Ratchaburi, or as it’s called by locals who like to abbreviate things, Ratburi, is a historic city located on the banks of the Mae Klong River about an hour west of Bangkok. The eastern part of the province contains the flat river plains along the Mae Klong river, which is filled with khlongs, or small canals. This region is famous for the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak.
The natural beauty of this region is unparalleled, as there are mountains made of limestone along with several caves with stalactites. Exploring the caves and wildlife associated with caves such as bats is often a novelty when they come out in the evenings in swarms to feed.
There are also rich natural resources found in Ratchaburi such as feldspar, limestone and tin.
Due to its border sharing with Burma, there are a number of hill tribes that live in this province, mostly consisting of Karan but also including Mon, Chinese, and Khmer minorities.
Ratchaburi’s history dates back to the Dvaravati period, and the name translates roughly to “the land of the king.”. Ratchaburi was once an important city in the Mon Kingdom due to its location as the gateway to Myanmar for traders and travelers.
There have been some archaeological discoveries showing that there have been settlements here since the Bronze Age, although not enough study has been conducted to reach further conclusions.
Today, Ratchaburi is one of the more populous regions of Thailand with a diverse population and many activities to enjoy.
Home to Erawan Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in Thailand. This town was made famous by the movie The Bridge On the River Kwai about British POWs in the 1940s being held at a Japanese prison camp. The museum and memorial are well worth visiting.
A province that’s not only known for having vast and beautiful orchards, but also has major industries areas and a two leading universities, Silpakorn University and Mahidol University. Mahidol is one of the leading medical universities, and includes an All English Language International College. Both of these universities have other branch campuses throughout Thailand.
Technically part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Samut Sakhon retains an air of authentic, old style Thailand while blending smoothly with bigger city life. It is a leading region for salt production.
Famous for being the home of Chang and Eng Bunker, the famous Siamese twins. It is the smallest province by area size, and rests on the Mae Klong River, a distributary of the Chao Phraya River. Like Samut Sakhon next door, it is also a leading producer of salt.
The province that contains Hua Hin and Cha-am, Phetchaburi is beachy as well as mountainous. It is also significant in history due to its border with Myanmar, as well as having a palace built by King Rama IV in the 1860s. Kaeng Krachan National Park covers much of the province. It is Thailand’s largest National Park by area.
A Thai style accommodation but with modern luxuries. The roof appears to be made of straw, but the interior is chic and reminds you of a home furnishings catalogue with bright colors and clean lines. There’s room service, an outdoor pool, a restaurant, parking, and even a coffee shop. The staff are friendly and helpful at this boutique hotel.
This resort has accommodations for all types of travelers. Whether you’re a big group or simply splurging on a grand vacation, there are spacious villas with absolutely stunning surroundings. If you’re a smaller group or solo, there are standard rooms and smaller villas. The hotel provides a few different boat tours as well.
A classically decorated Thai hotel, old school luxury is at your fingertips at the Golden City Hotel in Ratchaburi. There’s room service, a restaurant that offers breakfast and dinner, parking, luggage storage and 24 hour security.
A relaxing resort a bit further out of town, sweet dreams are truly to be had at this quiet location. There’s parking, and a restaurant that serves a basic breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. The staff here are friendly and speak decent English for ease of communications.
A serene Thai style resort with stunning scenery all around, the Resort at Suanphueng leaves you desiring nothing more. The relaxation that comes with seeing the sunset over the rolling hills is one that is unparalleled. A welcoming staff that’s always ready to grant requests and answer questions is the best part of this resort.
There is not an airport in Ratchaburi, the closest one is in Bangkok. Once you arrive in Bangkok, see the below options on how to continue.
Ratchaburi is about a 2 hour drive from Bangkok. You can either rent a car for about 1500THB a day, or take a taxi, whose rates will vary depending on if you’re heading back to Bangkok the same day or not.
Due to the popularity of the region, there are buses that leave approximately every 30 minutes from Bangkok. There are both first class and second class air conditioned buses. The first bus leaves Bangkok around 06:00 and the last one leaves at about 23:00.
There’s a train station at Thon Buri Railway Station that departs from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station. The journey takes about 2-4 hours, depending on whether or not there are delays. The train is an economical but not quick method of transport in Thailand. Train tickets are usually available for purchase 60 days prior to the date of departure. The first and second class options tend to sell out a few days before, but third class tickets are almost always available.
There are regular minivans that leave from Bangkok’s Victory Monument. Minivans don’t have as strict of a schedule as buses or trains do, and tend to leave when there are enough passengers to justify the trip. Minivans also tend to drop customers off along the way, so don’t be alarmed if people start getting out before you get to your specific destination in Ratchaburi.
Muaeng Ratchaburi - one of the original districts of Ratchaburi.
This is probably the most famous floating market in central Thailand. It’s only available in the mornings, so it’s mostly for the early riser. The amount of products that are available for sale is enormous, so come hungry! Due to the popularity of the market, there are more and more vendors coming which means more variety for the customers. You can rent a boat for less than 1000 THB to get a real feel of the market.
Opening hours: 6am to 11:30am, daily
Entrance fee: none, but make sure to bring plenty of cash to spend at the market!
Located in Tham Sarika village in Phutharam District of the province, this temple was once part of a priest’s house. However, due to numerous people coming to worship and practice the dharma, the cave became a temple in 1987. There are beautiful stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave.
Opening hours: 08:00 to 17:00, daily
Entrance fee: none
The first of its kind, Coro Field is a Japanese style agro-tourist destination. The farm is focused on cultivating rare strains of crops and watering them only with mineral water to ensure that only top quality produce is harvested. There are five zones within the farm: (1) Coro Café – a place to enjoy food from the farm, (2) Market Zone – a place to purchase organically grown produce, (3) Coro House – where you can take a tour in the greenhouse and taste melons, (4) Coro Garden – plant and pick your own vegetables, and (5) Coro Me – partake in DIY activities planting and decorating plants for your home.
Opening hours: 9:00 to 20:00, daily
Entrance fee: none
Bo Khlueng is one of the most famous hot springs in this region. Naturally sourced from the Tanao Si Mountains, the mineral water that comes from these natural springs is believed to be helpful to skin treatments. The water flows all year round, and ranges between 50-68 degrees celsius. There are bathroom facilities as well as showers for those who wish to enter the hot springs. There’s also a waterfall in the vicinity with 9 tiers of water that flows heavily in the rainy season between May and November.
Opening hours: 08:00 to 17:00.
Entrance fee: 80 THB for adults, 50 THB for children.
A beautiful park to spend a few hours in the morning or afternoon. There are six exhibition zones and plenty to see. The cultural aspect shows how Buddhists lived and what artifacts are important to their history.
Opening hours: 08:30 to 17:00
Entrance fee: 400THB for adults and 300 THB for children. Locals pay 40 THB for adults and 30 THB for children.
Sunblock - due to the bountiful outdoor activities available in Ratchaburi, don’t forget to apply sunblock! Although the day may look cloudy or rainy, the UV rays are strong in this part of Thailand. Nothing would ruin a vacation more than a bad sunburn.
Bugspray - although not common in Thailand, dengue fever has seen a small resurgence in recent years. Using ample bugspray when out in the forest is a good idea.