Monkey business at Lopburi fruit festival

Monkey business at Lopburi fruit festival

Macaque monkeys climb over a man as he serves them a Thai desert outside the Phra Prang Sam Yod temple during the annual Monkey Buffet Festival in Lopburi province, north of Bangkok on Sunday. (AFP photos)
Macaque monkeys climb over a man as he serves them a Thai desert outside the Phra Prang Sam Yod temple during the annual Monkey Buffet Festival in Lopburi province, north of Bangkok on Sunday. (AFP photos)

Their table manners were shocking, but the guests of honour at a special banquet in the central town of Lopburi on Sunday loved monkeying around.

Lopburi has been laying on an annual feast of fruit for its population of macaques since the late 1980s, part religious tradition and part tourist attraction.

This year's Monkey Buffet Festival saw around 1,000 hungry simians descend on tables and wheelchairs piled high with fruit outside the town's 800-year-old Pra Prang Sam Yod temple.

Organiser Yongyuth Kitwatananusont said the monkeys have a special taste for durian, the pungent love-it-or-hate-it tropical fruit popular across Southeast Asia.

Covid restrictions meant last year's party was missing its usual crowd of spectators, but this year the humans were back in force, with more than 100 turning out to see the furry fruit fanatics.

And the cheeky monkeys were keen to renew their acquaintance with their distant cousins, clambering over onlookers, stealing hats, chewing long hair and giving the occasional bite.

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