- Key Details
- Exploring the Outdoors
- Food and Drink
Gather more information regarding the tourist attractions in Trang, festivals and history of Si Kao and attune yourself to the region prior to embarking on your holiday.
A history of the province
Trang – or Muang Thap Thiang – first gained prominence in the region as a port for foreign trade. In 1899, however, focus shifted to rubber production when Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi brought Thailand’s first rubber tree to Trang from Malaysia. Since then, rubber has become southern Thailand’s major commodity, as well as an important source of income for farmers. The offspring of that first tree can still be found in the province, on the road that leads to Kantang – a sign of Trang’s pivotal role in the history of southern Thailand.
Beyond the rubber plantations, Trang has for much longer been a haven for a quiet and civilised agricultural society. Trang, Krabi and other Andaman seaboard provinces have perhaps Thailand’s oldest history of settlement. Because planting and harvesting rice – the longtime staple crop of the area – requires group cooperation, the people in the region learned to work together and to find clever uses for the landscape around them. Today, Trang’s caves, mountains, river banks and temples (known as “wats”) bear the signs of these inventive ancestors. Both anthropologists and the region’s growing number of visitors have found themselves fascinated by Trang’s progress, both ancient and more modern.
Explore Trang the town
Take a break from the natural wonders of Trang the province to explore Trang the town. Though not known as a prime destination city in Thailand, this provincial capital rewards the curious traveller.
For the past few years, Trang has received awards for being the cleanest town in Thailand – and its marketplaces are no different. In fact, two of the main food markets, Ta Klang Market and the Municipal Market, sell fresh products not very far from each other. Wander through one of these hives of activity, sampling local cuisine and watching how local people live and eat.
Local parks and monuments
Even though the original city of Trang was moved inland 30 kilometres due to flooding issues on the coast, the current town still retains a quaint charm with its several parks and monuments. For example, Kraphang Surin Park boasts of a broad natural pond with three peaceful pavilions situated in the middle. Surrounding the pond’s banks are gardens and restaurants – an ideal place to chat and rest for both visitors and locals alike.
Another local gathering spot is the monument of Phraya Resdanupradit Mahissara Phakdi. Erected to honour the first governor of Trang who also brought rubber trees to southern Thailand, this monument grows lively in the evenings when couples and families come to relax together.
Local Arts and Crafts
While Si Kao is justly famous for its natural beauty, its people have been producing beautiful crafts for centuries as well. Handmade from natural materials native to this area, these pieces represent an authentic part of Trang’s cultural heritage – and make great souvenirs to take home! Throughout the region, local ingenuity and materials lead to truly unique arts and crafts.
Na Muensri cloth
Na Muensri village has long been known in the region for its weavings, made from silk and using local techniques and patterns. The “Lai Look Kao” pattern in particular has been renowned for centuries as a design only for the upper classes. Now, though, anyone who can buy the cloth can wear the pattern, with women using it as a traditional sash over their blouses and men as a belt and head decoration.
In Trang province, the most prized wood carvings are generally made from a type of pine tree called thep tharo. Common figures include a Buddha image, tigers, horses, and the dugong. Due to the fresh and distinctive scent of the wood, possessing a thep tharo carved objects is considered a kind of aromatherapy.
Made from pandanus leaves that have been softened and dried over the course of many days, these mats are an important bridal gifts for rural households, whether as placemats, jewellery boxes, or many other objects. From start to finish, local craftswomen handle every step, making these products truly community-based.
With its great variety of local cuisine and delicacies, it’s no wonder that Trang hosts several annual festivals devoted to food. In addition to these culinary celebrations, Trang has recently become known as the most famous spot for underwater wedding ceremonies with three days of festivities around Valentine’s Day every year. While Trang is a great place to visit year-round, visiting during a festival is a particularly memorable experience.
Trang Cake Festival
For generations, the locals of the village Ban Lam Phu Ra have been making cakes so delicious that local officials decided about twenty years ago to dedicate a whole festival to them. The first weekend of every August, bakers from all around the province gather in Trang to sell their tasty wares at great prices. Often shaped like a donut, the cakes have no icing and come in many flavours, such as orange, coffee, green-tea, or other imaginative combinations. While you can find them year-round in the province, the festival is a great chance to sample as many varieties as possible – as well as pick up a few to bring home.
Moo Yang Festival
Every morning, many Trang locals have moo yang, or roast pork, with their coffee and dim sum, part of a quintessentially Trang breakfast. The moo yang in Trang is no ordinary pork, however: after being marinated in honey and spices for five hours before being roasted on a special grill that has been burning for at least two hours beforehand, the pork’s skin is crispy while the meat inside is moist and bursting with flavour.
Besides the morning ritual of moo yang for breakfast, the dish is also an important part of weddings, funerals and Chinese New Year celebrations. And of course, there is the festival. Each September, local officials organise the Moo Yang Festival to highlight the province’s specialty and gather the best local roasters in one spot. Sample many varieties of this delicacy for yourself when you visit during the festival.
With its large Chinese Thai population, it’s no wonder that Trang plays host to a large vegetarian festival every October. A traditional celebration in China, this festival occurs around the full moon for nine days and nights. Participants wear white and abstain from all meat and certain vegetables in order to make merit and bring themselves good fortune. Nightly processions, traditional performances and blessing ceremonies by a spirit medium add to the festivities. While Phuket might host the most famous vegetarian festival in Thailand, Trang’s reputation for great food and a smaller tourist presence make it an idea place to watch the celebrations and eat an amazing variety of dishes.
Trang Underwater Wedding Event
Since Valentine’s Day, 1996, couples from Thailand and the world over have been gathering in Trang to get married underwater. Founded when one happy pair fell in love at a Trang eco-tourism event and celebrated with an underwater wedding, the event soon became a beloved local tradition, as the town annually welcomes couples from all over the world. The single ceremony has changed into a three-day event, filled with dinners, dancing, fireworks, a parade, traditional Thai and Trang customs and of course, the underwater signing itself.
In 2000, the event was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Record as the largest underwater wedding ceremony, and in 2008, the event officially welcomed gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual couples. Each Valentine’s Day celebration continues to bring watery wedded bliss to a new generation of couples.