Phuket Brewery

UPDATE 2013 - Phuket Brewery closed some time ago - not making enough money. I think the place was just too big for Phuket, not in a tourist area and while it was packed when they had concerts, it was almost dead on weekdays. We went to a Sek Loso concert one night and went a couple of times with the family, and the kids enjoyed the magic show and the atmosphere, but for such a large place with so many staff, it needed to be much busier. It was taken over by an entertainment company called "Whisky and Moonlight" for a while and was then converted into a big LadyBoy show called Aphrodite Cabaret, which is still open.

Original Post

I admit to not being a nightlife person - noisy bars and clubs are not my thing... thus there's not a great deal on this blog relating to nightlife in Phuket or bars or clubs! A lot of the nightlife in Phuket is related to bargirls, ladyboys and everything in between. Not really family entertainment. What I like to find is a place that has a good atmosphere, is not a rip off and preferably has good beer!

Enter Phuket Brewery, just opened last November - a huge entertainment venue just outside Phuket Town, opposite the Tesco Lotus store, impossible to miss.. I mean, there's half a boat sticking out the front of the building, more or less everyone will see it when driving from the airport to the beaches.

Phuket Brewery exterior at Night

Outside Phuket Brewery

I had been putting off a visit due in part to laziness and in part because I heard it was very expensive. The Brewery is just 5 minutes from my house, and could become my local pub! Certainly not as expensive as I thought, and there's even a happy hour from 7 - 8pm (we found that out when we got the bill)! I had a friend visiting from England and we both like good beer, so I thought it was time to try the Brewery.

Phuket Brewery Entrance

It does look a bit fancy and expensive. The entrance is like stepping on board a cruise ship, all polished wood and portholes for effect, mirroring the boat on the outside. You can sit outside to eat or just for a drink, or you can head into the theatre. Inside there is an impressive looking wooden and copper bar, with the freshly brewing beer right behind the bar - all the pipes and valves of the microbrewery out in the open and it looks great!

The house band had already started before 8pm. It's a large theater, I reckon must seat over 1,000 people. Only about 30 people when we arrived, but it did fill a little later, maybe around 200 people there by 10pm, not bad for a week night.

So, what's Phuket Brewery all about? Well, for me, number one - (the word Brewery is a hint) - BEER! The microbrewery makes 3 different beers, a dark beer, a lager and a weizenbier (wheat beer). It looks good, it tastes great. Normal price 130 Baht for half liter, but only 75 Baht during happy hour. There are also 0.3 liter glasses and huge beer towers containing 3 or 5 liters - good for large parties.

Here's some of that beer - in the photo below you see a dark beer and the weizenbier.

Beers at the Phuket Brewery

But, this is not a drinkers den. The beers are good, but the Brewery is aimed at families, work social evenings, ladies nights out and concerts - some of the big names in Thai rock have been already such as Carabao and Sek Loso. I wonder if they can attract any big Western bands? When we were there on Thursday it was just the house band, which was not too bad. Also some Thai dancing and a magic show. I think kids would enjoy it, though they'd have to be allowed a late night by mum and dad.

Phuket Brewery House Band on Stage

Entertainment at Phuket Brewery

There is an upstairs balcony too which would seat several hundred people. On this quiet week night the balcony was not being used but I went for a look upstairs and also wandered down to the stage. They have an impressive array of live video screens around the venue and 3 different cameras shooting all the action from the stage. From the balcony I could look back down on the bar area too.

Bar at Phuket Brewery

So, you've got beer, entertainment, concerts, friendly staff, oh and they do food too - not super cheap, but I think for the western food about the same as you'd pay elsewhere. Open every day, easy to find, and only 5 minutes from my house. Did I mention the beer? Who's meeting me for happy hour? :)

Thai Dance at the Phuket Brewery

The Hash ... Chiang Rai HHH ...

An easy trail quickly turned into a muddy, rock strewn stream that had shrunk to a mere trickle in this dry season.  During a tropical downpour, an obvious death trap, but on the day a minor obstacle to focus ones attention and balance.  The first hill was a completely different matter.  With your heart leaping from your chest and your lungs searing with pain, you were also confronted with the proverbial, take two steps forward and one step back.  Unable to gain purchase on the soft, freshly tilled, hillside soil, many a stride failed to advance one even fractionally toward the distant crest.  Apparently all made it to the top but I had my doubts about that outcome, as I surveyed the scene and waited for my wife to catch up with Cookie and me.  Confronted with a choice after cresting that horrific hill, many a shattered soul opted for the short route back to food, beverage and relative comfort.  Cookie was already sniffing out the long trail and we had not driven 80 km just to take the easy way out. 

It became a much more lonely affair at that point.  We saw no one else on the trail, until we reached a bewildering crossroads.  We joined forces with a group of young women there and several trails were scouted before finding the way.  Our trekking poles helped us to navigate, without incident, down a very steep, dusty, and leaf strewn hill and to ford small streams.  Crouching low to navigate the bamboo thickets was made easier by the lack of leaves, giving one vantage beyond ones nose, which would not be the case most of the year.  Cookie helped us break trail but even she had difficulty finding the way at that one puzzling crossroads.  Our normal trails have ample water along the way, with a reservoir for swimming at the turnaround, but high on the hillside it was very dry and our little girl seemed to suffer from the heat.  We gave much of our water to her along the trail.  At the end she lay for minutes in the cool stream, just behind the host’s house and gathering area, luxuriating in the refreshing current.

According to our host, or hare, we were a rather large group, of which nearly half appeared to be virgins, in Hash terminology.  The host and scribe for the Hash, does a much more thorough job of producing statistics on his blog.  Naming names and recounting who did what, being his forte.  I might suggest clicking on his HHH BLOG for more details.  Children were well represented on the day but I cannot provide much insight as to what they brought away from their experience.  I found so many people cumbersome and difficult to navigate.  But then again, I have always come away from group gatherings feeling less than satisfied.  My taste runs more to a sit-down lunch or dinner with long hours of thoughtful discussion, with one or two other couples or families.  Often that leads to the children playing in the yard, the women doing as they wish and the men sitting around solving the world’s problems.

The Hashers seemed more focussed on the ceremonial drinking, rituals and chanting at the end of the day, than on the beauty and bounty of the trail.  I have always been in the minority, with my view of group activities like this.  So pay no mind of my words and if the opportunity presents, by all means go to a Hash and form your own opinion.  It will be a safe bet that no two trails will be identical, providing variety, and each evening will end the same, providing continuity.  So as the Hashers would say in their rather quirky terminology, ON-ON.

To Chiang Mai and back again ...

From here to there and back again.  All that remains is to trek over to the boarder and transfer my visa from the old passport to the new.  I’m sure there are those who are enamored with the sappy nationalistic quotes and the abundance of pictures and information on nearly every page, but in my opinion, it leaves far too few usable pages.  After all a passport is working document, too soon filled with stamps, and not a magazine to be read in a waiting room.  With a lifespan of ten years, no doubt I will be adding new pages at some point.  It would have been nice, to have been offered twice as many pages, but alas I was not.

We tried leaving Cookie at home with the mother and the maid this time, with good results.  Unfortunately it left that much more room in the truck for additional household goodies.  Our past purchases had focused on the living areas and we had neglected the bed rooms to a great extent.  That was partially dealt with on this trip to Chiang Mai with another overflowing truck load.  Literally I was able to close the tailgate, just.  With a large heavy box hanging over the lip, it was impossible to bring the window down and fasten it.  So we drove home with the back open and the rearview mirror blocked with only the side mirrors to monitor the erratic driving behavior of those behind us.

Again we stayed with our friend’s parents, their dog being quite disappointed that we came without our furry little daughter.  One last stop on the way out of Chiang Mai to visit a friend from Hawaii and checkout her recently opened hair salon.  Not the last stop as it turned out, as we bought orchids at a roadside stand in the mountains, inspected yet another ceramic shop, and bought some ghastly fermented goodies, that our neighbors so enjoy eating at another roadside stand.  All in all, another productive trip but oh so good to be home.

No rest for the wicked, as we are going to make every effort today to attend our very first Hash House Harriers event.  I am not the type who is overly dependent on others for motivation and often find I get a better workout when on my own.  So this will likely be more of a social networking event for us.  Surely we will be traveling further than most with a roundtrip in excess of 160 km, and returning well after dark on our unlit country roads.  Hopefully we will meet a like minded couple or two and no doubt Cookie will have a great time exploring new trails.  I do know the host of this event and my motorcycle buddy and his family may be there so even if we don’t make new friends it should be a pleasant day.

This being the ugly time of the year, I am focussing on being more social and saving my wanderlust for a later time when all is lush and green.  Being in the tropics our seasons are less varied that in higher latitudes but things are different enough, that one can clearly draw a line under this season and say it is not a favorite. 

Sorry to be so remiss in my offerings on this site of late.  There has simply been no need for the catharsis that my writing often provides me.  Life is good, we are well and my muse is on an extended leave of absence, it seems.

Hotel Booking with

Over the years since Jamie's Phuket started, I have looked at a number of online hotel booking sites, signed up for affiliate deals, seen the results, tried new sites... the original idea was to have several different booking options for the hotels reviewed here, giving people the opportunity to check rates at a bunch of different sites. Regular travelers will probably have their preferred booking site, I don't wish to try and change anyones mind about which is best, but I have to say that over the last few years the site has got neater, the hotel descriptions better, the booking process easier.

The Agoda brand name is getting well known especially around Asia, as Agoda is based in Singapore and Bangkok. The word "Agoda" you might expect to mean something in Chinese or Thai.. in fact it's just a result (according to the About Agoda page) of a phrase suggested by someone at Agoda "Agoda where I wanna go to!". The important part of the word being "GO"! For more about Agoda, check their FAQ. for Phuket Hotels

Agoda offers a reward program. From your first booking you get reward points worth around 5% of the room price. You can use these points to reduce the price of the room you are booking, or you can let the points mount up after several bookings and use them to get even bigger savings, or even free rooms! You decide. A friend here in Phuket said he ended up with a free room on his last trip to Kuala Lumpur, having saved up his reward points. You can earn extra points by contributing a hotel review (good or bad!) after your stay.

Agoda Hotels

The Agoda site is available in many languages, not just English - for example you can find Agoda in German, French, Japanese, Swedish, Thai .. and many more, reflecting the worldwide appeal of Agoda. Not just Thailand, not just Asia, but Worldwide. The site is very easy to use, easy to navigate, it's easy to find rates, easy to make bookings. I'd suggest checking Agoda for your trip to Phuket and Thailand.

Related Jamie's Phuket pages:

My Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Top 10 Phuket Hotels
Patong Beach Hotels
Karon Beach Hotels
Kata Beach Hotels

Wat Vichit Sangkaram (Phuket Town)

Yes! It's time for another temple! I do like to check out a temple now and then.. there are about 25 temples and shrines on this blog so far... so if you are a fan of religious architecture, or want to follow the temple trail, check my Phuket Temples section. There are Buddhist temples all over Phuket, mixed in with Chinese shrines and lots of mosques too.

Wat Vichit Sangkaram, also called Wat Kuan, can be found just to the Northeast of old Phuket Town, near the government offices, the court, the prison and Satree Phuket school. As with many temples around Phuket, there is very little on the internet about Wat Vichit Sangkaram. As of now, it's my weather blog that is No.1 in a Google search!.. I imagine this blog will be by tomorrow. All I can find is that the temple has been used for funerals of some important local people, and last year was the site of a ceremony paying respects to Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana.

Wat Vichit Sangkaram entrance

I forced a "temple stop" on the family some weeks ago. We had just eaten lunch at the Uptown restaurant which is nearby, and I could not resist the lure of an unblogged temple! So, I ran around and took a few photos. The temple grounds were being renovated, with backhoes and construction workers all around. Sure it will look better soon!

King and Monk images around a tree at Wat Vichit Sangkaram

Steps up to the main temple at Wat Vichit Sangkaram

Wat Vichit Sangkaram

Naga (multiheaded snakes) guard the entrance to the temple. The Naga is a part of the Buddha story. You often see Naga images above the head of the Buddha. In the story, the Naga raised it's multiple heads to protect Buddha from the rain as he meditated.

Naga Detail of temple door at Wat Vichit Sangkaram, Phuket

(above) Naga outside Wat Vichit Sangkaram, and detail of one of the temple doors.

More temples to come. I think, if you are passing by, any local temple in Phuket is worth a look. The detail and decoration is often impressive. Much more to Phuket than beaches, you know!

Home Sweet Home ...

There is no place like home, it is often said.  It sometimes takes being away, to realize just how sweet home is, however.  Gracious hosts, exotic new places, untold new sights sounds and smells, can be wonderful.  Yet be it ever so humble, it is ever so comforting, to once again be enveloped in the familiarity of that place one calls home.  But there I go again starting at someplace other than the beginning, and neglecting to mention that I am talking for Cookie, as well as myself.

On my latest visa extension in Mae Sai it was made clear that I was in need of a new passport.  Fortunately that inevitability only presents every ten years and is thus something one doesn’t waste precious time worrying about.  One doesn’t actually worry about driving a couple of hundred kilometers to Chiang Mai, either.  The when and how and where of it does become a bit of a worry, if one wants it to be fun and not a burden.

Where to stay?  What to do about the house and Cookie?  To make a short story shorter, we stayed with a friend.  We arrived a day and a half before her but her parents were extremely gracious and Cookie received an equally warm welcome from one and all, especially Honey the host golden retriever.  With the weather warming up and much running about to do, we decided to expose Cookie to something new, as an alternative to being dragged around in the heat all day. 

A lovely Dutch lady presides over a kennel not far from our friend’s house and it seemed an ideal learning experience and worth a try.  So the first and last night Cookie was Honey’s guest and two days in the middle she stayed with another golden retriever at the kennel.  Having never been away from her, for the eight months she has lived with us, we were nervous parents, calling for regular updates.  Reportedly, our normally quiet little girl was quite vocal during her time away from us.  Her first night back with us, it was impossible to escape her presence or gaze.  We were watched like a hawk, for fear that we might get lost again, I presume.

For us, there was of course the obligatory shopping for the house in addition to renewing the passport.  Our friend has an uncanny knack for finding quaint little shops, arty little restaurants, coffee or tea houses.  Breakfast at the Dhara Dhevi, was more awe inspiring than quaint, and impressed us as much as any hotel or resort that we have ever been to.  Chiang Mai has a thriving art culture with many tight little sois with interesting little shops but we found ourselves along the river in the hours before sending our friend to the airport. 

An unassuming store front opened into an airy tea garden on the banks of the Ping River.  After tea, the girls went off for some last minute shopping, while Cookie and I basked in the beauty of the garden.  There was, just by chance, some unexpected eye-candy for me and additional attention for Cookie.  The place was perfect for that days fashion shoot and I was taken back to previous shoots that my wife did the makeup for.  One lovely luk-krueng girl from the entourage came over to play with Cookie, while the staff fawned over her, bring water and ice in a bowl.  They loved watching her submerge her face in pursuit of ice-cubes, looking ever so much like someone at a county fair, bobbing for apples.

Our friend safely on her way back to Bangkok, we had a pleasantly uneventful drive home.  The back of the truck filled to nearly overflowing, the backseat was folded up and Cookie slept most of the way home, on the well padded floor, with the temperature maintained just to her liking.  Can’t truly say who was more pleased to be home.  Each in our own way, we relished our return to what we love about this place we call home.  For me and my wife it was a once familiar and often experienced wave of emotion.  For Cookie, who knows.  Clearly, however, there was a calm joy that enveloped her as she lounged around the house last night.  Living in the moment as dogs do, today it is all about exploring her yard and fields, playing with her pack and swimming in her pond.

The Chiang Mai Consulate will not mail my passport so in a few weeks I will once again make the drive from here to there and back again.  In the end we didn’t feel good about subjecting Cookie to the trip.  As a one-off it could be seen as a learning experience but she is ever so much more happy in her little fiefdom and it would be cruel to take her away from what she loves.  We will just have to work harder at training the mother in law and our staff to deal with Cookie.  It is one thing to take her to play in nature, but quite another to take her to a city and its confined spaces.  She lives in a natural world with no fences or boundaries and that is the way it should be for her.  And in a perfect world, perhaps that is the way it should be for us as well.  It sure feels good to be home.

Travelfish Guide to Phuket

Phuket, pearl of the Andaman Sea, with golden sands, beautiful smiles, blue skies... Phuket is blessed with powdery, palm-fringed white beaches, sparkling island-dotted seas ... delightful turn-of-the-century Sino-Portuguese architecture.. la la la. You know it's the same kind of poetry on almost every website, the same cliches, some of which are true in a way, but certainly there is the idea that Phuket is indeed perfect. I have to say this: I love living here, Phuket is great, but Phuket is not perfect. I hear this many times: "I was surprised by... (insert comment here)". Somewhere out in the mass of websites and guidebooks is the truth. I hope my Phuket Blog paints a fair picture of Phuket, though as you may notice, I don't write about the bits I don't like! I keep the blog positive and prefer to talk about the things that I do like.

Back in August I did a quick review of the new Lonely Planet "Encounter" guide to Phuket, which is a nice little book, well researched, a good deal more up to date than your average LP guide book.. Lonely Planet "Shoestring" bearing backpackers walk past my office every other day looking for a guesthouse that closed 2 years ago. Sometimes they come in and ask and are AMAZED to find that the Bible is wrong!

So, I am happy to say that you can get a well researched, up to date, easy to use, recommended-by-Jamie guidebook for Phuket for FREE. Well, "book" is the wrong word. Actually you can buy a 37 page pdf file by making payment online and the "guidebook" can then be downloaded. And it's good. It knows things I don't know, it has reviews of guesthouses and hotels, it says this about Patong: "a seething mass of tourism, squalor and unrestricted development, a mess of hotels, bars, restaurants, travel agents, massage parlours, tailor shops and touts. Patong is everything that tourism in Thailand should not have become." Amen.

You see? This guidebook does not pull any punches! Compare to the No.1 website about Phuket, which says "With its wide variety of activities and nightlife, Patong is an ideal place to party and play.".. although admittedly does try to hint that Patong is not perfect... "the steaming hot streets, neon lights and chaotic atmosphere of Patong can be overwhelming for the new arrival".. yeh, still overwhelms me 9 years later!

So, where can you get a FREE Phuket guidebook? The website to look for is, which has been silently growing into an internet giant. If you are looking for SE Asia information, Travelfish is a very good starting place. And the range of guidebooks includes Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Tao, Koh Samet, and various guides in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Travelfish is certainly backpacker oriented - the accommodation recommendations are for lower budget travelers (Note to Travelfish - you should include Pineapple Guesthouse in Phuket!). The Phuket guide includes some general info, local transport info (local buses, not taxis - this is for backpackers!), and extended info on different beach areas and on Phuket Town. The information is tightly packed, no wasted space, ready to print. It may not suit the luxury traveler, but on the other hand, if you are looking for a very nice hotel and want to explore some of the real Phuket, this Travelfish Phuket guide is certainly worth a look!

Thanks to Stuart of Travelfish for sending me a copy to read. It's good, I say again. The price of a few beers for a guidebook? If you're coming to Phuket, you should head to Travelfish and download the Phuket guide.

Travelfish Free PDF Travel Guides - Get them here!

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

View Samchong Seafood, Phang Nga in a larger map

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

View Wat Suwan Kuha (Wat Tham) in a larger map

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.

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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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