Driving south towards Trat the countryside becomes extremely green and fertile with the hills covered by thick jungle. Trat itself needs more exploring but I was fascinated by the idea of seeing one of the few black sand beaches in the world!
Located about a 20 minute drive from Trat, the Black Sands Beach at Laem Ngop is worth a visit. Please note that we were visiting during Covid restrictions and the lack visitors is very evident, however I am glad that we made the effort!
The GPS directed us perfectly and we arrived at a small office building and car park. A rather sad looking Trat sign greeted us but the entrance to the Black Sands was clear. It was deserted so we just started to follow the concrete walkways out into the Mangrove forest. It is fascinating to see how the mangrove trees survive and their intricate rooting system. That such greenery can survive in dark, brackish water so close to the sea is a testament to their evolution coping with salt water, wave action and low oxygen levels of waterlogged mud.
It is a good walk out and there are 2 or 3 resting areas which indicate that the area was a popular place to visit pre-covid. Take time walking through the mangroves and appreciate how important of an ecosystem that they are in hoarding carbon making them part of a critical solution in the fight against climate change.
Arrival at the ‘beach’ was a bit of an anti-climax as the tide was in! However, there are (rather rickety) elevated walkways over the sea from where you can see small deposits of the black sand. I believe that when the tide is out, there is more black sand to see!
The views from here must be glorious from here on a clear day and there is a watch tower that you can ascend to see over to Koh Chang.
The Black Sand is said to have curative properties and the sign indicates how you can make a Foot Spa, a Black Sand Scrub and a full Body Spa where you are immersed into the black sand for 30 minutes. This appears to be on a serve yourself basis though assistance may be available. If you are visiting for medicinal/spa treatment, I would recommend more research.
Being alone in such a vast area of Mangrove was a slightly eerie feeling and we were glad of the safety of the concrete walkways. Below us were a myriad of large snails happily going about their lives.
Well worth the visit and currently free of charge.
Kim Waddoup enjoyed a lifetime in the tourism business and is an active ‘Silver-Ager” living in Thailand. He writes for his age group with high varied articles covering subjects relevant to retirees living in, or visiting Thailand.
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