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Trat Starts Here

Unless count the night I spent at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Trat is actually the first place in Thailand I ever properly visited. After flying in from Shanghai one night in February 2010 (and sleeping while I waited for my bus to arrive), I made the very long journey to Koh Mak island.

In spite of this, Trat was not a place I rushed back to as I dug deeper into the Kingdom over the years. Koh Mak and its sister islands are beautiful, but if we’re being honest they pale in comparison to the idylls of the Andaman Sea.

In the totality of my decade-and-a-half exploring Thailand, however, I have returned here several times. And so while this Trat travel guide has taken some time to take shape, I promise you it’s worth the wait.

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How Many Days Do You Need in Trat?

Most of the time, when you find a Trat travel blog, it focuses on just one island. Bangkok expats who spend a weekend on Koh Chang, for example, or bro-packers who make a beeline for Koh Kood because they saw it in a drone video. Very few travelers explore the Trat archipelago as a single destination. Including me: I’ve only done so once—on my 2015 trip, which was sponsored by the TAT.

And this is the thing, when it comes to the discussion of how many days in Trat you need. If you’re just headed to one island, 2-3 nights will probably be sufficient, keeping in mind that getting between Bangkok and that island will take around half a day on either end. However, if you want to see all the islands, I’d say that a full week in Trat is sufficient, with two nights each on Koh Chang and Koh Kood, and three spend between Koh Maak and Koh Wai.

Where to Go in Trat

Koh Chang


The largest island in the Trat archipelago, Koh Chang is also the most developed one, with the most hotels and most frequent connections to the mainland. On the other hand, while popular beaches like Lonely Beach aren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, to me Koh Chang feels like the least spectacular Trat island.

Koh Kood


No matter how many days in Trat you end up spending, I do suggest trying to make it to Koh Kood, It’s the second-largest island after Koh Chang, but is far less developed. This means you need a lot more time and patience—and ideally a motorbike, assuming someone in your group is capable of riding one.

Koh Maak


Koh Maak will always have a special place in my heart, even if I don’t often crave a trip back there. If I do, however, I will definitely leave behind the rather average beaches of the mainland and instead take a day trip over to the Koh Kradat islet.

Koh Wai


While an excursion to tiny Koh Wai (let alone a night spent there) isn’t usually among the top things to do in Trat that people consider, I happen to be a big fan of this idea. Forlorn and almost uninhabited, Koh Wai is definitely the spot in Trat that makes you feel more like you’re in the movie “Castaway.”

Other Trat destinations

Trat City is somewhat unspectacular, and not a place you’ll probably end up spending a lot of time, unless you travel in from Bangkok by bus. The other possibility? Flying to Trat Airport (TDX) via Bangkok Airways, and paying an exorbitant fee for a songthaew to the pier for the ferry to the island of your choice.

What is the Best Island in Trat?

Given that Koh Maak was the first island I visited in Trat—and indeed, the first island I visited in Thailand—you’d think that I would be heavily biased toward it. In fact, it’s probably my least favorite of Trat’s four most popular islands. The beaches just aren’t spectacular, certainly not if you’re coming all the way from Bangkok to experience them. Koh Chang also has little to offer, apart from its position as a hub of the islands.

The leaves Koh Kood and Koh Wai in this Trat itinerary. Koh Kood has many things going for it, from a wide variety of hotels and restaurants, to countless beaches, many of which are basically untouched. Koh Wai probably wins in terms of the sheer wildness of its nature, as well as the extent to which its small size makes it easy to explore. On the other hand, it’s an understatement to say that the accommodations there are spartan.

Other FAQ About Visiting Trat, Thailand

Is Trat worth visiting?

Trat isn’t an especially easy place to visit, but it can be worth it if you set realistic expectations and use your time well. More to the point, I wouldn’t recommend Trat as a weekend trip from Bangkok, but think spending a week island hopping is a very good use of your time.

Is Koh Chang worth it?

Koh Chang, on its own, is not the most impressive or interesting island in Thailand. On the other hand, it makes a fabulous place to touch down once you arrive in the Trat archipelago, and a great launching pad for exploring its other islands.

How many days do you need in Koh Chang?

How many days you spend in Koh Chang depends upon what you plan to do there. If you plan to visit the island as a standalone destination, a day or two is sufficient. On the other hand, if you plan to use it as a base for excursions to Koh Maak, Koh Wai and Koh Kood, 3-5 days makes more sense.

The Bottom Line

I hope you’ve found this Trat travel guide helpful. While the Trat archipelago isn’t as conspicuously postcard-perfect as the islands of the Andaman Sea—or even as Koh Samui and its neighbors—there’s a subtle sense of paradise that shines down on you as you sun yourself on one of their palm-shaded beaches, many of which are basically virgin. What spots like Koh Chang, Koh Maak, Koh Wai and Koh Kood lack in luxury hotels and convenience, they make up for with the feeling that you’ve discovered a place that few know about. Need personalized help putting your Thailand island itinerary together? I do hope you’ll consider hiring me to plan it!


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