Trat Tourist Attractions
Trat is a bustling commercial town built on alluvial land on the Gulf of Thailand. It is the last town in the south-eastern tip of Thailand and is situated in close proximity to the Cambodian border. The main attractions are the islands off the coast including Koh Chang and the jewel mines of the surrounding area.Just beyond Trat the country of Thailand narrows to a 88-km (54-mi.) long strip of land with outstanding scenery. As a rule the journey on Highway 318 to Khlong Yai is unproblematic but further south-east there can be military check points on the road to the border town of Ban Lek (unstable area at times).By car: from Chanthaburi Highway 3 (75 km (47 mi.)).By bus: from Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal.During the 1970s the province of Trat became internationally famous for the huge camps where Vietnamese and Cambodians fleeing from the Pol-Pot regime took refuge. Hundreds and thousands fled across the open sea, often in tiny fishing boats. From 1986 Thailand has refused to take in any more refugees and two of the camps which each housed 60,000 people have been torn down. Following the peace agreement between the warring factions of the Cambodian civil war in October 1991 the refugees are to be returned to their homeland.
After Phuket and Koh Samui, Koh Chang is the third largest island in Thailand. It is still relatively unspoilt, with secluded beaches, fascinating jungle with waterfalls (Nam Tok Tham Mayom is especially beautiful), and an abundant variety of flora and fauna. At present there is only basic accommodation. Access is from the small port of Laem Ngop (20 km (12 mi.) from Trat; about 1 hour).The largest settlement on Koh Chang is the pretty fishing village Klong Son where some of the houses are built on stilts. Among the magnificent beaches are Ao Sapparot ("Pineapple Bay"), Klong Phrao and Hat Sai Khao (all have exceptionally white sand). Beyond the beaches lie dense forests, and the large coconut and rubber plantations provide the second most important source of income for the islanders after fishing. From the mountains, which reach up to 800 m (2624 ft), there is a unique view over the island of Koh Chang.
The town, like Chanthaburi, is an important center for precious stones. There are numerous mines around Chanthaburi and Trat where rubies, sapphires and other precious stones are extracted by open cast mining. It is possible to visit independently; in Pattaya, the usual departure point for a visit to Trat, travel agencies organize tours.