The Trang province of Southern Thailand is chiefly dominated by its flora and fauna, thriving in the mist-wrapped mountain peaks, verdant forests and pristine beaches. The western boundary of the province hugs the Malay peninsula’s coastline facing the Andaman Sea and claims ten districts, including an archipelago of 46 islands. The Trang River, one of Thailand’s most significant rivers, flows down from the Khao Luang mountain terrain across the Trang province.
The province is home to many wildlife sanctuaries and preservations that create protected havens for both exotic and indigenous plant and animal life. This has resulted in natural landscapes that are among the most unsullied by the touch of man. Although the coast of Trang enjoys worldwide recognition for its excellent diving and snorkelling sites, its mainland also presents a myriad of breathtaking natural marvels, chief among which are its waterfalls.
In the centre of a lush forest, the Roi Chan Pan Wang falls hurtle down a steep precipice into the rock pools below, from which arise curling tendrils of white mist. Its name translates into “hundreds of steps, thousands of palaces”, an apt description of the majestic rock formation that has been polished into steep ladders by needle-sharp threads of gushing water. A row of towering rubber trees stand atop this semi-circular rock like silent sentinels.
The Pak-Jaem falls, also known as the “Virgin Falls”, is a majestic cascade that streams down four tiers of rock in a sheet of misty white. Framed by blooming vines and creepers and a favourite haunt of colourful native birds, this waterfall appears as a long, virgin-white bridal veil.
The Water Garden of the Asoka Forest of the Khao Laem National Park is an area which boasts innumerable cascades threading through the limestone boulders and trees of a lush and verdant forest. Its main waterfall is Chong Banpot, which appears through a gap in the mountain.
The Tone Tok is a cascade that is yet more stunning. Accessible via a bumpy 3 kilometre track, this waterfall appears in a thick, relentless cascade over innumerable tiers of rock of a wide cliff into a basin below, suffusing the whole area in a rain-like mist. There is no uniformity among the rock formations here; some are rounded while others are simply flat. Nor are these limestone or granite rocks as usually found; beneath their moss-covered surface shines iridescent layers and colourful patterns. The panorama surrounding these falls is truly breathtaking, with sprawling rubber and rice plantations blanketing the vista of high and low hills.
The waters of the Tone Teh falls are among the most beautiful in Thailand. Indeed, it is also known as the “King of Waterfalls”. Appearing at the centre of one of the most scenic forests in the region, these falls have a sort of violent, hypnotic beauty, hurtling down from a spectacular 320 metre drop across a path of boulders, cliffs and stoic foliage. Many bathing pools are formed by these falls at different tiers. These falls and the surrounding wilderness come under the management of the Forest Conservation Unit.
The virgin beauty of the Chaopa waterfall rewards the traveller who braves its rough terrain. Surrounded by durian plantations in the mountain foothills, the route to the falls, which are locally known as Namtok Clongtong, is a scenic obstacle course of limestone cliffs, wading waters and a steep trek to the top of the mountain. However, the cold, crisp air, leafy shade and crystal clear waters are well worth the trek.
Saving the best for last, the Praisawan and Sairung (Rainbow) waterfalls are seen a mere four kilometres apart from each other. Fourteen kilometres away from Thanonkot an uphill trek yields the Sairung falls and its sister cascade Praisawan. The inspiration for many poets, both these sites are shrouded in an atmospheric charm, the uninterrupted sheets gushing across a many-tiered terrace of rock surrounded by lush green foliage. The basin of clear water at the foot of Praisawan is singularly inviting as a bathing pool. The area is also a known haunt of local avian life.
It is recommended that travellers wishing to experience the many marvels of the Trang Province find accommodation at Amphur of Si Kao. This district encompasses over half the archipelago of islands belonging to the province. There are many elegant and star-class Si Kao hotels that provide great access to the great sightseeing venues both at sea and on the mainland. Anantara Si Kao, Thailand is one of the best reputed luxury hotels in Si Kao, offering a range of amenities and facilities to ensure a pampered and relaxing stay.