Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa
Worth getting out of bed for
As compelling as it is to laze under the pine trees by the pool, it’s really worth exploring what there is to do both within the resort’s boundaries and further afield. On the beach you can borrow kayaks and catamarans for a couple of hours on the water. The snorkelling is beautiful from the private beach on Koh Kradan, accessed by regular 20-minute speedboat rides from the resort. The Anantara also has a PADI dive facility – even non-divers can join in on an ocean experience lead by the experienced staff – and access to 10 dive sites. Further afield, the staff at the Diversion Centre can organise tours to the stunning Hat Chao Mai National Park (sea-kayaking adventures are popular), jungle and waterfall treks, elephant rides, dugong and wildlife tours, and island hopping. Less adventure required? Thai cooking and language classes can be arranged at the resort, and it would be churlish not to spend some time being pampered at the Anantara Spa and Wellness 360°.
There are few options for eating in Si Kao outside of the resort, although there are some informal, beachside seafood restaurants in the area. One is Yokyor
(+66 (0) 75 274 014; www.yokyor.com
) on Pak Meng Beach, which will collect you from the resort and drop you off again after dinner. Another option is the restaurant at a small resort called Lay Trang
(+66 (0) 21 962 055) on the beachfront at Si Kao town.
The hotel does organise trips to Trang to visit the night market, so there’s a chance to try one of the restaurants there. Wunderbar
(24 Sathani Road; +66 (0) 75 214 563; www.wunderbar-trang.com
) has a German owner, so there’s a good menu of inexpensive Thai and Western meals. Trang cuisine is different to most Thai food due to the large population of Chinese, Malay and Indian residents. There are a couple of cheap, tasty Muslim eateries near the train station, as well as dim sum restaurants scattered around town, including the highly recommended Ton Noon Dim Sum
(202 Pad Sathani Road).
Trang is famous for its kopi shops, usually run by Hokkein Chinese. The coffee served here is strong and filtered and often has sweetened condensed milk added. Make sure you ask for kopi though, rather than kafae (the Thai pronunciation of coffee), or you’ll end up with Nescafe. Traditionally taken in the morning with dim sum and moo yang (roast pork), it’s also popular mid-afternoon and at midnight. There are many kopi shops in Trang, but two of the most popular are Ko Teng (77-79 Praram Road), downstairs from the town’s busiest hostel, and Sin-O-Cha, right at the railway station.
February Each Valentine’s Day, Pak Meng Beach becomes the most romantic place on earth as so-in-love couples arrive for the Underwater Wedding Event (www.underwaterwedding.com). August The residents of Trang are well-known for their cake-making expertise, which is celebrated during the Trang Cake Festival, held near the railway station. The offerings are un-iced, look more like a Western donut and come in a variety of flavours, including orange and coffee. September So famous is the roast pork, called moo yang, made in this region that the name is now registered and can’t be used outside the Trang Province. For the Moo Yang Festival, roasters come from far and wide to cook and sell their wares. October The nine-day Vegetarian Festival in Trang was started by locals of Chinese origin back in the 19th century. As well as observing a strict diet, sacred rituals are also performed to cleanse the spirit, including some reasonably scary ones including walking barefoot over coals and climbing ladders made of sharp knives. Nightly processions take place, and there’s a whole lot of food to be tried.
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