Travel far south for Trang’s tasty tucker

April 29, 2015 by  
Filed under THAINESS

BANGKOK, 29 April 2015: Travellers searching for insights into Thainess by-pass the tourist trunk routes to explore lesser- known places.

One of them is Trang in the far south corner of Andaman Sea coast. This is unseen treasure is a destination that appeals to Thailand’s repeat visitors. Many of them make Phuket their long-stay vacation base and drive south following the coast dotted with beautiful islands and beaches.

It is quite a push south too, passing Krabi at around 100 km on the mainland and then travelling beyond to the twin islands of Lanta.

Trang is nestled even further south on a route that eventually takes you to the border with Malaysia and a port town, where ferries take you for a brisk transfer to Langkawi Island.

4.1  In its promotions presenting Thainess elements the Tourism Authority of Thailand says Trang is a place to eat your heart out, a reference to the quality of deep south cuisine and the open market snacks that abound in this coastal province.

However, Trang is essentially a port town and a gateway for divers and island lovers. Just a short sail from Trang are idyllic islands that are part of a national park archipelago that protects marine life and rare coral.

You would be forgiven for thinking this is the end of the track. In fact it is almost the last town on a State Railways of Thailand spur line that cuts across the country from the Gulf of Thailand coast to the Andaman Sea.

The railway station apart from having an imposing location in town is rarely used by travellers. They prefer the daily Thai AirAsia or Nok Air flights from Bangkok or they will drive from Krabi or Phuket island.

Rubber from Malaysia was planted here before anywhere else in southern Thailand in 1899 and still remains the most important produce for the province, but tourism is fast catching up. Travellers are mainly attracted by natural beauty, marine national parks and specialised diving tours.

Every February romantic couples visit for the famous Underwater Wedding Ceremony sponsored by the local chamber of commerce. Now in its 19th year it attracts hundreds of couples who make their wedding vows submerged under the clear waters near Trang’s islands. The celebrations move to shore where a banquet of Trang’s own version of southern Thai cuisine unfolds with traditional sticky rice.

From November through to February, Trang province is a premier spot for scuba divers. They head off in live-aboard boats for extended dive holidays.

Ko Kradan is the most beautiful island. With an area of 600 acres, most of the island is under the jurisdiction of Hat Chao Mai National Park.

4.2The rest are privately owned rubber and coconut plantations. The island offers good restaurants and accommodation for tourists.

The most striking feature of Ko Kradan is its powdery, white beach and crystal clear water that permits a great 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.

Other islands:

Ko Chueak – Ko Waen are small islands between Ko Muk and Ko Kradan. They are havens for shallow and deep water corals and many types of fish. Visitors can depart from Pak Meng Pier for the islands. Boats leave regularly using the same route as to Ko Muk and Ko Kradan.

Ko Muk and its famed Morakot Cave are the most popular attractions. The island is made up of mostly high cliffs facing the sea to the west, while a fishing village stands on the east side facing the mainland.

On the west side, the main attraction is Morakot Cave. The cave entrance is a small passage that is accessible by boat during low tide. The cave itself winds for about 80 metres to the other exit, opening on to a clean white beach surrounded by high cliffs.

4.3Ko Libong is in Tambon Libong and is the largest island, with an area of 40,000 square km. Around the island are masses of seaweed where the rare herds of manatees can be seen. It is also the home of a variety of native and migratory birds that are most abundant in winter. Ko Libong is part of the Libong Archipelago Wildlife Reserve.

Ko Sukon is a Tambon in Palian, only 3 km from shore via the Trang-Palian Road (Highway No 404 has many impressive beaches. In addition, it is renowned for its delicious watermelons, which are abundant in March and April.

North and South Lao Ling: Two mountainous islands connected by a narrow sandy isthmus, both islands are covered in dense forest and are uninhabited.

Mah Island: Another uninhabited mountainous island, the highest cliffs rise over 40 metres above sea level.

Food is very close to the hearts of Trang residents and for a town of its size it has a remarkable line up of local open-air restaurants and food stalls serving typical southern curries and devilishly hot dishes.

“Kao Neow Kang Gai” or sticky rice with chicken curry is a favourite and the signature dish of the annual wedding ceremony celebrations in February called “Kin Neow” or the “culture of Kin Neow”.

“Neow” or sticky rice is considered a symbol that keeps families and couples united. If families cook tasty sticky rice, they are living in harmony.

Comments are closed.