Photo: The Golden Triangle from above.

Eat and meet

For a coffee break and lunch the tiny but touristy Sob Ruak offers ample, albeit pricey, possibilities while a couple of late closers make for decent dinner options—pack a good book.





The most prominent eatery in the town centre is the well-placed Near River, located next to the 7-eleven and on the comer of the main road and entrance to the carpark. It’s a pleasant spot to sit, with rustic decor, hill-tribe knick-knacks on the walls and tables offering views over the river and riverside shrine. Their eclectic menu is extensive though you do pay for the strategic placement. A fried rice or pad Thai will set you back 70 baht and chicken and cashews or green curry, 150 baht. They have plenty of international alternatives on their menu, such as pasta and sandwiches plus several odd fusion efforts such a green curry tuna burger or spaghetti in red curry which we can’t comment on as we weren’t brave enough to try them.

Round the corner, on the Mekong side of the carpark, the old strip of wooden-decked riverbank eateries have been relocated to make way for a tiled viewing area and sala. Impossible to see, unless you stand right on the edge of said promenade-viewing platform, the local-style cafes are now to be found underneath your feet in a purpose-built food-centre accessed by staircases on either side. Character and charm have been sacrificed in order to make the place look neater though cleanliness and hygiene have undoubtedly improved and views are pretty much the same. On offer are barbecued selections—chicken, pork and salted fish—while menus propose standard Thai and northern Thai fare so you can eat a tom yam or stir-fried chicken with cashews or got for sticky rice and som tam to accompany a barbecue. All have similar menus and prices and all stick to day-tripper schedules of mid-morning to late afternoon.

In the row of buildings across the carpark, heading down towards the public toilets, is a very good little Hainanese chicken and khao soi shop. Lacking any river views it caters mainly to locals and also lacks an English name but does serve up fine noodle soups or plates of chicken for 40 baht. This has been consistently our lunch choice in town, saving the riverside grill and cold beer for Chiang Saen in the evening.

If you’re on your way up to the Hall of Opium you’ll pass a string of wooden-decked riverside restaurants which haven’t yet been relocated offering similar fare at similar times though in this case looking over the Ruak rather than the Mekong. Just past these and opposite the Imperial Resort is Sriwan Coffee and Restaurant, also with a terrace looking out over Burma and laid-out in a smarter, more classic restaurant format. They are clearly aiming at punters from the nearby Anantara and Imperial Resort with prices well above par for local food but probably a bargain compared to one of the upmarket resort eateries. Thai dishes are good quality and they also have a range of set dinner menus which could work out at a better deal. These are priced at between 690 and 990 baht for two to four people and include four dishes, with a whole fish offered in the pricier options.

If we were going to walk for our dinner we’d stroll down to the excellent in-house effort at Serene at Chiangrai Hotel. Their classy restaurant and terrace offering prime river views belie very good value for money Thai dishes with their smartly presented and tasty green curry a mere 89 baht (plus service).

Also to the south of the town centre you’ll pass the surprising Mekong Pizza Restaurant. Run by a Thai-American couple, they offer Italian-style, thin-crust pizzas using gluten-free flour no less and lay claim to ‘The Best Pizza on the Mekong’. We’re not sure about the entire length of the river but they were definitely very good. A small one goes for 179 baht or large 309 baht and they also provide salads and burgers and will deliver.


Map of eating options for Sob Ruak
Map of eating options for Sob Ruak
Legend
(1) Food Centre (2) Mekong Pizza (3) Near River (4) Serene Restaurant (5) Sriwan Coffee and Restaurant

Food Centre Riverside carpark, Sob Ruak; Mo–Su: 08:00–18:00.
Mekong Pizza Main road Highway 1290, Sob Ruak; T: (083) 915 4750; Tu–Su: 10:30–21:00.
Near River 321 Moo 1, corner of main road and riverside carpark, Sob Ruak; Mo–Su: 08:00–20:00.
Serene Restaurant Serene@Chiangrai Hotel, 569 Moo 1, Wiang, Sob Ruak; T: (053) 784 500, (086) 429 2433; Mo–Su: 07:00–21:30.
Sriwan Coffee and Restaurant 150 Moo 1, Highway 1290, halfway between town and the Hall of Opium, Sob Ruak; Mo–Su: 07:00–21:00.

Food Centre
Riverside carpark, Sob Ruak; Sob Ruak, Northern Thailand
Almost free - most dishes under 50B
Mekong Pizza
Main road Highway 1290, Sob Ruak; Sob Ruak, Northern Thailand
T: (083) 915 4750; Almost free - most dishes under 50B
Near River
321 Moo 1, corner of main road and riverside carpark, Sob Ruak; Sob Ruak, Northern Thailand
Almost free - most dishes under 50B
Serene Restaurant
Serene@Chiangrai Hotel, 569 Moo 1, Wiang, Sob Ruak; Sob Ruak, Northern Thailand
T: (053) 784 500, (086) 429 2433; Almost free - most dishes under 50B
Sriwan Coffee and Restaurant
150 Moo 1, Highway 1290, halfway between town and the Hall of Opium, Sob Ruak; Sob Ruak, Northern Thailand
Almost free - most dishes under 50B
Top of page

Popular attractions in Sob Ruak

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Sob Ruak.


Top of page

By


Book a flight, train, bus, taxi or ferry in Thailand with 12Go Asia
From:
To:     


If you enjoyed this article and would like to support independent travel writing on Southeast Asia, please subscribe to Travelfish—it’s just A$35 per year (less than A$1 per week)!



Where to next?

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


Top of page