“a motorbike weekend escape, traveling to Trang”
When traveling to Asia, many destinations come to mind, but by far one of the most popular is Thailand. This has many reasons, but for sure its diversity and the charm of its people being on the top of the list. One of its unique and unspoiled regions is the province of Trang.
Often I meet travelers who are disappointed of how developed Thailand is. It seems that they are expecting a wild jungle country, when this is far from the reality. Especially if you choose any of the main tourist hubs as the place to spend your holiday. If you want to go to a really wild jungle country (an undeveloped country) in SE Asia, then you need to travel to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon islands or the remoter corners of Indonesia. However to do this you need a lot of time, and travel is a lot more complicated.
The great thing about Thailand is that you can stil find places that are wild and relatively untouched by tourism, but you need to have the courage to go places that are not on the main tourist map. Also have a little sense for adventure and little more time than just a 1 or 2 week to escape (to be further discussed in later blogs).
I have been living, traveling & working in Asia for 15 years now, and even after all this time I surprise myself by some of the jewels I find just a few arms lengths away from the main tourist traps. The problem is people often lack imagination and want everything arranged for them, and then are disappointed because they thought they were going on some wild adventure….
…it doesn’t work that way ……
In the past people were glued to their lonely planet guide book’s on their travels; nowadays it is the smart phone. If it is not be found on the web or a forum, these places are invisible, and your journey will not be much more different the next travelers.
traveling to Trang
This weekend I have chosen to make an escape from my Base Camp Krabi to the next southern province Trang. Travel in Thailand is very easy and there are many transport options. You can take minibuses, local buses, budget airlines, bicycle, or by motorbike.
We have chosen the latter. For me one of the best methods of getting around but also for longer distances. Our destination was about 150 km away, so not too far. The goal of our weekend escape was to take part in the cities mini marathon among its beautiful rice paddies. When traveling, the destination isn’t the most important part of a journey, what one finds in between is just as important.
So on the way to Trang, we took a small detour to follow the coast line and visit its beach town, Hat Pak Meng. It was a beautiful drive down winding roads passing through smaller villages, plantations and tree tunnels covering the road. Much to our surprise the beach town wasn’t much of a town at all: a few sparse establishments, a fishing village and an untouched coastline with endless clean beaches. It felt like traveling back in time, to what Ao Nang and Krabi must have been like more than 20 years ago. There were only a few longtail boats that offered to take you to its nearby islands. A small fraction of what you would see in Ao Nang. …..Truly stunning. … and peaceful
Continuing down the coastline we found many stunning beaches, perfect places for a picnic or a weekend camping trip. Eventually after another hour of winding roads we reached our destination in Trang. A lovely little Motel on the outskirts of town, Nata Resort. Set among the rice paddies and close to where the race would start the next morning.
When exploring the immediate area, we came upon a curios festival. A unique tradition to the Trang province, Look Lom wind chimes(or turbines). Ive never heard of them before, but this is an annual festival where these traditional wind chimes made from bamboo get built in large numbers. The locals gather and celebrate with delicious food and local music. They are curious contraptions with small windmills that make a whistling sound carried across the idyllic rice paddies.
Digging a bit further into their purpose and origins, little can be found in English, and seems to be a tradition unique to the Trang province. However their purpose is that similar to that of a scare crow (though in their case the sound that the turbines make keep the birds away). They are raised at the time of rice harvest. It is considered a local wisdom unique to Na Muang district. To celebrate this time it has become a local folk game during January – March every year.
For the local people they are more than just “scare crows”, through these wind sculptures they show their respect for nature and its divine representation. Their origins go back hundreds of years and relate to an old tale “the legend of Pie”( a story originating in Hinduism, something about gods of nature who protect the rice fields from all the birds…especially Pie, a species of bird)
This is the area of Klong Nang Noi, which is the largest agricultural area in Trang Province. Their ancestors chose this location because of the fertile lands and made a settlement here. So it has become the heritage of many cultures…….
…beep..beep….4:30am!!!!….beep…beep………..time to get ready for the mini marathon….!!!!
We got there at 5:30am, there were some +1000 contestants at this small event. There was a great atmosphere and lots of anticipation in the air. Before the race there was music and some lively/funny aerobics to warmup the contestants for the race.
The race started just before sunrise at 6am. The horn was blown and everyone huddled through the narrow start. In these races it is important to go fast in the beginning to leave the main group behind. This way you can run with a clear path and maintain a good rhythm. It was a very enjoyable scenic run on very flat terrain. As the sun began to rise one could appreciate the idyllic scenery among the rice paddies and all the Look Lom on the sides of the road…..it was an awesome run….but competition was fierce……but neither am I a professional……..47min later….finishhhhh
Our son also joins us on our adventures and took part of the 5km fun run. In this group there were many characters all dressed up for the occasion, fancy runners. They run in full costume, looks funny but at the same time very hot!!!!
My partner in life, Boom, did a great job and finished 1st in her age/gender group. I was 10min behind the 3rd place in my group, but for me a new best time for 10.5km. Then there was a small celebration and the prizes were given away.
Now all that was left to do, was to embark on our motorbike ride back to our BaseCamp, Krabi. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed the final leg of our weekend adventure. Also we stopped for some mouthwatering food on the way. Trang province is famous for its pork, its prepared in the oven with the 5 chines spices and hoisin sauce…..very crispy and delicious……a must when you are in the region.
Until the next weekend escape……