Tunk Ka Restaurant / Cafe on Rang Hill
Tunk Ka is a well known restaurant, a bit of an institution in Phuket, located near the top of Rang Hill in Phuket Town, open since sometime in the 1970's (I seem to remember reading that somewhere). I have meant to visit and blog Tunk Ka for ages, but my wife and I used to have the idea that the food prices were really high, putting it into the "fancy" bracket that we non-fancy folk avoid. We used to go there a lot 8 - 10 years ago just for coffee. They claimed to have the best ice coffee in Phuket and we agreed, plus you had a nice view and a calm environment. I don't recall eating there until a few years ago, just ice coffee until then. This blog page was first written in 2010, updated 2013. Although we have been up Rang Hill many times, we've eaten at Tunk Ka just a couple of times and it's a good one!
One day a few years ago after lunch in Phuket Town we had some free time and I convinced my dear wife that we should try Tunk Ka Cafe again, just for a coffee. You need to drive up Rang Hill. There are a couple of different roads up there, both ending up at a hill top park with a fair amount of parking space, views over Phuket Town and a statue of a man called Korsimbi Na Ranong who was governor of Phuket about 110 years ago and is credited for introducing the rubber industry into Thailand - rubber became a major source of income for Thailand and Phuket in particular.
A newer restaurant called Khao Rang Breeze opened a couple of years ago. We've not tried it yet! Past this restaurant is the main viewpoint with lots of benches. Quite a lot of tours come this way. If you want great views there are plenty in Phuket - see Phuket Hills and Views.
Oh, and there are normally monkeys hanging around the car park area looking for handouts...
(above) Buddha at the entrance to Tunk Ka
The Tunk Ka restaurant is clearly signposted, although you can't see it from here, as you have to walk down a stairway in the trees, the stairs being made from old railway sleepers, which is an oddity since there is no railway within 200 kilometres of Phuket! (note : update 2013, a new stairway has been built). The restaurant is perched on the side of the hill with views to the South and West. It's around 350 feet above the town. Most of the view is towards Chalong, you can't see so much of Phuket Town, as the center is to the Southeast.
There's lots of seating inside (the outer tables with a view) and some on a balcony outside which is where we chose to sit on that day in 2010 in the fresh air. We spent some time looking at the menu, and after a quick browse we decided we'll be back soon for dinner. Arriving around 5:30 - 6pm would be good. Sunset time in Phuket varies from about 6pm - 6:45pm during the year, but if you get there too early, it might be a bit hot to sit outside in the sun. And by the time you finish eating it would be dark, so there would be some night views with pretty lights..
The menu is very local food, no western options. I have had the fried rice made with dried shrimp chili paste (nam prik gung seab) and grilled pork (moo yang). Very tasty. Most things on the menu are 80 - 120 Baht. The iced coffee we had is 60 Baht, but there are lots of drink options from fruit shakes to various teas and coffees and beers. This felt like a "discovery" in a way - although we had been here many times before, it had been years, so I guess we have rediscovered Tunk Ka.
(above) The ice coffee is good - and here are some food photos .... on our last visit in 2013, I had the crab curry with coconut milk. That's a really tasty dish!
And here's a really local dish - Nam Prik Gung Seab, a chili paste with dried shrimps you eat with boiled vegetables and normally with omelette and rice too. It wasn't the best I'd had, but it's kind of addictive .. or if you have not tried it before, well it's a real local flavour to try!
(above) We went to Tunk Ka again in the evening one time for dinner when my mum, dad and cousin were visiting. We bagged the balcony table with the best view. Very nice evening. You gotta get this table!
More places to eat in Phuket Town
Kopitiam on Thalang Road
Eleven Two & Co
Tunk Ka Cafe - Location Map
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