But the photo above is the actual Black Sand Beach around which a new visitor centre, kilometre long mangrove walkway and spa & restaurant (both currently under construction) are going up. The spa will showcase the restorative powers of the black sand to cure all manner of ills. Including, presumably, disappointment.
The turning for the ‘beach’ is located around 1km north of Laem Ngop on the way to Trat town. A concrete road leads another kilometre to the makeshift parking area and visitor centre. The visitor centre has a large hat on the wall along with some posters of mangroves, plus a TV that plays educational videos for groups of Thai visitors.
From the rear of the visitor centre a wooden walkway leads off meandering through the mangroves towards the shoreline. It’s a nice walk. Not many sights – just mangroves, as you might expect. You reach the sea and then the walkway branches off and takes you 30 metres or so to a small gazebo built over the sea. From here you can see Koh Chang. The Black Sand Beach is located here also. You will see a wooden ladder leading down to a patch of what looks like dark mud surrounded by mangrove roots, but is in fact black sand. The total area is around 3m x 6m . . . and that’s it. Not quite on the mini Santorini that the typical visitor, who knew that Santorini had a spectacular black sand beach, might have been expecting.
Having been left dumbstruck by Trat’s newest natural tourist attraction, continue the loop around, and back to the visitor centre, taking in more sights of mangroves and some boards in Thai detailing the flora and fauna that can be seen and explaining how the mangrove eco-system works.