You might think of Trat as an ordinary province capital town with a few nice temples, cheap market shopping and a low pace of life. While this is true, there is a lot more to central Thailand’s eastern-most province that made me stay more than just one night while on my way to and from Koh Chang and its neighbor islands Koh Mak and Koh Kood.
Most of the foreign tourists find accommodation in the various budget hotels on and around Thanon Thana Charoen in downtown Trat (see the map below). From there you can basically walk to most of the attractions I’m listing below. If you want to go out further, some guesthouses also have bicycles (50 baht a day) or motorcycles (from 150 baht a day) available for rent.
Temples in Trat
There are two temples in downtown Trat and they are both within walking distance from Thanon Thana Charoen: Wat Yotha Nimit and Wat Phai Lom. The latter one is located within a large garden complex with a pond which makes a favorite hangout spot for young local Trat people (and cocks).
Wat Yotha Nimit (วัดโยธานิมิตร)
Wat Phai Lom (วัดไผ่ล้อม)
Trat Swiftlet Farming
One of the first things you will notice when sitting on a songthaew from the bus terminal to downtown Trat is the noise of birds. The reason behind this is a thriving business of the city: Swiftlet Farming. Especially the area around Thanon Lak Meuang has dozens of shophouses that have converted their top floors into nesting sites for birds that produce edible nests – considered as a delicacy especially for Chinese people.
Swiftlet’s nests used to be quite rare and expensive because they could only be harvested from precipitous sea caves by trained, daring climbers. Starting in the 1990s, entrepreneurs figured out ways to replicate the cave atmosphere in multi-storey shophouses and the business has become a turn-key operation throughout Southeast Asia and especially Trat. (Source: Lonely Planet)
Trat Traditional Wooden Houses
An attraction itself while walking around downtown Trat make the beautiful traditional wooden shophouses.
Medical Herbal Oil
The most famous local product of Trat is the medical herbal oil, in Thai called nam man leuang (น้ำมันเหลือง). It’s a remedy for any kind of skin pain like bug bites or even arthritis and stomach pain. There is only one company that produces the herbal oil, founded by the local Chinese-Thai resident Mae Ang-Ki (Somthawin Pasananon) that uses a secret pharmaceutical recipe.
Be careful when buying the herbal oil. There are a lot of fake versions of nam man leuang sold around Trat, even at some pharmacies that try to rip off unaware foreign tourists. The safest way to buy it is at your guesthouse, the standard price is 100 baht per bottle.
Nightlife in Trat
As with most other small province capital towns that don’t have a Central shopping mall yet, most of the locals hang out at the night market in the evening. However there are quite a few very nice bars with live music in Trat and especially on Friday and Saturday nights you’ll be surprised about the different vibe after sunset in this generally very relaxed and easy-going town.
Find the full post about the nightlife in Trat as well as the best bars in town here.
Besides all the mentioned things to do I found there’s even more to discover in Trat. Just by strolling around town randomly you’ll discover more interesting sites – like this scenic walkway just behind Thanon Thana Charoen.
Map of Trat Highlights
How to get to and from Koh Chang & Koh Kood
If you are in town just for continuing on to the islands of the Koh Chang archipelago, check out this post for your transport options.