Samchong Seafood Restaurant (Phang Nga)

Well, last weekend we dragged our lazy bones out of the house for a proper day out, even managing to leave Phuket! I am sure most people realise that Phuket is an island, but Phuket is connected to the mainland by the Sarasin bridge (well, 2 bridges actually which run parallel), so you can drive to/from Phuket. The bridges are about 500m long and when you hit the other side you are in Phang Nga province which has a wealth of attractions including Phang Nga Bay, Khao Sok National Park (well, that's actually in Surat Thani province), the Similan Islands and the temple in a cave at Wat Suwan Kuha.

After visiting the temple and checking out the nearby Raman Waterfall and National forest park (which we will revisit), we went looking for lunch. A friend had told me to look for a restaurant called "Poo Dam" (meaning Black Crab) around the Khok Kloi area which is a bit north of Phuket. I had assumed it was on the water, so as we drove back towards Phuket we looked for "Poo Dam" signs. No luck... Feeling hungry we followed instead a sign to "Samchong Seafood" which was well signposted (but only in Thai!), with the turn off near the village of Ka Lai, about 10km from Khok Kloi and about 20km from the Sarasin bridge. You drive about 2km down the side road and reach a wide mangrove channel, some floating jetties and the Samchong Seafood restaurant floating in the water, accessed by a stilted walkway. The sign you can look for :

Samchong Seafood sign

And here's the restaurant ...

Samchong Seafood, Phang Nga

It looked decent, the views were great along the channel, with some of the Phang Nga limestone formations visible to the east, and a stilted village similar to the famous Panyee village just over the water. Longtail boats acted as taxis across to the village. A peaceful location (I don't count the occasional longtail engine). A few cars with Phuket plates were parked nearby. Maybe a restaurant that Phuket people visit for an "off island" lunch! I liked the place even before we ordered food.

View from Samchong Seafood

There was an English menu, but I'd reckon they don't get many tourists here. I should note that we found the English menu was about 10 Baht more per dish than the Thai menu. We chose the Thai price. We ordered a salad made with smoked prawns, a whole snapper with lime and garlic, plus chicken with garlic for the kids. The price of the fish dish was less than places we have eaten in Phuket, only 280 Baht per kilo. Service was fast, though the place was not very busy as we arrived a bit later than normal lunchtime.

Samchong Seafood

Kung Che Nam Pla

Food was very tasty - fish was excellent, we are already planning a return visit to Samchong Seafood. No photo of the fish, sorry. I am not a good food blogger.. we had already started attacking the fish and agreeing on how tasty it was, then I realised I had not taken a photo. Ah well, next time... Photos above show Yam Gung Seab (salad with dried smoked shrimp) and Kung Che Nam Pla (raw prawns with fish / chili sauce). From our house, only about an hour to drive there, and it's not just the food, it's the location! Some more views from Samchong Seafood:

Longtail boats at Baan Samchong, Phang Nga

Phang Nga longtail boat

View at Baan Samchong, Phang Nga

It's been a good year for finding new places to eat so far. We must vow to continue our explorations and not be so lazy!

Update March 2012: We have now done a couple of trips out to Phang Nga Bay from Samchong Seafood - easy to get a longtail from there to James Bond Island and Koh Panyee / Panyi.

Samchong Seafood - Location Map

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Wat Suwan Kuha Temple (Phang Nga)

I have been meaning to visit Wat Suwan Kuha (or Wat Suwannakuha; or Wat Tham; also known as "that temple with a big Buddha in a cave") for a long time. I have seen many photos on the web, the temple is often visited by tours heading to Phang Nga for excursions including elephant rides or white water rafting, so we decided to go last weekend. It's only just over an hours drive from our house to reach Phang Nga town, and the temple is about 10km before the town.. but was curiously poorly signposted. On the way through the North of Phuket you pass rubber plantations, and there were a couple of local caged bird singing contests in progress. Heading over the Sarasin bridge out of Phuket the views are always great. One of these days I must head up there just to get some photos of the area.

The road from Phuket to Phang Nga is good, you pass a number of Buddhist temples and mosques on the road towards Phang Nga Town. I was surprised to find that the turn off to Wat Suwan Kuha is not marked (at least, not in English - the temple entrance on the main road is in Thai). There is a sign pointing to Raman Waterfall National Forest, so follow that! Wat Suwan Kuha is about half a kilometer along the road. There is plenty of parking and, as I say, there are tours visiting here. Quite a few "farang" visitors when we were there, but it was far from crowded.

Wat Suwan Kuha Temple

Outside the cave you find a temple, stalls selling fruit, drinks and snacks and lots of monkeys who will steal your food given half a chance (I saw a monkey take a bag of nuts from a girl on a motorbike). Anyway, no need to buy food here, save your hunger for something better (see end of this page). Entry into the cave is just 20 Baht I am pleased to say.

Wat Suwannakuha - Wat Suwan Kuha - Entry Ticket

Oh yes, monkeys... all over the place outside the cave. None inside. Of course people try to sell you food to feed the monkeys. Up to you. Anyway, if you have never been close to a monkey before, here's a place to get that monkey vibe.

Monkey at Wat Suwan Kuha

Inside the main cave, the dominant figure is the large reclining Buddha. There are a number of other Buddha images too and a big Chedi which contains bones of the Na Takuathung family who were the local governors about 160 years ago and who arranged for the construction of a shrine in the cave.

Chedi for the Na Takuathung family at Wat Suwan Kuha

The big reclining Buddha is quite impressive. You can see it from all angles. You can climb some steps behind the reclining Buddha to a couple of small shrines, light some incense, say a prayer.

Reclining Buddha at Wat Suwan Kuha

Wat Suwan Kuha

We have been a few times to the temple during tours around Phang Nga. On one visit a young Monk was seated in front of the reclining Buddha saying prayers for anyone who asked. He seemed very peaceful, and a cave dwelling cat found refuge next to him.

Suwan Kuha Temple and Monk

You can climb some steps past the big Buddha, enter another part of the cave. Oh, and I must mention there are bats in the cave too :) And some kind of cave dwelling birds. And a very amusing and totally pointless sign asking people to not write on the wall.

Don't write on the wall

The cave leads out into the forest. On one visit it started to rain and the wind blew the rain through the cave. After the brief downpour the light filtering through the trees was quite other-worldly. If you like caves or temples, you'll like Wat Suwan Kuha! Some more photos here: Wat Suwan Kuha on Flickr.

Cave at Wat Suwan Kuha

Photographer at work - Wat Suwan Kuha

This was a nice day out off the island! Not in Phuket, but only an hour from home. We continued further along the road to see the Raman Waterfall.. and will go back sometime. There is a 2km nature trail with about 6 different waterfalls to see. After the temple and waterfall we looked for a nice lunch and found it - a place called Samchong Seafood, a little off the main road between Phang Nga and Phuket, a floating restaurant on a wide mangrove channel. We have been back there several times.

Phang Nga is the province to the north of Phuket and there is a lot to see here, and mostly it's within a day trip from Phuket. Wat Suwan Kuha could be combined with a ride around Phang Nga Bay and a nice seafood lunch. Sometimes I realise there is more to Phuket than Phuket!

Wat Suwan Kuha - Location Map

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An Invitation to Read from Village Farang ...

Latecomers to a blog can find it hard work, wading through the months and years of posts in reverse order.  Much of my work includes pictures and comments and makes more sense with them, but I thought it might be interesting to reproduce only the words, in chronological order.  A book or journal of sorts, to be read from being to end, as it were.  Without my pictures and the comments of others, one can indulge ones own imagination, free from distraction.  Uncertain of demand, I nonetheless would like to offer the option of reading in the original timeline.  The following links with take you to my words.  The same words as here just a different view.

Boomerang Village Resort

I was just looking today at TripAdvisor - I was wondering what are the top rated hotels around the Kata Beach area. The number 1 (Mom Tri's Villa Royale) is quite a fancy place and is in my list of the Top 10 Hotels in Phuket. Number 3 is Sawasdee Village, which I have already reviewed on this blog. But I was quite surprised at the hotel in second place. I drive past it almost every day, and have often meant to go check it out, and will do sometime soon, a good spot I think for a sunset beer and photo opportunity...

Boomerang Village seems to be very popular - I will start by saying that it's not a beach hotel - the cottages are up on the hillside off the back road behind Kata and Karon beaches. A bit of a hike to the beach, maybe a mile or so, probably good idea to rent a moped if staying there. The cottages are surrounded by tropical gardens and there's a restaurant / bar too, I reckon some good views...

There are also some bungalows - which is in a slightly different, but nearby location, just not on the hillside, no views but closer to the beach, but I reckon it's the cottages you should go for. The place is Italian owned and I believe the Italians know a bit about style. (You gotta hate the Italians sometimes, they can somehow manage to look scruffy and stylish).

Boomerang Village Cottages is just the right kind of place for this blog, a little left of center, a little out of the mainstream, something a bit different and a bit special, nothing too fancy, but well liked. Recommended.

Boomerang Village - Booking & Information Links

Boomerang Village - Rates and Reservations at
Boomerang Village - Hotel Reviews

Boomerang Village - Photos

Phuket Hotels - More Info & Online Booking

Jamie's Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2016
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Rimtang restaurant in Phuket Town

I had heard of this restaurant before we first went there in 2009. My wife's sister told us about it when she was working for a bank in Phuket town. Bank employees seem to know all the good lunch spots.. which makes me wonder if they do any work at the bank or just eat lunch all day! Phuket Town, being where a lot of local people work, also has a lot of good local food, and we like to try new restaurants when we get time. Rimtang is a place we've been back to many times.

Rimtang is on Thung Kha road a bit north of the center of Phuket Town near the Satree Phuket school. It's just off the road, but has a big sign, so it's hard to miss...

Rimtang Restaurant Sign

Inside the entrance there's some parking, while the restaurant itself is half hidden behind plants, trees and flowers. It has a peaceful feeling, but it can be very busy at lunchtime during the week. Rimtang is open every day and is well worth looking for - I have to go back again to check out more of the menu (and photograph it).

Rimtang Restaurant, Phuket Town

Rimtang Restaurant in Phuket Town

Rimtang does a very tasty Mee Hoon, a Phuket style of noodles. You can also get Khanom Jeen, which is very popular round here - white noodles, rather sticky and ladled with (normally) some kind of curry. I am not a big fan, but my wife loves it. Also you can get some of the best mango and sticky rice at Rimtang.. I think mango and sticky rice deserves a blog entry of it's own one day!

Mee Hoon

(above) Mee Hoon - rice noodles fried in soy sauce with flaked dried onion and a pork rib soup. Also delicious!

You can also get simple Thai food like fried rice or chicken with garlic and pepper, but it's worth trying some of the Phuket specialties and the food is not at all expensive. We often get a side plate of fried tofu which comes with a nut/chili sauce. Very tasty.

Fried Tofu

There are plenty of drinks on offer too - different kinds of tea and herbal drinks. I normally just have a simple ice tea, and there's ice chocolate for the kidz :)

Drinks at Rimtang Restaurant

Mango and Sticky Rice

(above) Mango and sticky rice with coconut cream. Delicious. You can eat it there or get it to take away. It's very good.

Aside from the food, Rimtang also has a shop selling local snacks made of dried fish, cuttlefish, shrimps, different nuts, rice cakes, dried fruits, biscuits ... a big range of tasty items. Good to take home for friends and family to try. We always have snacks of some kind around our kitchen somewhere!

Shop at Rimtang

Rimtang is very popular with locals. If you see a restaurant full of local people, you can be sure the food is good and the price is right. Phuket town has a lot of good eating well off the tourist trail. Go and explore! Rimtang also has a more upmarket branch near Chalong temple, we've not tried it yet, maybe some day soon.

(Blog post first written February 2009, updated December 2012)

More Phuket Town Hotels

Kopitiam by Wilai
Tunk Ka Cafe
One Chun
Dairy Hut

Rimtang Restaurant - Location Map

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