:: TRAT

A small province at the eastern-most frontier bordering on Cambodia with the Khao Banthat mountain range forming a natural demarcation, Trat is a resort town with over fifty large and small off-shore islands, long white sandy beaches and unspoiled coral ranges. It is also a major fruit-growing and fishing area. Trat is bout 315 kilometres from Bangkok and covers an area of 2,819 square kilometres.

:: Attractions

The Ko Chang Islands National Park covers the Chang island and other smaller isles within Trat territorial waters. All these lovely places have abundant and thriving coral reefs and underwater marine environment.

Ko Chang the largest among the 52 islands of Trat, is also the nation's second largest island, after Phuket. Covering an area of 429 sq. kms, it features fine beaches, coral reefs, and plentiful marine life. It is also rich in natural resources, teeming with hills, forests, waterfalls and streams, the latter being an important source of freshwater. Dotting the island are many fruit orchards.

Most of the scenic beaches and bays are located on the western side, extending from the north to the south. They include Ao Khlong Son , Hat Sai Khao , Hat Khlong Phrao and Hat Kai Bae . A road cuts through the western shore almost all the way to Hat Kai Bae. From here, a nature trail through Ao Bai Lan and Ao Kruat meanders through wet forestland to Ban Bang Bao , a fishing community located at the foot of the hill in the south.

To the east are Ao Sapparot , where a ferry landing is situated, and Ao Salak Khok. Along the eastern shoreline is a road that cuts through to Ao Salak Phe , a community and a boat pier in the south of the island. However, care should be exercised while driving for the roads on Ko Chang are unpaved, with steep hills in some sections. The best places for viewing coral reefs are at Ao Khlong Son , near Ko Chang Noi , and around the islands to the south of Ko Chang.

On Ko Chang itself are several accessible waterfalls. The Khlong Phlu waterfall is located 3 kms. from Ao Khlong Phrao and a further 20 minutes walk from the parking lot. The Khlong Nonsi waterfall is a 4-km. walk from the park headquarters, while the Khiriphet and Khlong Nung waterfalls are about 3 kms from Ban Salakphet.

Second in size to Ko Chang, Ko Kut is located at the southernmost point of the Trat territorial waters. A speedboat transports visitors to the island within one hour. The inhabitants grow rubber, coconut and other fruit-yielding plants, while others are fishermen. With scenic beaches shaded by rows of pines and coconut trees mostly located on the western shores, it is also blessed with rich mangroves.


Wat Bupharam On Highway No. 3 (Sukhumvit), just opposite the Trat Hospital, is a turn into Plai Khlong Road which leads two kms to the temple. Built in 1648 during the Ayutthaya era, it features the nation's oldest, wooden Viharn. The architectural style and the remaining wall murals are of early Rattanakosin influence with a mix of Chinese touches. The temple's museum houses scores of valuable ancient relics, particularly the Holy Relic, Buddha statues in different postures and Chinese and European porcelain items. All these indicate that commercial and cultural exchanges occurred in this area in the past.

  Wat Yotha Nimit also known as Wat Bot, is located on Thetsaban 4 Road, near the city pillar. With fine murals in its former Ubosot, the temple was once used as the site where government officials pledged allegiance in ceremonies, from the time of King Taksin. Later on, King Rama V moved the ceremony to Wat Phai Lom.   The Ko Chang Yutthanawi Memorial , at Laem Ngop, commemorates the Franco-Thai naval battle on January 17, 1941. Nearby is the Statue of Prince Chumphon, father of the Thai navy, and a warship-shaped museum displaying equipment and armaments from the former fleet and exhibits on the Ko Chang naval battle.
         
Ko Mak is a large island south of Ko Chang. It is blessed with several beautiful bays and beaches. Nearby are coral reefs in perfect condition. The islanders make their living by growing rubber and coconut trees. The best time to visit is November-late April. There are a number of accommodation facilities. A passenger boat departs Laem Ngop daily at 3.00 p.m. and return from Ko Mak at 7.00 a.m. Traveling time is 3 hours.   Ao Tan Khu is a bay with a fine, sandy beach that is popular with local people during holidays. It is 4 kms off Highway No. 3156 (Ban Saen Tung-Laem Ngop).   Ban Nam Chieo is about 8 kms from town on the Trat-Laem Ngop route. It is noted for Ngop Nam Chieo, a native hat worn as protection against the sun. The hat is woven with palm leafs gathered from the local mangrove area. Being light and comfortable, it is still widely popular. In addition to the traditional shape, it has been adapted into other more fashionable shapes as souvenirs.

The Khao Lan Thai Red Cross Centre on Trat-Khlong Yai Highway at 48-km marker, was formerly a facility providing assistance to Cambodian refugees from 1978-1986. After the refugees were repatriated, the center closed down. Today, the site has been adapted into a tourist facility. Tel: 0-3952-1621.

  Ban Hat Lek is the furthest border village in Trat. It is on Highway No. 318 in Khlong Yai district, about 16 kms from the district town, or some 89 kms from the provincial capital. After the conflict ended in Cambodia, it became a channel for Thai-Cambodia trading.