Oddly enough, the Trang region is an overlooked region of Thailand despite being only a few hours bus ride south of popular Krabi province. Trang is at least as beautiful as the rest of the Andaman coast, with gorgeous beaches and picturesque limestone cliffs that dramatically rise out of the ocean. Inland you will find caves with stalagmites, waterfalls, rivers, mountains and a bustling flora and fauna.
Trang has only a fraction as many tourists as for example. Phuket or Krabi, and it is quite possible to find your own tropical paradise beach if you are willing to travel a bit out of high season and the usual tourist routes.
Craving for tourists
Today, Trang has more than 50,000 inhabitants and the city was for many centuries the most important port city in southern Thailand, and a busy trade center between Thailand (formerly called Siam ) and Malaysia. Due to constant flooding, the city of Trang in 1916 was moved to its present location 25 kilometers further inland. The influence of neighboring Malaysia, 10 miles further south, is strong in Trang province, both religious and culinary. The farther south you go in Thailand, the more Muslim it is. In Trang, there are almost no Buddha temples the same way you would see anywhere else in Thailand. On the other hand, there are several mosques and Chinese temples. Otherwise, there are few attractions in this city. Tourists generally pass through Trang en route to one or the other resort.
One of these seaside resorts is located about three miles southwest of Trang. Ban Jao Mai Hat Yao is an idyllic little village with half a mile long white sandy beach. In the low season from May to August there are almost no other tourists here. There are only a few accommodations and eateries here, so this is not exactly a party place. In the off-season, the organic hotel on the piers is often closed. Ask someone to explain you the path to The Secret Beach, and if you’re willing to swim around a small cliff, you’ll have a small idyllic cove for yourself, with a beach surrounded by blue sea on one side and limestone cliffs and caves with stalagmites on the other three pages.
From Ban Jao Mai Hat Yao or from Kandang 15 kilometers south of Trang city, you can take a boat out to the province’s largest island, Ko Libong. Here are three small Muslim fishing villages, three hotels, some nice beaches, and an inland terrain with caves and a very varied bird life.
Ko Kradan, part of the Hat Jao Mai National Park, is perhaps the most beautiful island in the entire province. Here there is crystal clear water where you can easily see small fish of all colors. The area also has many coral reefs which are great for scuba diving and snorkeling. There is only one accommodation here, which also drives the boat into the mainland. On Ko Kradan there are several coconut and rubber plantations, and from the top of the island you can get a fantastic view of the Andaman Sea at sunset. You take a boat here from Kandang, 15 kilometers south of the city of Trang. Close by is the larger and livelier island of Ko Muk, with its 80 meter long limestone tunnel ending in a pool in the so-called Emerald Cave.