Photo: Time to stock up for island time.

Eat and meet

As you'd expect from a coastal town, Ban Phe serves up simple, tasty seafood. A handful of bars and seafood restaurants can be found on the western side of town, and there's no short supply of simple Thai noodle and rice shops.

If you're in the mood for seafood, you won't have to look far in Ban Phe. Next to the ferry ticket office at Nuan Thip pier, a cluster of food stalls serve up healthy portions of cheap Thai standards, grilled fish, prawn and squid, cold beer and coffee. If you're on a budget, you might as well fill up here before hopping on the ferry as you'll pay triple the price for the same thing on Samet. Don't be surprised if the effusively friendly food court manager pops over to practice his English. With a Buddhist amulet attached to his black necktie, it seems at first like he's trying to sell something, but he's simply a happy-go-lucky, if eccentric guy.

If you've a bit more cash to spend, head west along the main drag to one of the more 'proper' seafood restaurants with wood terraces overlooking the fishing boat piers. A few places have similar menus, though the best is purported to be Baan Rabeang Mai 2, opposite Mac Garden Resort.

With few people stopping in Ban Phe for long, you aren't left with too many other dining options: shops slinging cheap noodle soup, rice and curry, Isaan food and made-to-order stir-fries line the main road. Most of these places lack English menus, but it shouldn't be too difficult to order a simple som tam or fried rice. One way to sample the local seafood without spending too much cash is to go for a seafood noodle soup at Mantis, a stand that sets up daily next to Mac Garden's restaurant. For under 100 baht, they'll throw shrimp, squid and fish balls into your bowl.

For early risers, Chopana, located opposite Christie's, has rich, dark coffee and a breakfast menu. If you just need a spot to kill an hour while enjoying a coffee and checking your email, Lovely Coffee near Christie's and Coffee Today across from Nuan Thip pier should do the trick.

If you're in the mood for German food and a game of billiards, expat haunt Coconut's is worth a stop, though
aforementioned Christie's Restaurant and Bar stands out as the go-to spot for nightlife in Ban Phe. While staff are friendly, the cooks seem to know this is the only game in town, and turn out somewhat bland food. Located on the main drag midway between the bus stop and the Diamond Hotel, this is the most happening place in Ban Phe, boasting a full bar and an extensive menu of Western and Thai food, burgers and breakfasts.

The sois adjoining Christie's are filled with brothels and short-time rooms and are best avoided after dark.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ban Phe? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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