Situated on the coast of the pristine Andaman Sea, Trang province boasts a spectacular coastline studded with picturesque limestone karsts and charming islands, making the province an ideal destination for visitors seeking out the best sunbathing spots. The crystal clear waters and colorful marine life have made made Trang a popular dive and snorkeling site. The province also hosts unique underwater weddings every year which draws lovebirds from around the world.
The mountainous backdrop of eastern Trang is home to some of Thailand’s most striking scenery, and is home to a collection of cascading waterfalls, thick jungle thicket, and intriguing caves. Today, Trang attracts visitors looking to get a bit off the beaten traveler path to enjoy a local culture and a tropical landscape that has remained largely untouched from mass tourism.
For beach lovers and island hoppers, Trang is delightfully uneventful. The province might not be one of the most developed, but so the better suited for travelers seeking a mellow but inspiring trip that combines a slow local pace with breathtaking natural beauty.
A true melting pot of Thai Buddhist, Muslim and Malay cultures, a number of cultural traditions particular to Trang have risen over the years, including Manora – a southern art form which sees performers will dance whilst thinking quickly to come up with ad-lib lyrics on the spot to go with the music.
Shadow play is also another art form commonly practiced in Trang province, in which dried animal hide is crafted into a range of characters and held up behind a lit screen to create shadows. Trang’s Chinese Meunram Temple is often a good place to catch a traditional performance of Southern Thailand’s shadow theatre. Li-kay, another kind of song and dance performance, is particularly popular among the Muslim portion of Trang’s community.
Trang is better known as a business town than a tourist town, but if you do have a day to spare and find yourself in the region, it is easy to find your way around the town’s wet markets during the daytime. The majority of the tourist facilities are situated on the main road through the town, Praram VI Road, in between the clock and the train station. A large proportion of the province’s tour agencies are positioned in this vicinity, where it is possible to organize jaunts further afield from Trang town.
During the evening, Trang is home to a lively night market between Praram VI and Ratchadamnoen Roads, especially for visitors who like to indulge in a spot of traditional Thai street food, including curry, seafood, grilled meats, and an abundance of sweet Thai desserts. In addition, a second market pops up in front of the railway station (after the last train pulls out from the station) on Friday and Saturday evenings, where visitors can browse a range of products and sample more delectable Thai dishes.
For a more traditional shopping experience, Trang is home to a Robinson Department Store, which carries a standard product mix of food, fashion, knick knacks, as well as a cinema. Siriban Shopping Center and a Tesco Lotus also have retail opportunities, but not excellent by a far stretch of imagination.
Another popular culinary indulgence in Trang province is delicious dim sum, which are best at one of the town’s dim sum depots early in the morning where the locals head to for breakfast. Trang’s night market is an excellent place to indulge in some of the local cuisine, where you can find Pad Thai noodles for as little as THB25 (~US$0.80) and scrumptious rice dishes from around THB30 (~US$0.95).
Visitors that want to sample some of the cakes for which Trang province has become famous should head to the Sin Ocha Bakery near the train station, where traditional Trang goh bee cakes are served at round marble tables. The Asia Ocha restaurant is also a good eatery for visitors who want to sample some of the local delicacies in a sit-down restaurant. Open since the 1940s, this restaurant has established something of a reputation locally for its roast duck specialty.
In terms of nightlife, Trang is certainly not famed throughout Thailand for the entertainment and facilities on offer. However,a there is usually something to keep visitors amused, particularly in the island beach areas where fire performers strut their daring skills in time to the music. The Kho Ngai Villa Beach Bar is a great place to relax and watch the sun go down with a few cocktails.
Like many other Thai towns and cities, one of the most popular ways to get around Trang is by tuk-tuk; Trang tuk-tuks are more akin to a mini-songtaew than the standard ones found across Thailand. It is always best to have a simple map on you to minimize the risk of any confusion of miscommunication. In addition, it is also best to negotiate a fair price with the driver before setting out on your journey. If you are unsure of what kind of prices you should be paying for an average journey, the staff at your hotel or resort should be able to provide you with some helpful estimates.
If you are traveling around the city alone, it is also possible to take a motorbike taxi for short journeys, or rent a motorbike to scoot around town or to visit waterfalls and nearby attractions.
There are four main transportation terminals scattered across Trang city. To reach the Sikao District, the passenger van opposite Tha Klaang Market on Tha Klaang Road will take you to Pak Meng Beach, Ban Chao Mai and Chang Lang Beach.
To reach Huay Yod, Rassada or Tung Song, the passenger van from the church on Huay Yod near the Thammarin Thana Hotel is the place to head to. Alternatively, the passenger van to Tha Khao or Samran Beach leaves from near the sports stadium on Rassada Road.
Finally, travellers that want to pay a visit to the town’s old district in Kantang can catch vans from Kantang Road, near Trang’s train station.
Island tours generally start from one of the four main piers – Kuantungku, Pakmeng, Kantang, and Taseh.
For visitors on a tighter budget, two trains run every day from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong to Trang’s train station, which is located after Surat Thani and before Hat Yai. The 870km journey takes passengers approximately 15 hours.
The express train service departs from Bangkok at 5:05 p.m. and arrives in Trang the next morning at 8:05 a.m. The rapid train service departs from Bangkok at 6:20 p.m. and arrives in Trang the following morning at 10:31 a.m. Tickets for the second class sleeper coach costs between THB 721 and THB831 (~US$23.20 to US$26.80) per passenger.
Trang’s bus terminal is located about 4km away from the town center. Motorbike taxis and tuk-tuks can transfer visitors to city center; if visitors can't find the latter, they can walk to the nearby Robinson department store, where a number of them are usually waiting.
Alternatively, Hat Yai Airport is a two-hour drive from Trang and is served by several Thai Airways flights per day.