Some of the loveliest parts of Thailand are located in the Andaman Sea to the west of the southern peninsular portion of the country. That’s not been a secret now for years. Phuket went from sleepy little island beauty to overdeveloped, commercialized tourist mecca a long time ago. Krabi, one of my favorite provinces, has also been getting some serious resort development, especially around Ao Nang. Even my favorite — the islands of Tarutao National Park — are seeing much more traffic these days, despite being part of the province Satun (which borders on the areas of Muslim unrest and deadly attacks in the south, though it’s not typically involved in the troubles). Within the national park, Koh Lipe has more than 30 places to stay according to a recent update trip by a writer from Travelfish.org. Not the sleepy little island snorkeling paradise I visited in 2007.
So getting off the beaten track becomes a bit tougher. The islands of Trang, the province between Krabi and Satun, are yet to be swamped. As we hadn’t been to any of these yet, we chose Trang for our recent island hopping trip. And we skipped already popular Koh Ngai, lovely as it may be, and Koh Mook, famous for an 80-meter swim through a limestone tunnel to a hidden cove. Too many tourists already. The cave/tunnel gets boatloads of people every day – a circus I definitely wanted to avoid, especially if we were swimming together with all of them through a narrow tunnel in the dark.
Instead we stopped for two nights in each of the more southerly islands, Koh Kradan, Koh Libong, and Koh Laoliang. We found peace and quiet, natural beauty, and minimal tourists in all three.
(Click this link to the interactive Google Map of the area)
Read about each of these islands in the next series of blogs and see a lot of great photos to go with them. But for starters here is
Our Trang Island Hopping Itinerary:
Sunday: Fly Bangkok to Trang (city) on Air Asia (1 hour 15 min), transfer to Kauntungku pier, take a longtail boat to Koh Kradan, camp at the national park (our own tent)
Monday: Snorkeling in the national park, enjoy the beach, see the sunset on the other side of the island
Tuesday: Depart for Koh Libong and check in at Libong Beach Resort. Rent a motorbike to explore the island, explore the beach area around the hotel.
Wednesday: Take a boat tour in search of the rare dugong (similar to a manatee), see birds, explore tide pools, relax
Thursday: Depart for Koh Laoliang, snorkel off the beach, shoot photos of the amazing karst formations
Friday: Take a kayak around the island, join a snorkel tour to nearby Koh Takien
Saturday: Depart for the mainland and Trang (city) for the night. Drink Trang coffee, eat at the awesome night markets
Sunday: Morning flight back to Bangkok with Air Asia. (Nok Air also serves this route but from Don Muang Airport, not Suvarnabhumi International)
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The Details in Blogs
Day 1: Arrival on Kradan Island
What You’ll Find on Koh Kradan
Trang Islands Day 2: Terror at a Thailand Campground
Trang Islands Day 3: Going to Koh Libong
Koh Libong: Getting Caught at High Tide
Trang Islands Day 4: In Search of Dugong
Photo Gallery: Koh Libong
Trang Islands Days 5 and 6: Koh Laoliang