Trat Province is the furthest east area of Thailand, found along the coast and bordering Cambodia, famous for its beautiful islands, which have become a popular touristic escape destination. The white sandy beaches and clear blue waters have made it one of the quintessential places of Thailand, loved for its stunning scenery, inviting resort towns and untouched ocean environment. Also famous for its gemstone industry, Trat Province is located 315 kilometres from Bangkok, contains the Khao Banthat mountain range and is a significant fishing a fruit-growing area of the country.
One of the most popular islands of Trat Province is Ko Chang, which is the third largest island in Thailand and made up of interesting cliff faces and mountains beside the sea, and indeed, most islands in the area offer similar relaxed sandy beaches. There are not many cities in the province, but the capital is Trat Town, which has a population of 20,000, contains a bustling market of authentic Thai cuisine, the Wat Buppharam 17th Century temple, bars playing live Thai music and local handcraft shops. Other key spots for visitors to explore are Laem Ngop, a coastal fishing village, Hat Lek, an interesting town on the border with a combination of cultural goods, and the collection of mainland beaches like Tap Tim Beach and Mai Root Beach. There are plenty of opportunities to hike freely in the mountainous coastal scenery of Trat Province or for more structured events, where visitors can participate in local fruit picking experiences that offer an immersive Thai lifestyle at a village orchard.
Visitors can access Trat Province from the capital, Bangkok, by plane, car or bus, which leaves from the central terminal to Trat Town, which connects to local services travelling to main sights and cities. The journey from Bangkok by bus can take up to eight hours, but visitors can choose to ride in air-conditioned buses. From major coastal towns, there at boat piers and ferry ports with connections to nearby islands.
Originally called Mueang Thung Yai, the area of Trat gained significance during the 17th Century, when under the reign of Prasat Thong, King of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. It had a strategic location on the eastern coast as a trading checkpoint before being occupied as part of French Indochina. Trat was returned to Thailand in 1907 due to the rebellious behaviour of its people under French rule.