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Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket

Donna Toon

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Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | The Thaiger
The island of Phuket is abuzz with tourists throughout the high season, but it is also staying busy now during the traditional ‘low’ season as well. We no longer have the dramatic influx during the silly season and super quiet during low season, it has flattened out and we now have tourists all year round. Expats and locals welcome the tourists as they bring the money which turns into jobs for the island, but sometimes we crave open spaces, a moment by ourselves or some quiet time.
Here is, in no particular order, our Top Ten Places to Escape the Crowds on the island of Phuket….

1. Diving and Snorkeling

We are blessed in Phuket with crystal clear waters with an abundance of sea life and coral – nothing brings peace and quiet quite like putting your head under water. In one moment all is calm. There are a number of professional dive operators on the island but we can highly recommend Sea Bees Diving who operate throughout the year with skilled and friendly staff and instructors. Never tried diving or snorkelling? Give it a go with professional instructors and enjoy the serenity!

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

2. The Cove Phuket

The Cove is a fabulous spot located down the South of the island in Panwa, the three bungalows and beach side restaurant and bar are managed by Edina and Fernando. A cool couple who have introduced a number of environmentally conscious initiatives to the business including removing all plastic straws and replacing them with bamboo.

The Beach Cafe situated on the waterfront in Ao Yon Bay is a relaxed restaurant and beach bar. A perfect place for meeting up with friends in the morning and for long leisurely lunches under the shade of the palm trees with your feet in the sand. A delicious menu of fresh fish, pizzas from our own wood fired oven, Thai favourites, light dishes and a children’s menu are available throughout the day.

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

3. Old Town Cafe – Kathu

Escape the madness of the West coast of Phuket and head to Kathu or even Phuket Town and experience the fabulous coffee culture. Doesn’t get much more local than this. But add an enterprising Kathu local Old Town Cafe, a great source of coffee beans, a splash of art and some traditional Thai music blaring out of an old transistor and you have the quintessential Thai coffee experience! Free wi-fi, homemade treats and they even do local food for the weekends away from the maddening crowds. Not a lot of parking along the skinny streets of Old Kathu but it’s worthy of a visit next time you’re around the area.

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

4. La Fayette Bakery Kamala

With two locations in the formerly sleepy village of Kamala, one a cute little café and the other featuring a café but also the bakery production kitchen, La Fayette French Bakery is a wonderful addition to the town . The dine in and takeaway bakery items and rustic, traditionally crafted bread as well as their buttery and fluffy croissants are a naughty pleasure. Well priced and service with a smile without the madness of a Starbucks in Patong!

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

5. Mai Khao Beach

Phuket has some beautiful beaches, many though are crowded with tourists, locals and unfortunately rubbish. Escape the lot and head to one of the northern beaches like Mai Khao or even venture further over the Sarasin Bridge to Natai beach where you will find almost no one. The beach is long and clear but swimming up there takes a bit of care. The beach drops away very quickly and becomes deep almost immediately into the water. It’s especially dangerous during the monsoon between May and November. Enjoy the serenity and having a beach to yourself but only swim if you are with others and best to avoid swimming altogether during the monsoon.

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

6. Kathu Waterfall

Kathu Waterfall located in the middle of the island is certainly off the beaten track, especially if you are a tourist they don’t tend to venture this far inland. The waterfall itself is a little under whelming, however there is a series of rock pools as it cascades down the hill where you can take a dip. It is quite the climb to get to the very top but worth the effort if nothing more than just take to a picture and announce that you made it!

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

7. Monkey Pod Cafe

Popular with the cycling community in Phuket, this very funky cafe is located on the road out to Ao Por Grand Marina and the Gibbsons Sanctuary. Monkey Pod Cafe has excellent coffee and food as well as top service  so get in there and support them while fueling your body! The trip out to the east of the island is a very pleasant drive and takes you to waterfalls, walking tracks, marinas, gold courses and small villages. Monkey Pod is just a cool place to drop in whilst having your quiet day.

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

 

8. Old Sarasin Bridge

At the top of the island, connecting mainland Thailand to the Phuket, is Sarasin Bridge. It certainly is not recommended to walk across the new bridge, but hidden underneath is the old bridge that serviced the island before the larger bridge was built. In the middle is a lookout point, perfect for taking some stunning pictures and on the other side a great fruit stall to fuel your thirst and hunger. You will see that Phuket really an extension of the peninsula of land that extends south from Phang Nga and only separated by a 200 metre stretch of water you could swim on a calm day. (We certainly don’t recommend trying as there is very strong tides sweeping through the channel)

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

9. Mission Hill Golf Course

The island of Phuket has a number of world class golf courses, which during the high season can be tricky to get a tee time. Escape the crowds once again and head North East to Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort, booking a tee is still recommended but not as difficult.

Golfers playing at tropical Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort will enjoy the wide range of facilities and services on offer. In addition to the vast array of superior equipment ready for hire, golf enthusiasts can also brush up on their game with a private lesson from a fully qualified PGA Coach or become a member and benefit from unlimited rounds of play and discounts at the spa, business centre and restaurants. Families who would like to play together will be pleased to know that children may also participate in golf, whilst off the course there are a host of other amenities including a fitness room, swimming pool and five-star spa to keep non-golfing family members amused.

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

10. Ao Por Grand Marina

The boating community is a big part of the culture in Phuket, surrounded by water, it is expected to be. Some of the marinas however are dated and tired and don’t allow easy access for visitors. Ao Por Grand Marina located on the East Coast, quite close to our number 9 on the list Mission Hill Golf Course. The marina has excellent parking, access and facilities as well as a stunning boardwalk to view all the super yachts. Take a walk out onto the marina and look left. You will see one of the stunning views anywhere in the world. Really.

Top 10 Spots to Escape the Crowds in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Sit back, relax, enjoy your ‘me’ time and savour the serenity…



Find more Thai Life top 10s and top 10s in Thailand on The Thaiger.

Originally from New Zealand, Donna Toon has been living in Thailand for the last 9 years with her husband Scot and their two boys Jackson and Oliver. After graduating with a Degree in Hospitality Management, Donna has travelled the world with a desire to develop her craft. A recent move from hospitality has seen Donna immerse herself into the media and radio industry, consulting for a number of media companies.

Bangkok

Na-Oh, taking off daily into a brand new culinary adventure

The Thaiger

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Na-Oh, taking off daily into a brand new culinary adventure | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Nation | Na-Oh

A restaurant with a theme, a grand gothic theme – a flying vessel taking survivors of a post-apocalyptic world to a safe zone.

Na-Oh (a play on Noah and his journey-to-safety story) promises that its menu will constantly change to reflect a new theme set by the restaurant every three or four months, usually reflective of the various destinations the ‘journey’ will take you.

This flight of fancy is an old Lockheed L10-11, an 80s domestic flyer in the US now re-imagined as a restaurant in Bangkok’s Thonburi district as part of the Chang Chui Bangkok Plane Night Market, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

The 55 metre, 150 tonne former jet that’s been permanently parked at ChangChui since 2017 is finally whisking passengers off on culinary adventures.

Formerly flying for Thai Sky Airlines fleet, the L10-11 was about to be scrapped when Somchai, the celebrated clothing designer and founder of fashion label FlyNow, flew to its rescue.

Upon boarding for what’s billed as a “futuristic food journey”, guests have five and five-course dinners to choose among – ranging from 1800 – 2800 baht.

Na-Oh, taking off daily into a brand new culinary adventure | News by The Thaiger

But when boarding the plane this time you’re entering a whole new world of imagination – the look is gothic, sumptuous, art-deco, eclectic and lush.

The restaurant owners have replaced the 400 airline seats with vintage sofas and chairs and added fancy chandeliers. Old steamer trunks serve as tables.

And adding to the ‘weird’ is a range of taxidermy hanging on the sides of the old plane –  all are certified legal and ethical, meaning they died of natural causes.

Once upon a time surly baggage handlers would hurl your luggage onto a waiting trolley at an airport, but here the former luggage compartment is now a 10 seat lounge with high-backed maroon sofas.

The cockpit is a private dining room with a classic chesterfield.

You get the idea, Na-Oh is high on style, but what about the food? It’s fine dining with a thematic twist. Mostly Asian-inspired simple flavours, the owners describe the culinary experience as a futuristic food journey. So, expect the unexpected. Check out the current menu at Na-Oh HERE.

Compared to the dramatic interior and wow-factor, the degustation menu-style offerings are a secondary matter. But if you’re looking for that different dining experience in Bangkok strap yourself in, stow your tray table, open up your window covers and open up your mind to a new culinary experience.

Na-Oh is open daily, except Wednesday, from 6 to 11pm.

Bookings on 02 007 7070 or find out more HERE.

Na-Oh, taking off daily into a brand new culinary adventure | News by The Thaiger Na-Oh, taking off daily into a brand new culinary adventure | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Give your stretch marks a makeover – the tattoo solution

The Thaiger

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Give your stretch marks a makeover – the tattoo solution | The Thaiger

Stretch marks, we’ve all seen them and many of us have a few. Both men and women can be affected. But Inked In Asia has a possible solution.

Stretch marks are a natural indication that your body is growing and changing. It can be said that it’s your body’s way of ‘celebrating’ your growth – many would disagree.

They are part of many people’s lives so why not turn them into works of art with a stretch mark tattoo. Stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed of so let’s give them a tattoo make-over.

When elastin fibers and collagen tear during weight gain, pregnancy or even puberty, the skin’s color and texture is damaged forever. Stretch marks can fade from when they first appear, but they might leave behind mildly indented streaks that won’t return to the original smooth skin.

Some treatments and creams can help by improving the colour of the stretch marks or promoting collagen growth, but there is no true way to get rid of these unsightly blemishes. Trying to get damaged skin to fill out and return to its original colour is very difficult, even for the best dermatologist.

A new trend is the covering up stretch marks with tattoos. Now a normal ‘cover up tattoo’ consists of going over an existing tattoo with new ink, adding or completely changing the original tattoo.

But there’s another solution to those that want a more subtle approach which can be used to disguise some stretch marks.

The technique of matching the skins natural tone by mixing tattoo ink, is more of an art than a scientific process. People’s skin has a dynamic range of colours from reds, yellows, browns and greys and getting the exact tone needs expert evaluation and technique. The tattooing then begins, hiding and disguising stretch marks and giving confidence back to clients.

Click HERE to contact Inked In Asia’s Tattoo Studio to arrange a FREE consultation appointment and discuss your stretch mark tattoo make-over.

Give your stretch marks a makeover - the tattoo solution | News by The Thaiger

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Food Scene

Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals

The Thaiger

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Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | The Thaiger

The Thaiger was invited to a special ‘taster’ at one of our favourite restaurants on the island of Phuket, Thong Dee. As usual, the food spoke for itself – no fuss, classy, so so tasty, eclectic. The Thaiger was a guest of the hosts Patrik and Ponchan for the evening.

Thong Dee – The Kathu Brasserie, located in Kathu in a quiet soi less than 15 min drive from Patong or Phuket Town has become a popular go-to foodie destination, away from the hustle and bustle of Phuket. The atmosphere at Thong Dee is certainly friendly and relaxed but also chic and stylish. The restaurant offers open-air dining where locals and visitors comfortably sit and watch the tiny world of Kathu go by.

The restaurant is currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor (April 2019), undoubtedly a favourite for foodies looking for quality in a breezy brasserie which doesn’t burn their wallets. But the journey to finding this perfect balance was certainly not a smooth one.

Established on the 25th December 2010, married couple Patrik Lundgren, from Sweden, and Phonchan Chiarram, originally from the Buriram province, opened “Thong Dee Restaurant & Bar”, literally meaning “Good Gold” in Thai, a colloquial expression that better translates as “Good Quality”.

Thong Dee began as only a dream for the two. Phonchan already owned her own bar at only 21 and Patrik always considered himself a devout foodie. He was the one to make the bold decision to become restaurateurs. With the help of Patrik’s mother, the couple, with their love for F&B and strong entrepreneurial spirit, made that dream into reality.

“I consider myself a genuine foodie and always had a huge passion for food. I rather have a big bill from a fabulous restaurant then a trendy nightclub” – Patrik

Phonchan never had any formal training as a Chef but with Patrik’s belief in her skills and Patrik’s mother’s training, Phonchan started in her own restaurant as the cook. Here she not only had the opportunity to develop her delicious family recipes but began experimenting with Western and European cuisine.

The menu opened with 80 % percent Thai food until Patrik realised it was an already over-saturated market. “We had to be different from that “green curry” you can eat anywhere in Phuket”. Over the next 6 years the restaurant went through huge changes, both in layout and in menu.

Through the first stages, they enlisted the talents of André, a young chef who worked in France & Scandinavia at Michelin fine dining establishments, most notably, at Restaurant Kiin Kiin in Copenhagen. It was from him that Phonchan learned the fundamentals of fine dining, such as mise en place and creating stocks and sauces.

He also taught me about the art of plating and classic dishes from French cuisine as well as fusion creations” – Phonchan

In 2016 they partnered up with an experienced Irish chef, from whom they learned about the strict operations of running a restaurant and creating a positive flow in the kitchen.

“He also taught me a lot form the European and English kitchen, such as the Sunday roasts, chicken liver parfait and desserts” – Phonchan.

The couple found their groove through their own culinary explorations, research and development combined with the knowledge of experienced chefs.

“…almost all of the dishes on our menu are different from how I learned from the start, both in Thai cuisine and European. I discovered in the world of cooking, all dishes can be made from the chef’s own interpretation.” – Phonchan

Patrik describes the cuisine at Thong Dee in detail as – European with French, English & Swedish influences in addition to authentic Thai dishes with premium main ingredients.

You will find Patrik at the front of house being the charismatic host, paying close attention to detail and customers’ every need. Thong Dee’s client’s range from local expat families and friends looking for a taste of home, and tourists looking for finer Thai food and good wines to match. Thong Dee has also become a favourite spot for local F&B industry management staff.

People flock from around the Island and even globally to experience Phonchan’s signature Thai duck dishes, even stews and Swedish meatballs. The also offer ever-changing weekly specials. Their Sunday Roast is also a drawcard, that attracts playful groups and families looking for a wide variety of succulent roast meats.

In the future, Thong Dee are considering to expand into Phuket Town, where the offering will be much more focused on classic European Brasserie cuisine, with starters, salads and steaks and a high value wine list and of course, the same friendly service in a stylish and relaxed atmosphere.

Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger

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