Photo: Another busy day on Ko Jum.

Eat and meet

The standard of resort food is generally very good on Ko Jum. You’ll also find a handful of free-standing seafood restaurants, especially in Baan Ko Jum, but the island is about as far as you can get from being a nightlife destination. Expect island prices (around 80 - 200 baht per dish) unless dining at one of the local-style noodle or curry shops in the villages.

On the far northern Lubo Beach, all of the food and drink comes from the five resident bungalow joints. Along with the area’s only espresso bar, Luboa Hut has an excellent reputation for authentic Thai and seafood, though you can find a decent meal anywhere. Sunset Beach Bungalows deserves a special mention for its rickety two-floor beach bar that’s perfect for a sundowner. Guests are welcome to hop behind the bar and prepare their own cocktails while exchanging recipes with the friendly resident bartender.

Old Lamp is the standout place to eat on the remote Ao Ting Rai. Here the owner has mastered the art of slow-rise bread, which he serves with sandwiches or as part of his hearty breakfasts. The guests we spoke with here also raved about his "original Thai food".

Continuing south to Ao Si, Jungle Hill serves excellent and authentic Thai food to go with reasonably well-done Western standards at a breezy deck perched high over the beach. In the adjacent village of Baan Ting Rai, Naalmann Bakery is Ko Jum’s only free-standing bakery, serving good croissants and a few pastries along with outstanding sandwiches with real cheddar cheese and whole-wheat or ciabatta bread. Naalmann also serves quality fresh coffee, but don’t be surprised to find them closed as opening hours can be erratic. Baan Ting Rai is also home to a couple of small roadside markets where you pick up fresh-picked mangoes, bananas and watermelon among other fruits and veggies.

On Golden Pearl Beach, Season Bungalows has a good reputation for authentic Thai food served in its beachfront restaurant, while nearby Golden Pearl Resort has a billiards table and bar that gets lively (at least by Jum standards) after sunset. For a more refined and romantic dining experience, go for the fine wines and well-executed Thai and Western fare at Koh Jum Lodge.

Moving onto Andaman Beach, Fighting Fish Restaurant at Woodland Lodge is worth travelling out of your way for. Both the panang and massaman curries were among the best we’ve tried at any Thai island resort, and the impressive menu includes an interesting Indian crab curry along with extensive Western selections. Fish and chips made with cod filet, sausage and mashed potatoes with whiskey-onion-mustard sauce, and chips with melted cheese and gravy should satisfy even the hungriest travellers. The English/Thai owned restaurant is also the place to score satisfying full English breakfasts and baguette sandwiches. Prices are fairly high but you get what you pay for.

On the laid back far southern stretch of Andaman Beach, Freedom Bar has a funky beach-bum atmosphere that’s kept going by one the island’s most extensive liquor selections. Huge piles of empty beer bottles waiting to be redeemed and murals of weed-smoking gorillas give you an idea of what goes on here. Freedom Bar also offers a wide selection of Thai and Western food from its colourful picture menu, and we’ve heard that the quality is good. A bit further up the beach, we can 100% vouch for Joy Bungalow’s tasty and spicy green curry. Along with a good mix of other Thai dishes, Joy serves solid pizza, burgers, baguettes and fresh coffee as well.

Baan Ko Jum is where you’ll find the widest selection of eateries in one place. Probably the culinary highlight of the entire island, Koh Jum Seafood specialises in fresh-caught whole fishes, squid, mussels, crab, lobster and more done in the traditional southern Thai style and served on a terrace perched over the picturesque bay. You’ll find outstanding curries and stir fries that are suited to solo diners, but the place is best suited to groups who can order a bunch of items and share. We highly recommend the whole snapper that’s grilled and served in an aluminium-foil wrapping. With prices ranging from 150 baht for single dishes up to 500 or more for the pricier seafood selections, this is a good option for a splurge.

Baan Ko Jum is also home to a few smaller seafood restaurants that offer cheaper prices, sans the sea views. You’ll also find a few carts selling fried chicken and sticky rice and Thai iced tea, plus hole-in-the-wall shops with menus that came straight from Google translate. "Fried basil with someone you want" sounded interesting.

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Where to next?

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

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