Sharing with you 15 delectable eating haunts around Khao Lak, should you find yourself in Thailand…
Back in 2016, a flight from Heathrow in the United Kingdom to Phuket in southern Thailand is for the purpose of volunteering for 3 months with the Foundation for Education and Development (FED) – also volunteered with FED back in 2014.
Volunteering in Thailand for 3 months explains visas and provides helpful great tips for volunteering in Thailand and what to expect.
3 months of eating haunts
Everyone knows that eating in Thailand is ridiculously cheap, delicious, and a gastronomic delight to say the least.
These suggestions are but a mere few delectations over the three months of grazing – you would think that all I did is to eat while in Thailand!
In no particular order but frequented on an ad-hoc basis and out of necessity, of course…
1. Go Pong
On 10/1 Moo 7, Khuk Khak Subdistrict – food is still good but noticeably smaller portions for similar prices, and much busier with foreigners than in 2014.
2. The Duo Café
A favourite haunt on 28/10 Moo7, Nang Thong, with the same owner and 2 staff members – actually think they remembered us this time.
I may sound surprised but those of you that have spent a considerable amount of time in Thailand will understand. For those of you that haven’t, sometimes it can be like “Ground Hog Day” with local Taxi drivers and Taylor shops – I guess we all look alike. Enough said and onto more restaurants.
3. The Boat
A regular haunt for Saturday brunch/lunch as never up in time on weekends for breakfast.
On 68/10 Moo 5, Bang Niang, this cafe offers good service (hard to find in Thailand or at least in this area) and good food, in lovely comfortable surrounds and free wi-fi.
On the Main road, Bang Niang is still the favourite Italian restaurant in Khao Lak.
Ramone (owner) goes out of his way with customer service and the quality of food. Everything is made on the premise and fresh, even bread – luscious and such a treat in Thailand.
5. The Bakery
In Nang Thong, prices increased since visiting in 2014, but this place is always busy with mostly foreigners. The food is a little bland this time, so decide to eat back in Bang Niang mostly.
6. Mr Dick’s
Down from and on the opposite side of the Marriott Resort Hotel in Khuk Khak for good authentic food and prices, expect to wait for your meal as there is only one chef with one wok. The food is definitely worth the wait.
The best part of this restaurant is the huge wooden penis sculpture (hence our nickname) at the front of the restaurant before you walk in…
…obviously a fertility symbol. You must stroke the sculpture on entry or exiting…so we are told!
7. Tarn Restaurant
Opposite the Day Markets, this restaurant obviously caters for tourists as the meals are tasteless and over-priced. Service is also poor.
8. Mr Aek
On the highway between Bang Niang and Khao Lak, the food here is cheap, authentic, and very scrumptious. Well-worth the hunt for this local restaurant but don’t expect airs and graces here as the plates of food get thrown onto your table.
9. Gecko Bar
In Bang Niang Beach, with great friendly Thai owners (Black and Lin) providing cool service – drinks are reasonably priced – this late-night bar closes when the party is over.
There are loads of games you can play here whilst taking in copious amounts of refreshments.
10. Aun Aun’s
Scrumptious local food at cheaper than market prices.
Everything is made fresh on the day. The real banana shakes are large, thick, and to die for – simply amazing.
On the highway between Bang Niang and Khao Lak, you find the best ice cream at reasonable prices.
Share the gigantic cocktails (99B) with your travel friends or try one of the delicious cakes to accompany your ice cream.
Local meals are available at good prices but beware, these are authentic so very spicy.
12. Seven Salad
Between Bang Niang and Khao Lak, only just opened a month with walls still having signwriting finished, this Swedish/local-run light and airy restaurant serve local and western meals. Delicious and very fresh salads at reasonable prices are also on the menu and the bread is very good.
13. The Mango
Try the Khao Lak Forest Resort if you feel like splashing out on some lush accommodation in a sumptuously-designed resort. I only tried The Mango restaurant here, which is cheap and great for local food. The fruit shakes are amazing.
14. Chonthicha Korean BBQ
In Khuekkhak, Takua Pa District and a little tricky to find as this restaurant isn’t on Highway 4, instead you bump into this one in the back streets near a tiny street market – Google the name for directions.
This restaurant is a hit with locals so you know it is good. Sit and graze for hours on wonderful self-service and self-cooked fresh seafood, meat, chicken, and vegetables on your table. Why not try delightful pre-made starters, meals, followed with much homemade ice cream you can eat. This is an amazing feast not to be missed but make sure you go hungry to this restaurant.
On almost every corner – not much change since 2014 – the 7/11 is always a good place to stock up on basic essentials. Try to get there before the Chinese tourist buses as it’s like a plague of locusts sweeping in and devouring everything.
Bonus Tips – Markets
Thailand boasts many day and night markets, although not as many as when visiting in 2004 – everything changes.
In Bang Niang on a Monday/Wednesday/Saturday, apart from the touristy stalls selling the usual clothes, souvenirs, and snacks, this time around the food stalls are disappointing. Each stall sells the same fast food as each other and not much is authentic.
Basically, all food is on display behind glass cabinets and in the sun. You select something to eat and this is re-heated for several minutes, while you wait.
Only ate at the market once this time around. Sadly, the little stall that used to make the best noodles around changed over to the same greasy fast food as other stalls, but with the same cook and owners.
Between Bang Niang and Khuk Kak, the day markets are open day and night, 7 days per week, although stalls have differing hours.
A little side-street local restaurant is our usual lunchtime haunt as the food is of excellent quality and value. Reminds me of the great authentic Thai food I used to eat twenty years’ ago and not the western-adapted, bland, Thai meals dished up these days. Very friendly staff with meals ranging from 40-100B.
Escaping volunteering for some R&R
Even though life is busy as a volunteer, working from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and many Saturdays, there’s always time for exploring the surrounding region.
Fabulous quick jaunts to Phuket are easy from Bang Niang. A trip to Koh Phayam Island to escape Songkran followed by another trip to Koh Kho Khao Island. The Water Park 360° is fun and quite interesting. Lovely Bang Sak Beach, many trips to Takua Pa and White Sands Beach fill precious spare time. As does generally socialising with friends and work colleagues.
Read about all these escapades in this connecting post: Around Southern Thailand whilst volunteering.