Photo: Parle italiano?

Eat and meet

While food is not a highlight of Kradan, you will find some decent Thai meals along with a surprising number of pizzerias for such a tiny island. Unless you’re dining at the national park restaurant, expect to pay a minimum of 140 baht for even the most basic rice plates.

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The best option if you’re on a tight budget is the national park restaurant serving simple but tasty dishes like krapao muu (stir-fried pork with chillies and holy basil) and khao pad talay (seafood fried rice) for just 50 to 70 baht. They also sell Western breakfasts and cans of beer and soft drinks for cheaper than the resorts, but get here early as it shuts down at 20:00.

Thai grub at the National Park food station.

Thai grub at the National Park food station. Photo: David Luekens

Kradan is something of a “Little Italy” in the Andaman Sea, with Italians involved in the management of four of the 10 resorts. All four of them—Paradise Lost, The Reef, Coral Garden and Kalume Village—offer pasta and pizza. We’ve tried all of these except for The Reef and—in our opinion—the best was Italiano at Coral Garden. It serves 500-baht platters of cured meats along with grilled zucchini salad, Caprese baguettes, squid-ink tagliatelle and homemade gnocchi. If you’re splurging, go for a 1,600-baht barbecued seafood platter for two.

The Thai food at Paradise Lost had gone down hill since our last visit—at least when judging by a massaman curry that was a tasteless bowl of coconut milk with some chicken and peanuts. However, the Italian owner ensures that the pizza is crispy and flavourful, and a good range of desserts includes mango cheesecake and gelato in a bunch of flavours. Next time we’ll try the pork ribs or Italian sausages off the grill.

Regular beers, exotic prices.

Regular beers, exotic prices. Photo: David Luekens

The best bet for a splurge is probably Seven Seas, serving authentic Thai dishes like nuea yang jim jeaw with som tam, which consists of grilled beef with various spicy dipping sauces and a side of papaya salad. The goong ob wun sen (glass noodles and prawns baked in a clay pot with herbs) also smelled promising and beef lovers can grab an Australian ribeye here as well. Expect to pay a minimum of 200 baht, with several Thai entrees fetching 300 to 400 baht.

For a lunchtime feast you might consider shelling out 400 baht for Anantara Beach Club’s all-you-can-eat buffet. It sets up specifically for the guests of Anantara Si Kao Resort in Pakmeng on the mainland, who are shuttled here daily to relax on Kradan’s superior beach before returning in the afternoons. Walk-ins are “gently welcome” according to a sign that also labeled Chang beer as “exotic”.

Kradan gets real quiet after dark, with no freestanding beach bars and most of the resort bars closing up by 23:00. Our favourite place to unwind after dark is Kalume Village’s bar made out of a longtail boat, where you can grab a cold beer or cocktail to sip in a beachside bamboo sala with cushions set over the sand.

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Where to next?

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

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