Caro­line Li dis­cov­ers new in­spi­ra­tion around the much-loved idyll of Phuket

Drink and dine your way across a Thai prov­ince that’s an en­clave for eaters

#Legend - - Contents -

Ahead of a hol­i­day to Phuket, there are three things that to come to mind: Sri Panwa, Ka Jok See and Raya. These are my favourite des­ti­na­tions on the is­land but there’s much more to dis­cover.

high life / Pool­side plea­sures

The Sri Panwa Phuket ho­tel is perched high on Cape Panwa on the penin­sula at the is­land’s south­east­ern tip. The spa­cious pool suites, at HK$3,000 a night, and their pri­vate in­fin­ity pools face the An­daman Sea. Con­ve­niently, they con­nect to the In­sta­gram-wor­thy Baba Pool Club. The com­pli­men­tary break­fast buf­fet in­cludes the stan­dards but is made more en­joy­able sat in rock­ing chair. The re­sort also does great thin­crust piz­zas. The Parma ham with truf­fle and Ital­ian sausage and spicy salami piz­zas go per­fectly with an Aperol Spritz.

many menus / Hunt­ing for the fam­ily

If you pre­fer to dine by the swim­ming pool at your villa, the pool club dis­counts all dine-out food by 25 per cent. The piz­zas are best devoured at the club but favourites such as Pad Thai and cur­ries travel well. You might also con­sider bar­be­cued seafood or a Thai-style hot­pot from Baba Hot Box for in-villa din­ing. Sri Panwa Phuket has four other restau­rants to choose from: BabaQ for bar­be­cue, Baba Soul Food for Thai, Baba IKI for Ja­panese and Baba Chino for Chi­nese. The ho­tel also has a cook­ery school.

cock­tail hour / Nest­ing be­hav­iour

Even if you’re not stay­ing at the re­sort, you should have sun­set drinks at Baba Nest. Ranked num­ber two by CNN In­ter­na­tional in their list of the world’s beach bars, the rooftop ta­bles fill up fast. The bar is sur­rounded by in­fin­ity pools and has sea views. It is gor­geous at sun­set, es­pe­cially with a smooth Mar­tini in one hand a chicken taco or ahi tuna tartare canapé in the other.

din­ing out / Known na­tion­ally, nat­u­rally

A 20-minute drive away is the Raya restau­rant, a des­ti­na­tion for din­ers from all across Thai­land. Start by or­der­ing the shrimp cakes, crispy egg omelette and dried shrimp with the veg­etable

pak meang. For main course, the yel­low crab curry is what every­one comes for but the fried snap­per with tamarind sauce is equally grat­i­fy­ing. Save room for Moo Hong, braised Thai-style pork belly. Some might re­gard the fare at Raya as Thai cooked Chi­nese-style. The nearby Nat­u­ral Restau­rant is true to

Thai tra­di­tion.

club life / Af­ter-din­ner dance

The main at­trac­tion at the Ka Jok See restau­rant is the post­pran­dial en­ter­tain­ment. As the din­ers fin­ish the last of their pad see ew, stir-fried flat noo­dles, frozen mo­ji­tos are served. The lights are dimmed and glam­orous la­dy­boys fill the room, singing and dancing as disco balls flicker and flash. This is def­i­nitely the place to visit if you have a big group of friends that are ready to party. Table­top dancing is en­cour­aged.

break­away move­ment / In­ter­na­tional flavours

If you need a break from Thai food, Ac­qua Restau­rant serves pasta made on the premises and thin-crust piz­zas from a wood­fired oven. Try the suck­ling pig roasted over a wood fire and dive into the im­pres­sive wine list. In Cho­eng Thale, home to the Tris­ara, the Siam Sup­per Club serves de­pend­able Mar­ti­nis and hearty dishes such as bar­be­cued pork spare ribs and grilled ten­der­loin steaks. The Bam­pot Kitchen and Bar has an open kitchen that pre­pares fun dishes show­ing Euro­pean in­flu­ences, such as Scotch eggs made with quail eggs.

ac­tiv­ity cen­tre / Also a diner’s de­light

If you are in the An­them Wakepark in Si Sun­thon, en­joy a leisurely lunch at the cafe over­look­ing the park. Three min­utes away by car is Som Tum Lum Toey, where you will find au­then­tic Thai food. The restau­rant has few tourists and is in­stead full of Thais dig­ging into salted egg salad, slurp­ing bowls of pork ball tofu soup and wolf­ing down deep-fried morn­ing glory.

The view and the food of­fered at Sri Panwa are top class

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