Thailand being one of the richest and most diverse countries in the world, there's no shortage of amazing things to discover.
And one of the (hidden) gems of the country you must visit is Trat.
The southeastern province of Thailand, at the border with Cambodia, is home of over 56 islands, tons of natural resources, and a rich cultural heritage.
But truth is, for many expats and tourists like me, we just know it for Koh Chang and as an island-hopping destination.
So when I was offered a trip to go explore the province, with an itinerary that shows us the different cultures, heritage, and ways of life, I was in.
That 3 days itinerary was specifically created to boost the local economy and promote an eco-responsible and sustainable tourism that help communities.
And oh boy, this trip delivered.
It was everything I expected and more.
I hope that like me, it will inspire you to explore this part of Thailand, and to visit the other side of Trat, to meet with locals, see how they live and to travel differently.
If you want to see how rich Thailand is in terms of culture and history, and how nice and genuine Thai people are, this kind of itinerary will give you just that.
- Day 1 : Bangkok - Trat
- Day 2 : Trat - Koh Chang
- Day 3 - Koh Chang - Chanthanaburi - Bangkok
- About the tour
Day 1 : Bangkok - Trat
The trip started early in Bangkok where we got to meet with the crew for the next 3 days (and what a crew, more on that later).
Then we hopped on a van, heading to Trat province, about 4 to 5 hours from Bangkok
Stop at CHIM for local food and coffee
Our first stop was at a local cafe/restaurant on the road, Chim Cafe.
Don't worry, I'm not gonna list each and every stop of the trip but this place, quite frankly in the middle of nowhere, just reminded of how far the cafe culture has come in Thailand.
It has expended way beyond Bangkok and Chiang Mai and as a coffee enthusiast, I can only appreciate the fact that we can now find great coffee everywhere.
The food there was delicious too and just look at that cafe! What a place to enjoy a good cup.
It looks absolutely amazing, and has a great selection of cafes, with all sorts of beans from different origins, both from Thailand and different regions of the world.
I'm really excited to see this kind of cafes popping up everywhere and I can't wait to try more places like this in Thailand and across the world.
Visit of the Chinese Goddess Shrine (+ Lion Dance)
Next stop, and really the main activity of the first day, we went to visit a Chinese temple where we were greeted by a Lion Dance.
This is the kind of traditionnal Chinese dance you often see during Chinese New Year, but we were quite blessed to have it just for us and to have a chance to try the Lion's head (see photos below).
This community was amazing and we were welcomed by huge smiles and laughs by everyone.
We got the chance to try some activities, like making local snacks with fresh coconuts and sticky rice, creating bracelets, and finished with a traditional Thai dance (that we tried to join without much success 😁).
After about 2 hours there, it was time to go catch the sunset and eat dinner at our next stop, Mai Rood Community.
Dinner at Mai Rood community
Mai Rood is a local fishermen community where we got the chance to eat fresh local seafood, including crabs, prawns, a delicious chili fish, and to try mantis prawns. A first for me.
All the food there was as fresh as it can get and the spices just strong enough to get your mouth on fire.
But the best thing about that dinner was the beautiful view and how peaceful the area is.
Something you always appreciate when you live in big chaotic cities like Bangkok.
Chasing Fireflies in the mangrove
Then to finish the day we hopped on small barges to navigate through the mangrove at night in search for fireflies.
Cruising on the canal in the complete dark, we managed to find trees lighten up like Christmas trees by these small insects.
Unfortunately, that's really an experience hard to describe or capture, but it's unique and highly recommended if you got the chance.
You probably won't see anything like that anywhere else
Day 2 : Trat - Koh Chang
We got to rise up early to take a few photos on the beach for the gram.
Because did it really happened if you don't post about it on IG?
Then we jumped on the van and headed to our first stop of the day, Trat museum.
Visit Trat Museum
Trat Museum relates the history of the province that dates back to centuries BC.
It also tells the story of how Trat was a key province when the King of Thailand retreated after the invasion of the Burmese or how the Thais had to kick out the French of that province, twice. (oops)
Explore the Mangrove Jungle in Ban Tha Ranae
Next stop and another community for another fun activity.
We went on a boat ride to explore the mangrove jungle.
A first for me. And quite an experience.
The way the mangrove jungle is shaped is absolutely amazing and beautiful to see.
And we got the chance to walk in the mangrove forest!
Then after a quick lunch, we made our way to Koh Chang for our last activity of the day.
Paddle boat trip in Salak Kok community
Koh Chang is well known by expats in Thailand as a beach destination, and a good place to party and relax after long stressful weeks in Bangkok.
But the best thing about visiting Thailand with travel agencies, is you do stuff you would probably not normally do.
A paddle boat trip in Salak Kok community is one of them. And quite frankly, it was one of the best things I've ever done in Thailand.
If you're going to Koh Chang, it's a must.
That part of the island is stunning, peaceful and those guys are skilled.
The only thing that was missing for us was a few beers or some good rum and I really wished it would have last longer.
Honestly, neither my words nor the photos do it justice, but I really hope they're enough push you to do it whenever you're going to Koh Chang.
After that incredible moment, we hopped on the van again to go to the other side of the island to finish our day in paradise.
Stay in Paradise
Last but not least, we checked in at Koh Chang Paradise Resort and Spa.
And they couldn't find a better name for a hotel that is located in a place that looks like paradise.
Everything is amazing there, starting with the fine sand beach, the crystal clear and hot water, the quality of the rooms, how nice the staff is…
I can't say enough good things about that place.
Oh, and to make it even better we finished with a delicious dinner on the beach.
Leaving Koh Chang and heading to Chanthanaburi for the last part of the trip.
First stop, a visit of the Chantaboon Waterfront community.
Visit Chanthaboon Waterfront community
This place is simple and vibrant.
Everything there catches your attention. The looks, the smells, the sounds... just walking into this street is an experience.
Lots of cafes and restaurants by the river, small mom and pop shops selling anything from local snacks to Chinese medicine, quite a vibe.
And like in most places these days, the cafe game is strong there. So much that I’m planning a small 3 days retreat to go visit the area and try some of these great cafes.
If you're a digital nomad or have the chance to work remotely, I could definitely see it as a great place to work for a few weeks or more.
Eat at Chantorn Pochana (Maharaj)
Then for lunch, we stopped at Chantorn Pochana, a traditionnal Thai restaurant that specializes in local dishes, including a really popular fruit that grows in the region, Durian.
The least I can say is I’m not a big durian fan. The king of fruits as they call it didn't find a place in my heart.
But I must admit, when prepared well, it does taste good.
We had the chance to try a Som Tum Durian, a Masaman Curry with durian, and some other dishes and it was really good.
The food there is top-notch. Really Thai style, so be ready for flavors and level of spices you’re not used to if you don’t live in Asia. But overall it’s worth the stop.
Visit The Blue Church (Pak Nam Khaem Nu Temple)
Right after lunch, we stopped at the Pak Nam Khaem Nu Temple, also called the Blue Church.
To attract more tourists, the local community had the idea to renovate the temple with white and blue porcelain.
The result is definitely intriguing and definitely catches the attention. It's really unlike any temple you've seen.
But don't forget to bring a pair of sunglasses as the porcelain reflect light and will make it hard to keep your eyes open, even on a rainy day.
Stop by the viewpoint in Chanthaburi
Last stop before heading back to Bangkok, the viewpoint of Chanthaburi.
Then it was time to end the trip after a 3-day itinerary packed with so many different activities and experiences.
About the tour
This travel itinerary was created and organized by SiamRise Travel, a Thai travel agency that specializes in environment friendly and activities that support local communities and sustainable travel, in partnership with Dasta Thailand, a governmental agency in charge to promote eco-friendly and sustainable travel.
I had the chance to be invited with other bloggers and influencers to try that itinerary before it's officially launched and honestly I highly recommend it.
Group tours are all about the company that organizes them and people that tag along with you.
From that first experience with Siamrise Travel, it’s obvious that their team is passionate about what they do and they’re guides are as entertaining as they are knowledgeable. I highly recommend you book with them.
As for people on that trip, all fellow bloggers and influencers, it was just the best group you could ever wish for with genuine and fun people.
We were really blessed to have the most amazing group you could wish for.
If you want to see more about this trip and life in Thailand in general, go follow these beautiful people.
So from left to right you have:
- Ting - Our guide from SiamRise Travel
- Keith and Joe - @Adventures While Black (IG)
- Tori - @Toritalks (IG)
- Erik - @Minority Nomad (IG)
- Mathilde Alice - @Mathilde Alice (IG)
- Kate - @Go Where Kate Goes (IG)
- Nunny - Our other guide from SiamRise Travel
- Paul - @Chow Traveler (IG)
- Shayan - @Dose of Life (IG) (Read his post about Trat)
- Pedro (behind the camera) - Pedro Medeiros Photography (IG)
If you made it all the way til here, all props to you because that was a long-ass post.
So now that you're here, let me know what is your favorite part about the itinerary.
And as always, if you have any questions, about the itinerary or other things to do and places to suggest in Trat, please leave them in the comments below.