Are you searching for the perfect spot for your next Thai beach vacation? Look no further than the enchanting islands of Trang in southern Thailand. The Islands of Trang are everything you would imagine a Thai beach paradise to be, without being plagued by the mass crowds and overdevelopment of their more popular neighbours, Phuket and Krabi. If your idea of the perfect holiday is relaxing on empty, palm tree-lined, powdery white sand beaches and swimming in crystal clear turquoise waters, then look no further than the stunningly beautiful isles of the Trang Archipelago.
To us, Koh Mook (Koh Muk) everything a Thai island should be. The sand, the water clarity and the choice of beachside accommodation make it a perfect spot for all you beach bums out there. There are a number of beaches on the Island. Ao Kham, which is by the main village and has a rustic vibe, Ao Wua Nawn, which houses the island’s most sought after hotel, The Sivalai Beach Resort and Farang Beach on the west side Of the island. All of the beaches have their plus points, but we prefer the laid back feel of Ao Wua Nan over the more holiday package, sun lounger vibe over on Farang Beach.
There are upmarket resorts on Koh Mook, such as the aformentioned Sivalai Beach and Mook Lamai Resort and Spa but they have managed to strike the right balance between making it an attractive spot for tourists and keeping the island relatively unspoiled. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more wallet friendly, we recommend checking out Mookies Bungalow, where you’ll find cracking food and a laid back jungle atmosphere.
The main tourist attraction on Koh Mook is a trip to the ‘secret’ Emerald Cave, which houses a small beach surrounded by impressively high limestones cliffs. The cave is accessed through a small passage at low tide which you have to swim around 80 metres to get through. Be warned, it does get very busy here so renting a private boat and going early is highly advisable. The boat costs around 1500- 2000 baht (45-60 USD) for the day giving you the opportunity to visit one of the other nearby island such as Kradan or Ngai.
If taking long strolls on a deserted beach, reading a book and generally doing nothing sounds like your idea of paradise, then Koh Libong might just be your ideal Thai Island. There’s something magical about this sleepy beach destination that makes it impossible not to merely accept your fate and recharge your batteries. The sand here is a little orange and stoney when compared to nearby Mook and Kradan’s powdery sand beaches but the Island’s rustic charm more than makes up for it. The view out to sea from the Andalay Beach Resort at sunset is breathtaking.
Koh Libong is home to the endangered Dugong (a cousin of the manatee), so if you’re very fortunate, you might catch a glance these gentle giants in their natural habitat.
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Koh Kradan has a kind of shipwrecked, desert island, hidden paradise kind of feel to it. Kradan houses a number of upmarket resorts, such as the uber-luxury Sevenseas resort, as well as some solid midrange and budget options like The Coral Garden and Paradise Lost. It’s clear as soon as you arrive on the boat why Koh Kradan is such a favourite island among tourists; the powdery soft coral sand beaches are truly stunning, and the shallow waters are brimming with marine life which gives you excellent snorkelling directly from the beach. Kradan is a relatively small place making it possible to navigate the whole island by foot.
The original Trang Island backpacker destination (technically it’s in Krabi but reached by Pak Meng in Trang), Koh Ngai has seen a steady rise in development in the last few years which has led a number of more upscale accommodation such as the Koh Ngai Paradise Beach pop up on the island. This has lead to more families and honeymooners making the trip to take in the lush, unspoilt jungle terrain and white sand beaches that define this rugged little slice of paradise. The main activities on the island are diving, snorkelling, jungle trekking and canoeing. There are plenty of activities here to keep you occupied on your little desert island getaway.
Getting to Trang.
The easiest way to get to Trang is to fly from Bangkok Don Mueang Airport with either Nok Air, Lion Thai or Air Asia. From there you can pick up a minibus or private taxi to the pier, or you can take our advice and spend a night in Trang town to sample the fantastic local dim sum and roast pork there.
Once in Trang, you can pick up a combined minibus and ferry ticket to any of the Trang islands at one of the many local travel agents or hotels there.
If you’re looking for a clean, budget-friendly option for Trang town, then we suggest you check out Ban Ao Thong next to the Night Market. Rooms start at 800 baht (25 USD) a night with air conditioning and a hot shower. They have just opened a wine café downstairs serving decent Thai food and Western pasta dishes.