TRANG (also known as Taptieng) is gradually developing as a popular jumping-off point for travellers drawn south from the crowded sands of Krabi to the pristine beaches and islands of the nearby coast. The town, which prospers on rubber, oil palms, fisheries and – increasingly – tourism, is a sociable place whose wide, clean streets are dotted with crumbling, wooden-shuttered houses. In the evening, the streets are festooned with colourful lights, and during the day, many of the town’s Chinese inhabitants hang out in the cafés, drinking the local filtered coffee. Trang’s Chinese population makes the Vegetarian Festival in October or November almost as frenetic as Phuket’s – and for veggie travellers it’s an opportunity to feast at the stalls set up around the temples.

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