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Attractions in Trat province in Thailand

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The irresistible allure of this eastern province, bordering Cambodia and situated some 400 kilometres from Bangkok, has a lot to do with its archipelago of 52 (mostly uninhabited) islands in the Mu Koh Chang National Park.

The quiet provincial capital of Trat, on the other hand, is well known for its gem markets, both in and near the town, as well as boasting several off-the-beaten-path beach resorts nearby. Outside of the town, near the Laem Ngop Pier, where boats depart for Koh Chang, is an airport operated by Bangkok Airways.

The province's capital has a few things going for it, like some lively day and night markets, as well as a bevy of great, reasonably priced seafood restaurants. For a religious and historical experience, head for Wat Plai Khlong, some two kilometres west of the city's heart. More than 200 years old, the temple has a couple of old wooden buildings that date back to the early Ayutthaya period and a number of relics and Buddha images of asimilar vintage.

In the early part of the 20th century, when the illustrious King Rama V was busy modernising the country and outlawing slavery, the Siamese government signed a treaty with France, ceding Trat province to the colonial power, so they would stop occupying the nearby province of Chanthaburi. In order to get the province back, the king gave away areas under Siamese control, like Siem Reap (now a part of Cambodia). This treaty was signed on 23 March, 1906, so locals have come to think of 23 March as their "Independence Day".

But the battle wasn't finished yet. In early 1941, a French armada of warships entered Thai waters, engaging the Royal Thai Navy in battle. Though Thailand lost three battleships, the invaders were eventually driven out during the famous "Koh Chang Naval Battle".

Koh Lao Ya LaYaYa

 

Wat Buppharam

 

Wat Buppharam

 

Trat

 

Trat

 

Ao Khao, Koh Mak

 

Bang Bao

 

Koh Ngam

 

Trat

 

Namtok Khlong Kaeo National Park

 

Ban Khlong Phrao, Koh Chang

 

Koh Rat

 

Koh Mak

 

Koh Mak

 

City attractions in Trat

Wat Buppharam

Located on Plai Khlong Road, the temple dates from the mid-17th century and features the oldest wooden image hall in the country, while the surviving murals are of the early Rattanakosin period. The temple's museum houses a number of ancient relics, Buddha images in different postures, and Chinese and European porcelain.

Wat Yothanimit

Wat Yothanimit or Wat Bot was the temple where King Taksin the Great's followers pledged their loyalty by drinking holy water. This is also the only royal temple in Trat. The mural paintings inside the old ordination hall are an attractive display of Thai art during the Ayutthaya era.

City Pillar

This sacred site, where the city's guardian spirit resides, is housed in a Chinese-style building erected by King Taksin the Great. It is greatly respected by the towns people and located on Plai Khlong Road.

Wat Phailom

This temple is situated on the city's Lak Mueang Road, and is renowned for its role in local education and community development. Other highlights are the garden for meditation, the highly revered Three Monks Museum Chedi, and the multitude of monks and novices known for sticking to a strict moral code.

Laem Sok

Here is the shrine to Krom Luang Chumphon, the father of the Royal Thai Navy. Nearby is Hat Sai Daeng and the fishing villages of Ban Laem Hin and Ban Ao Cho.

Wat Khiriwihan

Located on Trat-Khlong Yai-Hat Lek Road, Amphoe Mueang, the temple sits on a hilltop and provides a commanding view of both forest and sea. The temple, some 110 years old, has an outstanding mixture of traditional and modern architecture.

Wat Saphan Hin

The temple is supposedly around a century old, but there is no evidence saying exactly when it was constructed. In the middle of the pond is situated an old ordination hall, a kilometre from the temple. Some of the most significant parts of this temple are the temple hall, stupa, the royal pavilion of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the monks' cells, and its wealth of Buddhist imagery.

Governor's Residence

This old three-storey building on Lak Mueang Road was once the residence of the French governor when the town was occupied in 1904-1907.

 

 

Out of city attractions in Trat

Bo Rai

The Gem Market in Amphoe Bo Rai is famous for its Siamese rubies, which are world renowned for their clarity and pure red colour. Hua Thung and Song Yo are two of the major markets for the community. Other important ones are Ban Nong Bon, Ban Sa Yai and Ban Ta Ngam. They open very early in the morning and close at 10.00 a.m.

Namtok Khlong Kaeo National Park

The Park in Amphoe Bo Rai occupies 65,525 rai. The Park's officers, who take care of it, can also help you with getting around and bedding down in affordable accommodation. This protected area is rich in plant life. Khlong Kaeo also hasa seven-tier waterfall with each segment boasting its own natural attractions. For instance, up near the fourth tier, visitors can take in a magnificent panorama of Amphoe Bo Rai.

Koh Chang Naval Battle Memorial

Situated at Amphoe Laem Ngop, 17 km. from Trat town along Highway No. 3184, the Memorial commemorates a Franco-Thai naval engagement on 17 January 1941. There is also a Statue of Kromluang Chumphon, the 'Father of the Royal Thai Navy' , and a warship-shaped museum with exhibits of the battle.

Tan Khu Bay

Located 12 km. from Laem Ngop, this bay has a fine sandy beach.

Ao Tan Khu

Located in Tambon Bang Pit, some 2 km. from Amphoe Laem Ngop along Highway 3156, this beautiful beach area has good food for reasonable prices and some decent accommodation.

Ban Hat Lek

Near the border of Thailand and Cambodia in Amphoe Khlong Yai of Trat and Ko Kong of Cambodia on Highway 318, Hat Lek Village is the ideal place to purchase inexpensive goods from abroad. You can also cross into Cambodia here, and get a visa on arrival.

 

Offshore islands in Trat

Koh Chang National Park

This comprises an archipelago of 52 islands, of which Koh Chang is the largest, and the second largest in the country after Phuket. Covering an area of 650 sq. km., it features fine beaches, coral reefs and plentiful marine life, while inland are forested hills and waterfalls, as well as fruit orchards. The best beaches are on the west side spreading from the north to the south, including Ao Khlong Son, Hat Sai Khao, Hat Khlong Phrao and Hat Kai Bae. Contact the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department Tel: 0 2562 0760 Website: www.dnp.go.th

Principal among the other islands are Koh Mak, to the south, which has several beautiful bays and beaches, as well as coral reefs; Koh Kut, the archipelago's second largest island and located in the southern most point of Trat's territorial waters; Koh Wai; Koh Lao Ya; and Koh Kradat. Noted for both deep-water and shallow-water corals are the Mu koh Kra and Mu koh Rang, which are to the west of Koh Mak.

Ferries from the mainland to Koh Chang and other islands depart Laem Ngop Pier, some 20 km. from town, every 45 minutes daily from 6.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (TeI: 0 3953 8318, 0 3959 7434); Centre Point Pier, 3 km. from Laem Ngop, departing every 35 minutes from 7.00 am. to 5.00 p.m. (TeI: 0 3953 8196); and Ao Thammachat Pier, 15 km. from Laem Ngop, departing every 30 minutes daily from 7.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. (Tel: 0 3959 7143).

 

Special events in Trat

Ko Chang Naval Battle Memorial Day

Late January
To experience some real local colour and get a few military history lessons into the bargain, check out the Koh Chang Naval Battle Day. The event pays tribute to the bravery of the sailors in the Royal Thai Navy, who battled the French on 17 January, 1941, during the Indochina War, when French warships trespassed on Thai territorial waters. Honouring the dead with religious ceremonies is on the agenda, as well as an exhibition by the Royal Thai Navy. The centrepiece of the festival is the monument to these waterborne warriors at Laem Ngop.

Trat Independence Day

23 March
Marks the day the province was returned to Thai sovereignty after the French occupation. Celebrations are held at the provincial town hall.

Trat Fruit Fair

Late May or early June
A few of the fun-filled festivities include displays of folkloric Thai entertainment, agricultural contests, and a beauty pageant, along with plenty of food stalls and much merry-making.

 

Accommodation in Trat

Accommodation consists of the hotels in the city with all facilities and nicely decorated wooden bungalows with all the amenities. A list of hotels and resorts can be obtained from the TAT Central Region Office: Region 5 Tel. 0 3959 7255, 0 3959 7259-60 or
Website: www.tourismthailand.org


Restaurants in Trat

The town's two night markets are excellent choices for cheap, Thai fare, but there are plenty of other choices. For starters, try Jiraporn Breakfast, which is one of the oldest Thai-Chinese eateries in town. Not to be missed are the rice porridge known as jok, or the rice soup known as khao tom. It's just down the street from the Trat Hotel. For a real seafood feast par excellence, head for Suan Pu. It has a long-standing and well-earned reputation as the best seafood restaurant in the whole province. What's more, the way that the tables are arranged on wooden piers sitting atop the bay gives it a real maritime ambience. The restaurant is located about 20 minutes southeast of the city at Ban Laem Inn, and also boasts a hotel and crab farm on the premises.


Medical service in Trat

Bangkok Trat Hospital

The hospital is located in the city centre of Trat. This well-equipped facility has English-speaking staff and a 24-hour emergency service. Tel. 0 3953 2735

Local Products

Trat and its provincial neighbours are part of Thailand's "fruit basket" and boast a cornucopia of succulent fruits, like rambutan, durian, pineapple, and sala. The latter product is a tropical plant belonging to the same species as palms, sugar palms and coconuts. When ripe, the fruit has a sweet tang. It is also used in certain Thai dishes instead of lemon anti tamarind.

Trat also has a savoury reputation for producing some of the country's most succulent seafood. And it is home to many a fine restaurant, serving up the freshest catches in a variety of Thai styles, for very affordable prices.

If you're a dog-lover, the province is a breeding ground for a canine species known as lang an Thai,which has a distinctive whorl of hair on its back, and is prized for its intelligence and loyalty.

 

Shopping in Trat

Some of the best buys are Siam rubies, and Thai dessert s and fruits.

 

Useful websites

The free listings guide to "Koh Chang, Trat and the Eastern Islands" has a constantly updated homepage at www.whitesandsthailand.com

For a more irreverent, but equally valuable and also frequently updated website, try www.iamkohchang.com.

 

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Thailand private tours, Bangkok private tours, Chiang Mai private tours, Ayutthaya..., ..., Thai private tour guide,
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