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 kms. west of Bangkok and borders on Myanmar to the west having the Tanaosi Range as a borderline. Ratchaburi occupies an area of 5,196 square kilometers.
Ratchaburi is administratively divided into nine districts: Muang Ratchaburi, Photharam, Damnoen Saduak, Pak Tho, Chom Bung, Bang Phae, Wat Phleng, Suan Phung and Ban Pong.
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. lts 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 Borommarkot of Ayutthaya. Buddha images of Dvaravati, Lop Buri and Ayutthaya periods are placed around the pagoda. Two kms. 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.
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 a.m. except Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission fee is 30 baht.
Khao Wang This hill is 44 metres high and was originally called "Khao Sattanat". It is located 2 kms. 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 kms. 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 kms. 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 Niraro-Khantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit, which was 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 at Tambon Khu Bua, 5kms. 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.
Tham Rusi Khao Ngu This famous attraction of Ratchaburi is 8 kms. from the town along the road to Amphoe Chom Bung (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 kms. from the town along the route to Amphoe Chom Bung and 2 kms. along an access road.The cave extends 300 metres from the mouth and offers truly amazing scenes of plentiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Tham Chomphon This cave is 30 kms. west of the town in the vicinity of Amphoe Chom Bung. 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.
Central Literature Botanical Garden This is a hillside garden with all kinds of trees mentioned in Thai literature. It is 20 kms. from the town along the route to Amphoe Chom Bung.
Pong Yup 5 kms. before arriving at Amphoe Suan Phung, 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 kms. from Amphoe Suan Pung. Two Thai style houses in a pleasant garden displays a collection of ancient artifacts.
Bo Khlung Hot Stream Located 5 kms. beyond Amphoe Suan Phung and another 10 kms. along an access road, the stream is full of mineral water and is believed that it can be used year round from the Tanaosi Range. lts 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 Phontharam, some 22 kms. 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 carved designs.
Khao Chong Phran This hill is located in Tambon Tao Pun, Amphoe Photaram, 17 kms. 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 kms. 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 puppets are portrayed 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.
Wat Muang This is a Mon temple situated in Tambon Ban Muang, west of Amphoe Bang 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.
Damonen Saduak Floating Market This is the best known destination in Ratchaburi where timeless lifestyle of native Thai people can be observed along the canals. The Floating Market, approximately 400 metres from the Damonen Saduak District Office, operates every morning till noon. Boats can be hired for surveying canal side villages together with a house making coconut sugar.
Distance from Amphoe Mueang to Other Districts :
How to get there :
a) From Bangkok, take Highway No. 4 (Phahonyothin Road) to Ratchaburi via Bang Khae, Om Noi, Om Yai, Nakhon Chai Si, Nakhon Pathom.
b) From Bangkok, take Highway No. 338 to Nakhon Chai Si via Buddhamonthon and turn into Highway No. 4, then proceed to Ratchaburi.
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. Call : 0 2435-1199-200 for more information.
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.