Trang (southern Thailand)
The province of Trang in Southern Thailand is located between the provinces of Krabi in the north and Satun in the south at the coast of the Andaman Sea. In the east it borders with the 1350m high mountains of the Kao Luang and Banthat range. The landscape is dominated by hills, limestone rocks, mangrove swamps and forests of rubber and oil palms. In addition to these two agricultural products, the people of Trang live from coconut harvesting and fishing. Two major rivers cross the country from east to west: the Trang River and the Palian River. Their shores are still grown with mangrove trees. Typically for the Trang landscape are steep limestone cliffs, giving the coatsline a characteristic face.
600,000 inhabitants live in Trang province, which consists of 10 districts, of which Sikao, Kantang, Hat Samran, Palian lay at the seaside. The district of Trang is located approximately 40 km inland and has 150,000 inhabitants with the highest population density of the otherwise sparsely populated province. Trang city has 60,000 inhabitants and is the administrative and capital town, where a small airport is located too. The second biggest town Kantang with about 13,500 inhabitants, home of a major port for the fishing industry and the supply of the province. Shrimp farms can be visited.
Nokair and AirAsia offer two flights per day from Bangkok (Don Muang Airport) to Trang airport. It takes about 70 minutes. Taxis and Busses connect the very small airport with Trang town (10 minutes) and the piers at the coast (30 to Pakmeng and 60 minutes Tungku).
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Overland busses from Bangkok and the train need 12-14 hours. Busses are also available from Krabi and Suratthani. If you are already in southern Thailand, Trang islands can easily be reached by boats from Krabi, Lanta, Phuket or even Koh Lipe.
Tigerlinetravel and Bundhayaspeedboat are connecting Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Mook and Koh Lipe by boat during the dry season from November till May.
Places to see and things to do
The city of Trang itself does not have much to offer. Some cheap hotels seek international standards and offer clean rooms. If you stay in Trang one or two nights and plan to visit places around, you may ask local agencies to guide you around the mountains to spectacular waterfalls, caves and temples. If you do not have enough cash money, you should get it in Trang, because their are no banks or money machines on the islands.
Recommende hotel in the city center: Rua Rasada Hotel (link to agoda*)
In the heart of the province, the Sakapangsurin park, a big natural swamp with animals and birds can be visited. More interesting, however, are the mountains in the east of Trang, the tropical forests and a variety of spectacular waterfalls and caves. Day trips are recommended and especially rewarding during the rainy season and should be done with a local guide.
Featured are some of the many caves and the Buddhist temple. These are quite rare in the muslim south, since many mosques dominate the landscape.
The port city Kantang is not a beautiful place. However, those, who like to eat cheap and fresh fish, can find several good restaurants.
Trang is known worldwide for a special celebration in February each year: the "Under Water Wedding Ceremony". Especially east asian couple like the idea to officially marry diving under water in the open sea (see more information).
In front of the Trang coast are 46 large and small islands, some of which are part of the 231 square km large National Park of Hat Chao May and the Mu Koh Petra Marine National Park. The larger islands of Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Libong and Koh Sukorn are inhabited and have nice beach resorts. The island of Koh Hai (Ngai), which, however, administratively belongs to the province of Krabi, but is better connected to Trang, shall be added here.
Daily boats leave from the piers at Pak Meng, Kantang, Hat Yao, Tasae and Palian to the islands (see map). From Hat Yao Pier Tigerline Travel express boats stop at the islands on their way from Koh Lipe to Koh Lanta and Phuket and vice versa. Daily tour boats come from Koh Lanta and stop at Koh Hai, Koh Mook and Koh Kradan.
Smaller islands are just target destinations for day trips. Especially Koh Rok (west of Koh Kradan) and Koh Takieng (west of Koh Laoliang) are excellent spots for diving and snorkeling. In front of the northern Trang coast lay Koh Phi, KoIolo, Koh Po and Koh Meng. And in the south Koh Petra, a big rock island, name the Marine National Park, that spreads into Satun province. Koh Petra is strictly guarded by armed rangers due to animal and nature protection programs and can not be visited.
The boat traffic between the islands is not yet organized on a scheduled basis. Longtail boats can be rented individually for 1000 to 3000 Baht, depending on the distance.
During the rainy season from May to November, the boat traffic is highly restricted. Some resorts are closed.
The wtare depths of the Trang sea is only a few meters, 20 meters on average. Due to this fact, the water is very warm with plenty of fish and nice coral reefs around some islands. Moreover, it means coastal protection against Tsunamis. Thus, in 2004, the sea level rose only slightly, without the force of destructive waves and no major damages.
Hotels and beaches on the mainland coast
Most beaches on the coastline are not very spectacular and rather short, with mangrove vegetation. Some beaches have wonderful white sand although. Not many people can be met there and the beaches are not cleaned from garbage, but if you are looking for silence and relaxation, they can offer a lot of joy. The best beaches are Chang Lang Beach, Pak Meng Beach and Samran Beach.
Some good hotels are located at the coast. Amoung those are the following which you can book online:
Anantara Si Khao Hotel (Chang Lang Beach) [former Amari Trang Hotel]
Yatale The Resort (Pakmeng Beach)
List of Trang hotels and resorts for online booking with agoda*
Good to know
- Exchange rates:
- Time zone: CET plus 6 hours / CEST plus 5 hours
- Cash money: ATM machines are not available on the islands
- Mobile phone: triband possible
- Voltage: 220 Volt with Euro or US plug
- Internet: cheap and available nearly everywhere; wifi is free in all resorts
- Vaccination: not mandatory
- Visa: 30 days when arriving by plane; 15 days when coming from land or sea. Passport must be valid more then 6 month.
- Important holidays: Songkhran (thail. New Year 13-15.4.); Loy Khratong (first full moon after rainy season in November); King´s birthday (5.12.)
* I have commission agreements with agoda.com, r24.org and booking.com