7.31.2010

Ratchaburi

Introduction
Ratchaburi, a glorious town during the Dvaravati period, is located on the bank of the Mae Klong River. The provincial area abounds in natural attractions and historical sites. It is located 80 kilometres west of Bangkok and borders on Myanmar to the west having the Tanaosi Range as a borderline.

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 Song Kram, While in the south is Phetchaburi 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 Ratchaburi Provices
Phahuchartiphun "Phahuchartiphun" society, or the various cultures, is one of the most interesting aspects of like in Ratchaburi. 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, Phetchaburi, 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 tributarie

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 hilltribe 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 selves 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 Drem

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.

By Bus
Both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal daily. It takes 2 hour for the trip. Contact Transport Co. Ltd. Tel: 0 2435 1199-200

By Car
a) From Bangkok, take Highway No. 4 (Phahonyothin Road) to Ratchaburi via Bang Khae, Om Noi, Om Yai, Nakhon Chai Si, Nakhon Pathom.

b) From Bangkok, take Highway No. 338 to Nakhon Chai Si via Buddhamonthon and turn into Highway No. 4, then proceed to Ratchaburi.

By Train
Regular trains depart from both Hua Lamphong Railway Station and Bangkok Noi Railway Station daily. Travelling time is 2 hours. Call 1690 for more information.


Ratchaburi Tourism Fair

is held every year during February–March on the ground of the City Hall. Activities include demonstrations of famous handicrafts, such as jar making and "Sin Tin Chok" cloth weaving, the selling of OTOP products and agricultural produce, and folk art and cultural performances by local tribal groups.

Sweet Grape and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Week Fair
is held around March–April of every year to introduce agricultural produce to the market, especially grapes which most people grow in Amphoe Damnoen Saduak. Damnoen Saduak Grape is famous for its sweetness and good taste. This fair features the beauty contest of Thida A-ngun Wan and the competition of quality agricultural products.

Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

is a Su Khwan ceremony or the blessing ceremony for happiness and longevity in life, held around the ninth lunar month. Karens believe that the ninth lunar month is a bad time when ghosts and evil hunt and eat "Khwan" -spirit -of people, so those people may get sick or die. Normally, this ceremony is often held on the full moon day of the ninth lunar month, but if some families are not convenient, they can change to any day in the ninth month. In the ceremony, people boil "Khao Ho" which is sticky rice molded and wrapped in a cone shape; then they will boil it like Khanom Chang.

In the past, they ate Khao Ho by dipping it in honey but at present they often dip it in sliced coconut. On the day they boil Khao Ho, the Su Khwan Ceremony will be held, too. It starts with poking a wooden plate and blowing a Khaen for entertainment; then the elders in each family will tie red threads on the children’s wrists and give a blessing for good luck.


Attractions

Mae Klong River

Location : Amphoe Muang
Ratchaburi The city of Ratchaburi, located in the west of Thailand, on the banks of the Mae Klong River, the major western river which is the lifeblood of the many generations of life that reside beside it. It has been the link from past to present civilization.

If you want to visit Ratchaburi, it is from here that you must begin "The ancient town of Koo Bua", the source of many archaeological remains which relate that this used to be a prosperous port during the Dvaravati period of Thai history. Located on the Taow-u-thong Road in Tambon Koo Bua, about 4 kilometers from Ratchaburi. People who are interested in seeing other ancient relics many also like to pay a visit to "Wat Khlong Suwankhiri", which is opened free of charge to those who inform the temple of their visit in advance.

Apart from Wat Klong Suwankhiri, other evidence of art from the Dvaravati period can be found at Tham Ruesi Khao Ngu in "Tambon Ko Phlub Phla", which is located about 6 kilometers from the town. In this cave, you will find a pictures of the Lord Buddha sitting with his back against a wall feet raised in the attitude of giving his first sermon. This picture is known as "Phra Phuttachai Tham Ruesi Khao Ngu", and is another example of the unusual art that could be found during the Dvaravati period.

It is believed that after the decline of Koo Bua, the center of society moved to the banks of the Mae Klong River. It was around this time that the Cambodian influence began to spread itself to Ratchaburi and Petchburi, which can be seen in the pagodas and bas relief's in the walls of the temples around "Wat Mahatat Rachaworawiham", where examples of the distinctive Characteristics of Cambodian Bayon style art can be found. The temple is located on Khao Ngu Road in Muang Ratchaburi. But if you really want to know about Ratchaburi, we suggest you don't miss visiting the "Ratchaburi National Museum". Near the clock tower on the river's edge.

It is open daily from 9.00 am - 4.00 pm except Mondays, Tuesdays and Public Holidays and located inside the old Town Hall which almost 80 years old. The museum highlights all aspects of Ratchaburi's history, including the two most outstanding and widely-recognized features, the dazzling blade of the Ratchasatra sword, and the "Phra Awalogitaesuwan bodhisattva" image which is a fine example of Bayon-style Cambodian art. This image is the best-preserved example of the five that have been unearthed in Thailand. Whichever way you come to Ratchaburi, if you arrive feeling hungry, take the chance to head down to the market on the edge of the river. Here you can satisfy your pangs of hunger with a bowl of the excellent rice porridge and "foi thong" sweetmeat ice cream.

Ruesi Khao Ngu Cave

This famous attraction of Ratchaburi is 8 kilometres from the town along the road to Amphoe Chom Bueng (Route No. 3078). The cave houses a bas-relief Buddha image, considered the oldest archaeological evidence of the Dvaravati period found in Ratchaburi. The figure is 2.5 metres high in the attitude of giving the first sermon. Wat Pa Phrathat Khao Noi
Location : Amphoe Ban Kha

In Muu 1 , Tambon Ban Kha, about 11/2 kilometers from the Amphur Subdistrict, there is a pagoda which houses the remains of "Luang Pu Thet" and is deeply respected by followers of Buddhism. On the mountain is a spot where you get the closest view of the Tanawsri Mountains.

Location: Amphoe Muang

This ancient temple, locally called Wat Na Phra That, is located on the west bank of the Mae Klong River in the town. Its elegant prang or pagoda remains in good condition and was probably copied from Cambodia's Angkor Wat. The prang made of bricks and stones stands on a rectangular base with pathways around the cloisters. The outer stucco designs were made in the reign of King Borommakot of Ayutthaya. Buddha images of Dvaravati, Lop Buri and Ayutthaya periods are placed around the pagoda. 2 kilometres west of Wat Na Phra That on the route to Khao Ngu is Wat Aranyik with a prang identical to that of Wat Na Phra That but smaller in size.

Location: Amphoe Photharm

This 100 year old ethnic Mon temple is at Tambon Khlong Ta Khot, Amphoe Photharam, some 22 kilometres from Ratchaburi. The fine mural paintings about Lord Buddha's life in the main shrine hall are full of detail making them seem real. Completed in the early Bangkok period, they are very rare and worth studying. The temple also houses a Thai style building entirely made of
teak with intricate carving designs.

Location: Amphoe Photharm

More than 300 Nang Yai puppets are well preserved at this temple, some 10 kilometres from Amphoe Photharam. Nang Yai is an old form of entertainment which gathers many kinds of arts; for example, Thai sculpture and classical performances. The intricate carved puppets are portrayed on the screen by skilled male performers, and it can dance according to the music. The performance is usually demonstrated on Saturday from 10.00-11.00 a.m. Wat Muang Local Museum
Location : Amphoe Banpong

This is a Mon temple situated in Tambon Ban Muang, west of Amphoe Ban Pong along Route No. 3089 and a left turn after crossing the Mae Klong River. Besides a Mon style pagoda, a well-managed folk museum has been established as a research centre of history, way of life, and culture of this Mon community.

Ratchaburi National Museum
Location: Amphoe Muang

This is located on Woradet Road near the river. The edifice was formerly the town hall, built in 1922. Established as a museum in 1988, it displays art and ancient items of different periods found in the local area, and exhibits the history of Ratchaburi, as well as its folk art and geology.

The museum is open daily from 9.00 a.m.- 4.00 p.m. exept Mondays and Tuesdays.

Phawothai Local Museum
Location: Amphoe Suan Phueng

This is located 2 kilometres from Suan Phueng district. Two Thai style houses in a pleasant garden displays a collection of ancient artifacts. The museum is open only on Saturdays , Sundays and Public Holidays. Accommodataion is also available for any visitors to stay overnight .

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Location : Amphoe Damnoen Saduak
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market In the past, daily commerce in Thailand was conducted mostly along rivers and canals (or khlongs in Thai). Bangkok’s water network was busy and served as the principal means of communication causing Bangkok to be called as the “Venice of the East” by early European visitors.

Today Bangkok’s floating markets may not be quite so vibrant. The best known floating market is at Damnoen Saduak, some 109 kilometres southwest of Bangkok or approximately two hours drive. It is a ‘must-see’ destination and probably visited by nine out of every ten tourists who visit Thailand. Every morning, hundreds of boats crowd the market area. Most of them are paddled by women with picturesque straw hats. Visitors can find everything from vegetables and fruits to freshly-cooked noodle and souvenirs at this lively market.

Conserving The Nearly Extinct Wild Animals And Rare Plants
Location : Amphoe Jombung

This Amphur is always referred to as the gateway to "Suan Phung" or the "Bee Garden". In the past, the area was just forest and limestone mountains which formed the many beautiful caves in the area. Nowadays, it is a conversation area for the protection of hunted animals and many rare species of plants. The town has many attractions to visit and is one of the most suitable places in Ratchaburi for young people and families.
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1 comment:

Richard said...

Interesting fact silver made in Thailand is only made in villages outside of the main cities by Hilltribe families. Most patterns have been in there family for many years and can only be made by large order. There are no stores or one central place to purchase Hilltribe silver in variety other than from the large wholesale shops in the city. Mondays and Fridays are the days families will bring their goods to the main shops for sale and to pick up new orders. A trip to a silver village is a real eye opener to see how families work together to make beautiful silver pieces of art. All Handmade.
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