Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
The journey from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet was a chance to get used to the madness that is driving again in Thailand. Aranyaprathet is a fairly large town very close to the Cambodian border.
Aranyaprathet to Trat
The route south from Aranyaprathet to Trat was through farming country close to Cambodian border and included an off-bitumen adventure on a rough track through a durian farm.
The elevation had been imperceptibly but inexorably increasing and then, after 30 kilometres or so, the descent to the coast became noticeable.
The shortcut through a produce farm was interesting and illustrative, and not without trepidation and worry about getting the low clearance 2WD vehicle back out again onto the sealed road.
Our course was around around the edge of the Khuan Khereethap Reservoir and then eastwards towards the Cambodian border. The next 35 kilometres was close to this border until we deviated towards Trat.
After overnighting at Trat we made our way to the Koh Chang ferry pier at Ao Thammachat.
Lunch on the Island
On the way to our accommodation at Centara Koh Chang we visited Chai Chet.
Koh Rung Boat Trip
A highlight of the visit to to Koh Chang was a boat trip to Koh Rung, leaving from Ban Dan Mai.
Tour of Koh Chang West Coast
Before heading back to the mainland we drove south along the west coast of the island.
On the southern tip of Koh Chang is the beautiful fishing village of Bang Bao along with numerous holiday resorts.
Time to travel back to the ferry for the trip to the mainland.
Black Sand Beach and Mangroves
Once back on the mainland we headed to the black sand beach/mangrove forest near Laem Ngop. This black sand beach is one of only five in the world. The others are in Taiwan, Malaysia, California and Hawaii.
The beach is surrounded by mangrove forests that are sanctuary for a wide variety of marine life. The forest at Trat was developed and improved by the local people.
Mangroves are flooded daily by seawater. As with other forests, mangroves promote regular seasonal weather. The roots of the plants hold and protect the shoreline preventing erosion. They trap the runoff sediment and marine debris while at the same time providing a habitat for a large number of flora and fauna. They play a part in helping seagrass and corals grow.
The claimed healing properties of the black mud are unproven. The mud is a form of iron/silica/limonite – Fe2O33H2O.
South Coast Beaches
We followed the coast along the closest possible sealed road from one beautiful beach to another. The number of closed resorts was sad, although we found one open at Laem Sing.
Phairi Phinat Fort
The drive following the beaches continued the next day towards Rayong. We stopped at Phairi Phinat fort.
The drive close to the coast continued from one beautiful beach to another.
Chao Lao Markets
We stopped at a market in Chao Lao. Produce and general items on one side of the road and seafood on the other.
The coastal drive continued.
We left the coast and headed north to Wang Nam Khiao, and ultimately Khon Kaen.
© Kim Epton 2022
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