One of Thailand’s oldest cities, containing ancient monuments and steeped in history. Today this laidback city is particularly famous for the hundreds of macaque monkeys that have overrun the old part of the city. The macaques are not shy, happy to climb all over you given half the chance. Many people find this fun, especially the young ones.
Be warned, these nimble furballs have some troublesome habits, such as gifting you with a poo and grabbing your food or belongings, especially sunglasses and cameras!. For this reason, it’s not a recommended destination for anyone who feels a little uncomfortable around free-roaming animals such monkeys.
The main attraction is the many hundreds of macaque "Old world monkeys", which can be seen throughout the old town and are especially prevalent in the Phra Prang Sam Yot area. From your base in the city, you can take tours to outlying historic ruins, such as Wat Phra Phutthabat, and if you’re seeking more adventure, there’s rock climbing, mountaineering, trekking and caving activities.
When To Go
The last Sunday in November locals come out in force to give food to the Monkeys at Pra Prang Sam Yot temple - The Monkey Buffet Festival. Monsoon runs from late April to October, meaning heavy rain and cooler temperatures, with the most rain falling in Sept.
A full day is enough to see the old town and you can’t miss the monkeys! You may end up staying a bit longer if you are up for adventurous activities in the surrounding area.
The city was first established in 1350 by the Khmer Empire when it was a former capital of Thailand, Khmer and Hindu influences can be seen in the design of the ancient monuments, which later became Buddhist. There’s an interesting 'soupcon' of French architectural influence, as many Frenchmen were living in the region back in the mid-15th Century.