Ratchaburi has long been an important region in the area that is Thailand today. Historically it was a gateway to modern day Myanmar and India beyond that. It is thought that Buddhism spread into Southeast Asia through here well over 2000 years ago. Today Ratchaburi is an important area economically for Thailand. The province doesn’t see too many foreign tourists with the exception of the Damnoen Saduak floating market which is just inside the province’s borders. Still, it’s a nice place to visit with a few activities worth doing if you’re here.
- Travelers who like to get off the beaten path
- Those interested in history and culture
- A stopover between Kanchanaburi and Phetchaburi for anyone traveling down the Western side of Thailand
Ratchaburi is located around two hours from Bangkok and is served by good roads and frequent bus and train service.
By bus – There is frequent bus service every day from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok. All buses should be either first or second class and have air conditioning. It’s usually worth paying a few extra Baht partly for the added comfort but more so because the first class buses tend to make fewer stops. Either way, bus tickets are very cheap. There are also minibus options that are typically priced similarly to the bigger buses. These are a bit faster but this is often at the expense of safety and comfort. Big buses are usually better. If you do have to take a minibus, try to book one that has three rows of seats and not four, and if you do get stuck in a four-row bus, avoid the back row at all costs. It’s terribly uncomfortable.
By train – Riding trains on shorter journeys like this one is a great way to travel in Thailand. Ratchaburi is a stop for most trains heading to the South of Thailand from Bangkok’s main train station so there is plenty of service, although fewer trains make the stop on the return journey to Bangkok. Timetables can be found on the Thailand State Railway website and you can also book tickets there. The cheapest tickets cost next to nothing and we actually recommend third class as the open carriages give you the best views over the countryside. Book second or first class if you definitely need a seat as you may not always get one in third.
There are also some trains from the Thonburi Railway Station to Ratchaburi. This station is located pretty inconveniently over the river from Bangkok and most tourists never actually need to go out there. The one exception to this are trains to Kanchanaburi, but if you’re heading to Ratchaburi, going to Thonburi is probably more hassle than it’s worth. Stick with trains from the main station.
Where to stay
We find our accommodation on Booking.com by first searching for the town or province and our dates, we then filter out any rooms with a score lower than 7 or 8 (depending on availability) as well as any rooms out of our budget. After this, we open the map and hover over all of the pins in the rough location we already decided we want to stay in. Hovering over the pins gives us the price for x nights plus the review score. We click on each pin to open those hotels in a new tab, review them and book our favorite.
Your best bet in Ratchaburi is to have your own transport. The city is fairly spread out although there is a somewhat central area that is walkable. If you do need to hire transport, there are tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis at the bus and train stations. Your hotel should be able to call a tuk-tuk for you, or if you want to do some day trips, they can get you a car and driver.
We were unable to find any motorbike rental shops in Ratchaburi.
Fitness & gym
HeavyWay Fitness Centre is a nice gym, centrally located, and it has day passes available for 90 Baht.
From Ratchaburi you have a few options for where to go next:
Kanchanaburi – Catch a bus or drive North to Kanchanaburi for jungle, waterfalls, and the WWII history around the Death Railway.
Samut Songkhram – Go east for this tiny province full of floating markets, salt farms, fishing villages and more.
Phetchaburi – Head south to Phetchaburi for a local coastline, caves, whale watching, and Thailand’s largest national park.