Known as the monkey kingdom, Lopburi is a small village located 150 kilometers north-east of Bangkok that has developed over time into some sort of concrete jail for a community of more than 2000 macaques.
In the past years, this place was a wooded area where macaques lived free in a natural environment. Now, however, Lopburi is a must-see for visiting tourists travelling through the old Kingdom of Siam and in a certain way, a theme park where monkey watching has become the main attraction.
The adaptive capacity these primates have to survive either in urban or wild habitats, have prevented them from retreating to the rainforest searching for a better living environment. Added to the negative factors derived of living in the streets, as road traffic and extreme pollution, are the lack of food resources and the total absence of a protected natural space that keep them safe from urban dangers.
Lopburi´s primates live scattered especially around the Prang Sam Yot temple and an old abandoned warehouse building. Monkeys do often snatch food from tourists and this is even sold by travel agencies and tourism portals as a novelty attraction.
Macaques must face the grim reality of adapting themselves to the life in the city, being fed by the touristic police and cope with difficulties in whatever way they can. They spend the day playing with each other, hanging from the electric wires or snatching tourist´s valuables.
Although settled in the city, they keep their own rules. They are organized into clans that protect each other, and it is said that when a monkey dies, their friends grieve for hours… Their mourning can be heard through the whole city.