Photo: Hell garden at Wat Tham Ta Pan.

Eat and meet

While Phang Nga doesn’t offer the wide range of international foods found in Phuket or Khao Lak, there are restaurants where foreign travellers will feel at home, and no shortage of authentic southern Thai cuisine.

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Most travellers passing through Phang Nga take advantage of two foreigner friendly spots in the centre of town near most of the accommodation; Baan Phangnga and "Restaurant", which are near each other on the same side of the street. Both serve extensive Western style breakfasts, although the former offers some tasty French toast. Breakfast aside, Restaurant serves mainly Thai food in the 50B to 100B range. Aside from real local coffee, Thai iced tea and other sweet drinks, and a selection of home-made cakes, Baan Phangnga has a small but well thought out Thai and Western menu with pasta dishes, sandwiches, steak, and a few vegetarian choices. While Restaurant closes around 20:00, Baan Phangnga stays open until 22:00 (or later if there are enough customers) and it’s a popular spot for foreigners and locals to enjoy a beer or ice cream sundae.

If looking for something with more of a local vibe, there are a few good boat noodle shops on Phetkasem Rd, including one right next to Baan Phangnga that shares space with a traditional khao gaeng (rice and curry) shop where you can choose from about 12 different curries and stir-fries and get away with a spicy, flavourful, authentic meal for just 40-50B.

Next to Rattanapong Hotel a morning market starts up at around 05:00 daily, and is a good place to try locally made khanom sticky rice sweets made with taro and banana and wrapped in banana leaves. Fried bananas are also on offer here along with locally grown fruits, veggies, meat and fish.

Phang Nga also has a night market that sets up every evening around 17:00 at Soi Bhangkang, about two km south of the bus station near the hospital. Here you’ll find locals hawking grilled fish, fried chicken, corn on the cob, coconut juice, som tum, and a range of southern style curries with rice, to name a few. A popular khao kha moo (braised pork leg on rice) shop sits just behind the market.

On your way back from the night market stop off at a cute, nameless local ice cream shop for a break (it’s on the right if heading north away from the night market, not far from Big C). Try a green tea shaved ice, or a shake, smoothie, or sundae. They also have decadent waffles that are a nice treat in the morning.

Balcony Hill restaurant, found along Montri Road, offers excellent mountain views overlooking the town with an air-con indoor dining area plus outdoor terraces over two levels. If you’re in need of a cappuccino fix, this is the place to go. The Thai and Western menu has the usual favourites including fried rice, curries, pastas and pizzas in the 60 to 150 baht range. Polished concrete floors give it a modern look while low sofas and beanbag chairs add a touch of comfort. Seems to be a hot spot for the local young and stylish.

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Where to next?

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

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