Tucked away near the coastal waters of Andaman sea is a picturesque hideout, a huddle of islands belonging to the southern block of Thailand called the Trang Islands. These islands form an archepelago in the sea with a cluster of 46 Islands. The name ‘Trang’ comes from the Malaysian word ‘Terang‘ which means light. The Island used to see a steady stream of trade ships everyday at the first crack of dawn.
Trang Islands is blessed with diverse geographic patterns splayed across diversely in each corner of the landmass. Initially what started as a port area for shipping its largest export rubber, expanded leaving trails for tourists to trudge exploring the various natural creeks Trang has scattered across. The landscape is predominantly limestone cliffs and coasts with a smattering of mountains and reefs. Two major river bisects the country from west to east, the Trang river and Palian river which are blessed with clumps of mangrove trees. Rubber, Coconuts and other costal products are important sources of revenue for Trang.
The 46 said islands of which 12 are in Amphoe Kantang, 13 in Amphoe Palian and 21 in Amphoe Sikao are all part of mainland Thailand. Trang can be accessed by flights from Bangkok as well as trains. Other popular forms of transport like buses and passenger vans also pick up tourists from nearby cities and towns and brings them to Trang.
Speaking of popular and transport, the Tuk Tuk is found aplenty around this area flying about carrying passengers to and from places. Its a 3 wheeled vehicle and works just like a regular cab with a metered fare. It is comfortable, quiet stay in Trang as it sees a moderate influx of visitors unlike Krabi or Phuket which swarms with crowd everyday of the holiday season. Trang is lesser known and sits further down south, which is ideal for an escape.
The emerald waters of Ko Muk and Tham Morakot facing cliffs that clutch the borders gives way to many sea facing caves. These caves illumine with daylight giving glimpses of the translucent aqua sea, a breathtaking sight indeed. For taking home a myriad of perfect beach photos, visit the Ko Kradan which is claimed to be the most beautiful island in all of Trang. The sand is rich and powdery, gleaming white under the sun and the sea has a crystal face drawing transparent towards the shore revealing schools of colorful fish and coral reefs.
The first thing we associate with Thailand after its beaches is Thai food. It takes no expert to tell that Thai food scores high in a banquet of world cuisines. Trang being in South of Thailand has its influences from Malay, Indonesian and Indian cooking. Some phenonemal recipes that find homage in kitchens of Trang Islands are Massaman curry, rice and vegetables with Voodo sauce, Fried pork and Fish curry sauce. Trang also boasts of a scintillating array of breakfast cuisines including Timsun and Trang cake which is exclusively found only here. Ja Kuai (Deep fried bread) and Pa Tong Ko (Sweet Donut) invariably makes it to the must-try list.
Every year a food festival is conducted in full swing with many eat offs and teeming food stalls in early spring around March-April. August sees the visit of the Trang Cake Festival when cakes are sold and made with a competitive spirit. They are special cakes indigenous to Trang with no frosting and tasty punches of coffee and orange flavors melded into the layers. September is the Fried Pork season in all of Trang and tourists especially love this local delicacy which sets the flavor for the season.
Forest areas and wildlife cover a sizable portion of the Trang landscape with more than 20 scenic waterfalls and dozens of trekking trails surrounding them. Some of the best spots are Tontok Waterfall (Sakai village), Sairung Waterfall (Nanmuang Khao) and Tontok Waterfall (Bantra Ranger Center. Diving is another obvious option for adrenaline junkies, given the splendid plethora of clear waters and coral reefs. It is an idyllic setting stoved away from the madness of the cities and is perfect for people who wish to take an off beat track across Thailand. The Chaomai National park which is as wide as 20 kilo meters has one the best diving spots in the world. Ko Ma and Ko Ngai also have diving areas with the most picturesque locations.
If adrenaline isn’t your thing, then choose from the many premium golf clubs and spas littered around the expanse of Trang Islands. The town of Kantang with a tiny population of about 13,000 has acres of shrimp farms that can be visited through the year.
i) Under Water-Weddings:
Trang is world famous for playing host to the most outrageous whim of human fantsies. The “Under Water Wedding Ceremony” is a special function held during select days February each year is a source of great excitement to people. Many couples, local and from abroad especially love the idea of marrying under water. Similarly a 12 meter deep scooba wedding is organized for those who want to marry in the open ocean.
ii) Music & Night life
Music is the chord that strikes heartstrings of tourists. Trang has a vibrant music scene with sprawling night clubs and discos. There are also eateries and other joints where live music is played. The pubs there unlike the ones in the west, are much larger and are open till mornings. There are many dotting even the beaches offering good booze and an even better view!
Li-ke Bok is a type of performance with dancers donning costumes of different shades brandishing instruments like tambourines, cymbals, gongs and pipes to perform an authentic Thai dance performance. They are usually a three member set who depict various stories and fables that never seem too old fashioned to the curious onlookers and tourists.