Trang – Gastronome Extravaganza
Underrated Trang is home to numerous offshore islands, clear water beaches, mountains and national parks. World-class dive sites and seaside caves is also located throughout the province. Friendly dugongs are a common settlers of this conserved sea area. Very few people visit this province which is perfect for visitors that want to have a peaceful and enjoyable moment for holiday.
The small southern province of Trang on the Andaman Sea possesses a wealth of natural attractions to offer the tourist, with mountain ranges, beaches and islands aplenty, and extensive forests and parks for the naturalists among us. But ask any local what Trang’s real secret is and they’ll probably point you in the direction of a local food outlet. The streets and lanes of Trang present a veritable culinary extravaganza for the visitor, from morning dim sum and the widely available Trang roast pork, through to traditional coffee and pastries and the province’s unrivalled fresh sea food. Trang itself is famous for its cakes (where else can you see so many cake shops in such a small area?) which are unfrosted and come in flavours such as orange, coffee, three-flavour and more. Trang’s cakes, which are showcased in the annual Cake Festival in August, make great gifts to take back for friends and colleagues.
Culinary adventures aside, any visitor to Trang has to make a trip to at least one of the province’s many islands and beaches. Some 46 islands dot the waters off Trang’s 119 km of coastline. The largest of these, Koh Libong, hosts a large herd of dugong that live and feed among the sea grasses fringing the island. The shallow waters also attract large numbers of resident and migratory birds, particularly in winter, many of which are not seen anywhere else in the country. Koh Libong is part of the Libong Archipelago Wildlife Reserve (+66 7525 1932). Boats leave from Hat Yao Ban Chao Mai Pier every hour and take 30 minutes to get to the island. Accommodation is available.
If Koh Libong is a hot spot for wildlife, then Koh Kradan is widely considered to be Trang’s most beautiful island. Mostly located within the Hat Chao Mai National Park, the island has a few private accommodations offering food and a place to stay overnight. The most striking features of Koh Kradan are its powdery white beach and crystal-clear water that permits an unhindered view of the corals growing below. Visitors can take a boat from Pak Meng Pier or Chao Mai Pier to the island, which takes around 90 minutes.
Another fascinating island is Koh Muk with its towering sea-facing cliffs to the west and a fishing village to the east, On the west coast is the dazzling sea cave Tham Morakot, which can only be accessed by swimming through a small entrance hole. Light from the outside gives the cave a greenish glow and hence the popular name ‘Emerald Cave’, Access to Koh Muk is by boat from Pak Meng Pier in Sikao district. The trip takes around 40 minutes. Accommodation is available on the island.
If swimming through to a sea cave doesn’t really appeal, then perhaps a trip to one of the impressive caves in Ratsada district would be more in order. Tham Phra Phut, situated 17 km from Ban Ka Pang, accommodates a large reclining Buddha image and also a standing image of a regal southern Thailand dancer, together with ceramics, lacquerware and ancient pottery whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Close by is Tham Phraya Phichai, a naturally beautiful cave of stalactites and stalagmites, which is teeming with wildlife, especially edible snails called “hoi lo“. Visitors to the cave should be prepared for wet conditions and take a torch along.
Budding botanists and nature lovers shouldn’t miss the 2,600-rai Southern Thailand Botanical Garden (Thung Khai), which accommodates one of the few remaining patches of lowland jungle in the country. Located in Yan Ta Khao district, the park has a tourist service centre, a botanical garden, an herbal garden, a botanical library a plant museum, and a technical meeting centre. Visitors can appreciate the trees and wildlife by bicycle or on foot along the many nature trails winding through the park and the canopy walkways, which present a different perspective from high up above the forest floor. Thung Khai can be reached by taking the Trang-Palian road (Highway No. 404) to Km. 11. Accommodation is available. Call +66 7528 01 66 for further details.
Trang Roast Pork
Trang’s famous gastronomic speciality is its roast pork, prepared with a special recipe using local herbs and roasted whole on a grill until the skin’is crispy and the roast pork is sold daily and goes well with morning coffee. A great time to try it is ‘ during the Trang Roast Pork Festival held every September. Simply unmissable!
Nok Air (www.nokair.co.th) and Thai AirAsia (www.airasia.com) run daily flights from Don Muang to Trang. Rapid and express trains serve the city from Bangkok daily, taking 15 hours for the 870- km journey (www.railway.co.th). Air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal to Trang everyday taking 12 hours (www.transport.co.th).
For more information, contact the Trang regional TAT office on +66-7521-5867 , +66-7521-1058