Trang province in Southern Thailand
We predict that Trang in southern Thailand is going to become a much more popular destination for travelers over the next few years. Backpackers are starting to explore the area, domestic tourists and holidaying Malays also visit the out of the way beaches and islands that Trang province boasts.
Most backpackers say that they want to avoid other tourists but actually they just follow each other on a well worn path between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north or the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Phi Phi, Krabi and Koh Lanta in the south.
Our suggestion would be that instead of jumping off the train in Chumphon to go to Koh Tao, or at Surat Thani to go to Koh Samui, carry on further south to Trang.
Trang is one of the few towns on the Andaman sea side of Thailand that has a railway station. It’s a charming little town with much more appeal than Surat Thani where scams are rife. Surat Thani is a town you want to flee from as soon after arriving as possible. Trang town is place where you can linger.
Enjoy the local coffee culture with kopi and a Trang cake. Graze at a Chinese noodle shop or a Muslim roti shop. Enjoy Thai khao geang, including southern Thai specialties like the smelly and spicy geang som.
Trang Islands and beaches
Of course most people visit southern Thailand for the islands and beaches and Trang is a hub for reaching them all.
Krabi and Koh Lanta to the north are well known. Koh Lipe (in Satun province) is a newer backpacker hangout.
But you can also escape the crowds at Pakmeng beach on Trang’s Andaman sea coast. The long beach offers nothing more to do than sit under a casurina tree and gaze at the sea, while drinking cold beer and eating delicious Thai food.
We recommend grabbing a table across from Yok Yor restaurant and ordering one of the many spicy salads.
From Pakmeng beach you can get boats to Koh Mook (Emerald cave), Koh Kraden, Koh Ngai and Koh Libong. The excellent Travelfish website has a more detailed list of island transfers.
In Trang town there are several good backpacker and flashpacker accommodation options. We like the Sri Trang hotel, a beautiful traditional style building opposite the train station. A double room with AC and private bathroom costs 640 baht.