TRAVEL DATE: 4-6 August 2017
DESTINATION: Ratchaburi Province
ACCOMMODATION: Eitanic Resort & Spa
Ratchaburi province is about 80 kilometers to the West of Bangkok. It is a popular day trip with foreigners to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. However, there is a lot more to this province than this tourist trap. Although it is possible to do some of the places I visited as a day trip, it is advisable to stay overnight in the provincial capital. For this trip, I stayed two nights and three days. Although I saw a lot, I need to go back again as I missed a couple of highlights. Most notably the bat cave at Khao Chong Phran and Suan Pheung disitrict with its quirky attractions and boutique hotels. During the trip, I tweeted live on @RichardBarrow. Click here to see the embedded tweets.
The following map shows the places that I visited during the trip:
LIST OF PLACES I VISITED:
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market,ตลาดน้ำดำเนินสะดวก,13.519787 99.959180
Laotukluck Floating Market,ตลาดน้ำเหล่าตั๊กลัก,13.521323 99.958751
The Blooms,เดอะบลูมส์,13.646323 99.904026
Ratchaburi National Museum,พิพิธภัณฑ์สถานแห่งชาติราชบุรี,13.541282 99.817697
Eitanic Resort,อายตานิค,13.526862 99.835465
Army Engineer Museum,พิพิธภัณฑ์ทหารช่าง,13.542439 99.825750
Steam Engine,รถไฟไอน้ำ,13.542882 99.825806
Walking Street,ถนนคนเดิน,13.540378 99.822119
Wat Kongkaram,วัดคงคาราม,13.715269 99.850269
Wat Khanon,วัดขนอน,13.726588 99.844085
Wat Khao Khiew-Khao Sadet,วัดเขาเขียว-เขาเสด็จ,13.707918 99.704886
Khao Bin Cave,ถ้ำเขาบิน,13.592961 99.667232
Khao Ngu Stone Park,อุทยานหินเขางู,13.569083 99.775531
Khao Kaen Chan,เขาแก่นจันทร์,13.523238 99.786471
Tao Hong Tai d Kunst Art Gallery,หอศิลป์ร่วมสมัยเถ้า ฮง ไถ่ ดีคุ้น,13.541180 99.818590
Chao Por Lak Muang,ศาลเจ้าพ่อหลักเมือง,13.544081 99.825521
City Gate,ประตูเมืองโบราณ,13.545195 99.825573
Wat Mahathat,วัดมหาธาตุ,13.546858 99.815444
Tao Hong Tai ceramics factory,เถ้าฮงไถ่,13.544398 99.804383
Sacred Heart Church,วัดพระคริสตพระหฤทัย,13.457940 99.887291
Lak Ha Floating Market,ตลาดน้ำหลักห้า,13.555983 100.039637
PHOTO ALBUM: DAY 1 – I started the three day road trip by visiting the most well-known attraction in Ratchaburi among foreigners. This is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This is where most tour guides take their customers and admittedly it is a bit of a tourist trap. However, it can be quite picturesque if you arrive before the tour buses from Bangkok. My advice is to finish here by 9:30 a.m. at the latest. If you want to escape the chaos, take a short five minute walk North to Laotukluck Floating Market. Here you will find boat vendors selling to local people. Very quiet during the week but busier at weekends. It’s worth exploring along the canal paths. They also have homestays here. I might come back to explore some more. My next stop was at The Blooms Orchid Park. The gardens are nicely laid and quite photogenic. Though I felt that the foreigner’s price of 250 Baht was a little steep for what was on offer. I stayed about half an hour before moving on to the provincial capital. My first port of call was the Ratchaburi National Museum. Here the bilingual exhibits go into more detail about the history and culture of the province. Well worth a look. It’s open Tuesday to Sunday and entrance is 100 Baht. While driving around I came across the Army Engineer Museum and an old steam locomotive. The museum is only open weekdays from 8:30am-4:30pm. It was closed by the time I got there but I took some pictures from outside. I finished the day at the Walking Street along the riverfront. This is open from Friday to Sunday, 5pm-10pm. To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed and so ate at the nearby market near the clock tower.
PHOTO ALBUM: DAY 2 – My day started by visiting Wat Kongkaram to the north of the provincial city. This is a Mon temple dating back more than 200 years. Of particular interest are the murals that tell the story of the Lord Buddha. Nearby is Wat Khanon which was the main reason I wanted to visit Ratachaburi. At the weekends they have free shadow puppet performances. On Saturdays at 10am and on Sundays at 11 am. Make sure you visit the museum first to get the background story. My next destination was Khao Bin Cave. The cave stretches back 300 meters and there are eight chambers. The stalagmites and stalactites are beautifully lit up with colored lighting. Although it was the weekend, I had the caves to myself. Closer to the provincial city I visited Khao Ngu Stone Park. This is an old attraction that has been given a new lease of life with a wooden walkway between towering limestone cliffs. Popular location at the weekends and for admiring sunsets. Back in Ratchaburi I drove to the top of Khao Kaen Chan for some fine views of the city. I finished the day by going back to the riverfront. I stopped for some coffee at Tao Hong Tai d Kunst art gallery. Nearby there is some interesting street art on the sides of buildings.
PHOTO ALBUM: DAY 3 – I started my third and last day in Ratchaburi by visiting the city pillar shrine, known locally as Chao Por Lak Muang. Nearby are the remains of the old city gate and a short stretch of wall. One of the most interest temples in Ratchaburi city is Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat. This dates back to the 11th Century. The Khmer style prang was added in the 13th Century. It was then renovated during the Ayutthaya period. Entry to this historical site is free. Also of interest in the city is Tao Hong Tai ceramics factory. You can see samples of ceramic pottery in the gardens and also see them at work in the factory. I next headed south out of the city to visit Sacred Heart Church. This beautiful Catholic church dates back more than 100 years. From here I drove towards the Eastern border to visit Lak Ha Floating Market. This is on Damnoen Saduak Canal which stretches 32km from Samut Sakhon to Samut Songkhram. It is much quieter than its nearby neighbour, but it is worth exploring the canal paths to experience local life.