Sunday Walking Street or "Lard Yai" (หลาดใหญ่) Thalang Road, Phuket Town

The name Lard Yai which literally means 'Big Market', derives from it's location in the administrative sector called Tambon Talad Yai. Around 16.00pm every Sunday they close Thalang Road to traffic and start to set up their stalls.

For anyone that loves street markets this is a must because it's not just a market but a kind of mini festival with street performers as well as food, clothes and souvenirs. Things start to get going around 16.30pm but things really happen after dark when the street performers start to play! There really is something for all the family here!

As the sun goes down the street immediately fills up with local and visiting Thais as well as curious tourists looking to try out some of the typical local food.

Many of the shops stay open so this is not just a street market but a good place to shop for gifts and clothes. The Torakhan Store (to left of photo)  is somewhere I've been visiting for years to buy deckchairs and tablecloths but it is a good place to buy sarongs and cheap bed linen. There are some fun shops to visit selling fancy dress and hobby stuff too!

I often stop at Nonlang's  to buy a few Phuket t-shirts, although there are many stalls selling t-shirts I like the shop as it has a wide variety of colours and sizes. It is a family run business and they design and print the t-shirts in the back of their shop house and are willing to take orders too.

Phuket is one of those places that, despite the large number of people living here or passing through, has that village feeling where you can be sure to meet someone you know wherever you go, so I wasn't surprised to find one of the girls from Meung Tong Nalika watch shop having her nails painted!

Each week will see different groups of entertainers and visiting exhibitions so you will find something new every time. The women below make bags and mats from pandanus leaves, you can find them in Kamala as part of the OTOP local produce project there, call them at 087-0284337 to get the exact location.

One of my favourite moments at Lard Yai was watching the school children performing the Southern Thai Manorah Dance they were collecting money to pay to enter a competition - hope they won! 

One thing I haven't done is had my portrait painted - I'll leave that one for you to try!

See you there next Sunday!

Siow Jong Sin Restaurant - ร้านอาหาร เซี่ยวจงซิ่น

It's not hard to find a new restaurant to explore but it's harder to find one that is a bit special. 

One day driving home along the Wirathongyok Road (ถ. วิรัชหงษ์หยก), the road that runs from Naka Temple and the Weekend Night Market into town, I spotted a row of gas lantern lit tables, all full of people eating and drinking. It looked just my kind of place so I made a point to pay a visit but then I forgot about it for a while until I saw someone make a comment on Facebook, and when a local Thai person gives a good review then you know the restaurant is worth a visit! However it was a few attempts before I got there as I didn't realize that the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays and opens around 17.30pm, so after a few trips I finally got to eat there in the end!

There is no name sign as far as is visible from the road so you just need to look for the tables just along from the fruit market on the left before you get to the intersection and Mr Com computer shop. You can find the location map here on Foursquare. The name is in Chinese and reads as Siow Jong Sin (เซี่ยวจงซิ่น in Thai). The restaurant is run by a school teacher and has a sign saying 'Head Master' near the counter entrance, so if you want to do your homework there then you won't have a problem!

Inside is decorated like a mini museum, similar to the Natural Restaurant in Soi Puthon, and it is possible to sit inside or outside.

The menu had several choices and I chose Moo Kahm Wahn one of my favourites and I was pleased that I did! I forget the price now but I think around 80Baht and the noodles were even less!

Great atmosphere, good food. Hope to get back there soon.
Infact I might just go there right now!

I-46 Old Town Coffee

Located at no.46 Tanon Krabi just across from Soi Downtown as you head for the Blue Elephant Restaurant, i-46 is run by Khun Nong in his family home, a traditional Chinese Shop House that dates back to Phuket's Tin Mining days and is like a piece of the past in present day.

I have been to this house a long time ago (late 1990s) for a Chinese lesson with Khun Nong's brother and so for me this place is part of the history of my life in Phuket. This wonderful family make their guests very welcome and make you feel your part of the family. 

Khun Nong, the owner, with his family photos

You will see an old photo of Khun Nong's grandfather hanging on the wall alongside other family photos including early shots of Khun Nong too. Originally an immigrant Chinese family, Khun Nong's grandfather was given a Thai name of Anupart which he later changed to Hongyok. You will still see these names in many businesses in Phuket as the family has expanded over the years.

i-46 Old Town Coffee is like a museum in itself, and Khun Nong is happy to talk about his house and family. The building is a typical Sino-Potuguese shop-house with 'Chim Jae' or central open roofed area used for ventilation and lighting which makes a great place to relax reading, chatting or just enjoying a coffee. 

i-46 has all the makings of the traditional Phuket coffee shop society, people drop by to take a coffee or breakfastor to chat with Khun Nong (who speaks English, Japanese and Chinese). Family and friends sit chatting with regular visitors, friends and neighbours, and like I said previously you suddenly feel part of the family! 

Sitting at the front of the house drinking coffee on my second visit I discovered what has to be the best banana cupcakes in town! Freshly baked by Khun Nong's wife (who is in charge of the cooking) they had the full flavour of real bananas, soft and moist and simply so delicious it was hard not to order another one!

i-46 is open from 8am until 4pm everyday except Wednesday, you can find them on facebook too.
As well as coffee they have juices, local cakes, international food and a selection of postcards and souvenirs.