Lockdowns over, monkeys return for annual Thai feast

In another sign of post-COVID normalcy, troops of monkeys converged on the Thai town of Lopburi last week for an annual feast laid out by townspeople two years after the popular event was cancelled because of the pandemic.

The yearly monkey festival never fails to delight locals and tourists alike. The people of Lopburi, a central province just north of Bangkok, have been offering the feast of mainly fruits for its population of macaques since the late 1980s. The event is both a part of religious tradition and also a tourist attraction.

About a thousand hungry simians eagerly scooped up and devoured the mountains of colorful and delicious fruits piled high for them on tables and wheelchairs. The Monkey Buffet Festival takes place outside the town’s 800-year-old Pra Prang Sam Yod temple.

The monkeys would jump on the shoulders of spectators and grab at food being eaten by humans and basically rule the area during the festival.

Organizer Yongyuth Kitwatananusont said that the monkeys, which are a breed known as macaques, especially like durian, the pungent fruit with a strong smell that people either love or hate, and is also a favorite of orangutans, the only Great Ape native to Asia.

Thailand is known for growing some of the highest-quality and tastiest durian in the world.

The event was for a good cause. Donations from tourists and spectators will be used to buy 100 wheelchairs for local hospitals, nursing homes and elderly individuals.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.lopburitravel.com/page-47