Trang and Satun: Two cities you should probably just use as a stopover
Making our way down to the Malaysian boarder we stopped in the cities of Trang and Satun. These certainly aren’t places you should go out of your way to visit on a trip to Thailand, but they make a good stop over point for a bit of time out. While I can’t say we properly explored these two cities, we did enjoy the Thai hospitality and some nice food. It was a good chance for us to get back to Thai prices and rest and recuperate after a serious stomach bug.
We stayed at Garden Hill Mansions (+66 81 979 0831), which we found online for 500฿. It was clean and comfortable and most importantly air-conditioned.
We used our stop in Trang as a chance to catch up on some life admin, essential when you are travelling for a long time. We walked for about 15 minutes to Richy Bakery & Restaurant from Garden Hill, and we used the air-conditioned café as a place to get some work done. The Wi-Fi here was good and it was a cute place to be. Food and drink were on the pricey side though.
The next day we found a much more reasonably priced café, Kopi Tea and Coffee, just around the corner from Garden Hill. Food here is great value but the coffee is only instant. The toilet facilities were pretty grim, so worth going back to the hotel if you need to go.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend Satun as a holiday destination, but if you are passing through on a boarder crossing between Thailand and Malaysia then it is an ok place to spend a night. We stayed at Lomlay Resort, which was very comfortable but not in a great location for the city centre. We managed to find a motorbike taxi, which took two of us to dinner for 50฿.
The highlight of Satun is Ti Baan restaurant, which serves an exquisite selection of Thai and Western food and drinks at reasonable prices. Don’t expect dirt-cheap Thailand here, but it is absolutely worth it if you want to #treatyoself and in Satun you probably will. We had the chorizo salad, a red curry and a steak with mashed potato. All dishes were fantastic and the French owner and his wife, Pooh, made us feel very welcome. They kindly ensured we got back to our resort safe and sound, which earned them a solid five stars.
The wonderful Ti Baan restaurant in Satun.
Ferry Satun to Langkawi
If you are using Satun as a base to cross the border into Malaysia, the duty free island of Langkawi is worth a visit, even if just to stock up on some affordable alcohol.
Ferries from Satun to Langkawi depart from Tammalang pier and arrive at Kuah Port in Langkawi. Kuah to Tammalang are also your ports for the journey the other way around. Tickets cost 350฿ per person and can be bought at the port. There are some websites you can use to book in advance, but we went during low season in Thailand and our boat was nowhere near full.
This ferry crossing is obviously over an international boarder. Lonely Planet tells you that you need your passport stamped in Satun, but this is not the case. The whole ferry experience is actually very straightforward. After purchasing your ticket at either Tammalang or Kuah you will proceed to immigration before boarding. Here you will have your passport stamped before you walk out to board the ferry. Easy.
For UK and Australian passports you can get a visa on arrival in both Malaysia and Thailand. However, Thai visas may be shorter when you don’t arrive on a plane so make sure you check this first.
In the next a no grainer travel article I cover the highlights of Langkawi and where to find some great gluten free food.