Kayaking trip in Trang Province
tropical islands, secluded beaches, clear water and towering cliffs
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In the low season, the crowds aren't there and this is still a lovely area. The water is clear, the rock formations are incredible and there are plenty of secluded beaches. We just don't like going there when there are loads of other tourists.
Safety Note: This is a trip for fit adventurers. You don't necessarily have to be an expert paddler, but you must be capable of paddling for at least three or four hours at a time!. We stop to take some breaks. This is not meant to be painfully challenging, just very active.
We don't use an escort boat on this trip. You will carry everything in your kayak... so pack lightly. If you don't like paddling long distances, please choose Phang Nga Bay or Khao Sok. Both of these destinations are more laid-back and a lot easier.
Trang adventure travel kayak tour
Once out on the islands, we have plenty to explore. The water is clear and the backdrop is dramatic limestone karst topography.
There are a few different bungalows we utilize. The bungalows on Ko Muk are situated in a garden setting, with lots of flowers and lush tropical vegetation. As usual, the restaurant here is outstanding. We sometimes wonder if we’re on a paddling trip or an eating tour!
Ko Muk features cliffs around half of the island and hills for the other half. White-bellied Sea eagles, Brahminy kites, Pacific Reef egrets, and a variety of kingfishers are seen regularly while paddling around the island. There is one cave we can paddle through which leads to a hidden lagoon. This, alas, is a popular tourist attraction for day-trippers. We time our visit so as not to be there at the same time as the occasional large tour group goes there. It’s normally easy to see it without the crowd. It’s well worth the wait. In the late afternoon, the sun is lighting the upper regions only. The temperature is much cooler inside than outside the lagoon. The sand is some of the finest around and very white. The back of the lagoon (opposite the beach side), features a good variety of epiphytes including some orchids.
After we visit Ko Muk, we normally go out to the next island, Ko Kradan, which is further away from the mainland. It’s a short paddle that usually takes a little over an hour paddling slowly.
The snorkeling is pretty good on the outer islands, though pressure from fishermen and tourists has degraded the coral and diminished the former abundance of fish.
Still, there's a very wide variety of marine life all over the area. We've seen massive schools of flying fish rocketing out of the water in front of us. We've had a huge manta ray glide between our kayaks in the middle of a one hour island crossing. Yes, it's true... and it was only about 3 to 4 feet under very clear water! No matter what you see or don’t see, it’s a very pleasant paddle.
We've seen other rays jumping as well as other fish. This area is not exactly remote, but it's not a touristy destination by any stretch of the imagination. Massive limestone cliffs, monkeys calling, White-bellied sea eagles, and night paddles make this trip one you'll remember for a long time. Even though you'll be here during the peak of the tourist 'high season', we'll be on our own while on the water.
Ko Kradan is a beautiful island with stunning long beaches, clear water, and a good amount of bird life. Kites and eagles soar high overhead, while brightly-colored Collared kingfishers stand guard over the schooling smaller fishes. The snorkeling is very pleasurable. Much of the coral has been damages, just like everywhere else in Thailand, but there’s still a lot of fish, starfish, anemones, and so on. It’s certainly worth seeing.
Further out to sea, we visit Ko Ngai. This island is different from both Ko Kradan and Ko Muk. The east-side of the island is rugged, with cliffs and rock gardens. There is still some good coral in this area too.
Other islands we can visit include Ko Lanta Yai, Ko Rok Nok and Ko Libong. Ko Lanta Yai has been a backpacker destination for quite some time. However, they don't visit the east-side of the island. Old Lanta Town is one of the most charming islands in the South. The streets are clean and the old wooden houses are very visually appealing.
Ko Rok Nok [there are two islands] used to be one of the most beautiful islands in the area. Heavy fishing and tourist pressure has resulted in massive destruction of the reefs. Most of the fish that are left are small. Still, the water is very clear and the islands have some wonderful rock formations.
This area is subject to waves in the low season. We can run a limited trip (not going out to the outermost islands) in low season with inexperienced paddlers, but we won’t risk going out to the islands if a particular day looks questionable. It is recommended for experienced paddlers during this period.
Maps of Trang
If you'd like to read more about Trang, check out our previous trip reports:
Our trips are all-inclusive. This price includes: all transfers from nearest hotel or airport (airfare not included), all equipment, accommodations once on the trip, all meals, all snacks, coffee, tea, and insurance.
Authority of Thailand License Number 31/0204