Trat Culture & Local
The province of Trat borders Cambodia, separated by the Khao Banthat mountain range. The city of Trat is an iconic holiday destination because of it’s blend of traditional Thai charm with modern nightlife that accommodates western lifestyles. The temple Wat Bupharam reflects this idea as it is built in early Rattanakosin (late 1800s) architectural style and houses ancient relics such as Buddha statues and European porcelain items. This points to early commercial exchange with the wider world that Trat continues to engage in today. The most famous local products come from fruit harvesting and gem mining. The most famous produce is Rakam Wan, a sweet variety of palm fruit, followed by the Trat Si Thing Pineapple as well as an herbal rubbing oil called Namman Lueang. Gem miners revere the precious Siamese Ruby, especially now that their numbers are depleted and becoming increasingly rare.
Accommodation in Trat depends on how the city plays into your travel plans. For those taking advantage of Trat’s proximity to the islands, guesthouses such as Residang Guesthouses, Trat Center or The S.A. Hotel provide housing within a short distance of the pier as cheap as 600 baht a night. Those looking to get more familiar with the city can stay at higher end places such as the Mairood Resort, Centara Chaaan Talay Resort & Villas, or Banpu Resort and Spa. Travelers on a budget won’t have a hard time finding a place to lay your head. The Laoya Inland Resort and Suan Sam Chan Beach Resort are even more affordable options to enjoy the beach and the town. Because of Trat’s notoriety as a launching point to the islands, all sorts of people with all sorts of motivations find their way to Trat.
Things to do in Trat
Religious buildings such as the Chinese City Pillar, Wat Buppharam and Wat Plai Klong all attract interest from travelers. The City Pillar is known for its incredible color and ornate carvings while Wat Buppharam holds the largest Teak Buddha in the world. For natural beauty, the Saphan Hin waterfall lies off the 318 highway and is a big destination for Thai nationals. Thailand is the only southeast Asian country that escaped colonialism, but Trat is unique in that the French briefly occupied the area. Although they did not impart much cultural significance, the remnants of their presence can be seen at the historical sight of the former colonial governor's mansion at Residang Rampart on Rhak Muang Road. If architecture or natural features is not for you, there are opportunities to ride an elephant tour and stroll through the canopy.
Getting Around Trat
If you plan on doing more than lounging on the beaches in Trat there’s the issue of getting around. The town is small enough to walk, but there are also renting options of pedal bikes and motorbikes to cover ground faster. If you’d rather not bear that responsibility there are motorbike taxis that can take you anywhere in town including of course the bus terminal and the pier. These rides go for around 30 baht. The alternative is to catch a Tuk Tuk that charges 20 Baht per person.