Thailand: The Friendly Smiles of Thai People in Trat Province

Everything became familiar as we scoured around the open-aired night market. It was déjà vu when I saw the cheap and yummy food on the hawker area and when I heard the distinct intonation of the locals. In this southeastern province of Thailand, the people are friendly and hospitable, in total contrast with the snobbish ones in other parts of the country.

Me and my buddy walked our way from Cham Yeam Border (Cambodia) to Hat Lek Border (Thailand) not minding a few touts. Some were offering a faster immigration processing and another woman was offering to transport our backpacks through her heavy cart, we begged off politely.

As we've experienced land border crossing from Thailand to Laos, Thailand to Cambodia, and Cambodia to Vietnam some years ago, we knew what to expect right away. Nonetheless, it was a swift border crossing and in minutes, we were in a different country, yet again.

Cambodia to Thailand Border
Cambodia to Thailand Border Crossing
Thailand was the third leg of our Same Same Summer Trip 2017, our annual two-month backpacking trip, after exploring Malaysia and Cambodia. And Trat was our first stop.

We boarded a cramped van going to the provincial capital town of Trat (or sometimes they call it Trad) in the province of Trat. The one-hour journey from the border was smooth and we were dropped off at Trat Central Bus Station, literally.

Trat Thailand Blog
Trat Town
We arrived at the bus station and remained on our seats while our driver threw our bags on the ground. Asking him if whether we should alight at this stop, he just shouted, “Go down, go down!”. Feeling his rage, we immediately went out of the van and collected our backpacks while he sped off. That was the first and last snob person we encountered on this side of Thailand.

Trat Thailand Blog
Thana Charoen Road
A lady staff assisted us on a songthaew (Thailand’s two-bench pick-up truck) heading to the town center reminding us that we should only pay THB30 (USD0.90) each for the fare. We asked the driver on a nice area for accommodation and he dropped us along Thana Charoen Road, considered as Trat’s backpacker district. Well, it wasn’t as lively as Bangkok’s Khao San Road or Phuket’s Bangla Road but cheap lodgings are located in this area.

Tattoo Guesthouse Trat Thailand
Tattoo Guesthouse
We settled at Tattoo Guesthouse because it was the cheapest in the area plus, the lady host was friendly (check here for discounted rates).

The garden-like setting had a homey feel to it that it felt like we’re on a friend’s backyard back home in the Philippines. We intended to stay only for a night so we opted for a private detached room (that could pass as a villa) with its own toilet/bath, bed, TV, fridge, free wi-fi and a balcony for THB400 (USD12.42) per night.

Tattoo Guesthouse Trat Thailand
Basic Accommodation
We rested a bit and decided to have our overdue lunch somewhere. We followed our instincts and strolled along the main road to look for our food options. We then felt that we were leading nowhere as no signs of eateries were around.

I asked someone on a hardware store on the best place to grab a bite and because of the language barrier, it took us some time to finally communicate. With the help of the owners and the staff, they showed us the way by going out of the store then pointed us to the right direction.

Trat Thailand Blog
Twilight in Trat
We arrived at the town center after a few minutes and we needed to exchange money first so we searched for forex centers, to no avail. Banks were closed at that time because it was a Sunday so we sought the help of a mini bus company where a lady gladly exchanged our money to Thai Baht.

We also bought a local simcard on a store where the friendly staff assisted us in all network registration matters. Conversing with them is challenging but still, they managed to help us with all our needs.

Trat Thailand Blog
Trat's Night Market
I was beginning to change my perception that Thai people are cranky and snob after just hours in Trat. Bangkok may not be the friendliest city in the world but it should also not be a basis for generalizing the hospitality of Thai people.

Trat Thailand Blog
Durian! :)
We found ourselves on Trat’s Night Market. A signage on an arch that says, “Top Street Food in Trat by Trat People” was our gateway to yummy Thai Food goodness. There’s a local market with fresh produce and an open-aired hawker food area on one side. We sauntered and found our early dinner place.

Trat Thailand Blog
Hawker Food Area
We had a wonderful meal of fried rice, crispy pork and pad thai from several hawker stalls. We wanted to eat some more but our tummies could only hold so much.

Thai Food Blog
Fried Rice Plus Fried Pork
We had a terrible starvation island experience in Koh Rong, Cambodia that we wanted to be prepared on our island adventure in Koh Chang the next day. With this in mind, we prepared our food stash as we expect the steep island prices.

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We had our beer sesh that night on our private balcony at Tattoo Guesthouse. We downed four bottles of Chang Beer and chatted about our options for our breakfast meals the next day at the market. We were both excited with our glutton sessions in Trat.

Tattoo Guesthouse Trat Thailand
Our Private Balcony
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and fried foodstuff enveloped the nippy morning at Trat. We had no particular food cravings at that time but when we saw the rice meals on one of the stalls, we quickly grabbed one of their seats and pointed to the freshly-fried crispy pork that was oozing with crunchy goodness. We were then given steamed rice, omelette and soup with it.

Thai Food Blog
Mornings at Trat
The food was oh so good that we needed to ask for another serving. My buddy insisted on getting some more for takeaway but I just ignored it and laughed at him. Maybe we were not diggin' Cambodian Food that much that we had this binge eating fest in our minds.

Thai Food Blog
Crispy Pork and Omellete for Breakfast
After the lovely meal, we packed our bags, said goodbye to our hostess and took a songthaew that brought us to the port.

It was short and sweet stay in Trat and maybe if we stayed longer, we would've consumed every crispy pork on that eatery and the lady cook would still give that warm smile she had as we publicly express our approval with so much gusto. With that, language barriers are easily broken and the homey vibe will flow altogether. So now, I'm craving for that crispy pork we had in Trat. Ugh.

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