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Khlong Prao Beach

Eat and meet

Khlong Prao

While Khlong Prao lacks the densely packed restaurant scene of Kai Bae or Haad Sai Khao, it offers some of the island's most relaxing spots for a seaside seafood dinner. If you could care less about ambiance, the main drag has its share of cheap restaurants, street food stalls and coffee shops.

Khlong Prao boasts several large-scale restaurants with some of the more pleasant seaside scenery on the island. A standout is Phu-Talay, which occupies an open-air roofed terrace perched alongside Khlong Prao estuary. The place is filled with nifty ocean-inspired decor, and they even have a small boat with a table that you can fill up with steamed saltwater crab, barbecued king prawns and fried whole fishes before shoving off. Prices are a bit higher than elsewhere, but the food is authentic and artfully presented. Another excellent seafood choice is Klong Prao Seafood, located beside the ocean on a slice of the undeveloped coast between Chai Chet and Khlong Prao itself. Though we didn't try the food, Cinnamon Restaurant at canal-side Aana Resort offers one of the most romantic dining settings on the island.

Several joints with more of a ramshackle feel (and cheaper prices) do seafood barbecue along with countless Thai staples on the main drag, especially in central Khlong Prao. There's little to differentiate one from the next, but Jae Aew is known locally as one of the best on the island. A stone's throw from that lies an even more ramshackle restaurant specialising in authentic Isaan (northeastern Thai) cuisine, namely whole barbecued chicken and fish, spicy salads and aromatic soups. We've also heard good things about Ka-Ti Culinary, which also runs cooking classes, Tonsai and Ban &Tom.

You can easily spend thousands of baht at one of the area's upscale resort restaurants, but Khlong Prao is also one of the island's best places to score cheap meals. Along the main drag in central Khlong Prao, Iyara Food Centre is a classic Thai-style food court where you can choose from a number of cheap Thai staples like pad Thai, som tam, noodle soup or curries with rice, most of which are prepared before your eyes. For under 100 baht, you can leave sufficiently stuffed, though the food is toned down a bit for Western tastes. For a no-frills street food experience, check out the small night market that sets up around 7-eleven in central Khlong Prao, where vendors sling grilled meat on a stick, fried roti, fried chicken with sticky rice, kebabs and fresh fruit. A number of fruit and makeshift noodle stands also set up outside of the Tesco Lotus Express in Chai Chet.

Though not to the extent of Kai Bae or Haad Sai Khao, international cuisines are also represented in Khlong Prao. In Chai Chet's VJ Plaza, Moons has a great reputation for its Western comfort foods like barbecued ribs and stone baked pizza. They also do quality Thai food, making this a fine choice for parties with different tastes. In the same plaza, you'll find Italian at Abella, French at the Hungry Elephant, and Chinese-for-Westerners at the creatively named Chinese Restaurant. Along the main drag in southern Khlong Prao, Burger Shack is a popular expat spot to fill up on American fast-food style burgers, grease, fries and all, for less than 100 baht. The southern main drag is also where you'll find Vietnamese Hut, a three-table hole-in-the-wall serving quality pho and fresh rolls for cheap. In the same vein is Yakumi, a roadside stand that offers a decent range of sushi for take away.

If you're in the mood for a sandwich, Crust Bakery is the go-to spot in central Khlong Prao, right next to Iyara Food Centre. They do fresh coffee along with baked goods and excellent baguettes with imported meats and cheeses. Up in Chai Chet, Marin Coffee is also a fine place for coffee, cake, and notably hefty ham-and-cheese or chocolate croissants. Another standout is Moley's restaurant, located along the estuary at the same-named guesthouse. This is arguably the best spot in Khlong Prao for real English breakfasts, served with chunky whole grain bread, baked beans, real English bacon and house-made sausages. Along with lovingly made Thai dishes, Moley and crew also do hearty supper stodge like chicken cordon bleu, sirloin steaks and burgers.

Apart from a string of unabashedly seedy bars along the main drag just north of Chai Chet, the Khlong Prao area is more of a place for low-key gatherings than all-out parties. VJ Plaza has a handful of small reggae and rock and roll inspired watering holes that are fine places for cheap beer and cocktails -- if you don't mind sitting in a parking lot. Tiger Hut on central Khlong Prao beach is a good place to relax with some cold beer while meeting other travellers and perhaps playing a round or two of billiards. Just north of Panviman Resort, a couple of chilled out beach shacks are perfect for playing cards while nibbling on peanuts and sipping beer or whiskey. Further south, The Beach restaurant at Lin Bungalows also nails the beach bum atmosphere, and they serve a full Thai menu at tables set under the coconut trees.


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