Trang and Krabi, Not Too Shabby

Trang and Krabi, Not Too Shabby

Trang and Krabi are strange neighbours – cultural antipodes but fraternal twins. With a short bus ride, you can taste the rainbow of southern Thailand in little more than a long weekend.

Trang is a rural centre. There aren’t many tourists, and nothing’s in English – that’s what I liked. It’s a drift through a back eddy, and out of the main current.

The food is good, with a strong Chinese influence. Try the yum cha and grilled pork at breakfast (Pong Ocha) with sickly-sweet coffee – a true regional delicacy. It’s not action aplenty in town though. I just sponged up the vibe and walked through the streets. The botanic garden doesn’t live up to its 4-star Tripadvisor rating – I feel the local botanists could be gaming the system.

The highlight was a trip to Morakot cave. It was truly surreal – lines of Asians in life jackets were towed through a deep black cavern. Waves rolled in, pitching them perilously close to the oyster-covered walls. Gaily they cheered, oblivious to their incipient demise. It was a real-life game of lemmings. Like a deathly aquatic conga line. There’s a fine line between fun and head trauma.

Anal beads or ocean cave – you decide.

From Trang, Krabi is just down the road, but 20 years in the future. Most backpackers seek the party experience, or transit to somewhere else. It’s the exit point to Railay – where pitted limestone cliffs abut Aryan blue-eye waters. And bring the Kleenex, this place is a rock climbers wet dream. Or, for the shrub rooters, head to Khaosok National Park – where you can trek, canoe, or ride elephants through some of the oldest virgin rainforest in the world. In your face Amazon basin! But, pick your tours carefully, I’ve heard a lot of bad feedback and the prices are pretty rude.  

So, that was southern Thailand. Next, I’m off to Surat Thani and then further north. I might give Koh Phangan and the full moon party a miss this time. I’m a bit older, and prefer my mushrooms in a Stroganoff these days.