Lop Buri is an interesting town of 153 kilometers north of Bangkok. It was one of the oldest capitals of the Khmers who expanded their power to the town of Lawo and Lop Buri at the beginning of the 10th century and ruled over the area until the middle of the 13th century when the Thais, who had already migrated from the North and had settled down in this country, fought against them and declared the independence of the Thais. Since then Lop Buri has been ruled by the Thais. Many monuments in Khmer style were constructed in Lop Buri such as the Hindu Shrine, Phra Kan Shrine etc. These monuments still exist in abundance.
In 1664, King Narai, a King of Ayutthaya, made Lop Buri the second capital with the help of French architects. Therefore, the architectural style of Lop Buri in the reign of King Narai was half Thai and half western as can be seen from the Royal Palace, the Royal Reception House etc.
Lop Buri covers an area of 6,199 square kilometers and is administratively divided into nine Amphoes and two King Amphoes: Muang, Ban Mi, Chai Badan, Khok Charoen, Khok Samrong, Phatthana Nikhom, Tha Luang, Tha Wung, Sa Bot, King Amphoe Lam Sonthi and King Amphoe Nong Muang.
LOP BURI's ATTRACTIONS
Amphoe Muang :
Statue of King Narai the great The Statue of King Narai the Great is situated at the entrance of the town. King Narai the great had Lop Buri built as the second capital and made it prosperous. He also ordered his architects and his engineers to build Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace, Pavilions, fortifications and the Buddhist sanctuary. He was the first to bring modern technology into use in the observatory and in laying terracotta pipes to supply water to the palace.
Apart from this, for his foreign policy, King Narai was It the first Thai Monarch to establish a diplomatic relation with France and attribute friendly policy towards other foreigners especially the Europeans.
Phra Prang Sam Yot Phra Prang Sam Yot once a Hindu Shrine, is the landmark of Lop Buri, and only 200 metres from the train station. It was constructed in Lop Buri style with laterite and sandstone decorated with stucco. The adjoining prangs signify the Hindu Trinity of Brahman, Vishnu and Siva. In the reign of King Narai, the Shrine was converted to a Buddhist temple as some Buddhist designs can still be seen on it.
San Phra Kan San Phra Kan another Brahmanical shrine lying opposite Phra Prang Sam Yot consists of two sections. The old section dates back to the Khmer period and appears in the form of a laterite mound. The new section consists of a building constructed in 1951 contains a four-armed deity figure fixed with a Buddha's head which is now the project of worship. One of the most attractive sights for the tourists visiting San Phra Kan is the great number of tamed monkeys which feed themselves on food offered to the deity by worshippers.
Prang Khaek Prang Khaek a charming little Khmer ruin built in the 15th century B.C. is located in the marketplace on Vichayen Rd. near Narai Ratchanivet Palace. It was also a Hindu shrine but much smaller than Phra Prang Sam Yot. The Indian influence can be obviously seen in its structure. This Hindu Shrine consists of three brick prang constructed without mortar the shrine has no corridors between each prang. It has been restored many times and is regarded as the oldest ancient monument of Lop Buri.
Wat Phra Si Maha That Wat Phara Si Maha That located behind the railway station is very important both in history and in archaeology. It was probably founded in the 12th century when the Khmers were governing Lop Buri. Many restorations had been done during Ayutthaya period. What can still be seen are the nuns of numerous prangs and chedis which were built in both Sukhothai and Ayuttaya styles.
Vichayen House Vichayen House located 300 metres from Prang Khaek was constructed by King Narai as a residence for Chevalier de Chaumont, the first French ambassador to Thailand in the reign of King Louis XIV. Later the place was occupied by Chao Praya Vichayen (Constantin Phaulkon) until his death by the revolutionaries. There are many ruined buildings to be seen in the compound: one which served as a Roman Catholic chapel, a hall of residence for the ambassador and residences for members of the foreign mission. Ruins of water tanks made of bricks and fountains can also be seen within the compound.
Narai Ratchaniwet Palace Narai Ratchaniwet Palace built by King Narai of Ayutthaya took 12 years to be completed (1665-1677). It is located in the centre of the town between Ratchadamnoen Rd. and Pratu Chai Rd. which is not too far away from the railway station. Most of the structures of the Palace are of King Narai's period. Now the whole compound has been turned into the National Museum of Lop Buri. Apart from ancient art objects displayed in the Museum, every pavillion in the royal palace has an interesting history.
1.Water Reservoir constructed by King Narai to store water which came through terracotta pipes from Ta-le Chupsorn, a large fresh-water lake which supplied drinking water to the inhabitants of Lop Burt.
2. Phra Khlang Supharat commonly called the twelve treasure houses, built by King Narai for storing the royal treasures as well as royal goods for selling to foreign merchants.
3. Elephant and Horse Stables located close to the wall separating the outer section of the palace from the middle section.
4. Chanthon Phisan Pavilion bunt as a royal residence of King Narai in 1665, later the pavilion was used as an audience hall after King Narai had moved his residence to Suttha Sawan pavilion The building was constructed in pure Thai style, thus indicating that no French architects had any share in constructing the building. The building was restored by King Mongkut in 1863 and is now used as a hall for displaying archaeological and art objects. Many stone Buddha images of the Lop Buri period are kept in the building.
5. Phiman Mongkut Pavilion is a three-storied brick building constructed by King Mongkut as his residence when he visited Lop Buri during the renovation of the palace. Connected with the said pavilion are three other two-storied buildings called Suttha Winitchai Pavilion, Chai Sattrakon Pavilion and Akron Sattrakhom All of these three buildings are now used as offices of the Lop Buri National Museum.
6. Dusit Sawan Thanya Maha Prasat Hall King Narai had this building constructed to be used as an audience hall for high-ranking foreign visitors and ambassador. He probably received Chevalier de Chaumont, Louis XIV's representative, in this hall. The building was constructed in a mixed architectural style which can he traced from the shape of the doors and windows ( square shape in Thai style, and domeshape in western style).
7. Suttha Sawan Pavilion was built by King Narai as his residence and it was in the building that the king died on the 11th of July 1688, while the palace was being resigned by the revolutionists. There still remain the ruins of the pavilion and artificial hills and fountains. It is recorded that the pavilion stood amidst beautiful garden in which many fountains were displayed.
8. Phra Chao Hao Building located on the south of the outer section of the palace was built by King Narai probably as a private audience hall.
9. Banquet Hall built by King Naraito entertain important foreign visitors is surrounded by ponds on the west, north and south. In front of the Banquet Hall stands a brick platform which might be the remaining part of a theatre in which the guests were entertainer after dinner.
Wat San Paulo Wat San Paulo is situated on the east, about 3 kilometers from town. It was a church of the Jesuits, founded during the reign of King Narai. Now only a brick wall of a high tower behind the church still remains. The Thai word, "San Paulo" probably derive from "Saint Paul" or "Saint Paulo".
Wat Sao Thong Thong Wat Sao Thong Thong is on the north of the Royal Palace. The Vihara and the main Buddha image were created in the Ayutthaya period. Later, King Narai restored this monastery and changed the windows of the Viharn into a western style.
Wat Mani Chonlakhan The monastery was originally called Wat Ko Kaeo because it was located on a small island. Interesting to see are, Ghedi Luang Pho Saeng, the Ubosot, the Vihara and the large Buddha image along the river.
Wat Yang Na Rangsi Wat Yang Na Rangsi is located by the Lop Buri River at Mu 2, Tambon Talung, 9 kilometres south of the city center. The front of the temple is adjacent to Lop Buri-Bangpahan Highway. Formerly, it was called Wat Phaya Yang since there was an imposing yang tree (dipterocarpus) surrounded by many small ones in the compound. The four Buddha images made of sandstone and quartz in the temple suggest that this forest temple could have been built during the Lawo period.
The old wooden teaching hall of the temple was built in 1927. Its rare architecture belongs to the country style in the central region of Thailand. After the restoration in 1988, it was turned into the first Local Boat Museum in Thailand. Many kinds of local boats are collected and exhibited in this museum.
Wat Lai Wat Lai is located on the bank of the Bang Kham river, Amphoe Tha Wung. It is an ancient monastery of the Ayutthaya period where the Phra Sri Ariya image is situated. An interesting thing to see is the Vihara, decorated with stucco in various motifs, front and back, depicting Buddha's previous life story and the Lord Buddha's first sermon. It is regarded as one of the master pieces of Thai sculpture.
Sunflower Field This is the largest sunflower field in Thailand, located in Tambon ( Bong Sarika, Amphoe Phatthana Nikom. Travel 30 kilometres along Lop Burt-Saraburi Road, then turn left into Highway No.21 and travel further for 15 kilometres. The beautiful sunflower field have become a tourist attraction when the sun flower trees are in full blossom from November to January.
Nam Tok Wang Kan Luang This Waterfall is about 12 kilometres from Lam Narai Market, in Amphoe Chai Badan. It appeals as a quiet and refreshing retreat from the city, suitable for family visitors.