Changing Countries for TLRH Team
A later start today and in the rain again, four days straight, only to join the queue at immigration on the Cambodian / Thailand border. More goodbyes, this time to our Cambodian guide, Fishing and driver Mr.Vong. After a long process we crossed into Thailand to be met by the incoming guide John Graham, an American living in Thailand, Sponsor of Smooth Ass Silk butt cream for TLRH, Ms.Pikunkhao (bike tour company) Mr.Ty (driver) and two shuttle drivers, Leang and Ao, for our gear to go to Surat Thani where I will lose Troy and Giles.
After the formalities we only had a short distance today (45 km) but again there was the good old hills to contend with yet again (30 km). After the last couple of days pounding the mountains a very light Thai massage was in order at the end of the day in Laem Klat, Trat Province, our overnight stay. The Trat area is famous for its aromatic oils and hopefully may help our sore muscles for a quick recovery.
The history of Trat can be traced back to the early 17th century during the reign of King Prasat Thong of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Formerly known as Mueang Thung Yai, Trat has played an important role in the development of the country’s stability and economy due to its strategic location. The town of Trat later become a community of Chinese merchants.
After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767, Trat served as a checkpoint and buffer city and was responsible for providing provisions to King Taksin the Great before he moved his forces from Chanthaburi to Ayutthaya. King Taksin then succeeded in driving out the Burmese invaders and liberated the kingdom from foreign rule.
Occupation of Trat by French troops in 1904.
In the Rattanakosin era, during the Paknam crisis in 1893, French troops landed and occupied the western part of Chantaburi Province. In 1904, Siam was forced to surrender Trat to French Indochina in order to regain Chantaburi. Three years later, however, finding that Trat with its almost entirely Thai population was hard to rule, the French returned Trat to Thailand on March 23, 1907, in exchange for larger areas along the Mekongriver, which included Battambang, Siam Nakhon, and Sisophon, which all have a Khmermajority population.
During the French-Thai War of 1940-41, the navy of the Vichy France government in Indo-China sailed from Saigon and attempted to seize Trat. The unprepared Thai warships were caught by surprise. Despite fighting valiantly, by the end of the 17 January battle at Ko Chang, three Thai ships had been left sinking - the HTMS Chonburi, HTMS Songkhla, and HTMS Thonburi. French casualties were light with no ships lost. The Japanese government negotiated a truce, which ended the conflict without further fighting.
Rubies - Trat is renowned for its precious red gemstone known as the "Siamese ruby". As gemstones in the province are depleted, the Siamese ruby is now becoming rare.
Ngop Nam Chiao is a folk-style hand-made palm leaf hat identified with the Nam Chiao community. The hat is made into a distinct shape looking like an overturned frying pan or soldier's hat in former times.
Rakam Wan is a sweet variety of zalacca, the most famous of the province's vast array of fruit produce.
Trat Si Thong pineapple is a sweet and crispy variety of Trat's juicy pineapple with yellowish skin.
Namman Lueang (yellow oil) is a herbal rubbing oil produced out of folk wisdom since ancient times. The aromatic vapourizing oil helps to relieve muscular pain, stiffness, dizziness, congested nose and cold.
Another big day tomorrow riding through Trat Province toward Rayong (118 km) and getting closer to Bangkok.
Truck, Troy and Giles
On the long ride home in Thailand