From Pak Meng, 40km due west of Trang town, down to the mouth of the Trang River runs a 30km-long stretch of lovely beaches, broken only by dramatic limestone outcrops. A paved road roughly parallels this stretch of coast, but otherwise there’s surprisingly little development, as the shoreline is technically part of Hat Chao Mai National Park.
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Ban Chao Mai
Ban Chao Mai
At the south end of Hat Yao is BAN CHAO MAI (also called Ban Hat Yao), a straggle of houses on stilts, which exists on fishing, especially for crabs. From the harbour, boats run regularly across to Ko Libong, and this is the mainland ferry stop on Tigerline’s Lanta–Lipe route. The owners of Had Yao Nature Resort by the harbour organize guided and fully insured trips by longtail and canoe through the mangroves to the nearby cave of Tham Chao Mai (B800/person in a group of four or more, including lunch; ten percent discount for guests at the resort); inside are impressively huge rock pillars and a natural theatre, its stage framed by rock curtains. The resort also rents out two-person kayaks (B200 for the first hour, B100/hr thereafter) if you want to do the trip by yourself, with a map and head-torch (B100 rental), as well as offering tours to the local islands, including highly recommended dugong-watching trips to Ko Libong.