Trang has been a constant favourite for me, a love story since the first time I explored the archipelago in 2001. It was the drowsy atmosphere on the islands that was such a stark contrast to Phuket or Ao Nang. At the time we stayed on Koh Ngai during the low season. Having a beer on the balcony overlooking a tree full of for bills feasting on some figs or something. Tropical charm at its best to sit there under jungle wrapped karst peaks and gazing at the inviting indescribable Andaman sea.
Overnight on some island, and enjoy beach restaurants with a table in the sand overlooking the horizon where the sun gradually melts into the ocean. On our last overnight with the family, we chose Koh Muuk for the pretty, family-friendly bay. We had a few days at Charlie Beach Resort Bungalows. The bungalow that we stayed in had beachfront access but was simple. We did choose the aircon option though.
There were kayaks for rent and you could easily go to the Emerald Cave, Tham Morakot. Locally promoted as stalactite cavern with a secret beach where pirates used to hide their treasures. (Honestly, it is so small so they must have dug up each other’s treasures). Still, a great excursion. Go there early, or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. Most sightseeing boats will include it in the itinerary.
The archipelago consists of Koh Ngai, Koh Muk, Koh Kradan, Koh Libong, Koh Lao Liang, Koh Sukon, Koh Phetra, Koh Rok Nai and Koh Rok Nok.
Enjoying a day tour with island jumping is also a good option. You will get to the Emerald Cave early in the morning and the cruise will take you around the archipelago for nice beach stops and snorkelling. Onboard the boat you will indulge in a homemade lunch. This kind of sightseeing enables a lot of nice snapshot opportunities within one day
The town gets it to name from the Malay word Terang, meaning light. Trang got its first Governor in 1811, even though it is mentioned in Thai records for 900 years. The road to fame started with the arrival of James Low in the early 19th century and negotiations for commercial deals related to tin mining. The area surrounding Trang was early to adopt rubber plantations after the first seeds arrived in Thailand in 1901.
Trang town is small, quaint, and tranquil. It has an intriguing blend of Chinese immigrants that came for the mining once in the days, a big Muslim presence and a blend of different faiths. It is easy to do the town by foot and you discover churches, mosques and temples blending in with small parks and simple and frequently a bit shabby Sino-Portuguese shophouses.
Most historical dwellings in Trang can be found between Kantang Rd, Sathanee Rd and Ratchadamnoen Rd. A simple, old-fashioned lifestyle exemplifies this low-profile town.
The town has two night markets. I like the one near the railway station the best(not open every day). Here you find an excellent blend of homemade sushi, kebabs, southern curries and a range of snacks and pastries for the sweet-toothed.
If you prefer a restaurant instead of a street food dinner and you crave an evening with spicy Southern Thai curry try the Khao Gaeng Ban Suan.
However, Trang is first and foremost famous for breakfast. Get up early to find the local atmosphere and eat Dim Sum, dough sticks (Patong go with sweet condensed milk)and a must, the roasted sweet pork restaurants. Check out the frequency of all the Dim Sum eateries in Trang. Ruan Thai Dim Sum is often praised as one of the best. But there are so many choices.
Try the pork! The whole pig is roasted for two hours. But firstly, the pig has been rubbed with a sweet, fragrant five-spice-based marinade for 8 hours. It is mouthwatering and melting in your mouth. The secret is the crispy skin but yet candy-like lean meat. Thais refer to the dish as ” muu yang Trang”. They eat every part of the pig but the most popular is the fatty belly. Whatever your choice is for breakfast, it will come with local tea or the “Cafe Boran” ancient style and strong coffee. Trang Moo Yang is a classic breakfast place for having pork.
This is a typical local Thai-Chinese breakfast.
The day starts exceptionally early for some people because they are going to the rubber plantations to work.
In town, they also bake a delicious sponge cake, convenient enough called a Trang cake. It comes in numerous flavours like vanilla, pandan, orange, coconut or coffee. Try the famous Cake Kook Ming shop to buy yourself some Trang cakes.
If you have the time. This is an interesting easy one hour walk just outside town. It is a well-marked forest walk with the canopy walk as the highlight. You reach it after 15-20 minutes walk. It is not a Botanical garden in its original meaning with various theme areas with flora.
The city is on the railway net. The most convenient way is to go by plane from Bangkok. When we have travelled from Chiang Mai we have used the direct connection with Air Asia to Krabi and then enjoyed a night in Ao Nang before renting a car or taking a minivan to Trang. If you are in no hurry you are close to many highlights in Southern Thailand like the under-visited Phattalung province with the wonderful Tale Noi lake and the jewel of the south Songkhla.