Lop Buri province is situated on the western end of the Khorat Plateau and is one of several provinces in central Thailand where many significant Historical artifacts and prehistoric settlements have been discovered.
Formerly known as La-Wo or Lavo, Lop Buri is believed to have been an important seat of power in Southeast Asia between the 7th and 14th centuries. Excavations in Lop Buri have revealed that the city was clearly a site of strategic significance, with evidence that the city has been inhabited for over 1,200 years. In fact, relics from as early as the Bronze Age chronicle a History that has seen Lop Buri develop into intriguing city with a blend of both eastern & western influences featuring both ancient and modern attractions.
Lop Buri was first developed into a major town during the era of the Dvaravati Kingdom (6th-11th centuries) when Indian Culture was influential to the region. However, most historians believed the first settlers of the town were the Lawa (an ethnic group related to the Mons), which may be the reason for naming the town La-Wo. Around the 10th century the town came under the sovereignty of the Khmer Empire and it became one of their outlying provincial capitals, although some have argued that La-Wo was the capital of an empire that ruled for many centuries until relocating its seat of power to Ayutthaya in the late 11th century. Regardless, Khmer Mahayana Buddhism was a major influence on the town’s architecture, a style that has since been commonly referred to as Lop Buri Style. Remains of Khmer-Hindu architectural motifs found in the city include the Shiva’s Shrine (Prang Khaek), San Phra Kan, Phra Prang Sam Yot, and Wat Phra Si Maha Tat.
In the late 13th century the Thais, who migrated from the North, fought against the Khmers and declared their independence. Since then, Lop Buri has been ruled by Thai Kings. 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 during the reign of King Narai was half Thai and half western and is best appreciated at his Royal Palace and the Royal Reception House.
Built during the Dvaravati Period, Lop Buri Province is one of the oldest cities in Thailand. Tourist attractions in the province include Pa Sak Jolasid Dam, the longest earthen Reservoir in Thailand, and Khao Wong Phrachan, considered the highest mountain of Lop Buri, which both provide breathtaking views and great atmosphere. Other interesting places to go are Phra Kan Shrine, Phra Prang Sam Yod (Monkey Temple), Phra Narai Ratchaniwet, and so on.
When visiting Lop Buri, Thailand, don’t forget to shop for famous local goods such as white clay filler, salted dug eggs, and nata de coco or coconut gel from fermented coconut water.
Beware of valuables, including ear-rings and cameras, as the monkeys of Lop Buri are known to steal anything they can get their hands on. The Lop Buri Train Station has baggage storage if you wish to stop for a few hours and walk to the nearby attractions.