Where to eat and drink: Ko Tarutao

Ko Tarutao: Where to eat and drink

Restaurants at all three of Tarutao’s main west-coast beaches are open from 07:30 to 14:00 and 17:30 to 20:30, at least in theory—expect the eateries at Ao Molae and especially Ao Son to stray from these hours more than the larger restaurant at Ao Phante. There’s no place to eat after these close, so you may want to stock up on cookies and chips at the convenience store near the pier to satisfy those not-so-late-night cravings.

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To order food at any of the restaurants you’ll need to walk up to the counter, tell the staffers what you want and pay up front—they won’t usually take your order at a table.

Ask for it spicy, and the cook should oblige. : David Luekens.
Ask for it spicy, and the cook should oblige. Photo: David Luekens

For drinks you can open the cooler yourself to grab a bottled water, soda or can of beer. After ordering and paying, grab a seat and someone will deliver your food to the table.

The menu includes basic plates of pad Thai, fried rice, krapao and stir-fried kale for 80 baht, while som tam or green curry fetches more than 100 baht. Closer to the 200 baht mark, gaeng som pla (Southern Thai sour orange curry with fish) and pla neung manao (steamed fish with garlic and lime juice) should do the trick if you’ve worked up a hefty appetite. While the Thai food is nothing to write home about, it could be worse and the chefs were happy to make ours spicy.

Southern Thai sour orange curry with fish should fill the spot if you're hungry. : David Luekens.
Southern Thai sour orange curry with fish should fill the spot if you're hungry. Photo: David Luekens

Simple sandwiches, French fries and Western breakfasts with instant coffee or Lipton tea are also available, though we’d skip the white toast and cheap wieners in favour of a Thai-style breakfast, like rice soup or pad see ew. It’s also possible to get meals packed up if you’ll be going on an adventure.

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David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.