Ratchaburi or Ratburi for short is a province in Central Thailand, just West of Bangkok. The province’s capital city, also called Ratchaburi, is located about 80 kilometers from Bangkok. In spite of its proximity to the country’s capital, it is a province with much rural beauty, with the mountains bordering Myanmar, natural hot springs and caves in the Western part of the province.
The Eastern part of the province is flat with the Mae Klong river running through it. A large number of khlongs (canals) off spring from this river. One of Thailand’s most famous attractions, the floating market of Damnoen Saduak, is located in this province.
Ratchaburi is also an area with a rich history going back to the Dvaravati era with a number of historical sites that still remain today.
To do & see in Ratchaburi
Ratchaburi’s best known attraction is the Damnoen Saduak floating market, just East of the provincial capital. Here you can see the traditional Thai way of selling and buying fresh food and fruits on one of the many khlongs in the area. The canals are full of small wooden boats often paddled by old ladies wearing straw hats each offering their colorful tropical fruits, vegetables and snacks. To make the most out of the experience, you can make a boat trip on the canals.
Ratchaburi province is the home of a number of natural caves with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. The Tham Rusi Khao Ngu cave close to Ratchaburi town houses a large Buddha image dating back to the Dvaravati era.
A little further away is the Tha Chomphon cave with magnificent stalactites. This cave houses a Reclining Buddha image and was once visited by King Rama IV. Some of the most beautiful and impressive stalagmites and stalactites can be found in the Tham Khoa Bin cave, West of Ratchaburi town. There is a mineral spring in this cave as well.
Ancient Dvaravati era historical site
A few kilometers South of Ratchaburi town along the Mae Klong river lies the historical site of Khu Bua.
This ancient city goes back to the Dvaravati era when it was located on the Gulf of Thailand and traded with foreign nations. The remains of several temples and a pagoda still remain today and are open to visitors. Several Buddha images from the Dvaravati era have been found in this city. The Ratchaburi National Museum displays ancient artifacts discovered from excavations in the Khua Bua ancient city.
The province is home to a number of ancient temples. The Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat in Ratchaburi town is most noted for its Khmer style prang, that is believed to be around 10 centuries old. The Wat Khongkharam about 20 kilometers North of Ratchaburi town is a two centuries old temple known for its magnificent mural paintings depicting scenes from the Jataka, the tales about the previous lives of the Buddha.
Getting to Ratchaburi
The State Railway of Thailand’s Southern Line serves Ratchaburi town as well as the smaller towns Ban Phong, Photharam and Pak Tho. It takes around 2 to 2,5 hours from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station to Ratchaburi town, depending on the type of train.
Air conditioned buses leave Bangkok’s Southern bus terminal to Ratchaburi town multiple times per hour. The trip takes around two hours, fares start at around 50 Baht depending on the class of bus. If you prefer private air conditioned taxi, you can stop any metered taxi on the street in Bangkok or have your hotel book one for you.