If you are dreaming about that special paradise-island atmosphere which Samui or Phuket have been once famous for, then the Trang and Satun islands is the right destination to go. Idyllic white sand beaches fringed with coconut palms and casuarinas, crystal clear waters teeming with marine life, secluded resorts and simple bungalows and no hordes of tourists on their package tour. Does it not sound tempting? By some lucky reason the islands of Mu Koh Libong Archipelago in Trang province and the islands of Koh Tarutao Marine National Park in Satun province with just few exceptions have managed to preserve wonderful feel of a secluded secret place. Captivating vistas, colourful corals, chao leh villages and rare dugong residing there continue attracting visitors in search of their dream island. Go there right now before it is too late to enjoy this virtually untouched piece of the Andaman.
From Trang to the islands of the Andaman Sea
Trang is a convenient base for island hopping all over the Andaman Sea. There are two large groups of islands which are easily accessible from Trang. These are the islands of Mu Koh Libong Archipelago, including Koh Libong, Koh Kradan, Koh Muk, Koh Ngai, Koh Sukorn, and the islands forming a part of Tarutao Marine National Park in Satun province, i.e. Koh Tarutao, Koh Lipe, Koh Adang and Koh Rawi being the main ones.
Tigerline Ferry, a regional high-speed ferry operator between Trang and the islands of the Andaman Sea, serves two routes, the Andaman Route and the Krabi Route.
The Andaman Route from Phuket to Langkawi in Malaysia includes stops in Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Kradan, Koh Muk, Trang and Koh Lipe. On the combo Krabi Route passengers are picked up from Ao Nang, Railey Beach, Krabi Town or Krabi Airport and brought by bus to Trang where they board Tigerline ferries to the Andaman islands, including Koh Libong, Koh Lanta, Koh Muk, Koh Kradan, Koh Ngai, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe and Langkawi.
From Trang to Koh Muk, Koh Kradan, Koh NgaiTigerline Ferry company picks up passengers going to Koh Libong, Koh Muk, Koh Kradan, Koh Ngai from Trang bus and railway stations at 9.50am and 10am respectively. The whole journey to the chosen islands lasts 3½ (Koh Libong and Koh Muk), four, 4½ hours respectively. Tickets cost THB600 for Koh Libong, THB950 for Koh Ngai and Koh Muk and THB1150 for Koh Kradan.
Note that there are no piers for a high-speed ferry to moor at Koh Muk, Koh Kradan and Koh Ngai. To get to these islands from the ferry passengers have to use local longtail shuttle boats which charge THB50 per person. This fee is not included into the ticket price – pay directly to the boatman.
From Trang to Koh LipeThough you can get from Trang to Koh Lipe with Tigerline Ferry for THB950, it is easier, quicker and cheaper start your journey from Pak Bala, aka Pak Bara, a small village in Satun province.
Ferries from Pak Bara to Koh Lipe reach their destination is about two hours. Beside two departures of the High Speed Tigerline Ferry at 11.30am and 1.30pm, both at THB695, there is a bit cheaper local A Dang Sea Adventure boat (THB650) leaving Pak Bara earlier in the morning (9.30am); but it is often criticized for its service.
Note that Tigerline Ferry boats to Koh Lipe from Pak Bara first call to Koh Tarutao. The travel time is half an hour, and tickets cost THB345. A Dang Sea Adventure has a separate – and more expensive (THB500) – boat to Koh Tarutao at 11.30am, too.
The Trang islands: which one to choose?
Though belonging to the same archipelago of Mu Koh Libong, each of the Trang islands has its own zest to lure travellers. If you have more than just a couple of days to spend in Trang, do some island hopping to get excitingly diverse experience.