until 1677. Narai Ratchaniwet Palace is located in the town
center between Ratchadamnoen Road and Pratu Chai Road, and is
not far from the railway station. Structures built during the
reign of King Narai include:
The Water Reservoir
Constructed to store water, which came through terra cotta
pipes from a freshwater lake, Tale Chupson, which supplied
drinking water to the inhabitants of Lop Buri.
Phra Khlang Supharat
Commonly known as 'The Twelve Treasure Houses', and built to
store royal treasures, as well as royal goods sold to foreign
merchants during the late 1600s.
Elephant & Horse Stables
These are located close to the wall separating the outer and
middle sections of the palace.
Chantara Phisan Pavilion
Originally the royal residence of King Narai, in 1665, the
pavilion was subsequently used as an audience hall after the
king moved his residence to the Suttha Sawan Pavilion.
Architecturally, the building is purely Thai in style,
indicating that no French architects were involved in its
construction. King Mongkut, and now serves as a hall for
displaying archaeological and art objects restored the building
in 1863. Many Lop Buri-style stone Buddha images are kept in the
Dusit Sawan Thanya Maha Prasat Hall
King Narai had this building constructed as an audience hall
in which to receive high-ranking foreign visitors and
ambassadors. The king probably received Chevalier de Chaumont,
the representative of Louis XIV, in this hall. The building was
constructed in a mixture of French and Thai architectural
Suttha Sawan Pavilion
It was in this residence that Narai the Great died on July
11, 1688, while the palace was under the control of royal
revolutionaries. Ruins of artificial hills and fountains remain.
It was recorded that the pavilion originally stood amid a
beautiful garden that contained many fountains.
Phrachao Hao Building
King Narai built this, probably as a private audience hall,
in Thai architectural style. Only wall sections remain, but
designs decorating doors and windows are still visible.
Built to entertain foreign visitors, the hall is surrounded
on three sides by ponds. A brick platform fronting the hall may
have been a stage or theatre where guests were entertained,
perhaps by shadow plays or dances, following dinner. During
1856, King Mongkut (Rama IV) restored the palace and designated
it the 'inner capital'. Buildings constructed during King
Mongkut's reign are:
Phiman Mongkut Pavilion
King Mongkut used the three-storey building as his residence
during the renovation of the palace. Three other two storied
buildings, namely the Suttha Winitchai Pavilion, the Chai
Sattrakorn Pavilion and the Akson Sattrakhom, are connected to
the Phiman Mongkut Pavilion. The three buildings are offices of
the Lop Buri National Museum.
Phra Prathiap Buildings
Eight two-storied buildings behind King Mongkut's residence
were used as the residences of inner court officials.
Royal Guards Residence
This is situated at the entrance to the middle court.
King Narai National Museum
This museum was established in 1924 in the Narai
Ratchaniwinet Palace. The museum is open from 9.00 AM until 4.00
PM every day except Monday and Tuesday. Various objets d'art and
antiques are displayed in three major buildings.
Phiman Mongkut Pavilion
Prehistoric artifacts, such as stone axes and earthenware,
ancient Buddha images, woodcarvings, statues of celestial beings
and the like are displayed.
Buddhist artifacts from the Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin
periods, and historic paintings from King Narai's reign, are
Traditional agricultural tools and implements, including
ploughs, carts, grain separators and fish traps are displayed.
Lop Buri Zoo
This 25-acre enclave is situated behind the Army Theatre
near Sa Kaeo Circle. The zoo's inmates include favorite Asian
and Australasian birds and mammals. The most unusual spectacle
is that of three tigers and four dogs, each suckled at birth by
the dogs' mother, living in unique harmony. The tree-shaded area
is open every day from 8.00 AM until 6.00 PM.
Wat San Paolo
This temple, some 3 kilometers east of town, was originally
a Jesuit church founded during King Narai's reign.
Kraison Siharat Hall or Phra Thinang Yen
Located on an island in a dried up lake, Tale Chupson, that
formerly supplied drinking water to Lop Buri residents, the hall
was built by King Narai and was used as a place by the king,
Jesuits and Louis XIV's envoys to witness a lunar eclipse on
December 11, 1685.
Wat Yang Na Rangsi
Located beside the Lop Buri River, some 9 kilometers south
of the city center, the temple is notable for its wooden sala
(teaching hall) dating from the 1920s, which houses a Local Boat
Museum wherein many local vessels are displayed.
Attractions - out of the city
Wat Lai - AMPHOE THA WUNG
Located on the banks of the Bang Kham River, some 24
kilometers from Lop Buri, this Ayutthaya-period temple is
particularly noteworthy for a chapel with stucco renditions of
the Buddha's previous life, and his first sermon after attaining
enlightenment. The exquisite craftsmanship makes this a
masterpiece of Thai sculpture.
Wang Kan Luang Waterfall - AMPHOE CHAI BADAN
Some 20 kilometers from Lam Narai Market (via Highway 2089),
this refreshing retreat has ten cascades and flows throughout
the year thanks to a nearby large underground water source.
Wat Thammikaram - AMPHOE BAN MI
This ancient canal side temple was formerly named Wat Khang
Khao (Bat Temple) since many bats lived there. The temple is
particularly noteworthy for murals dating from the mid-1800s.
Wat Khao Wongkot - AMPHOE BAN MI
Located at the foot of Sanam Daeng Mountain, the temple is
noteworthy for a large bat cave from whence inhabitants depart,
weather permitting, around 6.00 PM in great numbers to seek
food. It takes up to 2 hours to empty the cave. The temple
derives income from the sale of bats' droppings.
Sunflower Field - AMPHOE PHATTHANA NIKHOM
Some 45 kilometers from Lop Buri, Thailand's largest
sunflower plantation in Chong Sarika becomes a tourism
attraction from November to January when sunflowers are in full
King Narai Reign Fair
This annual event, each February, includes pageantry,
homage-paying ceremonies, folk entertainment and native bazaars
to commemorate the Ayutthayan monarch who brought prosperity to
Lop Buri during the late 1600s. The fair is largely staged at
Narai's Lop Buri palace.