(see the complete Trang Island itinerary)
We flew early on Air Asia from Bangkok and at the Trang airport we found no taxis to take into town. Two tour booths were herding arrivals into vans for the transfer or selling complete package transfers to the islands: a van to the appropriate port plus a longtail boat to the chosen island. The price was about $30USD per person, around 800-900 baht. That seemed like too much and we circled the wagons with a couple from Europe and decided to pay the 90 baht for just a transfer into Trang Town to the area near the railway station. From there we booked a transfer package ourselves for 450 each to Koh Kradan (350 for the two going to Koh Mook on the same longtail boat) with Gift at Andaman Island Tour and Travel (66/8 Satanee Rd, Trang, near train station, 089-647-2964). (She also gave us a good price for a place on Koh Libong which we would later call and commit to.)
The people from the airport were a bit angry at the tour operator, basically for breaking their airport lock on the price gouging. (We were told the two booths operating there are essentially the same company or at least in agreement on the price.)
The van took almost an hour to Kuantungku Port where we boarded a longtail boat. We stopped at Koh Mook to drop off the other couple, and there in the bay was quite the crowd floating in the midday sun, strolling the beach. When we disembarked on the beach of Kradan Island a short time later, we saw a much longer stretch of sand, an island lower to the water, and a smattering of beachgoers. Unfortunately, we had to carry our bags to the end of the island as the boatman dropped us and the one passenger destined for the midrange Kradan Beach Resort right in front of her accommodations.
Koh Kradan National Park area consisted of a couple of rows of dorm rooms, a pavilion, two concrete bathhouses, and several semi-permanent park tents. Tent camping is allowed (see next post on What You’ll Find in Koh Kradan). The jungle rose steeply behind it all on a steep hill and the beach ran right along the front of it. The beach and rocky hill closed in on each other at the southern end of the camp so that the only way to continue walking south of there was to enter the water or sneak past the rock outcrop at low tide. At the beach a swing dangled from one of the trees that hung out over the water. On concrete pilings tucked right up against the steep hill, were the beginnings of villas. The park manager told us they had been started 10 years ago and never completed. A pity.
We checked in and pitched our tent, right next to the beach. In the evening we had a view of the east so the sunset was a short trek across the island. But also worthy of watching was the reflection of the sunset in the clouds to the east and their reflections on the still waters.
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