Going Rural on the Coast of Trat Province
Combining trips to Thailand and Cambodia has always been popular with travelers visiting this region. Both countries are closely related, historically and culturally, and even though tensions between the two are heightened occasionally, from a traveler’s perspective their cultural similarities and sights of interest complement each other very well.
When traveling overland from Cambodia to Thailand, many travelers like to stop off and enjoy a few days on one of the islands in Trat Province, the most popular being Koh Chang, Koh Kood or Koh Maak. This of course, makes perfect sense as getting to the islands’ beautiful beaches from Trat is easy by ferry.
However, one destination in Trat Province that we also recommend you visit is Baan Laem Makham. Situated close to several ferry terminals, Baan Laem Makham is a small Buddhist village on the Trat coast surrounded by rubber plantations where it is possible for travelers to spend a couple of nights in one of the village’s homestays.
During your visit you will be taken to explore the area by motorbike and sidecar – one of the most popular forms of transport in many rural parts of Thailand! You will also have the opportunity to visit a local agricultural museum; a family that makes traditional hats from woven palm leaves; and the local Thai temple, influenced by the local Muslim community which surrounds Baan Laem Makham and lives harmoniously with its Buddhist neighbors.
During your adventures in the area you will also be taken to see a bamboo monkey bridge and join a canoe trip down local waterways and through mangrove swamps to the mouth of a local canal channel on the coast, from where you can see Koh Chang across the sea. And when the tide is out, there’s a chance to join the villagers on a trip looking for shellfish, though be prepared to get wet and muddy!
At the end of the day you will return to the family home and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal during which you can discuss the day’s events with members of the family, before retiring for the night in basic, but comfortable accommodation.
The Baan Laem Makham community has done an excellent job of showcasing their local culture and lifestyle in this fascinating homestay. However, nothing has been staged and visitors, while being well looked after, will not feel that they are being entertained during their stay. Life for the villagers continues very much as normal whether travelers are visiting the community or not.
If you are looking for an experience that gives you some real insight into the daily lives of rural Thai villagers, keep Baan Laem Makham in mind. After a few days of living with your local family, you may even find it difficult to leave them behind and head for the beach!