Koh Libong and the islands around Trang

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Trang Province abuts the south side of Krabi Province and faces out on to the azure waters of the Andaman Sea. Trang has a number of offshore islands that are ideal for visitors who are searching for pastoral beach resort locations and yet would like easy access to a range of activities to keep them occupied.

Due to the fact that Trang is not on the mainstream tourist trail its infrastructure is basic and the neighbouring islands do not have a great selection of luxury hotels or resorts. Those requiring five-star accommodation and amenities are probably better off visiting Trang’s islands on one or two-day excursions. Piers for the islands are about 90kms from Krabi Town and Ao Nang, and slightly less from Koh Lanta.

Koh Libong is the biggest and best known of Trang’s islands. Ferries from Kantang and Haad Yao leave regularly for the 30-minute crossing to the island. The western beaches of Koh Libong are unspoiled, uncrowded and usually have more fishermen than international tourists on them. The seabed slopes shallowly on this coast so swimming is only really possible at high tide.

The sunset views from this side of Koh Libong are postcard perfect. Trekking trails lead through rubber plantations and pristine jungle to the mountainous interior of the island and some unique limestone caves. Koh Libong is noted for its birdwatching opportunities. Ornithologists flock here towards the end of the year to witness migratory birds heading off to the southern hemisphere to escape freezing European winters.

Laem Ju Hoi is a mangrove forest nature reserve on the eastern side of the island that is home to a shoal of around 40 endangered dugongs (sea cows). Most of the resorts on the island and mainland Trang can arrange kayak tours of Laem Ju Hoi that are led by professional guides. Resorts on Koh Libong also offer sea kayaks for rent, and these are great for casual sightseeing.

Le Dugong Resort, Libong Beach Resort and Koh Libong Nature Resort are all located on the west coast of Koh Libong. Le Dugong features bungalows constructed from bamboo and timber and is adjacent to the Jolly Roger Dive Centre. PADI-qualified dive masters here offer diving tuition and cruises to what are rated as two of the world’s finest dive locations: Hin Deng (red rock) and Hin Muang (purple rock).

Koh Muk is the second-biggest of Trang’s islands and lies to the north of Koh Libong. The fabled Tham Morakot Cave (Emerald Cave) is situated on the western coast of Koh Muk. The cave is a long tunnel that can only be accessed by dinghy or swimming at low tide. A beach in the lagoon inside is illuminated by sunlight from a natural chimney that also gives the inner sea its unearthly emerald glow. 

On the opposite eastern shores of Koh Muk a narrow spit of land faces the mainland and is home to sandy beaches and a sea gypsy village with a towering backdrop of coconut trees. Sivalai Beach Resort offers elegant accommodation amidst the magical setting of Hao Laem Beach. The resort’s onsite pavilion-style eatery serves an exquisite fusion of Thai, eastern and international cuisines with an emphasis on freshly caught seafood.

People who have visited all of Trang’s islands claim Koh Kradan is the most beautiful. The bulk of this islet falls under the control of Hat Chao Mai National Park. Koh Kradan is noted for its sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. When snorkelling or swimming, coral reefs as well as sea turtles and colourful fish are clearly visible below the surface of the sea. Bungalows on Koh Kradan are a bit on the rustic side, a fact more than made up for by being just metres away from fabulous golden sands. Options include Kradan Island Resort and Paradise Lost Resort.

rare dugongs live around Koh Libong

Koh Laoliang Nong and Koh Laoliang Nuea are two tiny islets just 300 metres apart. The former has a fishing village and a superb beach, while the latter has a smaller beach. The waters surrounding the islands offer wonderful diving, swimming and fishing. Laoliang Resort is on Laoliang Nuea and offers luxurious tent bungalows on a pristine beach. The resort offers rock climbing among its range of activities.

The low-lying Koh Sukorn is one of Trang’s southernmost islands. Beaches on Sukorn’s western shore are perfectly suitable for swimming and catching the sun’s rays, but this is not the island’s main draw. Cycling or trekking through landscapes untouched by time, with only birds and buffaloes for company, attracts nature enthusiasts.

Nearby, Koh Petra belongs to a national marine park and people can only visit it on a guided tour or with permission from park rangers. Koh Petra’s landscape is verdant and craggy. Sea swallows reside in lofty eyries on the majestic rocks. Petra and Kam beaches are on this island’s east coast with a steep cliff separating the two.

Trang is easily accessible from Bangkok and other cities to the north by train or bus. The train is a superb way to get down here if time is on your side. Once you reach Trang, local transport like truck taxis or private mini vans provide the transport to the piers where boats depart regularly for the various islands.

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