Dream island visits take off from Trat

June 3, 2015 by  
Filed under THAINESS

BANGKOK, 3 June 2015: Trat is Thailand’s eastern-most province, located about 315 km from Bangkok. This small province borders Cambodia with the Khao Banthat mountain range forming a natural boundary between the two countries. The province has a long coastline and an variety of islands just off-shore.

With 52 large and small islands featuring long, white, sandy beaches and unspoiled coral reefs, Trat offers tranquil hideouts for beach and nature-lovers.

The province also serves as a major fruit-growing, fishing, and gem mining region.

The city of Trat is the primary launching point for trips to popular Chang Island as well as visits to gem markets and Cambodia’s border markets.

3.1   Like Chanthaburi, Trat is a very important ruby-mining province, with the most famous gem market located in Bo Rai district, some 50 km north of the Cambodian border. Shoppers will be impressed with the fact that Trat has more markets for its size than almost any other town in Thailand due to bustling Cambodian and coastal trade.

The region is influenced by the northeast and southwest winds, which sometimes limit ferry transport to islands, particularly from May to October when the southwest monsoon blows. During this period the western coast can suffer heavy rains and storms which prevent ferries and smaller boats from visiting islands. Ferries to Chang operate year-round, but during the rainy season, there could be some delays in departures.

Trat is also a transit point for people travelling to Cambodia, as it is only a 90-minute bus trip to the border at Hat Lek.

Bangkok Airways offers three daily flights to Trat that connect with Chang Island ferry departures.

Chang Island

Chang, or Elephant Island, is part of the Mu Ko Chang National Park. This national park comprises of an archipelago of 52 islands, of which Chang is the largest. Some 429 square km in size, Chang is the second largest island in Thailand after Phuket.

3.2It has lush rainforest greenery and scenic beaches along its western coast. The main part of the island is mountainous with winding narrow lanes, so drivers need to be cautious.

Moving from north to south, the beaches are generally more secluded, less crowded and cheaper. Diamond Sands bay lies towards the northern tip, and Hat khlong Phrao and Hat Kai Bae in the middle. Further south is a backpacker’s enclave at Lonely Beach, or Hat Tha Nam, where travellers can stay in tree houses.

The island offers soft adventure such as rainforest trekking. Visitors also can ride an elephant into the forest.

Many of the bungalow operations around Hat Sai Khao and Hat Kai Bae have kayaks, boogie boards and mountain bikes for rent.

Chang and the nearby islands make up a national park that is a superb location for diving and jungle hiking. The majority of tourists stay at Hat Sai Khao, Hat Kai Muk, Hat Ta Nam, and Laem Bang Bao, linked by a single road running down the west coast.

Attractions

Ban Salak Phet and Ban Rong Than: These fishing villages are located on the southwest of the island. They are popular for homestay accommodation and seafood restaurants, where visitors can get a feel for living like a local. It is also possible to charter inexpensive boats for fishing and diving.

Hat Sai Yao: Situated in the south, not far from Ao Salak Phet, Hat Sai Yao is a long sandy beach ideal for swimming. There is also a vantage point to view nearby islands such as Laoya and Wai, as well as the fishing hamlet of Ao Salak Phet.

Namtok Khiri Phet: Located 3 km, through a rubber plantation from the Salak Phet community, this single-tier waterfall is surrounded by wild orchids and Thai herbs.

Hat Sai Khao: A long powdery white sand beach, this is the island prime’s real estate where most of the upscale resorts are located.

Hat Khlong Phrao and Laem Chaiyachet: This long beach connects with Hat Kai Bae and Hat Sai Khao and features many villa resorts. The north of Ao Khlong Phrao connects to Ao Chaiyachet and Laem Chaiyachet, a rocky cape that juts in to the sea and is popular to view sunsets.

3.3More islands

Mak: This island covers just 16 sq km, but it features natural attractions and the majority of the resorts are located on the island’s northwest and southwest bays, where the most breathtaking views can be enjoyed.

Kut: The island was singled out as a hideaway, as it is less populated than other Thai islands and offers privacy for couples seeking a romantic break. The island’s palm-fringed beaches and charming fishing villages are the main attraction.

Wai: The island features two beaches and basic hut-like accommodation. Most beaches are covered in pebbles rather than sand. But there is some great snorkelling to be found on the shallow reefs off the beaches.

Phrao: Off the southern flank of Koh Chang, this island is noteworthy for its calm environment and uncluttered seaside and coconut groves.

Events

3.4Koh Chang Naval Battle Memorial Day: The event is usually held in June, to pays tribute to brave sailors, who battled with French warships, 17 January 1941, during the First Indochina War. There is an exhibition by the Royal Thai Navy and the centre piece of the festival is the ceremonies to honour the fallen.

Trat Independence Day, 23 March, marks the day the province was returned to Thai sovereignty after French occupation. Celebrations are held at the provincial town hall.

Trat Fruit Fair: Late May or early June, includes displays of folkloric Thai entertainment, agricultural contests, and a beauty pageant, along with food stalls and handicraft sales.

Comments are closed.