Thailand Festival Honoring Its Monkeys Returns, Welcoming Back Tourists

The monkeys feasted on thousands of dollars worth of fruit.

Thousands of people — and hundreds of monkeys — gathered in the Thai province of Lopburi on Sunday to celebrate the first Monkey Festival since the start of the pandemic.

The festival, organized by locals every year, is traditionally held on the last Sunday in November, although the 2020 celebration was canceled due to the pandemic. It is the first time in two years that the monkeys were able to feast on fruits and vegetables gifted by locals, according to CNN.

The purpose of the event is to thank the monkeys for their part in Lopburi's tourism. The province, sometimes known as "Monkey Province," attracts visitors come from all over the world.

The macaques were seen scurrying outside temples, playing with tourists' cameras, and enjoying the gifts that had been left out for them.

The monkeys feasted on more than $3,000 USD (100,000 baht) worth of food, to the delight of spectators.

Monkeys are seen eating fruits and vegetables during the 33rd annual Monkey Party Festival, at the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple.
Chaiwat Subprasom/Getty Images

"Today's special is durian, which is expensive. Lopburi monkeys like expensive things," Yongyuth Kitwatananusont, who has organized more than 30 monkey festivals, told CNN. The durian fruit is one of the smelliest fruits in the world, so much so, that many Thai hotels have banned the fruit because of its pungent odor.

More than 100,000 inbound travelers entered Thailand in November — a figure that is as high as the first 10 months of the year combined, the network reported.

Thailand reopened some of its borders to fully vaccinated Americans on Nov. 1. Travelers that meet the country's vaccination requirements can skip quarantine if they show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test.

Other provinces will reopen on a rolling basis. Thailand plans to reopen 20 provinces on Dec. 1 and an additional 13 border provinces are scheduled to reopen on Jan. 1, 2022.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at

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