If you have every thought about visiting Thailand, I can pretty much guarantee it was either for the capital, Bangkok; Chiang Mai, Chaing Rai & Pai in the North; or the Islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Phuket in the South. (And if it wasn’t for any of them, then it must have been Pattaya, Krabi, Ayutthaya or Koh Phi Phi!) You see, Thailand has plenty of tourist hubs that have enjoyed a booming business for the past decade or so. The problem now is that – whilst these places are still incredible to visit – they are becoming ‘over-touristed’. It is time to start looking at the off the beaten path destinations, the provinces that have not seen a tourism boom, but are no less beautiful. Enter the province of Trat Thailand.
Bordering Cambodia on the East, Chanthaburi Province in the North and the Gulf of Thailand in the South, Trat is a relatively quiet coastal province that is has recently started to attract an international audience – and for good reason. Koh Chang is the largest tropical island in Thailand after Phuket and home to the Koh Chang National Park (which also encompasses Koh Mak and Koh Kood) with each promoting sustainable and eco-travel initiatives and some of the most beautiful landscapes you are ever going to see in Asia. I’m sure you will be adding Trat to your Thai bucket list in no time!
Disclaimer: My tour around Koh Chang, Koh Mak & Trat Thailand was hosted by Bangkok Airways, The Tourism Authority of Thailand + Take Me Tour, although all opinions, photos taken and incredible food eaten remain entirely my own. Read my full Disclosure Policy here.
Things to Do in Trat Thailand
Sample Village Life in Baan Nam Chiao Old Community
This award winning eco-village prides itself on maintaining a traditional life, and allows tourists to experience it during their visit. Whether it is eating local food, staying in a local’s home, by watching a traditional hat weaving or candy making demonstration or observing the local fishermen as they go about their daily routines. The multi-faith community here have been around for centuries, and is where Muslims and Buddhists continue to live together in harmony. Stay for a few hours or a couple of days and enjoy a simpler way of life.
Paddle Through The Salak Khok Mangrove Forest
A paddle through the mangroves is one of the most spectacular things to do on Koh Chang’s South East coast. The photo above is of a traditional Thai Gondola which, along with a driver, are available to hire up to 4pm each day for a hour long cruise down the river to the ocean and back again.
For the more adventurous, you can also hire kayaks and paddle around the Mangrove forest yourself where you’ll see traditional stilt houses and get a small taste of river life. And once you have worked up your appetite, head back to the village and feast on delicious locally sourced and prepared food at the village restaurant.
Relax on Koh Chang’s Beaches
As with any Island destination, there are beaches aplenty; but in the case of Koh Chang they are almost exclusively found on the West coast of the island. The main – and most touristy area – is White Sand Beach; Lonely Beach is a favorite among the backpackers and party crowd; and Klong Prao Beach is home to the islands longest stretch of sand and generally attracts a slightly older crowd because of its large resorts and quiet atmosphere. And if none of them sound like what you are looking for, consider Kai Bae Beach which has a little bit of everything: touristy, backpacker and family friendly.
Digital Detox on Koh Mak
Koh Mak is easily one of my favorite islands in all of Thailand – and its just off the beaten path enough that it should stay laid-back, quiet and pristine for a few years to come. Designated a low carbon island, and with a limited number of visitors permitted on the island at any given time, it is only accessible by boat and only the locals have cars – which are pretty much only used to transfer guests from the pier to the various guesthouses and hotels.
The wifi is limited, the vibe relaxed and the seafood is incredible. It’s the perfect place for a digital detox and one I would return to again and again.
Get Off The Beaten Path on Koh Kood (Koh Kut)
Koh Kood – also called Koh Kut – it is the 4th largest Island in Thailand, but like Koh Mak there is no car ferry to the Island which means it is usually quiet all year round. It is blessed with 15 beautiful beaches and surrounded by that tropical blue water that Instagram loves so much. If there is anywhere in the world to go to spend some time beach hopping, relaxing and getting a tan – Koh Kood/Ko Kut is just it.
Hike Through the Rainforest on Koh Chang
If lying around on pristine beaches and soaking up the sun whilst sipping on a king coconut is not your cup of tea (or you just fancy doing something a little different for a day) consider heading into the heart of Koh Chang and take a hike through the rainforest. Wander under the shade of sprawls of palm trees, and walk to waterfalls and streams perfect for taking a dip if you get a bit sweaty. Whilst not a huge area to cover, it is one that we would not recommend tackling alone (due to the lack of marked trails) but hire the services of a local guide to help you really get the most of your day.
Explore the Underwater World of Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park
It would be criminal to tour the province of Trat and it’s islands without donning a mask + snorkel and taking a peek at the incredible underwater world around it. The corals are pristine, the tropical fish plentiful and with the possibility of sighting sea turtles and rays, be sure you have your GoPro at the ready!
And that’s a wrap! Have I convinced you to add Trat Thailand to your bucket list? I hope so!
If you want to share this hidden gem, pin the image below or share on Twitter, Flipboard or Facebook – sharing is caring! (But don’t share too far, we don’t want to ruin it!)
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