A small province at the easternmost border of Cambodia with the Khao Banthat mountain range forming a natural demarcation, Trat also has fifty large and small islands, long white sandy beaches and relatively unspoiled coral ranges. It is also a major fruit-growing and fishing area.
About 315 km from Bangkok and covering an area of 2,819 km², the province is administratively divided into the districts of Mueang Trat, Khao Saming, Laem Ngop, Khlong Yai, and Bo Rai, and the sub-districts of Ko Chang and Ko Kut.
It is thought that the name "Trat" is a corruption of “krat” which is the name of tree plentiful in Trat Province that is used in broom production. In the Ayutthaya period during the reign of King Naresuan, the town was called "Ban Bang Phra".
While King Rama V was on the throne, the Thai government entered into a treaty with France granting what is now Trat Province to France in exchange for France withdrawing its forces from Chanthaburi Province. Later, on 23 Mar 1906, the king had to grant areas, namely Pratabong, Siem Reap, and Sri Sophon to France in exchange for Trat and the islands and towns on the right bank of Mekong River. Trat residents thus regard 23 Mar as "Trat Independence Day". They also built a King Rama V monument at the city hall to commemorate the king's attempt to keep Trat with Thailand.
On 17 Jan 1941, during the war, a French squadron violated Thailand’s territorial waters. A Thai flotilla came to defend its sovereignty. Thus, the skirmish which was later to be known as the "Ko Chang Naval Battle" began. The Thai forces beat back the French incursion. The Thai side, however, lost three warships, namely the Songkhla, Chonburi, and Thonburi as well as some naval officers and ratings. Therefore, on this date every year, the Thai Navy holds a merit-making day dedicated to those who gave their lives in their effort to protect the country.
From Bangkok, take one of these three routes:
- Bang Na - Trat (Hwy 3) passing Chonburi – Rayong –Chanthaburi – Trat, a total distance of approximately 385 km.
- Bang Na – Chon Buri – Klaeng – Chanthaburi – Trat (Hwy 344), a distance of approximately 318 km.
- Motorway: Start at km0 at the Sri Nagarind – Ramkhamhaeng intersection and drive the route Ban Bueng – Klaeng – Chanthaburi – Trat.
Bangkok Airways has three daily flights from Bangkok (BKK IATA) to Trat (TDX IATA) at 08:40, 10:30, and 17:05. Flight time is 1 hr. For details, contact Tel. +66 2 2655555, +66 2 2655678, or the Trat office at Tel.+66 39 525767-8. (A transfer service is available from the airport to the ferry pier where tourists can take a ferry to Ko Chang.)
Both non air-conditioned buses and air-conditioned buses are available at the Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) on Sukhumvit Rd.
Air-conditioned buses: A first-class air-conditioned bus takes 5 hours to get to Trat. Tourists can also contact other private transportation companies for further information such as Cherdchai Tour at Tel. +66 2 3912237 or +66 2 3914164, or its Trat office at Tel. +66 39 511062; Chokanukun Tour at Tel. +66 2 3927680, or its Trat office at Tel. +66 39 511587; and Suppharat Tour, which provides VIP buses, at Tel. +66 2 3912331 or its Trat office at Tel. +66 39 511481.
Non air-conditioned buses: For more information, contact the Public Relations Section, Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) at Tel. +66 2 3912504, or +66 2 3914164.
In addition, it is possible to take a first-class air-conditioned bus leaving Bangkok Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) to Trat everyday along the motorway. For more information, call Tel. +66 2 5378055, +66 2 9362852-6.
Buses of other private transportation companies such as Suppharat Tour at Tel. +66 2 9363388 or its Trat office at Tel. +66 39 511481; Cherdchai Tour at Tel. +66 2 9360199 or its Trat office at Tel. +66 39 511062 also go to Trat.
Getting to nearby provincesEdit
Trat – Chanthaburi, from the market in Trat, there are regular buses to Chanthaburi leaving Trat daily every half an hour from 08:00–15:30. The journey takes 1½ hours and the fare is approximately 40 baht.
Taxis are available between Chanthaburi – Trat, leaving Wongwian Nam Phu (Fountain Circle) in Chanthaburi and next to the Mueang Trat Hotel in Trat from 06:00–17:00 daily. The journey takes nearly 1½ hours and the fare is 60 baht each (5–6 persons/taxi).
Bo Rai –Chanthaburi, leaving every half an hour from 06:00–17:00. The journey takes 1½ hours and the fare is 50 baht.
Bo Rai–Mae Sot, Tak Province, leaving twice daily at 07:30 and 08:30. The journey takes 15 hours and the fare is 200 baht.
Trat-Khlong Yai (songthaew), a distance of 75 km, leaving from behind the Municipal Market from 06:00–18:00. The fare is 80 baht (a connection from Khlong Yai to Ban Hat Lek is available at 20 baht).
Trat–Ban Hat Lek (minibus), a distance of 90 km, leaving the Si Trat Rama Theatre from 06:00–18:00. The fare is 110 baht.
Trat–Laem Ngop (songthaew), a distance of 30 km., leaving the Trat Municipal Market from 06:00 onward. The fare is 20 baht.
Trat–Laem Sok (songthaew), a distance of 28 km, leaving the Trat Municipal Market from 08:00–13:00. The fare is 35 baht.
Trat–Khao Saming – Bo Rai, a distance of 53 km, leaving the Trat Municipal Market from 08:00–12:00. The fare is 50 baht.
Trat–Khao Saming – Saen Tung – Tha Chot, a distance of 28 km, leaving from 06:00–17:30. The fare is 25 baht.
Generally, transportation to various districts starts from the provincial town. Songthaews leave the Municipal Market and Bank of Ayutthaya daily. After 19:00 travellers will have to charter one at a negotiated price.
- Ao Tan Khu (อ่าวตาลคู่) is a bay with fine sandy beach popular with local people during holidays.
- Ao Khlong Son (อ่าวคลองสน) is a bay in the northernmost west of the island where Ban Khlong Son community is located, with a beautiful coral reef.
- Bang Bao Fishing Village (หมู่บ้านประมงบางเบ้า) is a village of houses on stilts built into the sea with bridges connecting them. Most of the residents are descendants of the Salak Phet villagers. The area is an ideal berthing area for fishing boats, with mountains and islands providing shelter from wind and storms in the monsoon season.
- Ban Rong Than (บ้านโรงถ่าน) is a small community near Salak Phet, south island. It is a scenic viewpoint where the mist-covered peak of Khao Salak Phet in the north and Ko Maphrao Nai and mountains near Laem Yai in the east are visible.
- Ban Hat Lek Border Market (ตลาดชายแดนบ้านหาดเล็ก) is a village on the Thai-Cambodian border. When the fighting in Cambodia was over in 1986, it used to serve as an intermediate marketplace for grain trading between farmers in Cambodia and traders in Koh Kong.
- 'Ban Mai Rut (บ้านไม้รูด) is a large fisherman's village. Besides homestays, the village offers fresh seafood.
- Ban Nam Chiao (บ้านน้ำเชี่ยว) is noted for Ngop Nam Chiao, a native hat to ward off the sun. The hat is woven with local palm leaves from plants grown in mangrove area. It is still widely used today as it is light and comfortable.
- Ban Salak Phet (บ้านสลักเพชร) is a large and the oldest community on Ko Chang. The villagers' main occupation is coastal fishery in an advantageous area sheltered from winds and storms by islands and mountains. There is an old temple in front of the village known as Wat Salak Phet.
- Hat Sai Ngam (หาดทรายงาม) is an approximately 200-metre long white sandy beach running parallel to a grove of pine trees.
- Hat Sai Ngoen (หาดทรายเงิน) is a not-so-wide beach with a pine forest more ideal for relaxing or fishing than swimming.
- Hat Muk Kaeo and Hat Sai Kaeo (หาดมุกแก้ว และหาดทรายแก้ว) have a peaceful atmosphere for recreation. Hat Muk Kaeo is a white sandy beach, which runs from Hat Sai Ngoen to Hat Sai Kaeo, with the shade of pine and coconut trees all along the beach.
- Hat Banchuen (หาดบานชื่น), formerly called Hat Maro (หาดมะโร), is a beach with delicate sand grains and clear sea water where it is possible to swim.
- Hat Kai Bae (หาดไก่แบ้) is a sloping and long stretch of beach connecting with Hat Khlong Phrao.
- Hat Sai Yao (หาดทรายยาว) is near Ao Salak Phet to the south of the island with a long stretch of sandy beach.
- Khao Lan Center (ศูนย์สภากาชาดไทยเขาล้าน), run by the Thai Red Cross, is on Trat-Klong Yai Road, Tambon Mai Rut, in the same area as the former Cambodian refugee camp. The camp was closed in 1986 when the refugees moved back to Cambodia. The center was established on the occasion of the 60th birthday of Queen Sirikit in 1992, commemorative of Queen Sirikit's establishment of the camp for Cambodians who suffered from their civil war. Ratchakarun Hall (ศาลาราชการุณย์) and the museum exhibit the history, lifestyle, and household items of Cambodian refugees.
- 'Khao Than Kong Viewpoint (จุดชมวิวเขาท่านก๋ง), views of the Khlong Yai coastline.
- Ko Chang Naval Battle Memorial (อนุสรณ์สถานยุทธนาวีเกาะช้าง) at Laem Ngop, commemorates the Franco-Thai naval engagement on 17–21 January 1941. There is also a statue of Prince Chumphon, father of the Thai navy, and a warship-shaped museum displaying old equipment and armament of the fleet with exhibits on the Ko Chang naval battle.
- Ko Pui (เกาะปุย) is an undeveloped privately owned islet not too far from the shore that makes an ideal attraction for relaxation in shady surroundings. It is home to coconut groves, herbs, and Dinso Phong (white clay body-powder) mentioned at the time of King Rama V's visit to Trat. Known locally as the "Governor's Island" it was acquired in the late 1950s by then Governor of Trat, Jarat Tedvisarn, the property remains the governor's family to this day.
- Ko Ngam was the first point of confrontation in the Franco–Siamese War in which the French army sent aircraft on a reconnaissance and bombing of the island, whereas Ko Wai is the point where a French patrol aircraft crashed after being fired on by HTMS Songkhla and HTMS Chon Buri.
- Ko Mai Si is a small private island where there is beautiful nature, sandy beaches and clear water. It is home to diversified marine life and is ideal for diving.
- Ko Lao Ya (เกาะเหลายา) is a group of islands to the south of Ko Chang including Ko Lao Ya Nai, Ko Lao Ya Klang, and Ko Lao Ya Nok.
- Ko Wai (เกาะหวาย) is the bay to the north of the island with coral reefs in a perfect condition, whereas the western area of Ao Yai provides home to mostly hard corals and scaly giant clams.
- Ko Phrao Nok or Ko Sai Khao (เกาะพร้าวนอก หรือ เกาะทรายขาว) is to the south facing Ao Salak Phet. The island has white sandy beaches and shady coconut groves.
- Ko Ngam (เกาะง่าม) is a twin island connected by a large sand bar located to the southeast of Ko Chang, with an inlet surrounded by the hilly topography where the sea is calm and scenic.
- Ko Kut (เกาะกูด) is Thailand's easternmost island in Trat waters, the province's second largest island after Ko Chang, and the country's fourth largest island. The topography is generally still in its natural condition, with mountains and ridges forming the headwaters of many streams from which originate various waterfalls. The best-known waterfall on Ko Kut is Namtok Wang Chao.
- Ko Mak (เกาะหมาก)'s topography is mostly coastal plain with a thicket of coconut groves and rubber plantations. Scenic bays and sandy beaches embracing crystal clear water are all around the island such as Ao Ta Nit, Ao Prong, Ao Phat and Ao Daeng.
- Ko Kradat (เกาะกระดาษ) has a flat paper-like topography with Alocasia plants, "kradat" in Thai, growing wild in abundance. The island has a long and white sandy beach with beautiful coral reefs.
- Laem Sok (แหลมศอก) was used as the residence of Kromluang Chomphonkhetudomsak, the father of the Thai Royal Naval Army. Fishing villages are found near the area.
- Laem Klat (แหลมกลัด) is a white sandy beach sticking out into the sea with not too deep water ideal for swimming.
- Monkey Training Centre (โรงเรียนฝึกลิง) at Hat Sai Khao provides training as well as shows of monkeys' abilities, especially in collecting coconuts.
- Namtok Salatdai (น้ำตกสลัดได) is seven kilometres from km25 of Highway 3157 (Saen Tung-Bo Rai).
- Namtok Khlong Kaeo National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติน้ำตกคลองแก้ว) has an area of approximately 65,525 rai (104,840 square kilometres).
- Namtok Khiri Phet (น้ำตกคีรีเพชร) is a single-storey waterfall located 3 km from Ban Salak Phet community through a rubber plantation.
- Namtok Khlong Nueng (น้ำตกคลองหนึ่ง) is a small waterfall near Namtok Khiri Phet – Ban Rong Than, located some 2 km deeper inside the island from the Salak Phet Community with another 480 metre walk. The waterfall cascades down from a narrow gorge for 120 metres.
- Namtok Khlong Nonsi (น้ำตกคลองนนทรี)is a small waterfall to the northeast of the island accessible by a 3 km pathway from Ban Dan Mai or about 4 km from the national park headquarters.
- Namtok Than Mayom (น้ำตกธารมะยม) is a medium four-tiered waterfall some 500 metres through a garden behind the national park headquarters, with the 3rd tier being the most beautiful.
- Namtok Khlong Phlu (น้ำตกคลองพลู) is a large waterfall on Ko Chang with water cascading down three tiers of the cliff to a basin, with an entrance located 3 km from Ao Khlong Phrao.
- Ratchakarun Beach (หาดราชการุณย์) in the area of Khao Lan is a recreational place of the Khlong Yai District locals on Sukhumvit Road.
- Residang Kampot (โบราณสถานจวนเรสิดัง กัมปอต) is a former residence now used as the Office of Probation, Department of Corrections, still in its original architectural style.
- Thailand's narrowest area (ส่วนที่แคบที่สุดในประเทศไทย) is at Mu 2 Ban Khot Sai, Tambon Hat Lek, on the Trat–Khlong Yai route between km 81–82. The area is 450 metres wide.
- Wat Buppharam (วัดบุปผาราม) or Wat Plai Khlong (วัดปลายคลอง) is a temple on Plai Khlong Road, which dates from the mid-17th century and features the oldest wooden image hall in the country. The murals are of the early Rattanakosin period. The temple's museum houses ancient relics, Buddha images, and Chinese and European porcelain.
- Wat Khiri Wihan (วัดคีรีวิหาร) is a temple which features fine architecture with a blend of modern art. Principal buildings inside the temple's precincts include a large Phra Ubosot or ordination hall, Phra Chedi, reception pavilion for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, monk's residence, preaching hall, and Chinese pavilion enshrining Phra Phuttha Udom Sombun, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and Phra Sangkatchai.
- Wat Phai Lom (วัดไผ่ล้อม) used to be a resident of Trat's Father of Education, Than Chaokhun Phra Wimonmethachan Worayannurak. The temple also houses a Buddhist garden for public meditation and chedi museum of three much revered monks of Trat.
- Wat Saphan Hin (วัดสะพานหิน) it is assumed to be more than a hundred years old, although its exact date of building is not known. There is an old Buddhist ordination hall in the water, approximately 1 km from the temple.
- Wat Yotha Nimit (วัดโยธานิมิตร), also known as Wat Bot (วัดโบสถ์), is the only royal temple in Trat. The temple was once used as a place to hold the oath of allegiance ceremony. There is an old ordination hall of Ayutthayan art serving as a wihan called Wihan Yotha Nimit for storing many antiques.
Trat is known for a number of regional specialties that make good souvenirs or gifts:
- Trat Shrimp Paste is known for its quality, being made entirely from shrimp. (Most shrimp paste contains a mixture of shrimp and fish.)
- Koh Chang Wine is an award-winning fruit wine made from local fruits and herbs such as mangosteen and pineapple. It is available at some hotels, from 200 Baht.
- Golden pineapples from Trat are known for their bright yellow colour and distinct sweetness.
Rakam Waan or Sweet Rakam is a Trat regional specialty, together with other more well-known tropical fruits such as the rambutan, mangosteen, mango, durian, coconut and pineapple.
|Routes through Trat Province|
|Bangkok ←||W E||→ Hat Lek → Koh Kong|