On the Andaman Coast, Trang is a place of unspoilt beauty, kind and friendly people, delicious food, amazing islands, and white sand beaches.
Located on the same line of historical settlements as Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket and Ranong, Trang shares the same traditions and heritage. In the early Ratanakosin period, Kantang, which is now one of the six districts of the province, served as the main port of the Penang-Phuket land route. There were two main routes of transportation for these five coastal towns at that time: the land route and the sea route. Kantang used to be one of the main seaports of the south and for this reason Kantang was the capital of the province for many years. Legend has it that ships from other countries always landed at Kantang port at dawn, explaining how Trang got its name. "Trang" is derived from a Malay word meaning "Dawn" or "Bright" (Malay: Terang).
Trang used to be a port involved in foreign trade. It was the first city where rubber was planted. Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi brought rubber from Malaysia and planted it here before anywhere else in southern Thailand in 1899. Rubber is now considered an important commodity of Thailand. The important Trang River flows through the province from its origin in the Khao Luang mountain range and the Palian River from the Banthat mountain range. Trang province has an area of approximately 5,000 square km.
As Trang is located next to the Indian Ocean, the province gets monsoons all year round, resulting in a lot of rainfall.
Trang, along with rest of the south of Thailand, has just the two seasons per year:
- Rainy season: May–Jan
- Hot season: Feb-Apr
According to cultural records Trang used to be one of 12 satellite towns that came into exsistence 900 years ago, but it was only during the era of King Rama II that the place was recognized and the province got its first governor. The first Westerner to arrive in Trang was Captain James Low in 1838 to negotiate commercial treaties.
In 1915, King Rama VI visited the then-provincial town and advised, for strategic reasons, that it be moved to its now current location at Thap Thiang.
The original meaning of the name ‘Trang’ is uncertain, but many historians believe that it derives from the Malay word "trangkae" which means "dawn".
Trang is a coastal province on the Indian Ocean with a long western coastline of about 119 km. The province includes an archipelago in the Andaman Sea with over 46 islands. Of these, 12 are in Amphoe Kantang, 13 in Amphoe Palian, and 21 in Amphoe Sikao. The best time for sea travel is Oct-May. The mountainous eastern region is home to dramatic waterfalls, caves, and jungle. Between the mountains and the coast are extensive plantations of rubber.
- Li-kae Pa(ลิเกป่า) is also called Li-ke Bok or Li-ke Rammana. This type of performance is different from the usual Li-ke as the performers wear other kinds of costumes. Li-ke Pa is popular among Thai Muslims. Only 3 performers play in a single set the whole show. However, the set will have a location name change to correspond to the story being told. Musical instruments used include 2-3 tambourines, cymbals, gongs, and pipes.
- Manora or Nora (มโนราห์หรือโนรา) is an art form native to southern Thailand. The performance has graceful and beautiful dance postures. The singer will sing the lyrics ad lib. Therefore, he or she has to be a quick thinker to find words that rhyme and that are meaningful in lyrics, dance and costume. Accompanying musical instruments include drums, cymbals, gongs, Java pipes, and castanets. Nowadays, Nora incorporates modern instruments.
- Shadow Play (หนังตะลุง) is a popular art of southern Thailand. Dried animal hide is carved into drama figures like a hermit, a lord, a lead actor, a lead actress, a giant, and a clown. The figures are held up behind a lighted screen to create shadows on it. The Nai Nang or puppeteer will sing verses or narrate the performance. He must have exceptional reflexes and be able to narrate the whole story by himself. Musical instruments used are the same as for Nora, with perhaps So U and So Duang (stringed instruments) added in.
- Hwy 4 (Bangkok-Chumphon) to Hwy 41 (Surat Thani-Thung Song-Huai Yot-Trang). Total distance: 828 km.
- Hwy 4 (Bangkok-Chumphon) to Ranong-Phang-Nga-Krabi-Trang. Total distance: 1,020 km.
- Hwy 404-416 (Satun-Palian-Trang). Total distance: 140 km.
- Hwy 4-407 (Hat Yai-Phatthalung-Trang). Total distance: 148 km.
- Hwy 4-402 (Phuket-Phang-Nga-Krabi-Trang). Total distance: 312 km.
A taxi to the airport is around 90 baht per person. There is also a public bus which costs 50 baht.
The Hat Yai airport is another alternative, served by low-cost airlines. From the airport, a songthaew costs around 30 baht to the minibus station which is between the airport and Hat Yai. The minibus to Trang (slightly more than a 2 hour ride) costs 100 baht, though you will need to pay for two seats if you have a large backpack, as the minibuses do not have a trunk.
There are two daily trains from Bangkok to Trang:
- Express - departs Bangkok 17:05, arrives Trang 07:35
- Rapid - departs Bangkok 18:20, arrives Trang 10:11
Rapid and express trains depart from the Bangkok Railway Station to Trang daily, taking 15 hours for the 870 km journey. More information can be obtained from Bangkok Railway Station at Tel. 1690, +66 2 2204334, +66 2 2204444 or calling Trang station at Tel. +66 75 218012
Minibuses from the Satun boat terminal (where the boats from Langkawi arrive) to Trang charge 300 baht/person. From Satun bus terminal a bus ticket (on a bus with air-con) costs 126 baht/person.
Air-conditioned buses depart from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok to Trang everyday. It takes 12 hours for the trip. For more information, call +66 2 8946122 or The Transport Co. in Trang at +66 75 218718. In addition, there are private bus services. Namely, Sap Paisan Tour at +66 2 8946040-1 and Sri Suthep Tour at +66 2 8946166-8
Trang bus station itself is about four kilometres out of town, and tuk-tuks rarely come out. If you don't like taking a motorbike, then there is the option of exiting the bus station by the only road that exits from it, back onto the highway. Turn right and walk for about 100 meters. There's a large mall there with a Robinson's Department Store in it, with some tuk-tuks outside. A fare to Trang centre is perhaps about 40 baht.
There are public passenger vans to Trang from neighbouring provinces. They leave when they are full.
Trang offers mortorised tricycles (tuk-tuks) and motorbike-taxis for travel within the municipality. Travel between the districts can be done by buses, taxis, passenger vans, or by renting vans from tour companies in the city.
There are four main terminals. To go to beaches in Sikao District such as Pak Meng Beach, Chang Lang Beach, or Ban Chao Mai, take the passenger van opposite Tha Klaang Market on Tha Klaang Road. To go to Huay Yod, Rassada, or Tung Song, take the passenger van at the church on Huay Yod Road near Thammarin Thana Hotel. To go to Tha Khao, Palian, Thung Yaaw, or Samran Beach, take the van near the sports stadium on Rassada Road. To visit the old town in Kantang District, the passenger vans are located on Kantang Road near Trang Railway Station.
Boats to islands
Trang has 3 main piers for island-hoppers. They are Pak Meng Pier, Ban Chao Mai Pier, and Kuan Thung Kuu Pier.
Pak Meng Pier on the beach of the same name is the major pier for boats. From there, there are regular boats to all the main islands. If the island of your choice is off the beaten track, then it is possible to hire a boat privately.
Ban Chao Mai and Kuan Tung Kuu Piers also have both regular and for-hire boats.
- Ko Ngai This island is in the Trang archipelago. It is south of Ko Lanta. You may choose to get here from Pak Meng Pier, Trang province or Saladan of Ko Lanta, Krabi Province.
- Ko Muk and Tham Morakot (เกาะมุก-ถ้ำมรกต) Ko Muk is mostly occupied by sea-facing towering cliffs to the west. On the east side of the island is a village of fishers who have still maintained their ways of life as islanders. On the island to the west is Tham Morakot, a sea cave. With light from the outside, emerald water can be seen inside the cave.
- Hat Yong Ling and Hat San (หาดหยงหลิง-หาดสั้น) is on the way to Chao Mai Beach and a 2-kilometre road leads to Yong Lin Beach. This curved beach parallels a pine forest. At the beach's end is a high mountain with holes and caves that can be passed through to a cliff with more caves and rocks similar to a fortress encircling sand dunes.
- Ko Chueak - Ko Waen (เกาะเชือก-เกาะแหวน) are small islands between Ko Muk and Ko Kradan. They are teeming with shallow and deep water corals and many types of fish.
- Ko Kradan (เกาะกระดาน) It has an area of 600 acres (2.4 km2). Most of the island falls under the aegis of Hat Chao Mai National Park. The rest is privately owned. The most striking feature of Ko Kradan is its powdery white beach and clear water that permits a decent view of the coral reef underneath that stretches from the beach’s northern end to the coast. A variety of colourful fish inhabit the shallow water corals. Ko Kradan is to the west of Ko Muk and Ko Libong.
- Hat Pak Meng (หาดปากเมง) is at Tambon Mai Fat, 40 km from the city. The 5 km long beach is in the shape of a crescent moon. A pine forest fringes the beach. Assorted large and small islands dot the sea, looking like a person lying face up in the ocean. Trang locals and people from nearby provinces like to come here to relax and sample seafood in the restaurants.
- Namtok Ton Te (น้ำตกโตนเต๊ะ) is 45 km from the city. It is the tallest and most popular waterfall in Trang with water that drops down 320 metres of rocks. The source is in the Banthat Mountain Range. Tropical flora covers the surrounding area.
- Tham Le Khao Kop (ถ้ำเลเขากอบ) This cave is a popular natural wonder with a stream flowing through it. The cave itself looks like a high and steep cliff with layers of rocks. A canal from the Banthat Mountain Range divides into three waterways upon reaching Khao Kop, two going around the mountain and the other flowing through the cave under the mountain. Stalactites and stalagmites line the cave for about four kilometres. Currently the Khao Kop Tambon Administration Organization provides rowboats for visitors to view the cave and to be an eco-tourism and adventure activity by the locals.
- Namtok Sai Rung (น้ำตกสายรุ้ง) This single-level waterfall falls from a high and huge cliff.
- Ko Lao Liang (เกาะเหลาเหลียง) These two islands, between Ko Libong and Ko Petra.
- Ko Takiang (เกาะตะเกียง) is a small island on in the group of south Trang islands.
- Manora or Nora (มโนราห์หรือโนรา) is an art form native to southern Thailand. The performance has dance postures. The singer ad-libs the lyrics. Accompanying musical instruments include drums, cymbals, gongs, Java pipes, and castanets. Nowadays, manora has incorporated modern instruments.
- Shadow Play (หนังตะลุง) is a popular art of southern Thailand. Dried animal hide is carved into drama figures like a hermit, a lord, a lead actor, a lead actress, a giant, and a clown. The figures are held up behind a lighted screen to create shadows on it. Nai Nang or the puppeteer sings verses or narrates the performance. Musical instruments used are the same as for manora, with perhaps So U and So Duang (stringed instruments) added in.
- Li-kae Pa (ลิเกป่า) is also called Li-ke Bok or Li-ke Rammana. This type of performance is different from the usual Li-ke as the performers wear other kinds of costumes. Li-ke Pa is popular among Thai Muslims. Only three performers play in a single set the whole show. However, the set has a location name change to correspond to the story being played. Musical instruments used include two or three tambourines, cymbals, gongs, and pipes.
Trang Tourism Festival (งานเปิดฟ้าเมืองตรัง) is an activity for the public relations of Trang tourism at the beginning of the tourism season. The event is held in the third week of January.
Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony (พิธีวิวาห์ใต้สมุทร) Activities in this unusual event include a welcoming ceremony for the brides and grooms (Thais and foreigners) at the Trang Airport, a bridal procession around town, and a dowry procession by longtail boat to Ko Kradan. A wedding ceremony is performed on the beach by means of pouring blessed water from a conch shell onto the bridal palms and followed by underwater marriage registration at a depth of over 12 m. The event is held on 13–15 February.
Trang Food Festival (งานมหกรรมอาหารดี ศรีตรังบาน) is held to promote dishes of Trang Province. Food stalls of Trang restaurants offer dishes at discounted prices. Additional activities are an eating championship and diverse forms of entertainment. The fair is scheduled for 30 March – 3 April of every year at the Somdech Phra Srinagarindra Park 95 (Khao Pae Choi).
Trang Cake Festival (งานเทศกาลขนมเค้กจังหวัดตรัง) derives from Trang's renown for making delicious cakes. This is particularly true for the villagers of Ban Lam Phu Ra where making cakes dates back generations. The cakes of Trang have no frosting and have several flavours like orange, coffee, and three-flavours. The festival is scheduled for every August.
Trang Roast Pork Festival (งานเทศกาลหมูย่างจังหวัดตรัง) is a tourism promotion activity of Trang, held every September. The pork skin is crispy, the meat is tender and it is delicious due to a process by which the pig is fermented with herbs then roasted whole on a custom grill. Trang's roast pork is sold daily and eaten with morning coffee or can be a banquet dish.
Moon Festival (งานประเพณีไหว้พระจันทร์) is a tradition long observed by the Chinese people of Tambon Thung Yao, Amphoe Palian, to commemorate the fight for the nation against the Mongols. A ceremony is held in late-September or early-October on the full moon day in the eighth month under the Chinese calendar.
Vegetarian Festival (งานประเพณีถือศีลกินเจ) is a traditional festival of the Chinese in Trang, held around October every year on a full-moon night. Thais of Chinese heritage become vegetarians (no consumption of meat and certain kinds of vegetables) and dress in white for nine days and nights. This is to bring good fortune and make merit.
The Buddha Image Procession and Trang Cultural Festival (ประเพณีลากพระและมหกรรมวัฒนธรรมสัมพันธ์จังหวัดตรัง) is aimed to preserve, revive, and pass down ancient customs and traditions. It is held during the first and third days of the waning moon in the eleventh lunar month (at the end of Buddhist Lent). Activities include a contest of Buddha image boat floats, local sports competitions, Southern-style folk arts and cultural performances, concerts, entertainment, sales of Trang OTOP products, and merit-making for the Buddha image processions.
Four-wheel Drive Vehicle Competition (การแข่งขันรถยนต์ขับเคลื่อนสี่ล้อ) (The Nature Adventure of Southern Thailand – NAS Challenge) is an off-road circuit for members of off-road racing clubs in Thailand and from foreign countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, with more than 100 cars participating. It is scheduled for November of every year. The circuits in use are in Trang town and other districts of Trang.
Taphao Shell Festival (งานเทศกาลหอยตะเภา) is aimed at promoting the conservation of nature and the environment. The festival is held at Pak Meng Beach every November. There is a contest to gather Taphao shells.
Fishing Competition (การแข่งขันกีฬาตกปลา “เบิกฟ้าทะเลตรัง”) is organised around December of every year in the waters of Trang and Krabi Provinces.
H.M. the King’s Birthday Celebrations and Red Cross Fair (งานเฉลิมพระชนมพรรษาและงานกาชาดจังหวัดตรัง) is an annual event of Trang, which has been continued since the reign of King Rama VII. It is scheduled for 5–15 December of every year at the Thung Chaeng Stadium in Amphoe Mueang Trang. Activities include exhibitions of agencies in the public and private sectors, sales of food and products, concerts, entertainment, and naval Red Cross activities.
Trang has a few local products which are popular as souvenirs, they are Suea Toei or Suea Panan (mats woven from screw pine), Muk (container for small things), ray leather products, namely, bags and shoes, basketry made of cattail stems, carved-wood products from Thep Tharo wood, para rubber toys, and "na muen si" local woven cloth. Local foods include Trang roast pork, Trang's cake, Khao Chong coffee, and kapi or shrimp paste.
Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian, and Indian food. Favourite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (khanom jeen), rice and vegetable (Natural medicine) mix with Voodo sauce (Khao Yam), pork fried with Dasheen and red toufu sauce (GoYuk) and chicken birayani. Trang also has a unique breakfast cuisine found nowhere else in Thailand.
Trang is well known for its many local foods such as Mhu Yang Trang (Trang-style roasted pork), Trang cake, Trang breakfast (Dimsum).
Local coffee shops (Ran Gafae) in Trang have their own special menu with Go pii (black coffee served with sugar) on it. The other is the local breakfast (Timsum), Ja Kuai (deep fried bread). Go pii and Pa Tong Ko (local sweet donut) make the essence of the traditional Trang breakfast.
- Khao Fang - from the train station, go left, then 2nd(?) right up a small street, restaurant is on the left about a quarter of the way up, opposite a tall (5-6 storey) hotel. Sign (blue and white) is only in Thai. Best food in Trang, the food can be very hot so maybe ask them to cool it down.
- Night Market - The lively night market of Trang has food stalls with excellent local food. You can find a pad Thai for 25 baht, dishes with rice from 30 baht, juices from 10 baht (little shop at the corner, at the entrance to the market).
- Wunderbar Restaurant & Tours- has selection of European food including German beer.
- Koh Teng Hotel. Check-out: 12:00. This massive and cavernous building calls itself a "5-Star Backpacker" hotel. The rooms are basic but clean and comfortable. Double with fan 200 baht, air-con with TV 320 baht.
- PJ Guesthouse (100 m from the railway station, turn right, and then it's on your left). Basic rooms with fan, windows or not, shared bathroom. The woman who owns the guesthouse speaks fluent English and she's very kind and helpful. Wi-Fi available. Travel agency also, and laundry service. 150+ baht.
- My Friend. Not especially cheap, and the rooms are not the best. One thing in its favour is the 24 hour fast Internet access (30 baht per hour). 590 baht.
- Sri-Trang hotel (close to the railway station on Rama 6 Road). The rooms are clean and modern, and wireless Internet is free of charge. The staff is very friendly and helpful. 790+ baht.
|Routes through Trang|
|Bangkok ← Surat Thani ←||N S||→ END|
|Bangkok ← Krabi Town ←||N S||→ Phatthalung → Sadao|