Lee Coffee Restaurant at Benyaran Museum
This place is a bit of an oddity that we need to check out again. Just over the bridge from Phuket, to the east of the main road, there's an area of land that lies between the sea and the road that joins Phuket to Phang Nga Town. A big area, like half the size of Phuket. It was in 2015 that I first looked at this area on Google Maps, and thought "maybe we should take a little drive" .. So we did - read about it @ Exploring New Roads in Phang Nga. Very nice, some pretty views, I was glad we went exploring. Then in 2016 we heard about a new viewpoint opening in that same area, so we went exploring again and found Samed Nangshe Viewpoint. And then later in 2016 we found that a small fishing village that we'd seen in 2015 had organised a village collective to run boat tours into Phang Nga Bay - see Exploring New Islands in Phang Nga Bay. So over the last couple of years this area has woken up to tourism. Nothing huge yet, I hope the area does not get spoiled. I feel like we're growing up with this area of Phang Nga, having seen it virtually tourism-free and now seeing the development of small scale tourism (viewpoints, boat trips) .. no hotels yet, but that IS changing.
We have stopped a couple of times at the Benyaran Museum. It's on the road heading towards these new tourist attractions, and there is a museum of sorts there, but until now we've not actually looked inside the museum. We will. We only stopped there because once you're off the main road there's no restaurants in the area until you reach this museum. The first time in 2016 we stopped there to see what food we could get and were surprised to find a nice looking place, with aircon and inexpensive Thai food. So we have been again :) Benyaran Museum has a Facebook page here. And I found a little interview with the owner on the Bangkok Post website here. We chatted with the owner, Mr Ronnachai Jindapol, on our last visit and as it turns out his son vaguely knows my son, as they are at the same school! Sir, we will visit the museum soon! The name 'Benyaran' comes from combining the names of his mother and father - Banya and Aran.
(above) Benyaran Museum and Restaurant. Easy to spot if you are driving past. There's a map at the end of the blog post. When we ate here in 2016 we thought it amazing to find a nice aircon restaurant in the middle of nowhere! But I think that Mr Jindapol and other entrepreneurs in the area are pretty smart. Mr Jindapol told us that he's the one behind a new "boutique resort with camping" on the same hillside as Samed Nangshe Viewpoint, with almost the same view. We did have a quick visit and will visit again when it's all ready. Looked impressive, but is it the start of "too much development"? That's for another day. The restaurant at the museum seems to be called "Lee Coffee". There is a sign outside with that name. On our fist stop we found the food to be good and reasonably priced and on a hot day finding aircon was a very pleasant surprise!
(above) There's a bar area outside and also some outdoor tables, because some people don't like aircon.
(above) And indoor seating with aircon - that's the owner and family sitting there. The menu is mostly simple Thai dishes. A few of our lunch items below ...
(above) Pad Gaprao with chicken
(above) Omelette with shrimp
(above) Tom Yum
All tasty and we'll eat here again along with a visit to the museum. A little searching online shows that the museum has all kinds of odd assorted junk collected by the owner over many years. There's old coins, old kitchen appliances, and even an airplane! Hope to post the museum on the blog sometime soon.
(above) The toilets are nice too!
Benyaran Museum - Location Map
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