Located about an hour south of Krabi in Thailand is Trang Province, a fascinating destination that offers pristine beaches, jungles and national parks, limestone mountains, waterfalls and, perhaps most notably, caves. Despite its wealth of beautiful scenery and exciting activities, Trang remains a peaceful getaway void of the crowds of tourists you will find in many other beach destinations in Thailand.
My stay in Trang began with a warm welcome by the wonderful staff at Anantara Si Kao. The staff were so friendly and professional. Everyone – including the waiters – knew my name before I arrived and brought me anything I could want before I thought of it. Their kindness set the tone for a truly memorable experience.
The next morning, we boarded a speedboat at 9am and set off to find the Emerald Cave, a hidden cave in the Andaman Sea that leads to a pristine beach with crystal clear water, surrounded by cliffs and dense jungle. It was once a smugglers’ resting place and is thought to have been used by pirates as a secret place to bury their treasure. After a 15-minute cruise through turquoise water and majestic limestone cliffs, we came upon the tiny entrance to the cave, which is only accessible at low tide.
Jumping into the open ocean, the distant but loud echo of waves crashing inside the cave was almost enough to make me turn around, but I was determined to see this fairytale beach on the other side. So I entered the cave with my guide and small group and was immediately engulfed in glowing green water. The water literally glows due to a certain kind of plankton – it is a remarkable sight to see and experience. As we continued, however, the glow disappeared and we were in complete darkness for the 5-minute swim. Slowly but surely, the water started to glow again and we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The beach on the other side of the cave is difficult to describe in words – it is that amazing! Bright sunshine welcomed us into the paradise lagoon of white sand and clear water with limestone cliffs towering above. The faint noises of monkeys playing and birds chirping hundreds of feet above us added to the incredible experience. During high season the cave is overrun with tourists, but I was lucky enough to be alone in the lagoon with my group of seven people. The Emerald Cave retains an air of mystery and romance, and it is easy to imagine smugglers hiding out with their loot on the beach. It was truly a special experience that I won’t soon forget.
Unlike the bigger and more commercial islands like Phuket, Trang is one of Thailand’s undiscovered hideaways. Quiet and unassuming, Trang has stunning coastlines hiding some of the area’s finest white sand beaches and dozens of unexplored islands. In the interior, lagoons, forests, waterfalls and hidden caves alternate with endless rubber plantations in an agriculturally rich landscape. Trang offers peace, tranquility and a place to relax without the intrusion of mass tourism. The rich natural landscape is perfect for adventure and nature lovers. It is rural Thailand at its best, with good roads, comfortable low-key hotels and friendly locals.