While the southern province of Trang usually conjures up images of serene beaches, the province has many other places of interest to entice visitors. Trang’s district of Kantang is a hidden gem that we would like to introduce to you.
Located about 24 km. from downtown Trang, Kantang is the former administrative capital of Trang province. It’s an old district with an illustrious history as a major port by the Andaman Sea. Although it’s now a far cry from a bustling town it once was, you can’t help but feel nostalgic when seeing its old buildings. In addition to pristine beaches, Kantang boasts both eco and cultural attractions.
– Admire the classical beauty of the century-old Kantang Train Station.
– Take a lunch break at Ton Yang Café.
– Explore a mangrove forest and feast on blue crabs on a rafting tour run by Ban Nam Rap Community Enterprise.
– Get your coffee fix at Matou Hostel café.
– Learn how to make local handicrafts at Ban Yan Sue Community.
Kantang Train Station
This classic century-old station is the terminus of the Southern-Andaman train railroad. It was officially opened on 1 April, 1913. The Station used to handle cargo from Thailand’s trade with Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in the days when it boasted a 500-metre-long track that extended to Kantang Port.
The wooden station was built during the reign of King Rama VI in the Panya style and painted mustard yellow and dark brown. The classical architecture has been preserved, and the Station was registered as an ancient monument by the Fine Arts Department in 1996.
These days the Station serves passengers daily with only one rapid train – Bangkok-Kantang-Bangkok, which takes around 16-17 hours. If you’re a fan of train travel, this is a perfect way to reach Kantang in style!
Tel. 075 251 015, 1690
Tambon Kantang, Amphoe Kantang, Trang
The Station houses a small café called Love Station, a lovely place to have some refreshments and pastries while contemplating bygone days when train travel was still popular.
Love Station Cafe
Open Dairy 8.30 a.m.-7.00 p.m.
Tel. 081 979 6806
Tambon Kantang, Amphoe Kantang, Trang
Ton Yang Café
If you feel like taking a break for lunch, stop by this café for good food. It’s close to the location of Thailand’s first rubber tree.
Ton Yang Café serves a variety of dishes ranging from Isan food to steak.
Its wall is painted with beautiful drawings of Trang.
Open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (last order 7:00 p.m.)
Tel. 089 723 1733
253/1 Trangapum, Tambon Kantang, Amphoe Kantang, Trang
Credit : Ton Yang Cafe Facebook page
Rafting tour in a mangrove forest and feasting on blue crabs at Ban Nam Rap
Travel about 24 km. from Kantang to Tambon Bang Sak to experience this fun activity operated by the Ban Nam Rap Enterprise Community.
The villagers of Ban Nam Rap practice community-based tourism that you can enjoy all-year round. The community has been awarded SHA Certification from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. You can choose either a half- or a full-day tour.
The half-day tour covers two main attractions: the Khao Chom Pa viewpoint and the Thale Waek sand dune in the sea. The full-day trip includes more activities; such as, planting seagrass and visiting crab nurseries.
The rafting route will take you through part of a large mangrove forest that spans a total area of 5.12 square kilometres and boasts an abundance of lush mangrove trees. This great forest helped protect the villagers from the wrath of the tsunami in 2004.
A minimum of 5 passengers are required to run a rafting tour for a fee of 1,350 Baht each. The cost varies depending on the number of clients, but if your group has fewer than 5 members, we suggest a boat tour instead. Please contact the community in advance for enquires about the tour and fees.
At the first stop, we will hike about 400 metres up a small hill to reach the viewpoint. The walk takes about 20 minutes one way and has some steep stretches, so make sure you are wearing a solid pair of shoes.
Once reaching the hilltop, you will enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of mangroves and winding canals. The sea can be spotted in the far distance.
And your reward after climbing down the hill is very tasty seafood served on the raft with blue crabs as the highlight.
The main livelihood of the Ban Nam Rap community is a blue crab fishery. The community has established its “Bank of Blue Crabs” to ensure they have sufficient numbers of crabs for future harvesting. The community members put female crabs with a sponge outside their shells in their nurseries to spawn and will release baby crabs into the sea to let them grow in their natural habitat. Each female crab has about 300,000 eggs, with a large one having up to a million eggs.
The villagers grow seagrass to provide the habitat for the crabs and act as a food source for dugongs. They also keep seahorses and squid eggs in their nurseries.
After a hearty meal, we will visit Thale Waek, a huge sand dune the size of a football field that appears at low tide. This phenomenon can usually be seen from around 1 p.m. until evening. We can also watch the sunrise in this area.
Tel. 080 824 9468, 087 277 8017
Tha Ka Yong, Mu 4, Tambon Bang Sak, Amphoe Kantang, Trang
Credit : Ban Nam Rap Enterprise Community Facebook page
The Café serves desserts and beverages, and its strong coffee is a blend of both Robusta and Arabica beans.
Sweet potato tart
Orange sponge cake, signature menu
Iced Matou Coffee
matcha green tea
Open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tel. 063 246 5954
168 Ratsada Road, Tambon Kantang, Amphoe Kantang, Trang
Credit : Matou Hostel & Cafe Facebook page
Ban Yan Sue Community
This community is located on the Trang River bank, which is also home to the largest Nipa Palm forest in the South.
The community is known for its success in generating income from the palm trees. Villagers use palm leaves to make beautiful handicrafts and palm fruits as cooking ingredients.
As villagers use their teeth and feet to prepare the palm leaves, the community has earned an unusual name “Chum Chon Phak Kat Tin Tip”, which literally means a financially struggling community, which is the opposite of its true economic well-being. The villagers in fact earn a decent living by using their mouths and feet!
Among the many types of handicrafts is a handy water container called Tima or Ma Tak Nam, which visitors can learn how to make. The eco-friendly Tima is also aesthetically pleasing. Tea has its natural aroma enhanced when served in Tima, and you can smell the gentle fragrance of the palm leaves.
You can join a tour of the palm forest (and taste a fresh palm fruit!) or learn how to make Khanom Cak, sticky rice and coconut cream mixed with palm sugar wrapped in palm leaves and grilled over a charcoal fire.
Tel. 088 784 3979 (Please contact the community in advance if you want to join the activities.)
Tambon Yan Sue, Amphoe Kantang, Trang