Difference between revisions of "Trat"
Revision as of 16:54, 24 November 2012
Trat is the capital of Trat Province, located on the Cambodian border in Southeastern Thailand. Most travellers will use Trat as an access point to Ko Chang island.
Tiny Trat Airport (TDX) is served only by Bangkok Airways from Bangkok. Alternatively (and much cheaper), a 1st class bus service connects Trat directly with Suvarnabhumi Airport (the new BKK).
Buses to Trat depart from Bangkok's Eastern (Ekamai) and Northern (Moh Chit) Bus Terminals (5 hours). From Ekamai buses run frequently throughout the day with the evening bus schedule less frequent at 17:30, 19:00 and then an overnight bus at 24:00. 1st Class is around 240 baht and the government-run bus has a nice 2nd class (air-con but no toilet) for 188 baht.
If attempting to go to the border with Cambodia AND continue onward to Phnom Penh via one of the regular Cambodian bus services the same day, it is advisable to take one of the overnight buses from Bangkok to Trat. The overnight buses will arrive at the Trat bus depot very early in the morning and you can then catch the first morning mini-bus from the Trat bus depot to the border post itself.
The regular Cambodian buses that leave Koh Kong for Phnom Penh depart Koh Kong around 08:00, so in order to catch the bus you do need to be across the border when it first opens in the morning or shortly thereafter. Taking a mid-day bus from Bangkok does ultimately put you into Koh Kong either too late to cross the border (border is not a 24-hour operation) the same day or too late to catch the bus onward to Phnom Penh. In these cases you will have to spend the night in a hotel on the Thai or Cambodian side before moving onward.
To go straight out to the border by minivan costs(~120 baht) to cross over to Koh Kong
Regular connections from Chanthaburi and other provincial capitals are also available from the Trat bus depot.
On the east side of the main market building is the local share-taxi departure area, you can't miss the blue cars and pick-ups. Departures toward most provincial villages leave when the vehicle is full, including those to Haad Lek. Connections from there are available onward to the Cambodian border and Koh Kong.
The town is sufficiently small to make walking the best mode of transport, although there is little to do besides explore the small streets and relax. If needed, a motorbike taxi will take you just about anywhere in town, including to the bus terminal, 20 baht.
Trat can be a starting point for a motorcycle trip to Ko Chang. Rentals of Honda and Yamaha motorbikes, in good condition, can be hired at the shop on Sukhumvit south of the market area (~200 baht). Drive south along Sukhumvit for about 45 minutes, and follow signs for the ferry quay. Be sure to top up with petrol before taking the ferry, as fuel prices on the island are rather high. Also, caution is required when driving on the island as the roads, although in excellent condition, are steep and winding, extremely so in some instances. (Furthermore, if bringing your motorbike on the ferry you have no choice but to immediately go over the most dangerous hill, since it lies between the ferry piers and all the beaches. Carrying maps of Ko Chang and Trat province is advisable, as the routes are not always clear.
Cycle around the scenic lake which is just a few minutes cycle away from Trat town centre. Its about 10 km around the lake and is scenic the whole way around. There are a few places to eat and drink as well. Hire a bicycle from Tattoo Guesthouse opposite Pop Guesthouse for 50 baht for all day. Use the bike also to go shopping at the huge Tesco Lotus supermarket on the edge of town. It has an excellent pharmacy. Unfortunately there is no Aeon Bank ATM here like other Tesco locations around the country, as theirs is the only ATM that is free to use. All others have a fee of 150 baht.
Have a 2 hour kick boxing lesson in the ring, at Tattoo Guesthouse.
Resident expats have set up a few used bookshops which provide English and German books at fair prices. They can be found in the small streets south of the central market.
Trat offers some of the best value hotels and guesthouses in Thailand.
Travel a bit further down the side streets south of the market off the main road (Sukhumvit) to find the guesthouse area with more choices and a bit more character.