I woke up this morning reminiscing my time back in the eastern-most part of the country. The magnificent beaches, the virtually crowd-less islands (over 40 of them!), splendid waterfalls, rich tropical forests, intricately beautiful temples… (it’s a never-ending list).
I’m talking about Trat, situated in the far east corner of our country. It borders neighbouring Cambodia and its towering mountains on one side, and the famous Gulf of Thailand on the other side. About 300 km from Bangkok to Trat, the particularly quiet transportation hub is otherwise known for mining, but you are extremely mistaken if you think that’s all this place is about.
So what is Trat all about? Read on!
One Of Thailand Largest Island – Koh Chang
Kicking off this list of places in Trat Thailand with the third-largest island of the country. Also known as the Elephant Island, Koh Chang is graciously diverse in nature – thanks to its forested and mountainous terrain.
After Phuket, this is one of the most preferred destinations for tourists and back in the day (pre-COVID times), you could even see touts selling fancy tour packages of Bangkok to Koh Chang. But what are the things to do in Koh Chang?
- Go snorkelling and fishing with the locals at Bang Bao Fishing Village
- Kayak your way through lush mangrove forests at the Salak Kok Fishing Village
- Go hiking across the Khlong Phlu Waterfall
- A night person? No problem! Experience thousands of fireflies in and around fishing villages when it’s dark.
- Spend some quality time at the White Sand Beach in the north, Lonely Beach in the south, or Klong Prao which is the longest beach on the island.
Now that you know about the things to do in Koh Chang, it’s noteworthy that you can take a vehicle ferry to the island from mainland Trat. These ferries operate from 7 AM to 7 PM at regular intervals and would cost you just 80 Baht per person or 100 Baht for a car. Check out kohchangferries for the details.
Pro Tip: As an alternative to staying in one of the hotels in Trat, I recommend that you stay here in Koh Chang. There is simply too much to explore here, and island hopping becomes way easier!
Looking For A More Private Island, Koh Kood Is Definitely For You
An hour away from Koh Chang lies what I like to think of as a smaller, quieter and more pristine version of Koh Chang itself, i.e., the Koh Kood Island. Blessed with crystal clear water, rich forests and coconut trees, don’t be surprised if you find the roads completely vacant, quiet and clean beaches, or the restaurants and pubs without the crazy crowds.
That is because, unlike Koh Chang, there are no vehicle ferries to the island. And for that matter, there are not as many ferries to Koh Kood anyway. A few private boats and ferries depart from Laem Sok from 9 AM to 3 PM, but the frequency changes as per the season. Be sure to check the timetable at kohkoodferries.com. Once you find your way here, you can check out:
- Klong Chao Waterfall: The most famous of all waterfalls here
- Makka tree: Dubbed as the ‘Big tree’, it’s a huge 500-year-old banyan tree right at the centre of the island
- Go snorkelling or deep-sea diving
- Big Buddha Statue: A 20-metre long statue overlooking the village
- Ao Yai Viewpoint: For a 180-degree panoramic view of the Ao Yai village
The Famous “Deer Island” Koh Kradad
This island is unlike any other in Trat. That’s because it’s completely flat, in contrast to the mountainous islands of this province. Dubbed as the ‘Deer island’, it’s no mystery why Koh Kradad is famous. Thousands and thousands of wild deers roaming freely in the middle of the ocean – It’s a surreal sight in itself!
Paved with rows of coconut trees and wild green grass, keep in mind that there are no permanent boats or ferries to this island. This means that you will have to book a private tour for yourself from the hotel you are staying in.
Snorkelling Fans Assemble – The Paradise To Be Koh Rang
As a part of the Koh Rang National Park, out of a group of 12 islands, Koh Rang is the place to be. With immaculate, clean beaches and an abundance of corals in and around the coastlines, Koh Rang is one of the best places to do snorkelling in all of Thailand where you can actually locate the famous dive site over at Koh Rang pinnacle (Hin Ga Daeng). For a unique experience, do also visit the Chinese shrine named ‘Chao Por’ at the southern tip of the island. Additionally, I also recommend that you check out Swallow’s Nest, which has its fair share of fame in Koh Rang.
One Of The World Only 5 Black Sand Beaches – Sai Dum
Treat yourself to one of the world’s only 5 black sand beaches! That’s right, Sai Dum is Thailand’s only black sand beach which lies in the Laem Ngop area. This one-of-a-kind experience can be coupled with walking through dense mangrove forest while sighting the wildlife. The black sand beach in itself is quite a sight to see and I’m sure you won’t be able to control taking a fist full of the black sand in your hands the first time you see it!
Apart from the beach, you can head to the Laem Ngop Viewpoint and the marvellous red and white striped lighthouse, which makes for a serene sunset point.
Chill and Walk Along The White Stretch Of Muk Kaew & Sai Kaew
The two beaches are located on mainland Trat, which means they are the most easily accessible beaches in Trat Thailand. Because there is a subtle descent along the beach coastlines, it is quite a good spot to go swimming too.
Both the beaches are located just next to each other along a long stretch of white sand which is laid with restaurants, shacks and cocktail bars. So, a night-time visit here is recommended for a nice breezy vibe!
Diving Paradise Koh Mak
I stumbled upon Koh Mak when I was speaking to a few locals at Koh Chang. Thanks to their recommendation, I witnessed some of the best waters I’ve seen in Thailand. Situated right between Koh Chang and Koh Kood islands, it’s not just the turquoise coloured coasts, but the fact that this place is thriving with corals, that makes Koh Mak stand out.
You might see a lot of divers around here because Koh Mak acts as a diving base for enthusiasts. A few popular spots include breathtaking beaches like Ao Ta Nit, Ao Prong, Ao Phat, Ao Phai and Ao Daeng. Apart from this, there is the Ko Mak Museum that you can visit, while also relishing the simple village life around.
Nature Beauty At It’s Best – Koh Kham
Say hi to Koh Mak’s next-door neighbour! Take a 15-minute ferry from Koh Mak to reach the dreamlike private island of Koh Kham. The moment you set your foot on the island, you’ll be taken aback by the natural beauty all around.
The white sand beach here has the whitest and the softest sand that you’ll find anywhere! Head to the east part of the island if you want to do some diving. In case you are coming in from the mainland, you can hitch a 3 hour-long ferry ride from Laem Ngop Pier for around 300 Thai Baht.
The Ever Flowing Saphan Hin Waterfalls
Namtok Saphan Hin, located in Laem Klat is an ever-flowing waterfall. That’s because it is one of those waterfalls that flows all year long! The waterfall comes down from more than 30 metres in height and it’s quite a sight to see – You’ll realise its popularity if you come here in the holiday season, thanks to the local tourists.
You can even go and take a dip at the base of the falls, or rest under the soothing shade of the banyan trees around. The best part? It’s completely free to visit!
Historial Than Mayom Waterfalls
The fact that two Thai kings (Rama V and Rama VII) visited this waterfall back in the day, is a sufficient reason for one to believe that the Than Mayom Waterfalls is worth a visit even today. An easy 200-metre walk from the national park office along the riverside leads you to the falls.
You can climb up Than Mayom where you’ll find a couple of natural pools formed around the waterfall only which can make for a nice swimming spot provided it’s not crowded. Your best bet is to avoid weekends as that is when locals flock here for leisure. Keep in mind that you will have to bear an entrance fee of 200 THB to visit the falls!
Yotha Nimit Temple
Situated right at the centre of Trat town, Yotha Nimit is an ancient temple that was established during the reign of King Taksin the Great. Also known as Wat Bot, the temple is located right next to another historical site of the city, the Trat Pillar.
Inside, you can still find some finely drawn murals alongside historical artifacts. In addition, it is also a study centre for monks. Due to its location and ease of access, I surely recommend visiting the only royal temple of the Trat province!
Be Mesmerised By Salak Kok Bay
Remember when I talked about kayaking through forests in Koh Chang? Well, all of that happens in the sleepy Salak Kok village! Nestled in the mountains of the big Koh Chang island is a small fisherman’s village which is home to the Salak Kok Bay.
Keep in mind – You will require your own transport to get to Salak Kok, as taxis are not the most dependable on this route.
Right among lush mangrove forests, you can experience and appreciate the simplicity of a fisherman’s life by taking a kayak or what the locals call a ‘gondola’. Wait for the sun to set and lo! – A posse of fireflies will come out of nowhere to please your senses and put a perfect end to your day!
The Scenic Salakphet Mangrove Forest
Another lovely part of Koh Chang is Salakphet, down to the south of the island. Away from the noisy tourists, you’ll be stunned at the view from here. There is a newly painted red walkway that winds down a dense mangrove forest and leads you to the head of the bay after a refreshing 500-metre walk.
There is a small coffee shop right at the start of the walkway if you are up for a quick refreshment. This is by far, one of the most scenic sites I visited in Trat – So remember to capture plenty of photos along the way!
So, that was me reminiscing about all the places I was lucky enough to visit on my trip to Trat. And with that, I hope this blog can act as a refreshing guide for you to see what Trat is really all about, and all the places that make it the ultimate tropical destination in Thailand.