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Published: March 26th 2010
Th Sukhumvit (Main road)
The main road in Trat travellers normally see
Trat feels like it has two parts of the city; the busy main drag with its tall buildings and busy road way, and the quiet old-time feeling side streets. This city reminds me of both Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) and Laos (Luang Prabang or Vang Vieng), a surprisingly pleasant mix with a sort of comfortable feel.
Trat seems a city unknown to most travelers, using the nearby ferry terminal at Leam Ngop as a jumping point to Ko Chang and the surrounding islands without giving much of a second thought to the beauty hidden behind the forest. The people seem more relaxed, not so quick to hustle you into their store like what you would experience in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, we haven’t heard one “hello, you come look, try one, you buy”. Our first and only planned day here we thought of walking around town a bit. There is a nice market near the center of town that is mainly Thai and full of delicious smells and interesting sights, a Wat (a temple, it’s full name is Wat Piai Khlong) a lake that is supposed to be nice around sunset, a mangrove forest and a little river with
a path to stroll around. We started off the day by visiting a book shop with a fairly good selection, so I could update my reading collection (Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Scott picked up a newer version of the Lonely Planet Thailand to replace my old torn copy), and decided to walk to the Wat. Bad idea, we got about half way there before I was so covered in sweat you would think I had just gone swimming (I’m still trying to get used to the heat here, it was close to 40º Celsius plus humidity, Scott had somehow overcome this within the first day of being here.). So we turned back and spent the rest of the afternoon with me trying to cool off as well as relaxing in the restaurant of our guest house (Pop guesthouse), and Scott updating us on the situation at hand in Bangkok.
We’ve enjoyed the overall feel of Trat, very peaceful, laid back, and an overall trusting feel. The only downside to this very trusting feel is that; almost too trusting. Neither of us is sure why, the owner of the guest house (a very nice Thai woman with good English), and
Beatuiful old small allyways
there are quite a few very happy younger girls working here, It’s just a different feeling then expected when visiting Thailand.
We leave for Bangkok tomorrow to do some much needed clothes shopping (western clothes are thicker then Thai, so shorts and a t-shirt from Canada are about as bad as wearing jeans and a hoodie), visit MBK (a gigantic shopping mall with something like 8 floor topped off with a movie theatre, I think Scott will enjoy the electronics floor of the mall) and go for some drinks with a friend. After that we are headed north, towards Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai.
As for Trat, I am sad that we couldn’t give it more of a chance; it seems like an often passed over, but amazing city to see. Very small town but with a slight feeling of big city, it is a pleasant mix and we fully recommend it as a stop for all future Thailand bound visitors!!
Update from Bangkok.
Khao San road is not so much Bangkok as it is a street dedicated to mass consumerism as well as a (here comes the over-used description best known from “The Beach”)
There is an ugly concrete walkway the streches the right side.
decompression zone for backpackers entering and exiting Thailand and southeast Asia.
When you get to Khao San it’s still evident that you are in Thailand, but the rules change, the people change. You can’t walk one foot without being asked if you want to have a suit made, go to a ping-pong show, have you the dead skin eaten off of your feet by hundreds of tiny fishes, or hear the call of a toad as a woman covered in hand-made jewellery walks by stroking the back of a wooden frog with a thick wooden stick. It is outlandish and outgoing. The road is vibrant with colour and life, but a tad humiliating and constantly over-bearing.
To truly see the beauty of Bangkok you must forget the “safety net” that is Th Khao San Road and forage outside of its claustrophobic reaches.
The thing about Bangkok is that it’s a hub for travel throughout southeast Asia, it’s almost a must to pass through the city in some way when venturing north to south or vice versa, and makes venturing from Thailand quite easy with the new, large international airport (Suvarnabhumi International Airport). This is a bonus with
I think she looks happy
Bangkok (from our perspective), it isn’t necessary to go through the usual seeing what you can in the city before leaving for us as we know that we will be back again a few times before leaving Asia all together. In our case we spent a few days here (an extra one as we didn’t realize it was st. Patrick’s day until we got here, and celebrated as such at the local Irish pub enjoying the madness of the drunken Irish and wrote off the next day recovering a bit) and are moving on to Chiang Mai tomorrow.
We are looking forward to coming back to Bangkok again, and going through the proper rounds and paying our respects to the sights there are to see. Wat Pho, the floating market, Chinatown, the old city, and possibly the zoo or reptile refuge are all on our list.
Bangkok deserves the proper attention just as any other city to just pass through with nothing else in mind but getting the first bus out would be a wasted opportunity.
Next up is Chiang Mai and some jungle trekking!!
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