Trat is Thailand's eastern-most province, located about 315 kilometers from Bangkok. This small province borders on Cambodia with the Khao Banthat mountain range forming a natural demarcation. With 52 large and small offshore islands, long white sandy beaches and unspoiled coral reefs, Trat offers delightful scenery and a tranquil hideout for nature-lovers. The province also serves as a major fruit-growing and fishing area.
The city of Trat is a starting point for Ko Chang island group or forays into outlying gem and Cambodian markets. Those enthralled by shopping will be delighted as Trat has more markets for its size than almost any other town in Thailand due to Cambodian coastal trade.
Like Chanthaburi, Trat is a very important ruby-mining province, with the most famous gem market located in Bo Rai District, some 50 kilometers north of the Cambodian border.
With an area of 2,819 square kilometers, the province is administratively divided into the districts of Muang, Khao Saming, Laem Ngop, Khlong Yai and Bo Rai, and the sub-districts of Ko Chang and Ko Kut.
The weather in and around Trat is very comfortable with warm temperatures throughout the year. The region is influenced by the northeastern and southwestern winds, which sometimes limit sea transport to a group of islands particularly from May to October when the southwest monsoon blows. During this period the western coast can be wet and stormy and occasionally unsafe for ferries and smaller boats to lift anchor. However, visitors can still visit the islands via the normally more popular routes, most of which are to the northeast of Ko Chang, anyway.
The history of Trat can be traced back to the reign of King Prasat Thong of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Formerly known as Muang Thung Yai, Trat has played an important role in the development of country's stability and economy due to its strategic location. The town of Trat has later become a community of Chinese Merchants.
Trat served as a checkpoint and buffer city in 1767 and was responsible for providing provisions to King Taksin the Great before he moved his navy from Chanthaburi to Ayutthaya, where he expelled the Burmese and liberated the Kingdom from Burmese rule.
In the Ratanakosin period, during the reign of King Rama V, Trat played an important role again in stabilizing the country's sovereignty. King Rama V made an agreement with the French government (who had also taken Chanthaburi under its supervision) to get Trat back. In doing this, Phra Tabong, Siamrat and Sri Sophon were traded off.
During the Indochina War, the French Navy tried to seize Trat again. The French Thai Battle broke out on 17 January 1941 at Ko Chang. The Thai Navy successfully drove out the French Navy.