The great temples and culture of Ratchaburi

The great temples and culture of RatchaburiTemples are always on the itinerary for sightseeing in Thailand and it is no different in the province of Ratchaburi. There are many temples in Ratchaburi worth visiting. So make sure that you do have a travel or tour plan for temples in Ratchaburi when you visit this province. Among the well-known temples are Wat Khanon which is renowned for its shadow puppetry, Wat Muang which has a tribal Mon style pagoda and a little tribal museum that keeps a history of the culture and tradition of the Mon community, Wat Khongkharamwhich is another Mon temple that dates back close to a hundred years old with some really fine painted murals that seem to jumps out depicting the Lord Buddha’s life which are indeed very rare paintings. Next is Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat which is a very ancient temple and located on the opposite side of the Mae Klong River. The specialty of this temple is the Cambodian styled pagoda constructed of brick and stones during the era of King Borommakot of Ayutthaya with Buddha images in the era of Dvaravati and Ayutthaya all around the pagoda. From there, make your way to Wat Khae Sai, that specializes in the traditional art of Tin Chok weaving. It is believed that these villagers descended from the Chiang Saen settlersduring the Lanna Thai kingdom more than a hundred years ago.

So while you are in Ratchaburi, look out also for the Pong Yup near Tambon Tha Khoei that has out of this world looking earthen pillars and cliffs created by Mother Nature using her artistic technique of soil erosion! If you tire of all that sightseeing, take a dip in the Bo Khlueng Hot Spring that has therapeutic remedies for skin problems. This fresh hot spring water has its source from Tanaosi Range and not only is it good therapy to soak in the 50-68 degrees Celsius water but you can also make your way down a short distance to the Namtok Kao Chon waterfall to cool yourself off for that ultimate hot and cold sensation!

There are many other smaller attractions that most tourist do not think much about such as did you know that Ratchaburi is famous for its dragon earthen water pots? Bet you did not!  These special earthen pots have their origins from China in the olden days and much of the designs are still kept to the originals. If “old things” is your favorite theme, then visit the old market in Sapsin that is reputedly seventy years old and still kept in pristine and very clean condition. The attraction of this market is also the old style shop houses that are considered heritage buildings and the whole area is quite a rarity now especially in Thailand. Most of the traders in the market are descendants of the Chinese traders from China long ago and there is quite a hotchpotch of goods on sale here including things you seldom see now such as wooden chopping boards, wooden clogs, clay charcoal stoves and even praying utensils and paraphernalia for monks and Buddhist worshippers. This makes a colorful place to be with such variety of goods and one can seldom see such places anymore with modernization and development progress. If you want to see what Thailand was like fifty to seventy years ago, this is a good place to visit. The aroma, foods and variety of goods will even entice you to stay and part with some of that cash in your wallet!

One last place to head to in the old district of Ratchaburi is the Muang district which is again predominantly Chinese. There are many different types of fabric shops here including silk and hand-woven fabrics. Walk into one of the old Chinese grocery shops while you are here, the proprietor of the shop will not mind you taking a picture or two because these are the few last places where you will still see these old style grocery shops! Then off course at the end of it all you will need to fuel up with some really nice authentic Chinese food in this district. There is a great variety of authentic Chinese and Thai food here. If it is not the sightseeing, it will also be the food and cuisine of Ratchaburi that will keep you for a long time in this province! One of the specialties of this place is the home roasted pork with honey sauce called moo daeng. It is lean or semi-fat pork roasted a nice red color because of the spices and sauce which is then sliced and served with steamed hot rice, half an egg and a sweet sauce. There are also Chinese style curries, roasted duck and a lot more that you would find in a very Chinese community. Another specialty you would not find elsewhere is freshly brewed coffee the old-fashioned way. Coffee beans are freshly ground and sieved through a cotton or muslin strainer and mixed with sugar for black coffee or condensed and evaporated milk for white coffee! The aroma of the coffee is a sure-fire way to start the day for a coffee lover and makes all your expensive espresso and latté taste so mild comparatively! Breakfast in an old Chinese coffee shop in Ratchaburi is hot coffee, steamed or toasted bread with butter and half boiled eggs! What a great memory of Ratchaburi Province!

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