Lopburi is a three hour train ride north of Bangkok. My friend and I took the slower train which only cost us 28 Baht (32 Baht = 1 Dollar). Not too shabby! (However, the faster train is still pretty cheap by American standards so if you want to be in a nicer train and spend more time in Lopburi then go for it!)
Lopburi is home to the famous Monkey Temple and sunflower fields perfect for Instagram. Lopburi is a small town which can easily be covered in one day.
Monkeys and Monkey Temple
Going to the Monkey Temple was a mixed bag for me. It will cost you 50 Baht which is pretty reasonable; however, the temple itself is quite small. Furthermore, it is in the middle of town so it comes across as even more of a touristy location. Combine that with the trash littered throughout (vendors sell food and some sort of red liquid in plastic bags for tourists to give the monkeys) and the fact that you can see the monkeys pretty much anywhere in town makes this an okay-ish spot rather than what I had built it up in my head. Still worth checking out I think, but just keep your expectations in check.
Sunflowers and the Sunflower Festival
The sunflower fields and festival are free but hiring a driver to take you there costs about 300 baht per person, depending on who you talk to and your negotiating powers.
My friend and I had read mixed things about the best time to see the sunflowers. I wanted to wait for the sun to be lower in the sky (less harsh light and glare for pictures) and perhaps catch the sunrise (this plan was dashed when we found out the last train was at 6). She had heard to go sooner rather than later because the sun makes the sunflowers shrivel and droop. Then once we were in town we heard that it wasn’t good to go in the morning because the dew makes the sunflowers droop!
That being said we got to the fields at around 2 pm and the sunflowers were just fine.
Note: the sunflowers are wayyyyyy smaller than I had originally thought (most were only to my waist) so keep that in mind when you go! Also, make sure you check the season before you go because the sunflowers are not here year-round!
In the end, Lopburi was a great first day trip from Bangkok. It was affordable and reasonably easy to navigate. If you want a break from the chaos of the city, Lopburi with its Monkey Temple and sunflower fields is definitely a nice place to check out.