Rider Café in Phuket Town

Riding on a Wave

Rider Café has changed management and is significantly different from what it was at the time this review was written. An updated review will be made soon.

Cafés come and go downtown Phuket: one month you see one, next month it’s gone, taking with it a disenchanted (but certainly wiser) would-be owner. Still, a few prosper and grow roots, probably because they are well thought out and know how to think ahead of the game.

One such café/restaurant is Rider Café, owned and run by Teddy Fagerstrom from Sweden and his Thai partner.

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This open-sided café gives out onto Yaowarat Road and as I write, the air here is fraught with excitement as we are in the middle of Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival. White-clad figures stroll by and the traffic is intense. You have to see it to believe it. Inside the café stands an imposing Harley-Davidson for sale while Teddy’s own orange Harley is parked outside. Several bass and six-string guitars hang on the walls.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, but no, you’ve got it wrong. Teddy may be a guitar-slinging biker, having strummed since the age four, but he’s also a qualified spinal surgeon who, after having enjoyed a successful career in Sweden, set up a rehab centre with Twinpalms Resort in Surin Beach. It was, for a while, an idyllic existence but a certain December 2004 wave put an end to that side of his life. Nowadays he works part time at Bangkok Phuket Hospital.

Okay, so why are people so attracted to Rider Café? In short, it’s the only place downtown Phuket to score a decent burger, to drink Vittoria coffee and the cakes there aren’t half bad either. To distill the menu, it features breakfasts, hot dogs, whole-wheat sandwiches, and a whole raft of Thai dishes plus a full drinks list, including breezers, very reasonably priced wine, cocktails and beers to say nothing of healthy mixes.

But the main factor in drawing in locals is that Teddy speaks pretty good Thai, which makes his place a natural, outside the corporate world, to sample fresh western cuisine. For a friendly, farang-Thai experience downtown Phuket try out Rider Café and who knows? Maybe you’ll be jamming along after a few beers.

Rider Café

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00 closed Mondays.
  • Location: Yaowarat Road, downtown Phuket near the central market.
  • Remarks: Free Wi-Fi.
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