Trat and Chanthraburi

by Kevin Burns
(Machida, Japan)

The Catholic Cathedral in Chanthraburi

The Catholic Cathedral in Chanthraburi

The Catholic Cathedral in Chanthraburi
Traditional huts on Koh Chang
White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

Trat and Chanthraburi are fun partly because they are off the beaten path. I recommend them for that. It is nice to get out of the tourist places and experience the "real Thailand."

What is the real Thailand you ask? I`m not even sure, but I know it when I experience it.
To me at least, Koh Mak is the real Thailand for her unspoilt beaches, and places like Trat and Chanthraburi, for the fact that they exist for reasons other than tourism.

If you want to teach English in Thailand, Trat had a few volunteer opportunities advertised there. I saw Thais in action, teaching English at a couple of schools near downtown Trat. Trat is thriving, but i would`t recommend it as a teaching English destination.

We enjoyed eating at reputedly the best restaurant in Trat, Joy`s Pizza. We liked it so much we ate there twice and even took a Dutchman and a Swede from Udon Ratchanaburi to enjoy the fantastic food, made by a very kind Frenchman and his Thai wife. They are a sweet couple and have some cute children. The restaurant is also their home, and for me that was a nice addition. I got to get a peek into their life. They seem happy, and their food reflects that. Being an immigrant to Japan myself, I find it interesting to see where Westerners end up living, and how they live.

In Trat we stayed at the Hotel Tropicana. It is very nice. The pool is great and so are the grounds. You can easily imagine you are in Spain or Mexico. The nighttime front desk clerk however, needs to unglue her cell phone from her hand. I fear it has attached itself there!

In Chanthraburi we stayed at the Maneechan Hotel and it is fantastic! We were greeted by what seemed like former Thai Miss Universe pageant front desk clerks. Then proceeded past the Olympic sized swimming pool to our room with a view of a well manicured, tropical garden. The resort is huge, with a training room and table tennis. I suck at table tennis now! The only drawback is that it is far from downtown, you will need to take a taxi.

For dinner I recommend the Koff House Bar and Eatery. It is right on the river and the night view is quite pretty. The food is great and the beer selection is too. The customers are a mix of Thais and tourists.

In terms of teaching English, I did`t see any English schools in Chanthraburi, though we walked around a lot. It is a centre for gems. I would think there must be a university in the area you could teach at. But it doesn`t seem to be a great choice, unless perhaps you were thinking of starting a side business - your own English school, and cater to middle class or rich Thais. Perhaps some of the gem sellers would want to brush up their English.

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