Lopburi’s Monkey Control Efforts Revive Business Confidence

Lopburi City municipal officials cleaned the area around Phra Prang, the province's landmark, following the control of the monkey population in the city center on June 24, 2024.

LOPBURI —  Efforts to get the monkey population under control are making progress and businesses in Lopburi Province are regaining confidence because they believe the problem is being tackled properly. Many companies are planning to revive instead of going out of business.

Damrongchai Market, for example, is rejuvenating its stalls to offer vendors over 60 blocks again, and the former shopping district known as “Heavy Alley” is being revitalized. In addition, the large department store “Apinya” has abandoned its plans to sell its property and is preparing to renovate the building while launching promotions to attract customers.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, in cooperation with Lopburi Municipality, has captured 1,200 of the estimated 3,000 monkeys and relocated them to an animal care facility in Phokhaoton Subdistrict, Mueang Lopburi District. The monkeys will be registered, tested for diseases and sterilized there. However, the capture process has been temporarily halted because the cages are full.

lopburi clear monkey2
Lopburi Municipality, has captured 1,200 of the estimated 3,000 monkeys and relocated them to an animal care facility.

Prachachat Business reporters recently visited the old town of Mueang Lopburi district, which has been plagued by an overpopulation of monkeys for more than 10 years, causing disturbances in stores, businesses and homes. Starting at the landmark Phra Kan Shrine, they found less than 10 monkeys in the area in the afternoon.


When the reporters crossed the road and railroad line from Phra Kan Shrine to Phra Prang Sam Yot, they found that there were not many monkeys. However, local traders have noticed that the number of monkeys increases in the evening.

The area from Phra Prang Sam Yot to Prang Khaek, which used to be overrun by monkeys destroying property, is now “much calmer” after the first 300 monkeys were caught. Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the renovation of Damrongchai Market in Soi Heavy on Damrongchai Road. This market, once a center for youth products such as clothing, student uniforms and cosmetics, is being revived.

Monkeys climb a billboard in Lopburi Province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 24, 2024.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Mr. Pancake Panichcharoen, the owner of Damrongchai Market, told “Prachchat Business” that the quality of life of local residents has improved significantly after some monkeys were caught. Previously, shoppers had their bags snatched by monkeys on a daily basis, causing constant fear. At the market, where some vendors remained despite the monkey infestation, many stalls were canceled at the height of the problem. However, thanks to the current measures, the market is almost back to full capacity and almost all 60 stalls have been rented out again.

“The government’s solution is good because it allows traders to return to normal trade. However, it will take time to monitor the situation further, as this is just the beginning. Tourists may or may not return, but for now, Lopburi’s economy seems to be moving in a better direction,” Mr. Pancake said.

Prachachat Business reporters also investigated other major business areas, including large and small stores opposite the Fresh Market, such as Seng Heng Shop and Apinya Shopping Center. This area is bustling with street vendors and stalls.

Ms. Phan Phookyu, who has been selling fruit for over 30 years, expressed her satisfaction that Lopburi officials and the government have recognized the long-standing monkey problem. She noted a significant decline in monkeys after some of them were relocated, but also a drop in tourist numbers.

“The concern is whether we have conveyed that the problem has been solved and that the monkeys in Lopburi are now orderly and safe for locals and tourists. We want Lopburi to be as busy as it used to be,” she said.

lopburi monkey2

Mr. Surachat Chanprasith, deputy managing director of Apinya Shopping Center, said the monkey problem has been “properly addressed” and taken more seriously than ever before. The number of monkeys has visibly decreased, but business confidence will take some time to recover due to the decades-old problem.

“Getting rid of the monkeys will not immediately revitalize businesses. Businesses need time to adapt. Apinya plans to invest and renovate and negotiate with new business partners and brands to attract tenants with special offers, such as a monthly rent of only 1,000 baht with no three-month deposit.

“Some areas offer free monthly rent and additional support to ensure sustainability. Our goal is for our inner business district to regain 50 percent of its vibrancy from before the monkey problem and before COVID-19. I believe that businesses are willing to invest but have been deterred by unresolved issues. Now that the monkey problem is solved, we can move forward,” said Mr. Surachat.

Local businessmen say they have been operating in Lopburi for 40 years, when there were fewer monkeys. The recent capture of 1,200 monkeys out of a total of about 3,000 has significantly improved the environment in Lopburi. However, economic recovery will take time and continuous, long-term efforts.


“Currently, there is a major problem: After the monkeys have been captured and controlled, the Department of National Parks lacks a clear long-term plan for relocating the monkeys. The department has delegated responsibility for the budget and feeding of the 1,200 monkeys to Lopburi Municipality, which is struggling to meet these costs due to budget regulations. The daily feeding cost averages 20 baht per monkey, totaling about 24,000 baht per day or 720,000 baht per month.

“The city government cannot simply redistribute the funds, so local businesses, residents and even monks are trying to collect leftover food and vegetables for the monkeys. The government and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin must intervene to find a comprehensive solution,” they said.