In dozens of provinces, humans and primates compete for resources and space. In Lopburi city, aka “Monkey City,” hundreds of long-tailed macaques roam free. Interspecies tensions have gotten high enough authorities are training a monkey police force to rein in the impetuous monkeys.
They can be seen mulling around everywhere between the temples, streets, and rooftops, and are notorious for jumping on people, stealing food, pickpocketing, gnawing through telephone wires and picking fights with each other. Despite their mischievous behaviour, the locals believe that the monkeys bring good luck and fortune to the town through tourism.
One way Lopburians have maintained the tenuous peace has been with the annual Monkey Festival, an annual party celebrating their simian residents held on the last weekend of November in which the Khmer temple of Prang Sam Yot provides the main backdrop to the festivities. This past weekend, foreign visitors and local families alike descended on the old part of town to see the monkeys indulge in some gluttonous behaviour, as they are treated to a lavish banquet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, soda drinks and desserts such as foi thong (sweetened egg yolk strands), ice cream and jelly. Several rounds of food offerings are made throughout the day. The Monkey Festival is like an aggressive, prelingual Mad Hatter Tea party which rapidly turns into a massive food fight with the offerings left strewn across the temple grounds.
There’s just something about monkeys:
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