Do you want to know all about Thailand’s secret islands? Go beyond Phuket, krabi and Samui? You have come to the right place! This Trang islands travel guide will help you to know all about these untouched islands that Lonely Planet predicts as the next best thing in the country.
This blog was born out of my love for travelling and writing. This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions and recommendations are our own. Now lets begin this journey!
Picturesque. Pristine. Perfect. There are no dearth of adjectives to describe this little group of islands that lie to the south of Koh Lanta. Covered in jungles and lined with pure white sandy beaches, this is the tropical paradise you have dreamed of. These undiscovered islands are the real deal offering isolation and tranquility, perfect for a tropical escape!
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THE TRANG ISLANDS TRAVEL GUIDE: ALL THE ESSENTIALS
WHERE ARE THE TRANG ISLANDS?
The Trang islands are located in Thailand’s Trang province, between Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe. This gorgeous group of islands includes Koh Ngai, Koh mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Libong and Koh Sukorn. The Trang archipelago is relatively untouched by commercial tourism and has plenty of untouched nature. The journey by ferry or longtail boat itself highlights the beauty of the area with huge limestone karsts jutting out from the sea to make a dramatic scenery.
HOW TO REACH?
- FROM BANGKOK: The nearest airport is Trang airport. There are daily Air Asia and Nok air flights running from Bangkok. From the airport you will have to reach the Pak Meng pier which is located 45 mins away. You can either do this on your own by jumping onto a minivan/songthaew or you can get your transfer (to the pier and then the ferry to the islands) arranged for you beforehand to avoid hassles. 12go.asia is the best place to arrange all your transfers at a reasonable price hassle free. You can look up all the Ferry schedules Here.
- FROM KOH LANTA: Ferries are available to all the main islands. Inter island ferries are also available. Check out the Ferry Schedules here.
- From KRABI: Bus/minivan/taxi from Krabi province (2 hours) to Trang. From Trang take a taxi/minivan to Pak Meng. Then take a boat/longtail charter to Koh Ngai (1 hour) Check out this Reputed Taxi service if you want to travel by road.
The Trang islands include
- Koh Ngai: the most popular and well known among the Trang islands especially for a honeymoon, but it’s also the most expensive! It is mountainous and covered by a tropical forest, with a beautiful 2 km long white sand beach that is lined up by palm trees. There is not much to do here due to lack of roads and any form of nightlife except watching sunsets, swimming and just relaxing in peace. Also offers the largest number of accommodation options.
- Koh Kradan: offers one of the best turquoise beaches in all of Thailand and is famous for it’s colorful coral reefs perfect for snorkeling. Located only a 15 min boat ride from Koh Mook There are limited accommodation options. Can also can get crowded with Thai tourists during holidays like Songkran/New Years.
- Koh Mook: Probably the dreamiest island of the lot. Boasts of 2 Beautiful beaches: the quieter Sivalai beach with it’s beautiful sunsets and the bustling Charlie beach which offers beach bars, snorkeling and kayaking. The main attraction here is the Emerald Cave, a secret beach. Koh Mook has a jungle landscape with lots of nature. There are fewer resorts here but some great restaurants like Sugar’s. Also home to a fishing village, the only permanent local community on the these islands.
- Koh Libong: a relaxing island with a few guesthouses and long stretches of empty white sand.
Apart from these, there are a few smaller islets, Koh Ma and Koh Cheuk.
WHEN SHOULD YOU VISIT?
December to February is the dry season with bearable temperatures and is therefore the best time to enjoy clear sunny skies and warm weather. This is also peak season with high prices and lots of visitors. May to October is the rainy season when the number of ferries and accomodation options drastically reduces due to lack of tourists and the rain. This is the off season so prices are much lower. If you don’t mind the rain, this is actually a good time to save money and enjoy the quiet islands without too many tourists. November and March-April are shoulder season months when there’s not much rain and prices are lower than the peak season.
HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY?
Though there is no limit to the number of days that can spend in this paradise, i suggest spending at least one week here to see all the islands and relax. Base yourself at any two islands and take day trips via longtail boats to the rest.
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NOTE: These islands are part of Hat Chao Mai National Park and the park fees are 400 THB/adult and 200 THB/child. You may be asked to pay the fees at any of the islands. Sometimes nobody collects the fees. We didn’t have to pay the park fees as no one was there to collect.
FLASHPACKER TIP: Make one island your base and island hop using ferries/longtail boats. You can also base yourself in Koh Lanta and take a day trip to the Trang islands like us.
WHERE TO STAY IN THE DIFFERENT ISLANDS
PRIVATE LONGTAIL BOATS VERSUS GROUP SPEED BOATS
All our day tours in Thailand, including this one were done via private longtail boat tours. Speedboats are fast, but for me the ability to enjoy these spots at our leisure, with our own custom made itineraries and the flexibility to decide on the sightseeing trumps speed any day. Not to mention, having the boat to ourselves!
It is highly expensive chartering a private speed boat so your only option will be doing a group speed boat tour. The pros: a proper guide to help you snorkel and less language issues. The Cons: big tour groups and having no say in the itinerary.
In almost all our tours, we avoided crowds simply by starting early and being flexible in our itinerary which we could do as we had the boat to ourselves. Hiring a private longtail can be a bit more expensive but it’s totally worth the extra money. I believe in saving money on flights and accommodation so that I can spend it on actual experiences. This was totally worth it. All those dreamy peaceful boat rides!
For a group of friends a private longtail will cost almost the same as an individual speedboat spot when you share the costs. So choose wisely.
10 THINGS TO DO IN THE TRANG ISLANDS
- CHECK OUT THE STUNNING BEACHES: These white sand beaches are some of the best in the world. Go island hopping and check out the best ones to swim and relax. Some of the must visit ones include Sivalai beach on Koh Mook and the beach at Koh Kradan.
- VISIT THE EMERALD CAVE AT KOH MOOK: This adventure activity involves swimming through a dark cave tunnel to reach a secluded hidden beach that is cut off from the world. This is a true secret paradise (which was once a pirate hideout!) and a magical experience.
- GO FOR A SNORKELLING TRIP TO KOH ROK NOK AND KOH ROK NAI: These tiny islands are known for their gorgeous beaches and coral reefs perfect for snorkeling and diving. It can be a tad expensive though with day trip packages costing 2000 Baht and an additional 400 baht to enter the national park area.
- SEE THE PARADISE BEACH AND VIEW POINT IN KOH NGAI: Add some exercise to your vacation and head over to this viewpoint near Paradise beach on the South western point of Koh Ngai island.
- SNORKEL IN KOH KRADAN: Sunset beach on Koh Kradan offers some good snorkeling sites with it’s colorful coral reefs. Just be wary of the sea urchins!
- SPOT DUGONGS ON KOH LIBONG: These shy animals are found in the waters surrounding Koh Libong. You can either hire a longtail to take you in search for them or head to one of the viewpoints to catch a glimpse of one.
- ENJOY AT CHARLIE BEACH ON KOH MOOK: A fun beach with a few nice beach shacks to whip up delicious cocktails while you sunbathe.
- SEE THE FISHING VILLAGE IN KOH LIBONG: The Muslim fishing village of Ban ba tu pu te consists of houses on stilts and is an interesting place to visit and check out the local community.
- HIRE A SCOOTER AND RIDE AROUND KOH LIBONG: Its easy to hire one from your hotel or guesthouse and take it for a spin around the island. Ask your accomodation for a map and then set off for to see all the dugong view points, beaches and mangroves.
- GET AWAY FROM EVERYTHING AT SIVALAI BEACH: This quiet beach usually has few tourists and is perfect for getting away from it all.
OUR DAY TRIP TO THE TRANG ISLANDS
We had time to make only one full day trip from Lanta and we were torn between Koh Rok and these islands. In the end, we chose to visit the Trang islands and could not have been happier with our decision!
We booked a private longtail tour through Easy Day Thailand a reputed local travel company and our experience with them was excellent. The tour was very reasonably priced. You can hire local longtail boats at Koh Lanta itself and negotiate cheaper prices. Since our trip was right during New years, we did not want to risk unavailability of boats.
Our first stop was at Koh Mook with its beautiful limestone caves. The biggest attraction here is Tham Morakot (Emerald Cave). The entrance of this cave is revealed only during low tide. You have to swim through a dark tunnel to reach a small white sand beach surrounded by limestone walls. Very much an adventure!
FUN FACT: Legend has it that this hidden beach was used by pirates to hide their treasure!
We next passed by Koh Cheuk and Koh Ma, the 2 small karst islets with snorkeling sites.
Our final stop was Koh Ngai. From the boat, it literally looked like some long lost forgotten island. I am not kidding! The beach is beautiful with calm turquoise waters perfect for swimming. To our delight, it was almost empty except for a few travelers. We spent a long time frolicking in those waters, lying on the sand and having a blast!
Our boatman had brought lunch for us and we gobbled up the delicious Thai red chicken curry, eggs and stir fried vegetables with generous amounts of rice. From there, we left for Lanta and the return journey took around an hour.
We had a lot of fun on our day trip to the Trang islands. We hope this Trang islands travel guide can inspire to visit these pretty little islands some day.
It was the perfect day trip for us though I wished we could have stayed there a couple days. I am going back for sure to spend a week in this island paradise. Sometime, Someday…
I hope this Trang islands travel guide has provided you will all the inspiration and information needed to plan an epic trip to enjoy these gorgeous tropical islands. Please feel free to comment on any questions that you may have. Happy Travelling!
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ARE YOU PLANNING A THAI VACATION? CHECK OUT THESE POSTS TOO!
KOH LANTA: A quiet Thai island filled with gorgeous beaches, stunning sunsets and lots of old world charm. Perfect for couples looking for romance with relaxation. READ MY COMPLETE KOH LANTA TRAVEL GUIDE HERE.
THAI FOOD GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS: Thai cuisine is one of our favorites and probably the reason why we keep going back to Thailand! If you are a Thai food virgin, READ MY THAI FOOD GUIDE for a quick introduction to all the must try dishes during your Thailand trip.
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HALONG BAY, VIETNAM: Cruise through this beautiful UNESCO site that has gorgeous waters, limestone karsts and plenty of tranquility. Plan your trip using my HALONG BAY CRUISE GUIDE.
ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA: Visit the world’s largest Hindu temple which is a stunning UNESCO heritage site. Plan your trip with my ANGKOR TEMPLE GUIDE HERE.
MIRISSA, SRI LANKA: Head over to one of Sri Lanka’s prettiest coastal towns that has beautiful beaches, surfing, whale watching and plenty of spots for the gram! Read my complete MIRISSA TRAVEL GUIDE HERE.
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