Dining Out in Thailand
Rubbing shoulders with the five star resorts lining Nai Yang Beach in Phuket, Thailand, are dozens of informal eateries lining the beach and nearby alleys. The food is yummy, the prices are modest, and there is lots of variety. Best of all are those gorgeous sunsets!
Nai Yang Beach is located in Northwestern Phuket, just 10 minutes south of Phuket International Airport.
Unlike Patong Beach and some of Phuket’s other beaches, Nai Yang Beach is relatively quiet, with few bars and clubs.
It is, however, especially popular with locals, who often have picnics there on weekends.
Casuarina trees provide shade along much of the beach, especially within those areas that comprise Nai Yang National Park and Sirinath National Park.
Located at the Southern end of the beach, Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach, is the only hotel situated right on the beach.
The hotel provides lounges chairs and beach umbrellas to hotel guests.
The Slate, formerly known as Indigo Pearl, Cachet Resort Dewa Phuket, and Naiyang Park Resort are located across the street from the beach.
Dozens of other properties – from four and five star resorts to modest guest houses – are scattered about nearby. Proud Phuket, for example, is located a 10 minute walk from the beach, and I thoroughly enjoyed me stay there.
As often happens in Thailand, when large resorts with excellent food and beverage outlets open, modest family run eateries and watering holes pop up nearby.
Hotel guests tend to eat breakfast at the hotel. Lavish breakfast buffets are, in fact, often included in the tariff.
At lunch and dinner, however, hotel guests often wander outside the property.
If you get to know hotel staff, in fact, you will learn that they often do the same.
Many chefs at five-star resorts have told me that they often patronize the modest eateries located near the hotels they work at when they are off duty, and they are often inspired by the dishes they eat at them.
Nai Yang Beach is no exception. A bustling commercial strip has arisen along the middle section of the beach, where The Slate is located.
There are several mini marts, boutiques, travel agencies, money changers, and day spas.
There is a large open-air sala, which offers at full menu of outdoor spa treatments right on the beach.
There are also dozens of food vendors, restaurants, cafes, and bars, which are located on the beach itself, across the street from the beach, and along a couple of nearby alleys.
Mini Restaurant Reviews …
During a recent one-week stay in the vicinity, I tried the following eateries …
Sea Beach Bar and Restaurant
Sea Beach Bar and Restaurant – near the southern end of the commercial strip is the Sea Beach Bar and Restaurant.
There were tables and a bar inside or in front of the the restaurant, but staff said I could dine on the beach if I wanted.
They were more than happy to set up a table for me right on the sands.
I ordered iced tea, which came with milk, and pineapple fried rice with chicken.
Served in a hollowed out pineapple, the fried rice was seasoned with curry powder and had bits of shallots, carrots, and baby corn in addition to chunks of pineapple and chicken.
It was delicious!
Sunset Point – located nearby, Sunset Point had a similar vibe. It, too, had seating within and in front of the restaurant and would serve meals and drinks on the beach across the street.
I started with a refreshing mango smoothie and dined on fried rice with chicken. It was served with slices of cucumber and some greens.
Another yummy meal!
Phen’s Restaurant Bar and Coffee
Phen’s Restaurant Bar and Coffee – with an entrance on the main road, Phen’s Restaurant Bar and Coffee was located right on the beach.
It was a bit more upscale than the other two eateries, but the prices were comparable and the menu more extensive.
There was indoor seating for those that didn’t want to get sand in their shoes as well as tables right on the sand, which is where almost everyone was sitting when I ate there.
I had green curry with pork and steamed rice, which I washed down with iced tea with lemon.
I don’t know what their secret was, but the iced tea was the best iced tea I’ve ever had.
The lemon was green rather than yellow, but I’ve been told that it wasn’t lime. Apparently it’s another kind of citrus fruit.
The Beach Restaurant and Cocktail
The Beach Restaurant and Cocktail – I decided to have dinner on the beach on my last evening in Phuket, choosing one of the most upscale of the beach-side eateries.
Like Phen’s, the Beach Restaurant and Cocktail had an entrance on the main road, a bar with indoor seating, and tables right on the sand.
It also had seating upstairs, which I assume would offer better views.
What’s interesting is that this is where I consumed both the yummiest and the most disappointing dishes I ate during my seven-night stay in Phuket.
I started with a green papaya salad, which was absolutely delicious – pungent, tangy, crisp. Have I ever had better?
When the fried noodles with vegetables and chicken arrived, however, I couldn’t believe they came out of the same kitchen.
The only word I can use to describe them was bland.
I washed things down with an excellent glass of Chardonnay, which cost a very affordable 200 baht.
I ordered a second glass of Chardonnay as the sun sank slowly into the Andaman Sea. There was no charge for the sunset
When in Thailand …
How to Get There
One of the nice things about staying at Nai Yang Beach is its proximity to Phuket International Airport, which is the third busiest airport in Thailand – and the busiest airport outside of Bangkok.
Nok Air and several other domestic carriers link Phuket with Bangkok and other Thai cities.
Phuket Airport is also served by several international carriers, including Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways.
With hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha, respectively, the three airlines offer convenient connections to travel destinations across Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East.
Why Not Spend a Few Nights?
The hotels in the area are a short five to 15 minute drive to the airport, and many (but not all) of the hotels offer a complimentary pick-up and drop-off service. Be sure to make arrangements in advance!
Even if you’re staying in another part of Phuket, you might want to book your final night at a hotel in Nai Yang to de-stress your departure.
- Cachet Resort Dewa Phuket – located across the street from the beach, the hotel is a 10 minute walk to the restaurants and cafes reviewed in this post. There are many street-side food hawkers along the way!
- Naiyang Park Resort– located next to the Cachet Resort Dewa Phuket, the hotel loans bikes to hotel guests, which I rode to the restaurants and cafes mentioned in this post.
- Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach – the highest end resort in Nai Yang, and the only hotel located right on the beach, the Marriott is a bit of a hike from the restaurants reviewed in this post. You might have to go by taxi.
- Proud Phuket – a 10 minute walk to the beach, the hotel lends bikes to hotel guests, which I rode to the commercial strip mentioned in this post.
- The Slate – formerly known as Indigo Pearl, the hotel has a back entrance opening directly onto the commercial strip mentioned in this post.