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Trang Thailand

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Took the ferry from Koh Samui, with the pickup, to Suratthani and then 400km on down south to Trang Town, in the Province of Trang, where Luk (my son’s Thai wife) grew up and where her grandmother still lives.  Great roads and good speed but thank goodness Luk and her mother, Simone, were with me or I would probably still be out there somewhere trying to find my way!  Ting Tong, Doug and Luk’s dog, was no help at all…got sick…and then slept most of the way.

In the two days we were there we visited “Gamma,” we picked up Luk’s mom’s motorcycle, had our hair done and had a few good Thai meals along the way.

Trang is real Thailand. Tourists who come to Thailand are missing out…there are very few tourists here. Prices are very low.  Unabashed praise comes from Trang itself on I’ll give the people in Trang a little promotion by using their own words:

Island Life

Scattered along the 119 km coast are houses on both banks. The people here are generous and kind. The sand is delicated and the clear water of the sea reflect the white clouds in the beautiful sky. On the beaches, the forests are fertile and there is a good source of fish.

The 47 islands in the north are under the responsibility of the Chao Mai National Park office and the islands in the south belong to the Petra Island National Park. The delicate, white sandy beaches, blue clear water, attractive caves and the range of corals both in the shallow and deep water, are heaven for all tourists. Above all, it is a very good educational sea resource.

Mountain Life

Mountain Life has also created various culture and traditions. Para Rubber, fruits. vegetables are grown well because of good weather and moisture from forest and waterfalls. These products play a large part in the economy of Trang. The charms in Trang Kao (Mountain) tempt visitors because of its forests streams and waterfalls even though the noise from the water becomes less (because of natural destructions). Teenagers in Trang Kao still wade through the streams catching fish in the falls and are proud of themselves, instead of walking around town in jeans and listening to music. Old kind men and women still carry typical tools to hunt in the forests. “Sakai”, a tribe in Trang Kao still finds products from the forests to exchange for rice with villagers.


Laying across Trang is Banthad, the big mountain in the south. Plentiful forest, wildlife, and more than twenty waterfalls make Banthad a challanging but charming destination for trekker. Trang Trekking Club, founded by Khun Pratheep Jongthong, have compiled five selected routes for trekkers around the world to enjoy Trang wildlife. Guiding by villagers, tourists will learned the right trekking practice for preventing and not disturbing the forest.

  • Tontok Waterfall-Sakai Village-Klongtok Waterfall (moderately)
  • Sairung Waterfall-Nanmuang-Khao Rutu (difficult)
  • Tontok Waterfall-Bantra Ranger Center (moderately)
  • Huaysom-Sahaipakao Camp-Chedchan Waterfall  (difficult)
  • Tonte Waterfall to Khao Chedyod (very difficult)


DivingFrom Choamai National Park to Pakmeng Beach, around 20 kms in length, locating one of the best diving venue in the world. Among 40 islands in Trang, Koh Kradan is the most beatiful one. Its charms are delicate, white sandy beaches and clear water – so clear that the coral under the sea can be seen. Koh Chueak, Koh Ma, and Koh Ngai are other choices for diving also. If you plan for diving in Trang sea, check our tour packages pages for agencies who provide diving package services.

Trang Town Life

TrangMarketMajority of Trang people in town are chinese. These chinese are group of merchants from mainland China settled down in Trang. After two or three generations, these Chinese have converted themselves completely into local Thai people. Although they still practice traditional Chinese cultures, they also adopted local Trang’s agricultural cultures and mixed them together into a new culture, Trang Town Culture. 

Walking Through The Clean Markets
The two markets, Ta Klang Market and Municipal Market, selling fresh products are not far away from each other. People do not have to worry about dirty water which may be found in the markets in the other provinces here. Trang has been awarded as the cleanest town in Thailand for many years in a row. And its markets are considered to be the cleanest fresh market in Thailand. If you stay in town, it must be a good experience to walk through one of them to see how local people’s daily life is.

Asian Travel Update

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Last week Amy, Josh’s wife, flew down to Samui from Beijing with a colleague from her international school where they teach history. Four short days but it was a treat to see them!

    Koh Samui to Trang to Krabi

The day before they left Doug, Luk and I drove to Trang to leave Ting Tong, their dog, in the care of Luk’s mother during our week-long trip to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to renew Doug’s Thai visa. We had planned on spending the night in Trang before driving over to Krabi International Airport to catch a plane to KL but that was not to be. We checked into the hotel at 11am and was told the rooms would be vacated at noon. Noon came and went and so did 1pm and 2pm. Rooms were supposedly being made up for us. Finally at 2:30, with absolutely no concern being shown by the dour desk clerk, we decided just to drive the 1.5 hrs to Krabi for the night. So much for the land of smiles! Typical foreign “customer service.” But we were not really surprised and quickly let our frustration go. We have had a lot of practice at it!

Driving to Krabi in a monsoon rain, a dog ran out in front of doug’s pick-up. I thought we had hit a rock. Needless to say the rest of the trip was a pretty sober one.

    Kuala Lumpur

Now we are in Kuala Lumpur. We checked into the Backpackers Travellers Inn in Chinatown recommended by Lonely Planet and an expat in KL. Wrong! Filthy concrete floors, no top sheet, had to purchase a towel, no soap but for $25 a night, in their generosity, we did have air/con. However with no sheet it got cold during the night and turning off the air/con just meant we got hot again. But the owner/manager was quite the charmer…think he charmed Lonely Planet a bit too much!

The next day, we found a nice hotel for $40 a night…worth every penny. Think the kids on the road are a bit too tolerant of some of these backpacker guesthouses. $25 a night was robbery! Usually a room like this is $5-10.

    Thai Immigration in Kuala Lumpur

The next morning we took the local train to the Thai embassy…and after a two hour wait Doug was nearly ecstatic to get his Immigration O visa renewed for another year. We have learned to make it easy for the officials. Shove all the documentation you can think of in front of them (some of which could have been rightly questioned) and ask absolutely no questions! You never know what the requirements are in whatever immigration office you are visiting. “Depends,” Doug says, “on what how the local office interprets the myriad of rules, on what they think of you, what their mood is and whether they got laid the night before” Told Doug shame on him. But don’t think it’s too far from the truth.

One very angry farang, married to a Thai but living and working in Malaysia just wanted to get a Thai tourist visa to visit his wife’s relatives. It is required that he have a letter from his boss verifying his employment. But I am the boss, he said. I own my own company! Didn’t fit the rules. They refused to give him his visa. An older Malaysian gentleman spent quite some time at the window arguing with a young female officer. I told Doug to try to get the the guy at the next window who was whipping them through. Suspect that if you try to argue you are doomed.

    Meeting a Burmese in Kuala Lumpur

While waiting for Doug, I had a great conversation with a young guy from Burma (Myanmar he calls it…I said we foreigners refuse to use the names changed by the junta). We lamented the damage to southern Burma by the cyclone that has killed more than 20,000 people and knocked out electricity and basic services like the food supply. A Thai friend and I have plane tickets to fly to Rangoon on May 19 for a week but think that trip is not to be. Probably can’t get a visa now. Internet is down and I can’t get ahold of my guesthouse. Travel web sites are awash with friends trying to get information about friends traveling in Burma. Pictures of Rangoon that looked like they had been taken from a plane on a Malaysian TV news program this morning showed widespread devastation.

A report by a young woman living in Rangoon found on the net:

“Hello everyone: I am finally in Bangkok after a Iloooooooong try to get out of Yangon. The cyclone was horrible, I felt guilty leaving all of my friends who have so much to deal w/ roofs off or w/ huge holes, windows gone or broken, cave-ins, tropical trees laying around on tops of houses, our school, roads and everywhere. yangon will never look the same…

The local people have no expectation of governmental help – they are used to a lifestyle that deals w/ daily challenges unsupported by the use of machinery nor having an expectation that their govt. will come to supply aide. they do not have one ‘iota’ of the services ‘we expect’ in the states. I only saw govt. people working close to the airport areas on Sunday and Monday when I was trying to find out about the airport traffic. its been a huge community effort to clear things up. people from all social economic levels were out sawing trees, clearing dibree and offering a helping hand. There were a few chain saws about, but very few.

The worse is yet to come. Our school will be closing due to lack of fuel and fresh water available for people. There are many unknowns – the last stat I heard about death toll was over 15,000 – there is no way of knowing the numbers. I pray for these peaceful people. Going there without support of an NGO or other agency to help would be foolish. Be careful!

Am beginning to wonder what is going on here…student demonstrations in Istanbul, tsunami in Thailand, military coup in Thailand, bloody 7 month teacher strike in Oaxaca, freezing cold among stranded travellers in freak storm in China…now Burma. Better get the hell home before the monsoons start in Thailand…assuming nothing will happen again for the next few months in the NW. Last year 8 tourists were washed away in Koh Samui. So glad Doug has his pick-up now.

    U.S. Customs in LA

Meanwhile in the US of A Bob returned to Salem via LA and Las Vegas. Said he was “detained by customs in LA who were certain that they had apprehended the kingpin of child porn. Went thru everything including a half hour search of the nooks and crannies of my computer. Subsequently I missed my Las Vegas connection and had to spend the night in the LA airport sweet place between 2 and 4 a.m. Complained at the custom’s office but was patronized. Will write a few letters as they were abusive and caustic and played ‘big cop.’ A little scary re the potential of what the government can do in the name of national security…..”

The AP wire service today released an article:

“Interpol launched a worldwide appeal to the public Tuesday to help identify a man suspected of sexually abusing young boys from Southeast Asia – hoping the rare move will lead to a quick arrest. The suspect in the latest case is a white man, shown with gray, thinning hair in photos released by Interpol. He appeared to be in his late 40s or early 50s in the images.”

No wonder Bob was detained! Told him not to go through LA but what do I know…

Actually this has happened to Doug three times. Fitting the drug “profile” with only a small backpack and a frequent traveller back and forth from SE Asia to the U.S., he was very rudely harrassed in the PDX airport by customs for over an hour. He refuses to travel with his computer anymore.

    Free WiFi in Kuala Lumpur

Doug and Luk have gone to the Thai immigration office again today to pick up Doug’s passport. This city is totally wired with free WiFi everywhere. Now I am ensconsed in the Golden Triangle in the BB Plaza in front of a shopping mall and coffee shop where I can pick up free WiFi and even plug in the computer for a limitless power supply and watch this diverse Malaysian city meander by. I am set! Glad to know I am not the only one who can sit for hours with my computer though. An Australian woman sitting behind me just got up to leave. It is 11pm. We sat down at 5.