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Trang Thailand: Best of Shopping, Snacks and Sights

Trang Thailand: Best of Shopping, Snacks and Sights

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As part of a recent press trip to Thailand, I was given the option to pick a side trip to explore some of the country’s lesser known areas. Some side trips seemed like a perfect fit for this website, featuring shopper-friendly tours of ceramics factories and local silk weavers. But instead of doing the sensible thing and picking one of these crafts-focused itineraries, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the swaying palm trees and silky beaches of the Southern coastal region of Trang. Was there a chance I would be sent to a remote island, devoid of not only artisans, but really of anything to buy, and be left with nothing to write about?

Sure, but as I shivered under my blankets during yet another New York City snowstorm, these thoughts seemed so distant. Worst case scenario, I imagined scooping a little jar of Thai sand up and starting a souvenir sand collection.

trang thailand longboat

Can you really visit Thailand without experiencing this classic view?

With visions of long boats and turquoise water dancing through my head, I accepted the excursion to the remote coastal region of Trang. I won’t keep you in suspense– Trang is not only the kind of place worth remembering, but it’s also chock full of great things to bring home.

1. Why I fell for Trang at First Sight

Because I can’t separate the souvenir from the place, I should mention why you might want to remember Trang at all. To start, Trang hits the sweet spot of remote, but still easily accessible (we hopped a direct flight from Bangkok) so you feel like you are off that beaten track, but without having to endure long bus rides to get there.

The Scenery

The scenery is everything this first-timer imagined Thailand to be–thatched bungalows on the beach, swinging hammocks and craggy boulders jutting out of clear waters.


After all that relaxing, we decided we needed a Thai massage on the beach (about $10 an hour) just to be sure we got rid of every lingering bit of stress.

We came to Trang as a group of friends and had a blast, but it would be even more fun with a sweetheart.

trang thailand romantic beach bed

Anantara resort in Koh Samui. trang thailand sunset

Sunset at the spectacular Anantara resort in Koh Samui.

The Thai Food

Who knew that some of the most delicious food in Thailand can be found in Trang. Trang is a bit of a melting pot in Thailand, with Chinese, muslim and other influences contributing to unique dishes found nowhere else in Thailand. We also enjoyed lots of classic Thai dishes here (I think we tried Tom Yum Goonk at least three times) and the preparation just seemed better here. Of course as a coastal area, the seafood in Trang is off the charts fresh.

The Chinese immigrant population brought over one of my favorite traditions– dim sum. This was unlike any dim sum I’ve tried in my local Chinatown and is worth seeking out.

thai chinese dim sum

I’m not a food blogger, but I like to eat. The food here was both so incredible and photogenic that I refrained from wolfing it down immediately and learned to live by the motto “the camera eats first.” It was not always easy.


Some other snaps of Thai dishes worth traveling to Trang for–

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The Thai People


I didn’t know this before I arrived, but Thailand is known as the land of smiles. While I didn’t spend enough time with locals to know if they were truly happy or not, I can confirm the Thai people definitely smile. A lot. If they see you point a camera anywhere in their vicinity, they will gladly pose and even show off the smiles of their adorable children. I found the Thai people to be warm and generous, unlike anywhere else I have ever been.

2. Shopping Trang: from the Ordinary to the Artisan

When a destination hits me just so, I find that even ordinary objects can take on extraordinary significance simply because they are part of that place. For example, I saw dried chili peppers everywhere in Thailand, but in Trang, the reds were deeper, the scents more pungent, the vendors friendlier. I decided only Trang chili peppers would do when I attempt to replicate my favorite spicy Thai dishes back home, so I made sure to pick up a stash.

thai chili peppers red hot spicy

My Trang chili peppers back home.

But what I was more surprised to find were the many artists, wood-carvers, weavers and bakers who make their living in this remote pocket of the country. Here’s a sampling of my best Trang shopping finds:

Thai Spices and Clothing from Local Trang Markets

I bought my own Thai peppers from a local Trang market– read all about why you should hit the markets in my last post here. Also look out for locally made clothing and fresh spices.


Colorful Thai Woven Fabrics



While most Thai weavers are located in the Northeast of the country, we found a cooperative of weavers in Trang that specialize in creating a certain kind of ceremonial stash (often used in funerals by locals so I would not recommend buying one as a souvenir). Fortunately, these weavers also create and sell beautiful cotton fabrics, along with a few very intricate silk designs. While the pre-made clothing wasn’t to my taste, I did adore some of the smaller items on offer, like these mini bags and cases (the perfect size to hold a travel pack of kleenex).

trang fabric gift.

These made cute gifts for my nieces.

Trang Cake

bakery in Thailand trang cake pastries

This street in Trang was lined with small, family owned bakeries.

Thai shoes at door

As per local custom, leave your shoes by the door.

Thailand Coconut Cake Trang Famous

Trang Cake comes in a large variety of flavors– the coconut cake above was the prettiest. But my favorite was orange, which had just a hint of orange essence.

Trang actually has its very own regional cake, known as “Trang cake.” Trang Cake is not only delicious (it’s sort of like a sponge cake, but fluffier and more flavorful) but also comes packaged in a brightly colored box, ready for travel and gifting. While the cakes are a bit bulky and require some suitcase room, they are very lightweight. The cakes don’t require refrigeration and should last about a week. We bought Trang cake directly from a local bakery, but we also saw versions for sale at the Trang airport.

Honorable mention: Thai puff pastries

Another locally baked favorite are these mini puff pastries. Slightly more portable and sharable than an entire cake, these pastries were definitely a love them or hate them treat. The pastries have different fillings, including an entire hard-cooked egg.


Cinnamon-Scented Wood Carvings

My favorite shopping stop in Trang was to a local family’s business, specializing in carving wood from a fragrant indigenous tree. After watching the woodcarvers at work, we hit the incredible gift shop (check out my post about our visit here). This was definitely the shopping stop where I bought the most (I think my entire haul came to under $20)– I came home with trivets, cinnamon-scented long life turtles, bangles, toys, and mini tuk tuks.


Special thanks to our Thailand guides (Theya, Pongrit, Sirapop and Tai), the Tourist Authority of Thailand and the travel writers and bloggers who made this trip great! And while I was a guest of the tourism board for this visit, as always, all shopping was done on my own dime.


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travel fairy

Friday 3rd of June 2016

Thailand is one of the places that i would really love to visit because they said its affordable. And looking at the photos of the food that u took makes me want to go there soon. Just great for someone like me who wants to try new food from other countries. Thank you

John @ Pretravels

Sunday 29th of May 2016

The images are great - it's exactly what I would imagine a tropical paradise would look like!

Sarah Moss

Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

Nice post.. awesome photos


Tuesday 15th of March 2016

Thailand is best place to visit and your post is too good

Saturday 29th of August 2015

Another fabulous travel spot to place on my list. Love seeing it through your eyes.