I had by no means heard something about Trat, and I by no means meant to remain there.
All indications have been that this city in southeastern Thailand was only a transit level on the way in which to Cambodia or the Koh Chang Archipelago.
I did a number of net searches on Trat and located… not a complete lot. Just some mentions and solely the barest of journey guides. I concluded that it should be merely some uninteresting business hub alongside the Freeway three — a spot to catch your subsequent bus and never a lot else.
And so my plan was to reach in Trat and catch a speedboat to the island of Koh Kood right away. However I missed the boat, forcing me to remain in what I assumed could be a forgettable place.
Possibly it have been my low expectations, however I truly beloved my keep in Trat.
With no reservation in hand, it took me only a minute to seek out some lodging, as I shortly noticed a “rooms accessible” signal exterior Orchid Restaurant. Whereas the restaurant seemed a tad shabby, it had a stunning backyard with hammocks on the again with a number of good and shiny wood-paneled visitor rooms. I paid simply 150 Baht (or $four.50) for the night time.
With two different vacationers I met in Cambodia I went out to discover. We took a stroll round Wat Phai Lom, an unremarkable but beautiful Buddhist temple surrounded by ponds full of massive catfish. A couple of locals got here right here for a stroll or a run, whereas monks quietly tended to the park.
We then weaved by way of Trat’s small warren of slender streets lined with conventional wood homes. I beloved merely taking on the street life right here. At a small dojo, a brief skinny lady was kicking the dwelling shit out of an harmless punching bag. (For those who really feel an urge to do the identical, you possibly can join 2-hour Muay Thai kickboxing classes.)
Sprinkled all through this neighborhood have been only a handful of guesthouses, amongst these the intriguing Artist’s Place [Booking.com, Agoda]. We ate reverse at Pier 112, a restaurant with a cool and fairy-lights-filled backyard providing conventional Thai and vegetarian choices.
It was a pity I used to be solely staying right here for one night time. The following morning I spent my remaining time simply wandering the native market, a quiet riot of colour and abuzz with exercise. In contrast to some markets in Bangkok, there have been no touts nor any indicators saying “no photographs please”.
I suppose Trat could appear uninteresting to some. I’ll admit probably the most thrilling factor you may be doing right here might be a little bit of kayaking on the river. There aren’t any massive resorts right here, no go-go bars, no backpacker excursions, no falang pricing.
It’s only a city with some good meals, some low-cost and good locations to remain, and loads of native environment. And that simply hit the spot for me.