Long and empty
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th May, 2017
Though lacking the sparkle of the nearby island beaches, the long and windswept coastal sands of Pakmeng and Hat Chao Mai National Park make for a relaxing day trip or overnight stay.
Lined with casuarina trees along Trang province's northern stretch of coastline, Haad Pakmeng is a vast crescent of tan sand hosting a few travel offices and tired resorts drawing mainly Thai visitors doing day tours to the islands. The sand ranges from coarse to fine with an outlook to spectacular limestone karts. You also get a view to Ko Ngai, accessible by ferries departing from the beach’s far northern corner.
Just south of Pakmeng stretches Haad Chang Lang, another long beach hosting national park headquarters, restaurant and accommodation, including fan-cooled bungalows for 800 baht and tents for 225 baht. At the northern tip of the beach stands the Anantara Si Kao, a swish resort that shuttles guests to a related beach club on Ko Kradan each day.
Keep south and the next stop is Haad Chao Mai, the namesake beach of the national park that also includes parts of Ko Muk and Ko Kradan. This quiet strip of undeveloped sand yields to a mangrove forest in the south—take a kayak out and you might spot an endangered dugong along with sea otters, egrets and sea eagles.
Still within the borders of the park but reachable only after heading inland and cutting south through the village of Kuan Thung Khu, Haad Yong Ling is another pretty stretch of forest-backed sand sheltered by limestone cliffs concealing small caves. A little further south stretches Haad Yao and its related fishing village hosting seafood eateries and the pier for Ko Libong.
After exploring the coast you could cut inland on Route 4008 and make a stop at the small Khuan Kaeng Hot Springs before grabbing dinner beside the Trang River in historic Kantang. From there it’s a straightforward 25-kilometre ride north on Route 403 back to Trang town.
To reach the beaches by motorbike or car from Trang town, head north from the train station and take Route 4046 west for around 50 km, then follow signs towards Pakmeng and take a left on Route 4162, which runs straight to the beach. From there, 4162 strikes south along the coast to the rest of the beaches. At Haad Chao Mai itself, you’ll need to cut inland for a few kilometres on Route 4008 before turning south and then west again to reach Haad Yong Ling. Haad Pakmeng and Haad Yao can also be reached by public minibus.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.