In a nutshell
Si Racha is a tiny little town that, in and of itself, is unlikely to warrant a spot on any time-bounded travel itinerary. Rather, it is a place of limbo, a spot of anticipation for the paradise that awaits. That being said, it is a pretty fantastic place to wait in. From zoos to Japanese and Korean restaurants, there is enough here to keep you thoroughly entertained.
Why go to Si Racha
Just a short trip away from Si Racha is the island of Si Chang. The island is, quite probably, the reason you’re in Si Racha – and with good reason! The relatively untouched and somewhat unique island is just a stone’s throw away from Si Racha, and a slightly bigger throw from Bangkok. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have some fun while you await your getaway!
Sriracha Tiger Zoo is, at the very best, a very ethically dubious centre. Tigers are exposed to high levels of human interaction and babies are not given a shot at life in the wild. However, people’s views on animal rights are disparate and are up for a debate. The zoo allows visitors opportunities to hold small and baby tigers. There are also several shows a day of both tigers, and crocodiles. The show with the tigers is filled with tricks, belligerent trainers, and many colourful lights. It is a glimpse into days gone by and cartoon circuses from your childhood. Entrance into the park is 450 THB per adult.
Something significantly less dubious and well diversified is the Khao Kheow Open Zoo. The animals have large enclosures and are largely left to do their own thing. Should you be lucky, you may have some pretty fantastic interactions with giraffe, ostrich, and deer. You are also guaranteed to have some sort of interaction with a monkey – you can try and determine its intensity and intimacy, but it isn’t easy. Keep your eye out for a couple of extremely rare white lions!
When to go to Si Racha
A visit to Si Racha is not really perturbed by the weather. The climate of the area is one of intense heat and high rainfall. As such, it is not too dissimilar from the rest of Thailand. While you won’t be heading to Si Racha for your island getaway, the nearby islands of Koh Si Chang and Koh Samet may warrant a second look at the weather forecast. Dry season is between the months of November and June, while the rainy season is between July and October.
Where to stay in Si RAcha
The economy of Si Racha is largely unaffected by tourism. As such, the local industry is less concerned with tourists and their needs and the majority of accommodation, especially around the sea front, is fast becoming a conglomeration of upscale apartment blocks.
There are, of course, some basic rooms on offer, and a small selection of mid-range accommodations. Backpackers can grab for room for less than 400 THB, but may find difficulty in getting something for any less.
Reliable and cheap options include the Siriwatana Hotel and the Sriwichai Hotel. Among the somewhat disappointing array of options, these spots are both comfortable and both have incredible views over the water. Considering the lack of Western toilets among the majority of accommodations, you need to count your blessings!
If you’re up for spending a bit more, are non-negotiable on Western toilets, and enjoy to spend some of your down time in the comfort of your own room, then the Seaview Hotel is a great shout. The staff are surreally serene – which, really, is an apt introduction for the calm and comfortable experience. The rooms provide everything you could expect for the 1000 THB price tag and are well worth every penny you part ways with.
How to get to Si Racha
Coming in from Bangkok is quick and easy, and will see you having Japanese for lunch after a brief three our train ride that leaves at 6.55am daily.
The train costs less than 50 THB, and will drop you off just two minutes outside of the town centre. You’ll have no problem catching a motorbike taxi into town for a few baht.
The bus is even faster than the train! For less than 100 THB, and in less than two hours, you can be in Si Racha. Being so close to Bangkok, busses depart from various locations and don’t require that you head to Mochit Bus Station. You can board a bus from Ekamai, as well as at BKK airport.
What to eat in Si Racha
Just around the night market you can find a bunch of Asian cuisine. Within the confines of Thailand, and excluding commercialised food courts inside mega-malls, this is a rarity! Choose between Thai, Korean and Japanese fare.
One of the best Korean spots is Tik Ga To. The experience is so strangely enthralling – pick your meat of choice and head over to your table to cook them on the hot plate in the middle of it. After a bit of food and a few drinks, you’ll be wanting your own at home.
Hitting up a Japanese restaurant is a must in Si Racha. In the mood for something you’ve never had before? Sample the world-famous Kobe Beef at Kobe Gyu no Yakiniku! There are many Japanese establishments that cater to various budgets. Some of the standout options include Tuna Ichiban-Srirahcha and Shogun Express Amatanakorn.
While the town doesn’t have a tourism bone its body, there ways of the Western world have made it into the cuisine scene. California Steak is exactly what you think it is, and is well worth the 300 THB price tag.
There is a good bit of seafood around Si Racha, too. Mum Aroi, which means “Delicious Corner” really does harbour some fantastic seafood dishes. Another great place, although slightly more expensive, is the Grand Seaside.
A trendy spot to grab some drinks, listen to some live music, and float between conversations with interesting locals and travellers alike, then visit the very relaxed, and aptly named, Chill Bar. Younger folk can keep their night going at Gusto. The small nightclub is below the standard of those you’d find in Bangkok, but they have flashing lights, live music, welcoming locals and affordable drinks. Good enough!
How to get around Si Racha
Getting around Si Racha isn’t too different from any of the more quiet towns and cities of Thailand. In many ways, the lack of tourism makes finding transport at a fair price much easier. Rather than being hassled as you walk down the street, and being hustled as you try to get to somewhere that you’ve never been, getting between locations in Si Racha is a safe, trusted and reliable process. Choose between songthaews and motorbike taxi’s to get where you’re going. Brush up on your Thai and your pronunciation as the drivers won’t be especially proficient in English. You’re unlikely to find a motorbike rental company in Si Racha, and are more likely to be met with confused faces upon such a request.
Is Si RAcha a safe place to visit?
While you may feel more out of place in Si Racha, you are comparatively safer here than the busy streets of the tourist hot spots. There are no scamsters, disingenuous ‘helpful’ strangers, or pushy tuk-tuk drivers. Insofar as you keep an eye on your belongings, just as you would anywhere in the world, you have nothing to worry about here!