Historic Kantang Before 1915, Trang was a busy trading post centered around Kantang, where local goods such as rubberwood and rice were shipped off to international markets. Stop by the Phraya Rassada Museum , where an influential former governor’s photographs, furniture and household items are on display. Not far from the museum is Kantang Train Station , which is one of the country’s oldest. You can still get a train from Bangkok to Kantang, which arrives once a day around midday and takes 18 hours. Right next door is an old train that’s been transformed into a public library. Local Breakfast Thanks to the strong Chinese influence in the area, entering a local eatery means you’ll find a table covered with baskets of Hokkien-style dim sum, buns, pathongko (deep fried dough-sticks) and residents’ favorite, muu yang, or sweetened grilled pork. Be warned: it’s only served from around 6am to no later than 10am. We recommend Lay Trang 2 (Sai Ngam Soi 2, next to Ratchadamnoen Hospital, (+66) 75-217-700) and Nak Rong (Plearn Pitak Road) for dim sum lovers, while Phong Ocha (Huay Yod Rd., near Thamarin Thana Hotel) is a famous spot to enjoy the pork. More Thailand Stories: New Stuff in Old Siam 48 Hours in Bangkok Idyllic Escape to Pranburi Treasured Islands Unlike the more famous Phuket and Krabi, Trang is blessed by its off-the-beaten-track status, which means you can still find empty beaches free of sun loungers and the roar of jet skis. Koh Kradan is blessed with large, powdery white beaches, emerald-colored water and shallow-water corals. It’s also got just three places to stay, making it ideal for a Robinson Crusoe-style break. Nearby is the larger Koh Mook , home to the Emerald Cave. There are plenty of other small islands within the park, like Koh Ma and Koh Chuek , which are good for snorkeling. There is a THB 200 entrance fee to the park. Trust us, it’s a small price to pay for a slice of paradise. Visit the islands via day-long trip from a tour operator at the pier, which costs about THB 700-900 per day/per person. Check out www.triptrang.com for more info. Where to Stay Though Trang has a variety of hotel options, only a few provide adequate levels of comfort. The most popular is the long-standing Thumrin Thana Hotel (69/8 Huayyord, Muang, Trang, (+66) 75-211-211). But we encourage you to try the recently-renovated Rua Rasada Hotel (188 Patalung Rd., Muang, Trang, (+66) 75-214-230). This ship-shaped hotel has just been through an overhaul and now boasts contemporary designs and amenities. For a budget-yet-chic option, Sritrang Hotel (22-26 Sathani Rd., Muang Trang, (+66) 75-218-122.) is a good option. This old shophouse-turned-hip boutique hostel is located next to the train station and the walking street—perfect for grasping the local lifestyle. Because most of the area is a part of the national park, you can only stay overnight on some islands like Koh Kradan, Koh Mook and Koh Ngai. On Koh Kradan, the most luxurious is Seven Seas ((+66) 82-490-2442, www.sevenseasresorts.com ), which features 39 tropical-modern rooms and villas, and has vast expanses of crystal-clear water right outside the property. On Koh Mook, the bright yellow cottages of Koh Mook Sivalai Resort ((+66) 88-765-0999, www.komooksivalai.com ) are perched on a peninsula, offering you a 360-degree panoramic view of the blue sea. Getting There AirAsia just started operating a daily, direct flight from Bangkok to Trang. The plane leaves Bangkok at 9:40am and takes around an hour and 20 minutes. Promotional rates start from THB 990 per trip. Another option is Nok Air , which flies twice a day.