Phuket Restaurant Tips: Laem Hin Seafood

Update 2010: I have written a new Laem Hin Seafood Restaurant Phuket page - restaurant still as good as ever!

Boats at Laem HinPhuket has many restaurants slightly off the beaten track and more or less unknown to tourists. Laem Hin Seafood is one of these. Popular with locals, it can get busy, especially at weekends. If you see a western face there, you can be pretty sure they live in Phuket.

Location: A little North of Phuket Town, at Laem Hin. There is a signposted road off the main airport road. I think the sign is only in Thai. It's not far south of the Boat Lagoon, well worth a visit if you like boats and home to the Boat Lagoon Resort where we go and use the pool sometimes. Laem Hin has a small fishing community, there are old wooden houses on stilts and some newer houses closer to the main road. From Laem Hin jetty you can get boats to Koh Maphrao and Koh Rang. There are always some boats buzzing around. At Koh Maphrao there are some floating restaurants, also popular with locals.

Google Earth view of Laem Hin and west side of Koh MaphraoThe restaurant at Laem Hin is built over the water with views across the southern end of Phang Nga bay. It's a seafood restaurant, with live fish, prawns, lobster, crabs in tanks ready to cook. When you order anything like this, the price is per 100g, and will often be more expensive than you think, even though this is not a tourist restaurant - more of a middle class Phuket local restaurant, and many Phuket people do have the cash to splash! The food always comes quickly - there is a big kitchen and lots of staff. The waitresses can be a bit grumpy, but that does not detract from the food, the views, the peace.

Google Earth has a high resolution scan for the east side of Phuket. The picture above shows Laem Hin (on the left) where you find the restaurant and a boat jetty, and the east side of Koh Maphrao, with its beaches and the floating restaurants.

Welcome to Laem Hin Seafood

Longtail Boat approaching Laem Hin

We went a few days ago. I had "yam gung seab" - dried shrimp salad, made with papaya, onions, tomato, chili, lime juice. Wife likes to eat spicy seafood soup. Big dish of rice, a few cokes. Get some fried rice and omelette for the kids. Add a side dish of "hor mok" (curried fish custard cooked in banana leaves). For us, a bit of an expensive meal out - total bill 400 Baht (10 US$).

Entrance to jetty at Laem Hin Looking up the jetty to the restaurant

Look out for More Phuket Restaurant Tips.

Update - there is a new Laem Hin Seafood Restaurant Phuket page on this blog, fully updated with new photos.

Tomorrow

Wow, yesterday was a busy one. Our web sites are mostly available in Italian, and I had to prepare templates for about 50 pages to pass on to Diego for translation. What fun!

Tomorrow is a special day, as my mum and dad will arrive from England for a 3 week visit. It's the third time to Thailand for them. We have some trips planned to Phi Phi, Khao Sok, Krabi, Koh Yao, Chumphon and more. They will be meeting my 1 year old son for the first time, I'm sure they'll think he's gorgeous. I have to work up to the 14th, then we have 2 weeks all together. Great!

Started work early at 7am today. Was woken by a small voice..."daddy, can you get me some water?"..Once awake, there's little point lying down again. The first light of day was in the sky, and the early bird catches the worm...Well, it means I can go home early too.

Kids had some vaccinations yesterday at the hospital. Daughter took it bravely with barely a wince. 1 year old son fought the nurse and hit her in the face. They both have a bit of fever this morning, so hopefully will take it easy today. Last time my parents came, daughter was sick when they arrived. Hopefully not again!

Cancion Mixteca

I first heard this song in the movie Paris, Texas. It meant more after I'd been in Mexico. I hardly have any chance to speak Spanish nowadays, but still have a lot of music gathered during my travels in Latin America. Something about the Spanish language speaks to the heart. It's the language of love and loss, of joy and pain. Quisiera morir de sentimiento.

¡Qué lejos estoy del suelo donde he nacido!
Inmensa nostalgia invade mi pensamiento
y al verme tan solo y triste cual hoja al viento
quisiera llorar, quisiera morir de sentimiento.

¡Oh tierra del sol, suspiro por verte!
Ahora que lejos yo vivo sin luz, sin amor
y al verme tan solo y triste cual hoja al viento
quisiera llorar, quisiera morir de sentimiento.

eggbaconchipsandbeans

On the subject of blogs. This one got noticed too and he has published books. Makes me hungry. Such delicacies are hard to find in Thailand. Beans are OK. I have found some good tinned beans made in Malaysia. Eggs, no worries. Bacon, easy enough to find..but it's the chips, oh the chips, that maketh the man. I mean chips, not "fries". The eggbaconchipsandbeans blog below is worth salivating over, and I love his comments such as:

"the chips are pale, interesting and sprawling over the beans, the bacon has that irresistible combination of soggy and crisp, the egg offers a multitude of heavenly textures, the beans are breaking out of their compound like feisty stallions."

eggbaconchipsandbeans

Want good egg, bacon, chips and beans? Better get to the UK...


The Blooker Prize for Blogs

Hope for us all. Blogs are amazing. Quite why I never started one before now is beyond me. I sit by a computer almost every day, though I try to spend that time working. Some people just have too much time on their hands...

BBC NEWS Technology US cook wins blogging book prize

Utila

I first went to Utila in 1996, one of the stops on my 20 month backpacking trip through the Americas. I started in Montreal, ended in Santiago. Got as far North as the arctic circle in Alaska, and as far South as Tierra del Fuego. I'd do it all again, but Utila was the place that drew me back to Central America in 1998. Stayed another 6 months (4 of them in Utila) and after a quick money earning dash back to the UK, I was back in Utila in November 1998. Stayed until September 1999. Since then I have been living and diving in Phuket, Thailand.

Utila is a magic place, and for me its the people that make it special. There is no place in the world like it. The people are a mix of white English, black Caribbean, maybe a bit of pirate blood, a splash of Spanish..The big families are white - the Bush family, the Cooper family, the Whiteheads, the Boddens, the Morgans, the Hills, the Jacksons, the Hinds...The English spoken there is very odd. Try the link below for excerpts from the Utila TV station (was not in existence when I was there). Especially listen to the interview with Hal Whitefield. You have to tune your ears.

* Update 2010 - I uploaded a set of photos onto Facebook from my time in Utila - have a look here : Jamie's Utila Photos

Looks like aboututila.com has not been updated for a while. There's some great info on here. I love the old photos. I'd love to go back one day. I have nightmares about Utila looking like a concrete jungle, with shopping malls and big resorts, but I think that's unlikely to happen. Nothing seems to have changed since 1999 except good things like 24 hour electricity.

I learned to dive with Utila Dive Centre, and loved it so much I stayed for 2 months and did my Divemaster course, logging nearly 100 dives in the process. I'm not a big fan of "zero to hero" courses really, but I think I turned out OK. The instructors were very good there. In early 1999 after my Instructor course I did some work at the Bay Islands College of Diving, then changed to Paradise Divers, where we got things rocking and were one of the busiest dive shops over the summer of 1999. We never had a web site, and when Brian offered us a web site in exchange for a dive course we said YES! You'll find a photo of me somewhere on that site below, it's not been updated at all since then...

Jungle Jim stayed a long time in Utila, became a Course Director - see his blog below. Very sad to say he died in 2014.

Viva Utila!

HQ TV - Utila, The Bay Islands, Honduras
Utila Dive Centre
Paradise Divers Utila
Jungle Jim's Utila Blog
Utila East Wind Newspaper
Hotels in Utila

Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Travel Forum

I no longer participate in this since I was banned for "spam"! Goodbye Lonely Planet!

Living through the tsunami

Ever since 26th December 2004, I have become somewhat obsessed by earthquakes. We live in Phuket. We lived through the tsunami and it's after effects. Our son was born here 2 weeks after the tsunami.

Truth be told, like 95% of Phuket's population, we did not see anything that day. I felt the quake at about 8:30am, and thought about where the epicenter might be. My wife felt it too. We thought nothing of it. I went out to Tesco Lotus at 9am. When I came out into the carpark, I saw many ambulances racing towards Patong. I thought maybe there had been a bad traffic accident. On reaching home, we saw something on the Thai TV news about a tsunami hitting Phuket. I called my office in Karon Beach. The boss was there and said, yes he'd heard about it too, but did not seem too concerned. Later we realised that Karon was probably the least affected area on the west coast of Phuket.

So, I decided it couldn't be too bad and headed off to work at the dive shop. Took me a loooong time to reach work. Police had blocked the road to Patong, but I was able to go around the long way via Chalong, and saw no damage, no evidence of any panic or anything to suggest a major disaster. I guess that people (like me) were not aware of the scale of things yet. So I reached Karon and immediately headed for the beach. We could see something had happened. Not huge damage, but water had come 50m up our road and knocked over a tshirt stall, and broken windows in some shops. The beach road was covered in sand and bricks, and in some places there were cars and bikes that hd been thrown around. A restaurant at the far south end was destroyed. But all in all, the damage was not bad, so we headed back to the office. By that time, my wife was calling and telling me she had heard on the TV that thousands had been killed. I said "rubbish, we're here and the damage is not bad". We did not know about Khao Lak.

It's all in the past now. But is in our minds. On Christmas day, we had been on Kamala beach with some friends. Our daughter just 3 years old playing in the sand, and my wife 9 months pregnant. The next day, the restaurant we were sitting in was wiped out. We spent a lot of time thinking "what if". When our son was born, for us he was a miracle, and still is.

It's not easily forgotten.

Continued in Part II....(click here)

Updated Tsunami thoughts written in 2008 - 4 years after the tsunami.

Everything is hunky dory now, we hope to see you in Phuket soon.