Pockets of paradise: 5 best New Year getaways in Trat
With the New Year holidays coming up, many people may be looking for a quick getaway.
Here The Nation takes you to the province of Trat, some 300 kilometres from Bangkok, to the extreme southeast of Thailand.
Sharing a border with Cambodia on one side and the Gulf of Thailand on the other, Trat offers a host of activities and 52 idyllic islands to explore.
Here we offer you four islands and an unusual beach to consider:
Part of Mu Koh Chang National Park, this is Thailand's second-largest island after Phuket.
Thanks to its size, Koh Chang boasts of many unspoilt beaches, waterfalls and diving spots. There is also plenty of hiking terrain thanks to forested hills and cliffs.
Its most popular beaches are White Sand, Klong Prao, Kai Bae and Lonely Beach. Visitors also like checking out the Khlong Phlu and Than Mayom waterfalls as well as the Ban Salak Khok community.
The island also has many activities to offer including elephant rides, sailing and diving.
We advise travellers to stay overnight because the island is large and it will take more than just a day to explore. There are plenty of hotels to hang your hat with prices ranging between a few hundred to several thousand baht.
This starfish-shaped island lies between Koh Chang and Koh Kood and boasts of sparkling beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Tourists can go snorkelling or jump in a canoe to go island hopping.
The less adventurous can pose for stunning photos at the Cinnamon Scenic Boardwalk that is part of the Cinnamon Art Resort and Spa or enjoy a cocktail at Koh Mak Cococape Resort.
Tourists can also check out Suan Yai Bay, Blue Pearl Bar, Laem Tukata, Laem Son and Ao Kao Beach.
There are plenty of hotels offering rooms at a variety of prices.
Designated as an “Unseen Thailand” location, this island lies to the northeast of Koh Mak.
It has a flat “paper-like” topography with Alocasia – kradat in Thai – trees growing wild, hence the name.
The 1,200-rai (192-hectare) island is covered in lush green grassland, perfect for the resident deer, while along its edge it has a long, white sandy beach with beautiful coral reefs.
This is the only island in Thailand that is privately owned and to visit, tourists will have to buy a package tour offered by Koh Kradat Resort.
Call (089) 099 7919 for more information.
Koh Kood (Ko Kut)
Despite being Thailand’s fourth-largest island, Koh Kood has remained an unspoilt haven of crystal clear waters, sparkling beaches, colourful coral and waterfalls.
There are several resorts on the island and the main activities other than relaxation are walking, canoeing or diving. Tourists can check out the Ao Salat or Klong Mard sea gypsy villages.
Tourists can also check out the Khlong Chao, Khlong Yai Kee and Huang Nam Kaew waterfalls, or sunbathe on Khlong Chao, Ao Takhian, Ao Tapao and Ao Phrao beaches to name a few.
There are plenty of resorts and mid-range hotels on the island for different budgets.
Black Sand Beach
Located in Trat’s Laem Ngop district, this unusual beach is one of only a handful in the world and is protected under Thailand’s natural destinations development project.
Locals believe that black sand is filled with beneficial minerals and wallowing in it will help improve your health.
Apart from the unusual beach, visitors can check out the Laem Ngop lighthouse and stop to admire a stunning sunset over the Gulf of Thailand.
Trat is earning a name for itself as a responsible tourism destination as travellers become aware of community-based tourism initiatives. Among these are the Ban Nam Chieo fishing village, where Buddhists and Muslims live and work in harmony.
Apart from enjoying peaceful surroundings, visitors can try a “chicken-coop spa” massage at the Ban Chang Thun eco-village – a strangely therapeutic therapy that can offer a perfect end to your vacation.