Arriving early morning in Trang we were soon scouting out for a Jok (โจ๊ก) shop. This is the Thai version of congee and is as close to comfort food that I know. To my surprise I discovered that Trang is famous for Dim sum and excellent Dim sum at that. Trang food is heavily influenced by Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, and Indian cuisines. Popular dishes include Indian-style Muslim curry (Massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (Khanom Jin), Southern Thai Rice Salad (Khao Yam ข้าวยำ) and chicken biryani (Khao Mok Gai).
The Chinese influence has brought Moo Yang Trang (Trang-style roasted pork), Trang cake and Dim sum. We sampled it all. However we didn’t visit Trang just to eat so after sating ourselves on Dim sum we went exploring.
Trang’s most obvious attraction, excellent eating apart, is its coastline and islands. Here is an inlet in Hat Chao Mai National Park:
……and a beach on Koh Kradan (I hope I have this right as we visited several islands and I may have got them mixed up). The snorkelling was pretty good as far as I could see (I have to remember in future to wear my contact lenses or get a prescription lensed pair of goggles).
……and a karst formation island just off Pak Meng ferry pier
Whilst most tourists are drawn to the islands there are attractions on the mainland. Kantang, the original capital of Trang Province, is worth a visit. Of note is the old governor’s residence which is now preserved as a museum. Given its age and the fact that it is entirely made of wood (teak) it was in a good condition. I wouldn’t mind retiring there myself (provided it came with a team of gardeners).
Here is Kantang’s marvellous railway station which rather reminded me of Hua Hin station https://pathannay.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/hua-hin/ . The Thai’s have great style when it comes to railway station design. There was even a train there when we visited. It didn’t strike me as being a particularly busy station being as it at the “end of the line” but very nice that the railway authorities have kept it operational.
On the third day of our trip we visited Khao Pra–Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary which is actually 180 kms north and in Krabi province. This comprises lowland forest, an extensive broad walk area and several hot springs and pools (including the Crystal, Emerald and Blue pools). It is worthy of a visit but best to avoid weekends or public holidays as the Emerald pool becomes a bit of a public bath. Fortunately the authorities ban swimming at the other two pools. A sign by the Blue Pool warned of the “danger of sucking mud” which I didn’t believe at all but it did the trick because it was quiet and unadulterated. Whilst the Blue Pool is the last and at the end of a 2 km partly uphill walk, the effort is worthwhile. Here are the 3 pools (and I didn’t “Photoshop” the last one – that really is the colour):
Back to Trang and we visited Tham Le Khao Kop. I don’t as a rule like caves but I was outvoted.
It was certainly an experience and comprised a 2 km ride on a flat bottomed boat within the cave complex and a rather unnerving stretch of 500 metres where we had to lie flat on our backs in the boat to get through a very low ceilinged passage. Needless to say the complex is not open during the rainy season. It was rather like a rather scary Disneyworld ride (without any of their safety features). It was certainly an exhilarating experience (to have come out alive!). The photo below was taken in a spot where there was actually sufficient space to lift my camera.
I don’t want to leave on a cave shot. Below is an evening shot of Hat Yao beach on the mainland. The Lonely Planet guide describes Hat Yao as a scruffy fishing hamlet. It might be but I wouldn’t let that unnecessarily put you off. It also has a very good seafood restaurant (food on the islands generally more expensive and not as good) and a nice (if yes scruffy) beach. It is worth a visit if you have a car.
I think I would like to return to Trang to explore more. Trang is less developed than Krabi and retains much of its original culture and charm. I leave with an unoriginal but classic shot adorning many a guidebook on Thailand.