Dining out is sometimes taken too seriously and one of the best and most fun ways to avoid overdoing the decorum is to dine in unusual circumstances. Phuket has all the swanky 5-star restaurants you could ever hope for, but does it have the quirkiness required to raise a giggle over green curry, to have a laugh over lasagna, and a smile over somtam? Sure it does.
Here's a selection unusual dining-out places on the island: places that you never guessed existed and where you are not quite sure if they’re having a laugh or providing the laughs. One thing’s for sure though – they’re all a special ‘Dear Diary’ evening out.
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience
- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
- Introduction to City Tour
- John Gray's Cave Canoeing Tour in Phang Nga Bay
Tamachart (Thai for ‘natural’) Restaurant in downtown Phuket is a veritable crazy house of random curios. It's filled to the rafters with old valve radios, sculpted masks, seashell lamps, hanging plants, fish tanks made out of TVs and computer monitors (complete with keyboards), dolls, and a fully working electric train set. Everything is bunged in among a mish-mash of traditional Thai décor.
There are 4 dining rooms on different floors, each connected by narrow wooden stairs so the wait staff must be superbly fit and supple to get around this place every day. The cuisine is predominantly Thai and, while not exactly gourmet, is cheap and cheerful.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 10.30am to 11pm
- Location: 62/5 Soi Phuthon, Bangkok Rd, Talat Nua, Phuket 83000, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)76 214 037
Ceramic Kitchen is an enigma. This wonderfully quirky place must be one of Phuket’s most attractive, atmospheric and unusual restaurants yet, apart from social events and a fabulous Sunday roast, it’s relatively quiet. Ceramic Kitchen is a winner when it comes to a colourful and memorable evening out but the big question remains whether it's a restaurant with a ceramics outlet or a ceramic outlet with a restaurant attached.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating and Ceramic Kitchen’s cuisine is definitely well worth a visit. With a far-reaching menu, ranging from Thai dishes to good old British roasts to Indian curries, Ceramic has the bases covered.
- Location: 185/15 Moo 7, Srisoonthorn Rd, Srisoonthorn, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)76 620 053
Underwood Art Factory
The Lost Legends of Phuket show at Underwood Art Factory is a total concept in itself. A dinner show set in a real factory with post-industrial décor, it’s certainly one of the most original venues on the island. Located on the Bypass Road, the restaurant, which was originally the factory’s canteen, is open every day, but it’s at weekends that things get really interesting, with performances by talented expat and local musicians.
A night out at Underwood Art Factory is really a cool scene at a fair price for those looking for something different in Phuket. The strikingly original décor and atmosphere, the good buffet and wine, and the superb show, all add up to a sensory overload.
- Location: 49/6 Moo 5, Chalermphrakiat Ror 9 Road, Rassada, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)89 697 2337
Nicky’s Handlebar is a restaurant/bar/hotel-cum-garage entirely dedicated to big motorbikes. This is the creation of Somnuek ‘Nicky’ Phonkaew. Located in Patong Beach, the venue looks like a large orange and metallic-grey hangar and the theme of the place is motorbikes, engines and mechanical parts.
The restaurant has 13 wooden refectory-style tables and benches, a long bar with stools made from motorbike seats, an optics shelf shaped like a motorbike, old-style motorbikes mounted on the walls, and stickers/posters and signs celebrating Harley Davidsons and the biker way of life. There’s no doubt about it: this is hog heaven with hamburgers, where even the menu is stuck onto a motorcycle wheel rim! Nicky’s Handlebar restaurant offers a hearty choice of both Thai and western food.
- Location: 41 Rat-U-Thit Songroipi Rd, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)76 343 211
Phuket floating restaurants
Phuket’s floating seafood restaurants (krachang in Thai) are a novel way to dine out and can be found along the east coast of the island. To get to them involves a fun but brief long-tail boat ride from Laem Hin Pier. It’s a great day out all year round, come rain or shine.
The restaurants usually buy fresh seafood from other fishermen and rear the produce until the right time, keeping fish, crabs, prawns and other seafood in floating wood-and-net enclosures. All you have to do is walk along the planks between the enclosures and choose the seafood you want to eat.
- Location: Laem Hin Road, Ko Maprao, Phuket, Thailand