Telephone: Are you kidding? For a real beach experience it's best to leave the phone at home.
Open: For brunch, lunch and afternoon snacks
Address: On the sand at Laem Singh
Price range: Reasonable prices. Tiger prawns (150 baht/100 grams) shrimp (150 baht) fish (50 baht/100 grams) squid (140 baht) crab (50 baht/100 grams) chicken and cashew nuts (130 baht) thai salads (130 baht to 150 baht) tomato salad (80 baht) tuna sandwich (100 baht) egg and cheese sandwich (100 baht) banana milkshake (50 baht) small singha beer (70 baht).
What Phuketwan says: Nothing beats dining on the beach with sand between your toes. It is the ultimate tropical island taste experience. And as beaches go, Laem Sing is the best that Phuket has to offer. It's perfect. The sand forms a graceful arc in a small cove where the sight of just one house breaks the jungle surroundings. The water varies depending on the time of year from absolute tranquillity and a multitude of blue hues to rolling waves that can be body-surfed. A fresh realisation came the other day at Ristorante Da Ali. We have eaten a lot of meals on the beaches of Phuket, but we cannot recall ever having a truly bad one. Yes, there may have been a couple of forgettable servings. But bad? Not that we could recall. There was another triumph this day at Ali's, where the succulent steamed whole fish came in a coconut sauce that almost made it a combination of main course and dessert. It was memorable. Ali's, one of three restaurants at Laem Singh, is in the middle of the beach and at the tasty end of sandy Phuket dining experiences. The difficult part is getting there. To reach Laem Singh, hungry people and swimmers must pay the car park fee of 40 baht then descend a rough-hewn set of jungle stairs. The time will come when these stairs, as difficult as they are to negotiate, will be set in concrete, and that will be a sad day. We believe that, secreted somehow in the jungle nearby, the locals have a hidden elevator that enables them to get down to the beach with ease, avoiding the perilous descent. A most horrible thought is the climb back up. At the bottom, it's possible to negotiate a reduction in the beach lounger rate from 100 baht to 75 baht or even 50 baht, as long as you undertake to eat at a particular restaurant. Inevitably, we linger over lunch until the cooler part of the afternoon descends, and that is as it should be. Italian and English visitors seem to enjoy this beach the most, which is probably why at the restaurant Jack Johnson's turn is inevitably followed by Volare, then James Blunt. The proprietor usually greets returning guests with a handshake and a slap on the shoulder. It's a friendly place, and a great way to spend an afternoon. Only when you climb back to the top will you have regrets. There are no lights on the stairway, or we would have happily stayed for dinner.
How to find it: Between Kamala and Surin beaches. Look for the car park.
Parking: If it's crowded at the top, it will be crowded at the bottom, too. The cost of parking is 20 baht for a motorcycle and 40 baht for a car. The toilet at the bottom will cost you 10 baht. We anticipate that a very small portion of this money will be spent one day on a new stairway. Shifting the beach shower to the top of the stairs would be a huge improvement. The concept of sherpas carrying climbers should be investigated.
Phuketwan restaurant reviewers pay for their meals. If someone else does, we tell you so