If you head north from Phuket Town on the main airport road there is a small side road to the right (you’ll ned to do a U-turn)leading to Laem Hin, a fishing community where you find the very popular Laem Hin Seafood restaurant.
A new jetty was built at Laem Hin a few years ago to serve Koh Maphrao – Coconut Island – and allow larger boats to dock in the area.
In the water just off the island, there are several floating restaurants to choose from, among them Kruvit, Bang Mud and Kru Suwit.
To reach them, you need to get a longtail boat from Laem Hin – boats leave from a wooden jetty with shallow muddy water all around, and longtails jammed in like sardines in a can.
The deal with the boats is that if you spend a certain amount at the restaurant you don’t have to pay the boat. While I don’t know the exact amount, don’t be worried – I think the idea is just to stop people trying to get free rides to drink a coke.
On the way out to Koh Maphrao (the ride takes only five minutes) there are fishermen’s huts floating in the water too. Is this the same Phuket you see on the west coast? I think not. Things tend to be more traditional here.
We chose to eat at Kruvit restaurant (full name ‘Kruvit Raft’). Even on a grey day, quite a few tables were occupied (all local people, although I did see one farang arrive later with a Thai woman).
We were met by a friendly boatman who held the longtail steady so we (especially my mum, who cracked a rib on a longtail last year) could step off easily. Nothing to worry about really; the sea over here is calm as it’s very sheltered.
Kruvit has space for a couple of hundred people. We found our table near the fish tanks. Live seafood is kept in large enclosed keep-ponds built into the raft.
We ate very well too, but with a restaurant like this, eating is only part of the experience. The boat ride, the view, the fresh air, getting away from the crowds... good food is almost a bonus. The bill was very reasonable (we don’t do expensive).
We do eat at Laem Hin Seafood now and then and maybe the food there is better, but hey, you don’t get that floating feeling or the boat ride...
Jamie Monk works at liveaboard dive specialists Sunrise Divers. For more information call: 084 626 4646 or visit: sunrise-divers.com