With an area of 35 square kilometres, Koh Libong is the largest island off the coast of Trang. The triangular-shaped island, lies only 4 km south of mainland just 15 minutes by long-tail from Hat Yao Pier in Kantang District, which is the nearest access point located roughly 47 km south of Trang city. Less visited than the most famous neighbouring islands and without charming white sandy beaches, like Koh Mook and Koh Kradam, the island still has much to offer to tourists. Koh Libong is well-known for its wild flora and rich fauna, in particular a colony of resident dugongs and thousand of migratory birds. The island's landscape is characterized by a hilly interior, with a peak that rises up to 311 meters, and mostly covered with lush tropical jungle tapering at edge into rubber groves and fruit orchards. The resident population, about 3,000 people, is descended from a Muslim fishing community, mostly still dedicated to fishing and to cultivation of coconut and rubber trees. Visitors coming here from the mainland arrive at the local pier in Baan Maphao, the village on the north-east coast. The small housing settlement is located along the sea channel that bisects the island, crossing it from north to south. A good part of it is navigable with a flat-bottomed boat, a great opportunity for kayakers. From village, turning on right a narrow brick and cement road leads to the hilly northern side with isolated beaches, and turning left leads to Baan Ba Tu Bu Te, the main village on the southern coast. In the picturesque village many of the houses are built on stilts. From the centre of bay, a 700-metre cement walkway over the sea leads to a five-storey observation tower that was built for dugong sighting. From the main village, the small concrete road cross the hill and reaches the south-western coast, where is placed Baan Lang Khao, the island's third small village, and the main beach on Koh Libong. Known as Haad Lang Khao, it hosts the handful island’s resorts, a few restaurants and a small minimart. The long golden beach is a mix of fine and grainy sand, surrounded by shallow water and outcropping rock formations, which allows swimming only at high tide. The eastern third of the island, at Laem Ju Hoi, has a savannah-like landscape, with cashew trees and a large area covered with mangrove forest. Protected by the Botanical Department as the Libong Archipelago Wildlife Sanctuary, the area is an ornithologist's paradise. Every November and December thousand of migratory birds stopping here on their way to south from Siberia to feed in the muddy areas rich in food, among them Terns, Waders, Curlews and Godwits and many others. Between March and April, you can expect to see Brown-winged Kingfishers, Masked Finfoots and even the rare Black-necked Stork. The sea channels here are one of the last refuges of the rare dugong in Thailand. Also known as “sea cows”, it is large marine mammal similar to the manatee that feeds of sea grass. Traditionally hunted for their blubber, used as fuel, and meat they are a species at risk of extinction due to the coastal pollution, which destroys their source of food. The dugong has now been adopted as one of the fifteen "protected animals" of Thailand and is the official mascot of the Trang province. Currently no less than hundred plump and amiable dugongs graze on the eastern mangrove area, and sometimes closer to southern coast, their sighting with a boat trip is very likely.
Getting there - The nearest access to Koh Libong is Hat Yao Pier just 4 km away, roughly 15 minutes by long-tail boat. The pier is located in Kantang district 47 km south of Trang city. From Trang's main bus terminal and its railway station, minibuses run direct to the pier roughly every hour from 07:00 to 16:30 for 150-200 THB per person, a 45-minute ride to pier. From Hat Yao, local ferries leave to Koh Libong roughly every two hours until 16:00 and cost 50 THB per person, it’s also possible to bring a motorbike on board for an extra charge. It is possible to reach the island hiring a long-tail boat privately at Hat Yao Pier, with a cost of not less than 1,000 THB. Unlike nearby islands, Koh Libong is not connected directly to any of other islands in Southern Thailand. However, Tigerline high-speed ferry stops at Hat Yao Pier in high season, from 1st November until 1st May, and so simply returning to the pier on mainland you can reaches Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Lipe and even Langkawi in Malaysia. Private long-tail boat transfers are also available direct from Koh Libong to Koh Kradan, Koh Mook and Koh Lao Liang. The cost ranges between 1,800 and 2,500 THB depending on the island.Read More
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