Located 80km west of Bangkok, Ratchaburi is a scenic provincial town that combines the best of suburban attractions – from the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market to its traditional ceramic industry – and natural wonders that include the mountain scenery of Suan Phueng district and a number of scenic cave temples. In recent years, Ratchaburi has transformed itself into an artistic hub with an array of contemporary art you can enjoy.
Ratchaburi may be a busy city, but take some time to stroll along the Mae Klong River for some surprises.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (open all week from morning till early evening) is probably the city’s biggest attraction. The market is situated near coconut groves, so you can hire a private boat ride to explore the entire river. The boat rides are about one hour and on your way to the market, you’ll pass through the khlongs and see some stilted houses. From the boat, you can shop for fresh produce and souvenirs, or have delicious Thai food peddled by women on boats at the market.
The promenade along the Mae Klong River is comes alive on weekend nights with Walking Street and the Koyky Old Market, with its rustic and down-to-earth atmosphere. At the base of the famous Clock Tower is the Ratchapatsadu (Sanam Ya) night market, where you can find plenty of traditional food options.
Lovers of traditional Thai art can catch a UNESCO-recognised shadow puppet performance (Nang Yai) at Wat Khanon temple during the weekends. It features characters from the Indian epic, Ramayana.
Mountain scenery with European farms
At just an hour out of town is the mountainous Suan Phueng district, where you can get close to nature with plenty of European-style resorts and working animal farms. Many of these places also offer cottage-style accommodation.
These include Alpaca Hill, Thailand’s only alpaca breeding farm where you can play with baby alpacas, and The Scenery Vintage Farm which is an English-style sheep farm.
Stay at resorts like Swiss Valley Hip Resort, with its charming cottages surrounded by roaming sheep, or Bellissimo Cafe & Resort a sheep farm dotted with colourful Insta-worthy cottages.
Not into farms? Check out Bua Wattana Resort, a former tin mine transformed into a resort dotted with quaint wooden houses, the Tuscany-themed village of La Toscana, or Panalee Resort with its African mud village vibe.
Ratchaburi’s mountainous landscape also hides plenty of otherworldly attractions: caves. You can find caves with gorgeous terrestrial formations, cave temples, as well as caves that house colonies of bats.
Khao Bin Cave is one of the most beautiful caves in Ratchaburi, sitting at a depth of about 300m. The cave interior is separated into 8 sections, each named after the characteristics of its stalactite and stalagmite formations; these are colourfully lit to create a stunning interior.
Khao Ngu Cave is famous for its Buddha sculptures, spread across its three caves, mostly dating back to the 7th century. Climb to the top of the hill to enjoy spectacular views. Nearby is a former mining site that has been converted into the stunning Khao Ngu Stone Park, featuring plenty of rocky outcrops punctuated by lakes, and lined with boardwalks and bridges.
Khao Chong Phran is most famous for its Bat Cave – a giant flock of more than 3 million bats fly out of the cave at dusk (from 5.30pm), forming a large black and long line across the sky in search of food.