:: RATCHABURI

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.

:: Attractions

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.

:: City attractions

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.