162 Coffee, Chalong

On my way home from work I often stop for a cheap meal at a curry shop just along from Chalong Police Station. It's convenient as I can usually park right in front and there is a small convenience store there too if I need to pick up some supplies. There is quite a good selection of hot curries and they also sell some Thai desserts including some of my favourites. Now you're wondering what has this got to do with 162 Coffee, or maybe it's Coffee 162, I forgot to ask..........

Well ....when I stopped for curry today I discovered that a small coffee bar had opened and what a cool little place it is too! You can see where I had my curry in the background of the photo and it was while I was sitting eating there that I was looking at the retro coffee table set and just couldn't resist going and having a coffee right there and then. I took an espresso, 35 Baht, (you can see the list on the bar by clicking to enlarge the photo below). I was very happy to see that the espresso arrived in a nice white cup or 'demitasse' and was HOT yes hot with capital letters! I have often been served lukewarm coffee in much smarter restaurants than this one...well done 162!

Ko Vee's Curry Shop

Every now and again, for one reason or another, I find myself in a restaurant I never intended to visit, today was one of those days. It was raining, I was hungry,I wanted a parking space, I wanted a cheap meal and it was a special religious day 'Wan Ork Pansa' วันออกพรรษา or the Final Day of the Vassa which meant some businesses were closed. It was then I spotted a row of curry pots ......

I've been in loads of curry shops like this so I chose a couple of different curries and had them over rice, took a table inside but things were different from the curry shops I've been to before......

I suddenly felt I was in a family home, Ko Vee, the owner (I found out his name later) came over to see if I was able to eat the spicy curry (no problems there), people were coming and going, customers were clearing their own tables, Ko Vee gave them a cloth! He was chatting to them like they were family and for that matter maybe they were. Having finished my food I called him over to take the money, and seeing how friendly and chatty he was I asked him about the place.

Ko Vee told me that the house was built the year before he was born, 66 years ago in 1948 and he has lived there all his life, the restaurant is basically a roof extension of the building. Being interested in the history of Phuket, especially architecture, I love places like this. Ko Vee pointed out the post in the middle of the restaurant explaining how it had been made by hand using an axe and was of a wood that termites don't like, it was clear to see the marks made by the axe unlike modern day wood that is perfectly smooth. 

The field opposite (see top photo) was once a row of brothels that continued along Poonpon Road (which has always been famed for 'Soi 11' it's red light district), then, what must be about 30 years ago because I don't think they were there when I arrived in 1987, a fire destroyed them, since then the land has been used as a fruit market and now an area for bird singing contests. Further along the road near the traffic lights was once an abattoir (slaughterhouse) and the crossroads is locally known as 'See Yaek Rong Ka Sat' literally 'Slaughterhouse Crossroads'. The abattoir is long gone now and in its place stands the Jee Teng Complex that houses Vachira Clinic, a branch of the Vachira Government Hospital. 
(Whoops getting a bit off the subject there!)

Ko Vee sells curry and local sweets in a traditional coffee shop setting that probably hasn't changed since the tin mining days, he tries to attract Kon Poon Teh คนปุ๊นเต่ the 'old style' native Chinese community of Phuket which is what makes for the family atmosphere. Places like this are one of the reasons I love Phuket. 

It was a pleasure to meet such a friendly man that made me feel like I had known him for years and I'll be returning to chat to him again for sure! 

Kao Rang - เขารัง

Kao Rang Park and Governor's Monument

Kao Rang or Rang Hill was Phuket's first viewpoint and fitness park. The park at the top of the hill is a great place to look at the views over Phuket Island, or to take a meal at one of several restaurants. Tung Ka Cafe is the original hill side restaurant and probably offers the best view, it's neighbour Kao Rang Breeze opened in 2011. Lower down the hill is Phuket View and a few new restaurants have opened up at the foot of the hill, not far from the Chinese Temple Sarn Jao Sae Ju Hud.

Rang Hill, Phuket, ThailandRang Hill, Phuket, Thailand

Rang Hill, Phuket, ThailandRang Hill, Phuket, Thailand

There is also a monument to Phuket's first Governor Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi. พระยารัษฎานุประดิษฐ์มหิศรภัก. Also known as Khaw Sim Bee na Ranong, Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi acted as High Commissioner of Greater Phuket from 1900 to1913

Rang Hill, Phuket, Thailand

Rang Hill, Phuket, Thailand

Rang Hill, Phuket, Thailand

Many people visit Kao Rang but don't realise there is a temple just down the side of the hill as you head down the smaller road that leads to Vachira Hospital. Kao Rang Temple is worth a visit if you like temples or religious architecture. Kao Rang Temple is now accessible from the road that leads up Kao Rang from Mae Luan Road. This is much easier for driving and makes a nice day out if combined by lunch and a visit to the new viewpoint.

2014 Update! 

Warning! Be careful of the monkeys and try to avoid parking near to their feeding spot or you will find your car used as a springboard! (They are quite cute though!)

The new viewpoint opened in September October 2014 and offers a great view over all of Phuket Town with no trees obstructing the view like the rest of Kao Rang Hill.