Before you hit the islands... Eat!
Bastion of curry, kopi and cake, Trang is one of Southern Thailand’s most pleasant provincial capitals. In addition to the fantastic food scene, natural attractions in the surrounding province provide something to do between sips of the local Robusta brew. Most come for the islands, but food and culture enthusiasts would be wise to hang around town.
With around 60,000 residents and a trickle of travellers visiting in the dry from November to April, Trang is lively without being crowded; convenient without being touristy; intriguing but not at all contrived. A step removed from mass tourism, the city and a string of nearby islands welcome mostly Western families, couples and respectful backpackers, leaving the package tourists, sexpats and party animals to Phuket, Ko Phi Phi and Krabi.
Like many Southern Thai cities, Trang was established on the back of the tin-mining trade that attracted thousands of Chinese migrants in the 18th and 19th centuries. The main industry switched to rubber when, in 1899, prominent governor Phraya Ratsadanupradit imported Thailand’s first rubber tree from Malaysia. It still stands in the nearby port town of Kantang, which also hosts a small museum and seafood restaurants set astride the Trang River.
The area’s Chinese roots are evident in everything from the attractive Sino-European houses to the steamed buns and noodle soups often cooked in them. A streak of frangipani trees graces the main drag, where old-school cafes serve jasmine tea alongside the coffee (known here as kopi) grown in the Ban That and Khao Luang mountains that rise from the province’s ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 900 words.)
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