Angela Aguilar, 129 TCCS
The South of Thailand is known for its beaches, with Krabi and Phuket being the most popular, however, there’s a lot more to see in the South of Thailand. If you’re looking for a more locally driven city I highly recommend making your way down to Trang. The main city, known as Tap Tiang to the locals, has a handful of restaurants that cater to Westerners as well as a decent craft beer scene. There is a lot of influence from Chinese culture here, it is very prevalent in the buildings and artwork that you come across walking around and of course in all of the delicious dim sum restaurants.
I spent a couple weekends back in Tap Tiang with a couple fellow PCVs and one of their counterparts. I met my friend near the train station and had a nice little brunch at Café 1952, one of the few farang (foreigner) restaurants that boasts a delicious, lengthy menu of both Western and Thai food.
After about half an hour of trying to flag down a tuk tuk we decided the 15 minute walk to the hostel wouldn’t be too bad so we turned down an alley and started walking, arriving at our hostel just in time to miss the torrential downpours. It started at 4pm and went all night, forcing us to stay in and order from Pizza Company for dinner (not a bad thing).
The following morning was spent at Gray 18 Café, which is in my top 5 of favorite coffee shops that I have ever been to in my whole entire life. It is a repurposed old house that has 3 floors with so much seating and the perfect ambiance. You could spend a whole weekend here with your laptop or art supplies and never be happier. Not to mention the drinks and desserts are delicious.
When it was time to leave I asked the owner of the café if she could call a tuk tuk for us and communicate our location. This turned into her giving us a ride back to our hostel and getting to converse a little bit with her in Thai. She was the sweetest lady. Only in Tap Tiang do I feel safe enough to accept rides from strangers.
Our friends arrived soon after and we were off on another walking adventure to see an underwhelming park and look for a mural to take photos. On our way to the mural, we walked by the setup of what we thought was the infamous night market and made a plan to circle back around sunset.
We ended up at “A Hidden Something” rooftop bar for beer and snacks. This place is on the rooftop of a cute hostel called “A Local Something”. The menu has a lot of delicious western favorites, some Thai foods and an extensive craft beer list. Another highly recommended spot in Tap Tiang!
We finished up our beers and headed back to check out the supposed “Best Night Market, ever”. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be just like any other market I had been to. Not to say it didn’t have good food, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.
So we’re sitting there eating our pad thai and kabobs when my friend’s counterpart asks us if we’ve ever been to Cinta City walking street. We say no and decide to give it a go since it’s just another 15 minutes or so from our current location. We proceed on this adventure down a few roads confused as to where we are going and if anything will be there when all of a sudden we see lights and hear music.
Enter: the greatest night market I have ever been to!
Cinta City walking street/market had restaurants made of old shipping containers, a few different live bands, bars and a bunch of market stands. Not to mention amazing art, murals, statues and so much more for you to take in. It was absolutely incredible to stumble upon!
Before this night I had thought Tap Tiang to be a city that goes to bed around 8pm with not much to do besides eat at the couple of farang friendly restaurants or go to Robinson’s Shopping Center. From now on, this Night Market will be at the top of my list!
We ended our trip in Tap Tiang at one of the more famous Dim Sum Restaurants, of cours, and headed back to our sites full and happy.