In the town of Lop Buri, located 153 km North of Bangkok, you can witness one of the strangest feasts going. That's right, only witness. The food is not for you. In fact the food is not for any human at all!
Every year on the last Sunday of November, the local people provide a huge feast for some 3000 long-tail macaque monkeys that inhabit this part of Thailand, the Lop Buri Monkey Banquet. Lop Buri has long been famous for the sheer number of monkeys that hang around the town. The monkeys practically run the place, even take the train to commute to where they know they can find food.
The local monkey population have always been a tourist draw. So in 1988 a local hotelier started up this crazy idea; thank the monkeys for the prosperity they bring the town by holding a feast in their honour. The Monkey Banquet takes place in the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple located on Vichayen Road about 200 metres from the railway station. This temple, also known as the the Temple of Three Towers, is a beautiful ruined Buddhist shrine that was converted from the original Hindu temple built in the 13th century.
The feast is strictly vegetarian, and done with amazing style. Bright red tablecloths cover all the tables, and huge blocks of coloured ice that hold fruit inside are placed all around the grounds. The tables themselves are loaded with platters and pyramids of every kind of fruit and vegetable you can imagine, all provided by locals. There is even Coca-Cola and napkins for the not so discerning guests of honour. Every year, almost 10,000 people go to observe the thousands of monkeys descending on the temple and devouring the incredible amount of food.
The whole event may seem a little hokey and contrived, but the banquet is simply a Thai tradition done large. Thai people believe that being kind and generous to a monkey will bring good luck. And especially in Lop Buri, where the monkeys bring wealth in the form of tourists, it's not hard to see that the locals feel that feeding these monkeys has in fact brought the promised luck.