Ratchaburi , a glorious town during the Dvaravati period, is located on the bank of the Mae Klong River. The provincial area abounds in natural attractions and historical sites. It is located 80 kilometres west of Bangkok and borders on Myanmar to the west having the Tanaosi Range as a borderline.
The fairly unspoiled tradition of a traditional floating market, more for the local's sake of buying and trading rather than organized of the benefits of tourists, can still be seen at the bustling Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. The market is a labyrinth of narrow canals congested with small, wooden boats paddled mainly by female traders mainly dressed in mohoms , traditional indigo-colored farmer's shirts, and conical straw hats. Boats are laden with fresh produce consisting of fruits, vegetables, and spices picked fresh that morning from the local farms. Boats can be hired for observing villages and homes along the canal.
The 8 th -9 th century Wat Phra Si Rattana Maharat , or locally known as ‘Wat Na Phra That', is located on the west bank of the Mae Klong River in town. Dating from the 15 th century, its elegant prang remains in good conditions and was probably modeled after the main prang of Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Inside the prang are murals from the 15 th century and partially restored stucco works.
Originally called ‘Khao Sattanat', Khao Wang (Palace Hill) sits atop a 44-m high hill located 2 km from town. The palace's construction was commissioned by King Rama V and was used to receive the Portuguese minister in 1887. The palace area was donated and converted into a temple called ‘Wat Khao Wang'.
The roadside Khao Chong Phran has 2 interesting caves. One houses more than 100 Buddha images and the other is home to some 3 million bats. At sunset, the entire ensemble of bats leaving the mountain appear like a volcano spewing up thick, black smoke.
Regarded as the most beautiful cave in the province, Thum Khao Bin extends 300 meters from the cave entrance and offers amazing sights of beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.
The caves of Khao Ngu (Snake Mountain) contain splendid examples of early Dvaravati artworks. The main attraction is the 2.5-m tall bas-relief Buddha image in the appearance of giving the first sermon found in the famous Thum Rusi (Hermit Cave). Many playful and curious monkeys inhabit the area around the caves.
The popular Pong Yup is an area filled with plenty of strange looking earthen-pillars and cliffs naturally created by soil erosions.
The Bor Khlueng Hot Stream contains mineral water that is believed to aid in skin treatments. The water flows year-round with temperature ranging between 50-68 degrees Celsius.
Wat Khanon contains more than 300 well-preserved Nang Yai puppets. The Nang Yai Shadow Play is an old form of entertainment where the intricate carved puppets are moved and their images portrayed on a screen lit from behind by skilled male performers. The performances are usually demonstrated on Saturdays from 10 am - 11 am.
Displayed at the Ratchaburi Nation Museum are art and ancient items from different periods dating back to the Khmer and Dvaravati eras that were found in the local area and an exhibition of the history of Ratchaburi.
Ratchaburi National Museum This is located on Woradet Road near the river. The edifice was formerly the town hall, built in 1922. Established as a museum in 1988, it displays art and ancient items of different periods found in the local area, and exhibits the history of Ratchaburi, as well as its folk art and geology. The museum is open daily from 9.00 a.m.- 4.00 p.m. exept Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission fee is 30 baht.
Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat This ancient temple, locally called Wat Na Phra That, is located on the west bank of the Mae Klong River in the town. Its elegant prang or pagoda remains in good condition and was probably copied from Cambodia's Angkor Wat. The prang made of bricks and stones stands on a rectangular base with pathways around the cloisters. The outer stucco designs were made in the reign of King Borommakot of Ayutthaya. Buddha images of Dvaravati, Lop Buri and Ayutthaya periods are placed around the pagoda.
2 kilometres west of Wat Na Phra That on the route to Khao Ngu is Wat Aranyik with a prang identical to that of Wat Na Phra That but smaller in size.
Khao Wang This hill is 44 metres high and was originally called "Khao Sattanat”. It is located 2 kilometres west of the town. King Rama V had commanded a palace to be built on the hill and made a royal visit to receive the Portuguese minister in the year 1887. The palace area was donated by King Rama VII to be used as a monastery, which was later called "Wat Khao Wang”.
Khao Kaen Chan At the foot of this mount, 2 kilometres from the town along Phetchakasem Road, there is a statue of King Rama I erected as a memorial for the fighting between Thailand and Burma at Ban Bang Kaeo. Continue for 1.6 kilometres up to the peak, visitors can see a clear view of Ratchaburi. A temple on the top houses a metal Buddha image, namely Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit, which has been presented by King Rama IX.
Khu Bua Ancient City This archaeological site is where ruins and ancient objects of Dvaravati period, mostly reflecting Buddhist influence, has been discovered. It is situated at Tambon Khu Bua, 5 kilometres south of the Ratchaburi Town. Visitors should visit the Ratchaburi National Museum where a lot of archaeological evidence as well as the history of this ancient city are exhibited.
Wat Muang This is a Mon temple situated in Tambon Ban Muang, west of Amphoe Ban Pong along Route No. 3089 and a left turn after crossing the Mae Klong River. Besides a Mon style pagoda, a well-managed folk museum has been established as a research centre of history, way of life, and culture of this Mon community.
Tham Rusi Khao Ngu This famous attraction of Ratchaburi is 8 kilometres from the town along the road to Amphoe Chom Bueng (Route No. 3078). The cave houses a bas-relief Buddha image, considered the oldest archaeological evidence of the Dvaravati period found in Ratchaburi. The figure is 2.5 metres high in the attitude of giving the first sermon.
Tham Khao Bin This is the most beautiful cave in Ratchaburi. It is located 20 kilometres from the town along the route to Amphoe Chom Bueng and 2 kilometres along an access road. The cave extends 300 metres from the mouth and offers truly amazing scenes of plentiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Central Literature Botanical Garden This is a hillside garden with all kinds of trees mentioned in Thai literature. It is 20 kilometres from the town along the route to Amphoe Chom Bueng.
Tham Chomphon This cave is 30 kilometres west of the town in the vicinity of Amphoe Chom Bueng. It was originally called Tham Mutchalin. In 1895, King Rama IV and Queen Si Phatcharin made a royal visit and were fond of its beauty, thus giving it a new name according to the shape of the stalactites which look like the epaulette of a field marshal. The cave also houses a medium-sized reclining Buddha. A nearby aboretum provides shady areas suitable for relaxation.
Pong Yup 5 kilometres before arriving at Amphoe Suan Phueng, there is a 5-km. branch road on the left leading to Pong Yup at Tambon Tha Khoei. This attracts visitors with plenty of strange looking earthen pillars and cliffs naturally created by soil erosion.
Phawothai Local Museum This is located 2 kilometres from Amphoe Suan Phueng. Two Thai style houses in a pleasant garden displays a collection of ancient artefacts.
Bo Khlung Hot Stream Located 5 kilometres beyond Amphoe Suan Phueng and another 10 kilometres along an access road, the stream is full of mineral water and is believed that it can be used for skin treatment. The water flows all year round from the Tanaosi Range. Its temperature ranges between 50-68 degrees Celsius.
On the route to the hot stream, a 3 km. branch road leads to Namtok (waterfall) Kao Chon , which consists of 9 cascades. The falls are plentiful during the late rainy season.
Wat Khongkharam This 100 year old ethnic Mon temple is at Tambon Khlong Ta Khot, Amphoe Photharam, some 22 kilometres from Ratchaburi. The fine mural paintings about Lord Buddha's life in the main shrine hall are full of detail making them seem real. Completed in the early Bangkok period, they are very rare and worth studying. The temple also houses a Thai style building entirely made of teak with intricate carving designs.
Khao Chong Phran This hill is located in Tambon Tao Pun, Amphoe Photharam, 17 kilometres north of Ratchaburi along the Khao Ngu-Boek Phrai route (Route No. 3089). The roadside hill has 2 interesting caves; Tham Phra Non housing more than 100 Buddha images and Tham Khangkhao or Bat Cave, which is home to some three million bats. As the sun sets over the horizon, they all disperse on their search for food and the mountain looks like a volcano disgorging thick black smoke.
Wat Khanon More than 300 Nang Yai puppets are well preserved at this temple, some 10 kilometres from Amphoe Photharam. Nang Yai is an old form of entertainment which gathers many kinds of arts; for example, Thai sculpture and classical performances. The intricate carved pupputs are protrayed on the screen by skilled male performers, and it can dance according to the music. The performance is usually demonstrated on Saturday from 10.00-11.00 a.m.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market This is the best known destination in Ratchaburi where the timeless lifestyle of native Thai people can be observed along the canals. The Floating Market, approximately 400 metres from the Damnoen Saduak District Office, operates every morning till noon. Boats can be hired for surveying canalside villages together with a house making coconut sugar.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Sweet Grape Week Fair This fair features a beauty contest, a Thai cooking competition, agricultural exhibitions, and local product sales including fruits and Thai sweets.
Hotels and accommodation
- San suk Hotel : Chokchai Road Amphoe Photharam : 120-300 baht
- Ban Suk Chok Resort : 103/5 Mu 5 Damnoen Saduak Amphoe Damnoen Saduak [0 3225 4301, 0 3225 4982] : 250-1,300 baht
- Suan Phung Land : 107/2 Mu 5 Tambon Ban Kha Amphoe Suan Phung [Bangkok Tel: 0 2884 3983-5] :1,000-2,000 baht
- Suan Nang Phaya : 28 kms. from Suan Phung along Pong Krathing-Chat Pa Wai Road Amphoe Suan Phung [Bangkok Tel: 0 2539 8354-5] : 900-1,800 baht
- Phawothai : Suan Pa Sirikit-Suan Phung Road Amphoe Suan Phung [0 3239 5192, 0 3222 1189] : 1,200-4,500 baht
- Bo Klung Hot Spring : 27 Mu7, Amphoe Suan Phung 15 kms. from Suan Phung [Bangkok Tel: 0 2294 3300, 0 2294 3256] : 800 baht
- Duan Lom Country Home : 111/1 Mu 17 Tambon Tha Khoei Amphoe Suan Phung [0 3226 1053, 0 3236 4111, 0 3236 4114, 0 3236 4222 Bangkok Tel: 0 2370 2033] : 600-9,000 baht
- Araya : 187/1-2 Kraiphet Road Amphoe Muang [0 3233 7781-2] : 250-480 baht
- Friend : 59 Mu 4 Tambon Khok Mo Amphoe Muang : 80-160 baht
- Golden City (Plaza) : 76/1 Mu 5 Phetkasem Road Amphoe Muang [0 3231 7140-4 Fax: 0 3231 7145] : 1,050 baht
- Hong Fa : 89/13 Ratsadon Yindi Road Amphoe Muang [0 3233 7484] : 170-230 baht
- Khrua Luang Resort : 59 Mu 2 Phetkasem Road Amphoe Muang [0 3232 1221, 0 3232 6848-9, 0 3231 6888 Fax: 0 3232 6849] : 720 baht
- Kritsana Hotel : 118 Khathathon Road Amphoe Muang [0 3233 7626, 0 3232 6560] : 120-300 baht
- Kuang Hua : 1-5 Amarin Road Amphoe Muang [0 3233 7119] : 80-140 baht
- Nam Sin : 2/16 Kraiphet Road Amphoe Muang [0 3233 7551, 0 3233 7634] : 250-520 baht
- Ratchaburi D 1 : 43/1 Udom Siri Road Amphoe Muang [0 3233 8542, 0 3233 8302] : 250-390 baht
- Salathai : 56/8 Khathathon Road Amphoe Muang [0 3233 7172] : 250-400 baht
- Thai Nam Riverside : 19/50 Mu 4 Saeng Chuto Road Amphoe Ban Pong [0 3221 1947-8 Fax: 0 3221 1154] : 280-2,000 baht
- Thip Hotel : 105 Soi Krachang Watthana Amphoe Ban Pong [0 3221 1346] : 140-180 baht
- Villa Hotel : Saeng Chuto Road Amphoe Ban Pong : 200-280 baht
- Ban Huai Nam Sai : 173 Mu 3 Tambon Suan Phung Amphoe Suan Phung [0 3223 2347] :
- 900-2,000 baht
- Amphoe Muang
- Kuay Tiew Kai Ratchaburi : 209 Phetkasem Rd., Na Muang, Tel: 0-3231-9657, 0-3233-8802
- Ko Siang : Thao U Thong Rd.
- Krua Luang Resort : Phetkasem Rd.
- Chanpen : 241/32 Rasadorn Yindee Rd., Na Muang, Tel: 0-3233-7138
- Nua Tom Ban Singh : (Near Soon Ratchaburi Hospital), Kathathorn Rd.
- Nua Luak Bang Lane : Phetkasem Rd.
- Ban Khun Ying : Somboonkul Rd.
- Ped Yang Nampung : Man Ramruk Rd., Tel: 0-3233-8740
- Pae Kung : (Towards Amphoe Wat Pleng) 300/1 Montri Suriyawong Rd., Soi 13, Na Muang, Tel: 0-3231-8348
- Pae Mae Nam : (Foot of Sirilak Bridge, Tha Sao bank) Phetkasem Rd.
- Amphoe Suan
- Pung Krua Kariang : 196 Suan Pung, Tel: 0-3239-5166
- Jae Payom : Bang Pae-Po Hak Rd
- Amphoe Damnoen Saduak
- Kuay Tiew Chao Suan : Near Damnoen Saduak Hospital, Tel: 0-3225-4105
- Amphoe Potharam
- Jae On : 34 Chokchai Rd., Potharam, Tel: 0-3223-1678
- Hoy Tod Nai Dee : (in front of Wat Potharam)
- Amphoe Jombung
- Pang Ngai : Tel : 0-3226-1289
- Lom Choi : Ratchaburi-Jombung Rd., 5 km before the district hall, Tel: 0-3226-1009
- Amphoe Ban Pong
- Pae Mae Nam : San g Chutho Rd.
- Pae Rim Nam : Rim Nam Rd.
- Pae San ae Chai Nam : Berk Prai Rim Maenam Klong Rd.
How to get there
* By car
- From Bangkok, take Highway No. 4 (Phahonyothin Road) to Ratchaburi via Bang Khae, Om Noi, Om Yai, Nakhon Chai Si, Nakhon Pathom.
- From Bangkok, take Highway No. 338 to Nakhon Chai Si via Buddhamonthon and turn into Highway No. 4, then proceed to Ratchaburi.
* By bus
Both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal daily. It takes 2 hour for the trip. Contact Transport Co. Ltd. Tel: 0-2435-1199-200
* By train
Regular trains depart from both Hua Lamphong Railway Station and Bangkok Noi Railway Station daily. Travelling time is 2 hours. Call 1690 for more information.