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Bang Bao

Eat and meet

Bang Bao

The culinary standouts of Bang Bao are undoubtedly the seafood restaurants on the pier. Prices are fairly high at these, so head to terra firma for cheaper Thai dishes -- there's a group of budget Thai restaurants gathered on the road in town, just before the 7-eleven. Over on Khlong Kloi, a string of beach restaurants do the usual Thai and Western fare along with smoothies, cocktails and the occasional thumping beach party.

Not surprisingly, seafood is king in Bang Bao. The very popular Chow Lay Seafood has developed a good reputation over the years for its fresh grilled catches, though the smaller and less conspicuous Nok Noi will also get the job done. If you don't feel like sitting down for a full-on feast, at least pick up a pouch of the delicious grilled squid sold by a handful of vendors along the pier.

For a more down-to-earth lunch or breakfast, Bang Bao Delight sells quality coffee, smoothies, sandwiches and some decent baked goods. They also have free WiFi and a small internet cafe. Back on land, almost where the pier begins, a homemade ice cream stand should satisfy your sweet tooth.

The one notably unique restaurant in Bang Bao is El Greco, a Greek-Thai owned spot set on two breezy decks with views to the Khlong Kloi side of the bay. They do a full Thai menu, but authentic Greek dishes like mousaka (a sort of Greek-style beef lasagna) and gemista (roasted tomatoes stuffed with meat, rice and spices) are what piqued our interest. Mains go for 150 baht and up, but gyros and salads start at 100.

On the east side of the bay, Nirvana Resort's Tantra restaurant has received positive feedback for its mix of Thai and international food to go with quality wines, well-made cocktails, interesting Balinese design and romantic seaside setting. Backpackers will favour the bar/restaurant at Cliff Cottage, which happens to be one of the island's top sunset spots thanks to its westerly views. On the pier itself, Buddha View is another good sunset spot. Its full bar does solid cocktails to go with Thai standards, and the chilled out ambiance begs you to sit back on a floor cushion and relax.

On the Khlong Kloi side, a small kebab stand was the only place we noticed that offers something out of the ordinary. We've heard good things about the seafood at Klong Kloi Cottage's restaurant; though several low-key beach joints offer similar menus and the standards are generally good. When we last arrived, Rimray was celebrating its opening night by blasting techno from a soundsystem that was not messing around -- looks to be worth checking out if you're up for letting loose.

Nearby on Haad Sai Noi, D.Jambe's Friday night parties feature live music, open jam sessions and drum circles. Next door, a few smaller spots have a similar beach-reggae atmosphere. One of them is called How High, which should give you an idea of what goes on around here.


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