Introduction

A cultural land in the basin of the Mae klong River, with the gentle mist and cooling breeze of the Tanawsri Mountains.
An adaptation of a poem by King Rama V

The City of the king, or Ratchaburi. A city you ought to make a side trip to before moving on.  You might be familiar with the crest of the scaled dragon on the excellent earthenware jars.  Or you might have called in and experienced the way of life of the residents of Damnoen Saduak as they paddle their boats and go about their business on the Floating Markets. But believe it or not, the city which is so close to Bangkok hides many charms and much beauty.  We challenge you to pay a visit and not be  impressed
  This province in Western Thailand has a varied topography; from the fertile level ground around the basin of the Mae Klong River where the economy relies on all kinds of crop, vegetable and plant cultivation, to the high mountain ranges of the Tanawsri  Mountain in the west, along the Thai-Myanmar border.  The neighboring province to the north is Kanchanaburi, in the east are Nakhon Pathom,  Samut  Sakhon and Samut SongKram, While in the south is Petchburi Province.
  From historical sources, antiques and other archaeological finds that have been uncovered, it appears that Ratchaburi, in addition to bordering Myanmar, was also formerly a commercial port where many traders would meet.
  So you can see that Ratchaburi is a land of rich and varied culture and origin, much of which has been preserved and can still be seen today. Amongst the things of interest are the history, the way of life, the culture, beautiful handicrafts, and the natural beauty including caves, streams, forests and mountains. Something to interest visitors from every comer of the world.  We challenge you to come and not be impressed.

Boundary
North-Connects with Kanchanaburi Provinces.
South-Connects with Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram and Nakhon Pathom Provinces.
East-Connects with Suphan Buri Provinces.
West-Connects with Myanmar.

Ratchaburi Province is divided in to 8 Amphoes. The distances from Amphoe Muang to other Amphoes are as follow :

Amphoe Muang - Amphoe Wat Phleng          15 kms.
Amphoe Muang - Amphoe Pak Tho               22 kms.
Amphoe Muang - Amphoe Ban Pha               22 kms.
Amphoe Muang - Amphoe Photharam            26 kms.
Amphoe Muang - Amphoe Jombung               30 kms.
Amphoe Muang - Amphoe Banpong               42 kms.
Amphoe Muang - Amphoe Damnoen Saduak  50 kms.
Amphoe Muang - Amphoe Suan Phung          60 kms.

History

THE LINEAGE OF THAIS IN RATCHBURI PROVINCE
"Phahuchartiphun" society, or the various cultures, is one of the most interesting aspects of like in Ratchburi. Although their cultural lifestyles have been changed by time and generations, many groups still preserve their own ways of like that can be used as a   model for the new generations to study.
These many races, despite their different beliefs and lifestyles, are able to  live together in peace and harmony, making Ratchaburi a colorful  place to live and visit.

THAI SONG DAM OR LAO SORNG
The original Thai Song Dam lived in Dien Bien Foo, but the group which moved to Thailand come from Lao during the Napburi period.

At first, they could be found mostly in Khao Yoi, Petchburi, but during the reign of King Rama 4 they began to move on to Ban Don Klang in Ratchaburi too.
The Lao Sorng have kept their traditions, rites and ceremonies intact. Even their food and clothing has managed to stand the test of time. As their name "Dam" or "black" indicates, the tribe like to dress in mostly black attire. The men wearing "Suang Kom", while the ladies prefer patterned brocades, with their hair usually swept up and pinned on top of their heads.
The various Lao Sorng ceremonies are certainly worth watching if you have the opportunity. Nowadays, most Ratchaburi Lao Sorng can be found around Ban Don Klang, Amphoe Damnoen Saduak , Don Khq , Amphoe Ban Phae, Amphoe Chom Bung and Amphoe Pak Tho.

THAI TANAWASRI OR KAREN
This is a hill tribe of mixed race, originating from Tibet and Myanmar. They now live near the Thai/Myanmar border and are the biggest hill tribe in Thailand.

When they first arrived in this country, Thai Tanawasri lived in Nong Krarien,
Tambon Rangbua and Amphoe Suwan Pueng, but after experiencing drought conditions in this area they moved onto the banks of the Pha Chi tributaries.

Thai Tanawasri have continued their unusual annual tradition of making and eating rice wrapped in leaves. This festival can be observed every year during the 9th  lunar month , which usually falls in August, and is known as the "Suwan Pueng Thai Tanasri."
The hill tribe have a special costume which is worn only on important ceremonial occasions.

THAI  TAE BAN PHOHAK
It is often said that the Thai  Tae Ban Phohok are really Thais. They have a distinctive abrupt style of speech and vocabulary , Often using old colloquialisms.

One of the tribes interesting traditions is called "Khanara" which is a tradition about love. They also popularly like to build clusters of Thai-style houses in the beautiful green and fertile fields and meadows along the banks of the Phohak. This was the area that inspired, and was chosen for, the classic Thai film "Plae Kao", which was produced by Churd Songsri and starred two of the great Thai actors and actresses ; Kwan as the hero and Riem as the heroine.

THE LINEAGE OF THAI MON (OR PEGUAN)
The forefathers of the Mon tribe moved to Ratchaburi during the first Rattanakosin period and lived beside the Mae Klong River in Amphoe Ban Pong and Amphoe Photharam. Even now ,they continue to follow their old tradition of paying respect to the household spirits, and the spirits of their ancestors. They are also very serious about their Buddhist religion, believing that they were the first race to bring Buddhism from India.

The Mon's most important ceremony is called "Songkran Cho Mon" or "Mon New Year", and is usually held about one week after Thai Songkran. They have many interesting games, most notably "Mon Saba" which is a pitch-and-toss game. "Song Phikala" nad "Phrikadong"
On the final day of Buddhist Lent, the Thai Mon always go to the various temples situated on the banks of the Mae Klong River , where they listen to sermons on the story of the last great incarnation of the Lord Buddha, a story which consists of many episodes.

THE LINEAGE OF THAI LAOWIENG OR LAOTI
The reason for calling this tribe "Laoti" is because of their custom of saying "ti" at the end of most words. They first came from Vientianne and settled in Ratchaburi more than 200 years ago. They reside on the banks of the Mae Klong River atSroi Fa Temple and Papai Temple. They can also be found within the boundaries of Amphoe Chom Bung, and in Ban Nasamor and Ban Sungnem. Many of their unique customs have disappeared now , even the merit-making ceremonies such as the "Sart Lao" festival , the "Khao Pradap Din" festival of the tenth lunar month, the "Khao Ji" festival of the third lunar month and the "Prawet" festival of the eleventh lunar month are no longer  observed.

THAI YUAN
This is the name that the people used to call themselves during the Lanna period. Documented evidence shows that the Yuan were moved to Ratchaburi during the reign of King Rama I, when the King gave the order to attack Muang Chiang Saen to protect the mselves from Myanmar.

Most Yuan can be found in Koo Bua, Ang Thong, Don Rae and Chedihak. They are skilled cart makers and skirt weavers.
Unfortunately, very few of their traditions have withstood the test of time, except for an annual ceremony held before the start of Buddhist Lent. For this ceremony, the older generation, who have stong Buddhist beliefs, don traditional clothing to pay 
respect to and feed the spirits of their ancestors.

THE LINEAGE OF THAI KHMEN LAO DERM
Thai Khmen Lao Derm, or Thai Cambodian Laos, settled here during the Thonburi period of Thai history. Originally, they lived in Laos but were forced to move to Cambodia, before being brought to Ratchaburi by the Thai army. They live along the banks of the Mae Klong River at Ban Pong Sawai and Ban Kung Nam Wan.

Just one of the Thai Khmen Lao Derm's traditions remains, which is the order generation's belief that they must go and inform the spirits in native Cambodian language of any upcoming auspicious occasions

THE LINEAGE OF THAIJIN
Thai Jin, of Thai Chinese, were the biggest minority group to come to Thailand during the reign of King Rama V.Many can still be found living in Amphoe Ban Pong and around the canals of Damnoen Saduak and Ban Nok Kwak.
The Thai Chinese who follow Buddhism, annually have a tradition of taking Buddhist images out in boats for a trip along the rivers around Prasart Sit Temple. Unfortunately, it is difficult to be precise about the exact dates of this important and spectacular ceremony.
The other group of Thai Chinese who follow Christianity have built many beautiful churches all over Ratchaburi.

How to get there

By Bus
You have a choice of using first-class air-conditioned bus, or regular bus. Buses leave from Sai Tai Southern Bus Terminal from 6.00  am to 11.00 pm daily. More information can be obtained by calling 435-1199 for air-conditioned buses, or 434-5557-8 for regular buses. The fare will be between 30 - 45  bath. In addition to this, air- conditioned buses run to Damnoen Saduak from 5.30 am - 9.00 pm daily.

By Car
Just 101 kilometers  from Bangkok along the Petchkasem Road (Highway 4). Pass the Ong Phra Pathom Pagoda, and continue until you reach Amphoe Ban Phae, the gateway to the Floating Market.  It should take about one hour. Or if you want to experience the natural beauty of the early morning, and want to watch the sunrise, take the Thonburi-Pak Tho Road (Highway 35) .Along this route you can enjoy the splendor of a new dawn, and the rays of golden sunshine on the horizon! Beside the road are the white salt hills and the windmills of Samut Songkram Province which you will see before you turn right at Wang Manao junction to Amphoe Pak Tho. Altogether, a distance of about 109 kilometers.

By Train
Trains operate from both Thonburi and Hua Lampong Terminals, departing between 7.20 am - 9.55 pm, and returning between 2.55 am - 2.10 pm daily. Besides halting at Ratchaburi Station, some trains also stop at Nong Pla Duk, Ban Pong, Pho Tharam, and Pak Tho Stations. For more information in Bangkok call (02) 225-0300-9 or in Ratchaburi call (032) 337002.

Information provided by Tourism Authority of Thailand

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