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Published: March 26th 2007
Trat Guesthouse Kate: Congratulations to my cousin Claire and her husband Dan on the birth of their second son, Ben Oliver. Welcome to the family Ben!. And Happy Birthday to my Mum for 24th March Kris:
Cute little wooden house
So you know how it is...you're away bumming around a beautiful foreign country looking after elephants...when it all gets a bit tiring - so it was time for a holiday! We had a quiet period at the camp with only one volunteer and too many members of staff, so we decided to go away for a few days. We didn't wanna go too far but didn't fancy the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. So we decided on Trat. We stayed in Trat for one night on the way back from our brief visit to Cambodia and as it was nice and quiet as well as very cheap. It's a small, quiet little country town that largely provides foreigners with a stop over when they're doing a visa run to the Cambodian border - or when they're visitig the resorts on the nearby islands - but we decided it was nice enough in itself for a visit.
So with time on our hands and
few baht in our pockets we grabbed a bus and set off on the road again....
We met a bloke at the bus stop who asked the time. Turned out he'd been in Pattaya a week and was heading for the islands off Trat. He was from Darlington and had friends who lived in Peterlee. What are the chances of that eh? Small world...
Cheap as Chips
On arrival, we checked into Trat Guesthouse (highly recommended by travelfish!) in a nice room for 100 baht a night. That's markedly less than 2 quid. Wow. For that we got a double bed with a fan in the cute wooden guesthouse, and shared a huge spotless bathroom with a hot shower. Not bad. We dropped off our bags we set off to see what delights the town had to offer - enjoying extra cheap beer and a big extra cheap dinner.
Beautiful beaches Kate
: The next morning there was a knock on our door and it was the owner of the guesthouse. He was off to the Cambodian border for the day and wanted to know if we wanted dropping at a beautiful beach near it. We didnt
have any other plans and a nice beach sounded great after the deck chair laden dive that is Pattaya beach, so we agreed. Twenty minutes later we piled into a pickup with another couple from Canada and off we set to Ban Chuen beach.
The beach was stunning. Fine white sand, blue sea, palm trees and nothing around. We were more or less the only people there. There was a tiny little restaurant with some bamboo tables and chairs where we ate, but apart from the people in the restaurant and their dogs, we had the beach to ourselves. We had a great day just chilling out in the sea, on the beach and in hammocks. The Canadian couple, Mark and Val, were excellent company. They were travelling round Asia after finishing their International Development degrees, trying to work out which NGO to work for and where. They had stopped off in Trat for a few days to catch up with emails and job applications, and seemed happy to be our companions for a little while!
The guesthouse owner picked us up at 5pm and drove us to his friend's resort nearby to use the loo and shower.
Well, he described it as a resort, but it wasnt quite finished. It had been a private residence, a huge one by the looks of it, and was a massive wooden house overlooking a lake, with enclosures in the garden holding peacocks. It looks like it will be lovely when they do it up. Im not sure how far it actually was to the beach but they were building a tower at the resort until it was so high there was a view of the beach from the top.
Wet Night Market
When we got back to Trat Val and Mark offered to show us around the Trat night market , where we could eat. That sounded good fun as night markets are always interesting. However, just before we left the heavens opened and there was one very heavy storm! The rain was lashing down. This is quite unusual as we arnt in monsoon season at all, apparantly it is something to do with the end of monsoons in China. Determined not to let it rain off our evening, we decked ourselves out in raincoats and brollies borrowed from the guesthouse, and set off to the nightmarket. We got
Freshwater casturina on the beach
and the forest behind. Alledgedly there are monkeys in it, but unfortunatly we didnt see any. Luckily they didnt come and steal our shoes though.
soaked, and sat and ate outside under a plastic cover as a storm raged on around us, like the true Brits we are!
Helping Trat to Celebrate
The next night we decided to try the night market again, this time without the rain. It was alot better in the dry. After that, Kris, Mark, Val and I went to the Trat Independence Day festival. Celebrating 101 years of Independence from France (I think the province used to be part of French Cambodia). there was a massive stage, Leeds Festival style, with bands playing, lots of stalls, food and music. We had a great evening helping Trat to celebrate, sharing a bottle of Thai whisky and several cans of coke between us (its actually Rum, but they call it whisky for some reason - the important thing being that its very cheap).
In the morning it was time to go back to Pattaya, we could hear the head of the elephant herd calling, far, far away, so we had to say goodbye to our new friends, who we had loads of fun with, and goodbye to our lovely cute guesthouse. I really do recommend the Trat guesthouse, its
pretty and cheap and the owner is really helpful and kind. Trat is a place people seem to just travel through on the way somewhere else, but it is a lovely place to spend a few days chilling out, with lots of cute wooden shophouses down little alleyways, and nice relaxing bars and cafes. It was just what we needed as a get away from Pattaya.
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