:: LOP BURI

Lop Buri , formerly known as "Lawo”, was one of the important ancient towns of the Khmers from the10th-13th century. Many Khmer ruins are found in and around this town. During the Ayutthaya period, King Narai the Great established Lop Buri as the second capital with the help of French architects. Most of the architecture of that time reflects the mixture of Thai and Western styles.

Lop Buri is 153 kms. north of Bangkok. It covers an area of 6,199 square kilometers and is administratively divided into 11 districts (Amphoes): Muang Lop Buri, Ban Mi, Chai Badan, Khok Charoen, Khok Samrong, Phatthana Nikhom, Tha Luang, Tha Wung, Sa Bot, Lam Sonthi, and Nong Muang.


:: Attractions


The former Hindu shrine of Prang Sam Yot (Three Peak Towers) is Lop Buri's most famous landmark. The 3 towers were originally based on Khmer art and architecture, but local artisans gave it the Lop Buri touch by adding Buddha images and modifying with several other variations. The shrine was converted to a Buddhist temple during King Narai's reign.

The Statue of King Narai the Great stands near the provincial capital's entrance to commemorate the great Ayutthayan monarch who helped Lop Buri prosper. King Narai is remembered for fostering close diplomatic ties with European powers and introducing western technology, such as terra cotta pipes to supply drinking water.

The square-shaped Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat complex encloses ruins from two distinct eras. At the center is the finely detailed 12th-century stucco Khmer prang. Scattered around the complex are chedis built in the Ayutthaya and Sukhothai-styles and a wiharn (hall) commissioned by King Narai.

The Vichayen House was built as a residence for the first French ambassador to Thailand during the reign of Louis XIV. Later it was inhabited by the King's favorite minister, the Greek Constantine Phaulkon, who encouraged King Narai to forge close ties with the Europeans, predominantly with the French. Scattered around the compound are other ruined buildings that served as residences for other mission members, water tanks, fountains, and a Roman Catholic chapel.

 

King Narai's Ratchaniwet Palace was constructed during mid-1600s and was abandoned after his death. The palace combined both Thai and western-style architecture, indicating the European's influence during that period. Later on, King Mongkut, Rama IV restored parts of the palace, including the majestic Chanthara Phisan Pavilion , originally the royal residence of King Narai built purely in Thai-style.

The three-storied, colonial-styled Phiman Mongkut Pavilion within King Narai's Palace served as King Mongkut's (Rama IV) residence during the palace renovations. Connected to it are three other two-storied pavilions. Nowadays, the buildings have been converted into the Narai National Museum which houses a superb collection of Lop Buri Buddha images and earlier kingdom's arts.

The Kraison Siharat Hall is located on an island in the dried up Tale (lake) Chupson that formerly supplied drinking water to the city of Lop Buri. King Narai built the place to be used by him and Louis XIV's envoys to witness a lunar eclipse on December 11, 1685.

Wat San Paolo originally served as a Jesuit church during King Narai's reign.

Situated at the foot of Sanam Daeng (Red Field) Mountain is Wat Khao Wongkot that has a large bat cave. The featured attraction occurs daily around 6 p.m. when a massive amount of bats leave the cave, taking 2 hours to fully empty out the cave. Bat droppings can be purchased at the temple.

The nation's largest Sunflower Field is located some 45 km from town. Tourists swarm the fields during the months of November to January when the sunflowers are in full bloom.

:: City Attractions Part 1


Narai Ratchaniwet Palace
This palace in the town centre was built by King Narai and took 12 years to be completed (1665-1677). Now the whole compound has been turned into the Lop Buri National Museum. and houses the following historical buildings.

Statue of King Narai the Great  This statue is situated at the entrance of the town. It was erected to honour King Narai the Great who made Lop Buri an important and prosperous town. He commanded many magnificent structures built in this town including the Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace, several fortifications and a Buddhist sanctuary. He was the first one to apply modern technology in the observatory and in laying terra-cotta pipes to supply water to the palace.

As for his foreign policy, King Narai was the first Thai monarch who established diplomatic relations with France and attributed friendly policy towards other foreigners, especially the Europeans.

 

 

Phra Prang Sam Yot  This former Hindu shrine is some 200 metres 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 adjoining 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 is adjacent to Phra Prang Sam Yot. It consists of an ancient Khmer ruin and a shrine constructed in 1951 for a worshipped four-armed deity figure with a Buddha image's head. The monkeys living in the compound sometimes cause mischief when approached.

Prang Khaek This charming and petite Khmer ruin is in the market place on Vichayen Road. The structure was built in the 15th century as a Hindu shrine with three adjoining towers, but it is much smaller than Phra Prang Sam Yot. It is considered to be the oldest monument of Lop Buri.