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Eat and meet


Most who come to Pakbara never leave the area around the pier, and there are a couple of restaurants here catering specifically to foreign travellers. Sita Restaurant offers decent Western food like pesto pasta, T-bone steak, and fruit salad with yoghurt and muesli in a contemporary set up with stylish wooden furnishings. They also sell beer and cocktails -- otherwise not too common in Pakbara -- and they have free WiFi.

Best House and Diamond Resort each have extensive English menus offering mostly Thai food in the 100-200 baht range, but despite the name "Best Restaurant", Diamond is easily the better choice. We tried a green curry at Diamond that was tasty and traditionally prepared with kaffir lime and Thai eggplant, although they didn't seem to believe we could actually enjoy it spicy. Diamond does not serve alcohol or pork. Better than Diamond in both flavour and price, however, is Marina Resort. Try the perfectly spiced som tam or a delicious, authentic pad krapow stir-fry at their relaxed oceanside restaurant, also a good place to catch the sunset.

On the right as you walk away from the pier, not far past the 7-eleven, is a little hole-in-the-wall nameless restaurant with a small English menu written on a yellow board. This was the cheapest and best Thai food we found in Pakbara. The noodle soup with seafood was well balanced with fresh lime, chillies, fried garlic and cilantro. They also offer a delicious and authentic panang beef curry.

Finally, if you happen to see a woman selling som tam and gai yang (barbecued chicken) on a stick along with sticky rice, do indulge as this is an excellent and cheap snack. She usually sets up right at the pier as the speedboats are preparing to depart, but in the late afternoon she can often be found beside the fruit stand on the side road leading to Happy House.

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