Trang – ตรัง
Trang is a sprawling industrial town in the South West of Thailand. It is a gateway to the holiday islands of Koh Kradan, Koh Muk, Koh Ngai, Ko Sukorn and Chao/Jao Mai National Park.
“Trang” is spelt ตรัง. That first letter is actually halfway between a “t” and a “d”. If you say “Trang” to a Thai person and they look blank, try “Drang” instead.
I like a town where you have to step-around guys doing spot-welding on the sidewalk.
Most island transport is best organised through one of the dozen or so travel agents near the train station. In my experience, they are all decent folk. You’re not in Khao San Road now.
Usually, I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself/public transport arrangements, but having experimented with both methods in Trang, I’ve found that public transport to the islands isn’t especially easy to find/use and it is always much easier and usually just as cheap to go through a travel agent.
Here’s some maps of the main parts of Trang Town.
All images on this site are clickable for bigger versions.
Getting into Trang town:
Air: There is a (domestic) airport 8km South of town. There is no public transport from the airport to downtown, but most of the travel agents have aircon buses waiting there. Of course, if you take one, there is a tacit understanding that you will use that agent for your onward travel.
There will be aircon sedan taxis hanging around the airport. I haven’t tried them, but I guess you are talking about 300B into town. There may well be some green tuk-tuks there too. Tuk tuk prices are probably a bit less than the taxis (edit: I saw a sign in a travel agent saying Airport tuk-tuks for 200B).
Cheapskates like me can jump on the hourly public Satun-Trang bus that goes along the main road just outside the airport and takes you into Trang town. Turn right out of the Airport terminal building, walk about 400m down the entrance road and you are there (already on the correct side of the main road). The bus will be a tatty red number with open doors. It is the only bus on this route – you can’t catch the wrong one. It will probably have Trang written in Thai on the front (ตรัง). There isn’t a formal bus-stop there, but it should stop if you wave it down vigorously enough. When you arrive in Trang , the bus dumps everyone out outside the municipality offices near the clocktower (“naa-lii-gaa”) (6 on the map). Walk in the direction that the bus had been going; continue down the hill, past the clocktower, and the train station is about 600m at the bottom of the hill. Or there will be tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis waiting at the bus stop. The orange bigbus seems to have been phased out @ 2016.
From the big-bus station to downtown:
Arriving by big-bus (or minibus) from other towns, you will end up in the (new) big bus-station 4 km East of town. There is a sorngthairw (open-sided van) service that will take you downtown for 12B. The sorngtairw vans wait near the entrance/exit to the bus station (opposite platforms 9-14) . Just ask to go to the train station (sa ta nii rot fai).
The sorngtairw service runs from 0530 to 1930 hours.
You can also use the (light blue) downtown bus between the main bus station and downtown, also for 12B. It leaves from platform 10 at the bus station and from the train station in downtown.
Tuk tuks are 50B between the big-bus station and downtown.
(White) sorngtairw and green tuk-tuks outside the train station
Sorngtairw route and timetable.
The train station is in the middle of downtown. There are a few trains from Bangkok. Trains don’t go (much) further South from here.
OK, back to those all-important travel agencies near the train station:
Here is a list of the agencies. The letters refer to where they are on the map. This info was collected from their business cards in April 2013.
A – Koh Hai Fantasy Resort office
comment: This company office has two luxury resorts on the island Koh Ngai/Hai: Koh Hai Fantasy Resort and Koh Ngai Cliff Beach Resort
Cliff Beach Resort:
Phone: (+66) 7521 5923, 7521 0317
Fax: (+66) 7521 7397
Phone: (66) 2 316 3577, 3171274 (Bangkok office)
Fax: (66)2 316 7916
Comment: This office is also the downtown check-in point for the Tigerline ferry
other: The awning gives other telephone numbers: 075-210-317; 211-045; 215-923
B – Andaman Islands Tour and Travel
Phone: +66 075 216110
Mobile: +66 089 6472964
address: 66/8 Satanee Rd Muang Trang 92000
comment: General travel agency
other: Business card advertises Transport and Accomodation Trang-Krabi Lanta Pakbara Samui. Car and motorbike rental
C – Koh Mook Charlie Beach Resort office
Phone: +66 75 217671-2
address: 66/10 Satanee Rod Muang Trang 92000
other: island phone number is +66 75 203281-2 . Handwritten ‘out to lunch’ sign in door give mobile number 089-2892317
D – Koh Ngai Villa Resort office
Name: Sao (Boontiwa Hanthalay)
address: 66/25 Satanee Rd, Trang Thailand 92000
E – Rungtip Travel
address: 66/24 Satanee Rd Mueang Trang 92000
comment: general travel agency
other: Card says: Hotel, Resort Reservation Lanta Lipe Koh-Ngai Koh-Mook Koh-Libong City-tour transfer Air-ticket Boat-ticket Penang Singapore KL. Awning gives an additional mobile number: 085-1509151
F – Meeting point restaurant
other: Awning advertises Koh Ngai Paradise Resort, 075-218535
G – Smile Dugong Tour and Service
Phone: 075 210 295
Fax: 075 210 295
facebook: “find us on facebook”
address: 48 Satanii Rd Trang 92000
other: card says “Transfer service to (Koh) Mook Kradan Ngai Sukorn Libong Rok; Satun Pakbara (Koh) Slip Adng Tarutao Rawi Bulon, Bus Ticket Boat Ticket taxi; Awning gives a mobile number : 089-8522461
H – Muslim restaurant
I – KK travel and tour
Phone: +66 (0)75-211198, 075-223664;
mob 086-4781506, 086-4781507
Fax: +66 (0)75 211441
address: 44 Sathani Road Muang Trang 92000
J – Store
K – 1954 Cafe / Sri Trang Hotel rear entrance
L – Muslim Restaurant and Trang Island Hopping Tour
Mobile: 087-6321193; 082-8040583
Name: Mr Ekkachai Binwaha
address: 28/2 Satanii Rd Muang Trang 92000
comment: This is a small desk on the right at the back of the restaurant. I believe that they book the four-island tours with operator Jarawee out of Pak Meng.
other: Card says “We arrange reservation for tours hotel, transfers tickets in Southern Thailand.
M – Art Café Espresso Bar and Gallery
Has a sign saying free wifi
N – Koh Kradan Beach Resort office
Phone: 075-211391, 075-590270
other: Island mobile: 082-8003446. The Trang office has a (possibly defunct) office for “Trang Sea Tour” attached.
Wunderbar Restaurant and Tours Closed down in 2016. Trang Happy Trip and Tour (Q) moved here (?temporarily)
P – Sri Trang Hotel main entrance
comment: Pronounced “Sii” Trang Hotel. Best midrange hotel in downtown. Has wifi and 2 computers for internet. Free wifi for guests. Rents out motorcycles.
Q – Trang Happy Trip & Tour (edit: moved two doors down to O @ 2016)
Mobile: 081-6072411 (Jip) 087-4754684 (Saai)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
facebook: facebook.com/trang happytrip & tour
R – Kankowan Tour
Phone: 075-215235, 081-9680130, 085-0984330
address: 20 Satanee Rd Muang Trang
other: Has internet terminals. Their business card says “Daily minivans to Koh Lanta; tourist information; transfer to island; hotel booking; minibus VIP Service.
Trang-Lanta 0930 1050 1220 1345 1510 1630
Lanta-Trang 0800 0920 1040 1200 1330 1500
In high season, a sign on the corner says Kankowan Lanta minivans “every hour”.
S – Mai Tree Hotel – new in 2015. Midrange. Well worth a look if the Sri Trang is full.
T – Thumrin Hotel (ธรรมรินร์)
U – Trang Travel
Name: Parichart kongkaew
address: 99 Satanee Rd Muang Trang 92000
V – Chao Mai Tour
Phone: (075) 214742, 216380, 217617
Name: Jongkolnee Usaha
Fax: (075) 217340
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
address: 15 Satanee Rd Ampur Muang Trang 92000
other: Card says “Travel Service, Air Ticketing & Tour”
W – BB Tour
Phone: 075-219054, 089-8718104, 075-219061
address: 23 Satanii Road
comment: Only one English speaker on premises, business card in Thai only
X – Koh Muk Rubber Tree Bungalows Resort office / Sea Breeze Tours
Name: Nattapong Marknakorn
www: http://www.mookrubbertree.com; http://www.andamanport.com
comment: A general travel agency, as well as an office for the resort. Also a big restaurant with free wifi.
other: Mobile numbers on faded awning 087-299-1327; 081-6069358; 081-270-4148
Trang to the Islands:
It is about an hour’s drive from Trang Town to the coast to take a boat to the islands. There are three jetties – each about 30km from each other. The jetty you go to will depend on the island you are going to.
Pak Meng is the most Northerly and generally covers Koh Ngai.
Kuentengu is the middle one and serves Koh Muk and Koh Kradan
Hat Yao is in the South and serves Koh Libong
If you want to go independent, you can get public minibuses to these from minibus station #1. Prices are 100-150B. Journey time is about an hour. Minibuses leave roughly every half an hour in the mornings. Less frequent in the afternoons. (Edit @ 2014: the station was knocked down and replaced with a Honda motorcycle dealership, but the minibuses still depart from this area – parked at the side of the road.
In the case of Pak Meng, the jetty is about 2km further on from the main beach area. Tell the driver that you want to go to the Jetty (“taa roowa”) or to Koh Ngai.
If you are taking a tuk tuk/ motorbike taxi to the minibus station (“sa ta nii rot too”), you should tell him where your final destination is. There are (at least) three minibus stations in Trang and he’ll need to get you to the right one.
In dry season (approx. November-April) there are public boats:
From Pak Meng to Koh Ngai – mid morning, about 150B
From Kuentungu to Koh Muk – lunchtime, about 40B
From Kuentungu to Koh Kradan – early morning and early afternoon, about 300B
From Hat Yao to Koh Libong – all day, departing whenever the boat is full, about 40B.
Trang travel agents sell combination minibus/boat tickets to the islands at about 500B. I’ve carted my heavy bags down to the minibus station only to have the minibus drive back into town to collect people casually sitting outside the travel agents sipping cold drinks, before we all headed off to the same jetty. The prices are pretty similar.
In the wet season (May-October), regular boats keep running to Libong and there is one boat per day (at lunchtime) to Koh Muk. There are no scheduled public boats to Ngai or Kradan in the wet season. (A few individual resorts may be running their own boats).
You can charter your own longtail boats from anywhere to anywhere. Expect to be charged about 2000B for a boat from a jetty to its nearest island. Negotiate!
In dry season, there are also boats to the Trang Islands from Koh Lanta (Pet Pailin ferry), Koh Lipe/Bulon (Pak Bara Speedboat Club; Bundhaya speedboat) and (from various points) – Tigerline.
To get from downtown Trang to minibus station #1, turn left (North) out of the train station, walk about 100m and skip a block to the left at the first turning/opportunity you get. Technically, you could carry straight on, but it is simpler this way. Just before you hit the railway lines, turn right to go the same direction as you had been (parallel to the railway lines), then walk (~10 minutes) towards the rusting water tower in the distance. There are lots of fruit stalls down here and the morning market is on your right. When you see a level-crossing (train/road crossing) on your left, look across the road to your right and you will see the minibus station (edit@ 2014: the station was knocked down and replaced with a Honda motorcycle dealership, but the minibuses still depart from this area – parked at the side of the road. Edit @2016 – get your tickets from the lady sitting at a small table outside the “108 Shop” convenience store.
There is a 200B fee to enter the National Park(s) which the islands are in. The only places I’ve ever seen this being enforced is outside the Emerald Cave in Koh Muk and on the Jetty at Pak Meng, where there is a collection booth part-way down the jetty.
Public bus for Satun and connections to Kok Lipe/Tarutao/Bulon:
The orange public bus to Satun also goes past the airport and is your only practical option for connections to Koh Lipe, Bulon, Tarutao etc. (edit at 2016: The orange bigbus seems to have been phased out. There are now tourist minibuses to La Ngu / Lipe / Satun and public minibuses to Satun (which will drop you off at La Ngu for connections to the islands).
For a public minibus, starting from Trang town, you catch a 12B sonrgtairw or light blue bus from outside the train station to the big bus station; then look for the Satun minibus
red/orange (local style, not aircon) bus (probably at platform 4). But you can save yourself the journey from downtown to the bus station because the Satun bus starts from downtown. From the train station/downtown area, walk up the hill towards the clocktower (which is the main landmark in Trang). Continue past the clocktower and there is a bus shelter about 20m on the left (marked 5 on the map). Just wait there – buses for Satun arrive roughly hourly. Usually about a quarter past the hour, (but don’t rely on that – they just come when they come). It will be arriving from the right from around the blind corner just 20m away, so keep a look out and be ready to jump up and wave your arms about when it appears.
If you are connecting to Southern Islands like Lipe, Tarutao or Bulon, you need to change in La Ngu, then take a sorngtairw the 5km to the port at Pak Bara. The minibus ride from Trang to La Ngu is just over two hours. Just say La Ngu to the driver and maybe also that you will later want to go to Pak Bara (ja pai Pak Barra) and he’ll drop you off at the right spot in La Ngu to get the sorngthairw to Pak Bara. There will also be packs of taxis/motorcycle taxis wanting to take you to the port in Pak Bara.
In La Ngu, the sorngthairw goes from outside the police station (sa ta nee taam ruuat) (and also at the South end of town, near the bridge). Just wave at any likely looking vehicle and ask if he goes to Pak Barra (pai pak barra mai). The price is about 30B.
There are now also tourist minibus from Trang to La Ngu. Trang travel agents sell seats in tourist minibuses to La Ngu for 200B, or through to Lipe (including the boat) for 750B. This might be high-season only.
There are ATMs and lots of ferry-ticket sellers at Pak Barra. There are ATMs in La Ngu.
Minibus to Hat Yai
You can get minibuses to Hat Yai from a dedicated minibus station #2 (at the top of the Black and white “Trang Town” map. It is in a pink building opposite the Caltex gas station. Fare is 100B to Hat Yai, but you might have to buy an extra seat if you have a big bag. There are also minibuses to Hat Yai from the big bus station.
Buses to elsewhere:
For Bangkok, Surat Thani, Phuket, Pattalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, etc., see the list at the bottom of the page.
You can take a train. There is one train per day in each direction, but the timings don’t work well for making a daytrip. There are also share taxis leaving from the OLD bus station (3km North of town on Highway 4) which leave when they are full. Price 50B.
Trang Sleeps :
Civilised and slightly boutiquey (about 800B) – the Sri Trang (No 1 on the map)
Civilised and slightly faceless – the Thumrin (No 2 on the map)
Cheap and basic (200B, with fan) – Ko Teng (No 3 on the map)
Cheap and pretty basic (500B) Trang Hotel (No 4 on the map)
There are dozens of other hotels spread around Trang town.
Local points of interest:
There is a volunteer tourist information service in the alley next to Ko Teng Hotel. They can’t help you with Island info, but can point you towards local points of interest. They are lovely people and like having visitors. They are only open early-evenings. About 5-7pm.
There is big shiny official TAT tourist information office 3km North of town near the OLD bus station.
Most people go to Trang as a jumping-off point to the islands, so apart from the area outside the train station (where all the travel agents are) it’s not at all touristy.
If you want to spend some time in town, here are a few possible places to visit:
There is a temple (Tartayaprom) with a big white chedi ~1km North of the train station
and a Chinese temple across the road from it:
There is a nice park and gardens (“Somdet Phra Nakharin 95 Park”), 2km NE of the white chedi (pretty flora, lakes, good gym)
There is a modest nature park (sometimes called the “Botanic garden”) with a canopy walkway through the treetops, 5km past the airport. Best to rent a motorbike (150B) to get there. Public minibuses to Satun go past it, but you might have trouble flagging one down to get back. Scribble down the name in Thai (สวนพฤษศาสตร์สากลภาคใต้ (ทุ่งค่าย)) if you want to try your luck. Travel agents will sell you a private trip for 500B, but it’s just the standard tuk-tuk fare plus their mark-up. Of course, you can just take an ordinary tuk-tuk or motorbike taxi and ask him to wait for you. An hour is probably enough.
Sections include: Palms; Orchid Garden; Forest Herbarium; Xenophyte Garden; Fern and Ferna Allies; Dipterocarpaceae; Swamp forest
2 daytime markets – try the local fruit
There is a night market every evening in the street near the Dugong fountain (see the map). It goes from about 5pm to 9pm. You can get cheap local eats there, but seating is limited.
On Friday to Sunday there is also a bigger night market outside the train station (edit: it has now spread to some weekday evenings, too). There is ususally some home-spun entertainment on the entrance to the Train Station.
Clocktower/Dugong Fountain illuminated at night
Malls? (Siriban, Robinsons, BigC)
Bull fighting (!) near to Robinsons Mall and the Bus station.
Radio-controlled (baby) race-car track. 2km out of town on the road to Pak Meng.
Chinese Joss Houses dotted here and there, some with interesting artwork.
I think it’s Thang Kongya that has an ancient, lifesize ‘morality’ depiction of all the gruesome things that happen to you if you end-up-in hell
Trip to Pak Meng beach (minibus, one hour North).
Hat Chao Mai National Park (minibus, one hour South)
Rent motorbike (from, say, Sri Trang Hotel) and explore tiny coast roads and villages South of Pak Meng
The Travel agents can set you up with tours and island travel. For more local stuff, visit the volunteer tourist office around 6pm, and have a chat with them.
There are some waterfalls on the edge of the mountain range 30km East of town, but I’ve only ever visited in dry-season when they would be dried-up.
Longtime German-owned drinking establishment Wunderbar closed down in 2016. Most drinkers have stumbled across the road to the restaurant of Koh Muk Rubber Tree Bungalows Resort office (X on the map).
Other (more Thai-style) bars open from time to time, but they are usually in out-of-the-way places. If you feel like exploring, there are some decent ones 1km to the North East of the Dugong fountain on Ratchdamnoen Road. There are also some good ‘night market’ style eats in that area in the evenings.
There is a large ethnically-Chinese population of Thai people in Trang. It is difficult to find any open restarants at Chinese New Year.
They hold an under-water wedding ceremony for scuba divers at Ko Kradan on 12th/13th February each year. On the (?)13th, all the school kids get the afternoon off school to line the streets and cheer the newlyweds as they pass through Trang on the way back to the airport.
That’s all for now.
I’ll tidy this up later, but it is a list of platform labels and the buses that were actually in each bay when I went to check out the big bus station
Platform label bus present when I checked
1 Bangkok none
2 Phuket Phuket (big aircon VIP coach)
3 Hat Yai Hat Yai minibus
Satun (local-style big bus) edit: now defunkt
5 Nakhon Si Thammarat
6 Ko Lanta Lanta (minibus)
7 Surat Thani Surat Thani (minibus) Hourly 160B
8 Nakhon Si Nakhon Si Thammarat (minibus)
9 Phuket-Hat Yai Trang-nakhon si (minibus)
10 trang-songkhla songkhla minibus
11 Krabi krabi minibus
12 Songkhla trang pattalung ranot salingphra songkhla minibus
13 ??? hat yai minibus
14 same as 13
Ticket office posters
2nd class 1730hrs 484?
1st class 0930 1630 1700 1750hrs 623?
VIP 1700hrs 969?
………….Full price half price
VIP24 969 796 time 0715 1730
VIP32 727 554 time 1730
AC 1st 623 450 time 0940 1700 1730
(???????? – aircon)
trang phuket 240
Bangkok – Morchit – Sai Taai Mai
AC1st 623B time 1700
2nd 484B time 0800 1700
Krabi 90B minibus
There was an old bus station about 4 km North of town on Highway 4. This seems to be disused now. Share taxis to Kantang and other small local towns depart from here.