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Old 24th February 2015, 01:36 AM
Emdee Emdee is offline
Travelforum On The Brain
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Melbourne, Oz
Posts: 515
Default Walkers Inn, Khao Lak

The Khao Lak area of southern Thailand was the worst affected area of the tsunami that hit Thailand on Boxing Day, 2014. It has been written that 6000 or more residents and tourists lost their lives when the monstrous wave swept into the Andaman Sea from the earthquake in Indonesia that triggered the wave several hours earlier.

These days the twin towns of Bang La On and Biang Niang on Highway 4, which is the main thoroughfare between Bangkok and peninsula Malaysia, thrive on an increasing number of tourists.

Most of those tourists will fly into Phuket airport and from there they will either take a taxi or be picked up by the hotel they are staying at in Khao Lak for the one-and-half-hours trip northwards from the airport.

Coming over the hill into the first of the towns – Bang La On – on the right is a three-storied timber building acting almost as a sentinel at the entrance to the town. It is Walkers Inn. This is the only true pub/bar in Bang La On. Just about every cafe and restaurant in the town – and there are many – will serve a decent beer or cocktail but Walkers Inn is the only place for those who like to while away an hour or two in a proper pub.

The mine host is Andy, a Yorkshire man who spent his early years in the mines in his native county. He is now married to a Thai lady by the name of Joo and along with their daughter they run the delightful inn. Walkers Inn is also a backpacker place that is particularly popular, and it is little wonder when Andy and his wife will go to great lengths to help not only their guests but also the passing brigade of tourists who drop in for a cold beer, nice food, to view their favourite sporting event from overseas or get some up to the minute information from Andy who is walking, talking encyclopaedia of all things Khao Lak.

As an example of Andy’s hospitality and helpfulness I asked him on our first visitation one hot and humid afternoon if he stocked Bombay Sapphire Gin as the Shopper Girl preferred that drop to all other potions of gin.

Andy said he didn’t have any but gave me his card and said “ring back later after I’ve checked with my supplier”. The next day, we called in again and Andy had the blue sapphire gin ready for the girl. What other publican/host would go to that length of remit to fulfill the wants of a passing tourist?

Over the next 10 days we would park our rental car out the front of Walkers Inn and enjoy a few late afternoon and early sundowners in the open air bar whilst watching the passing parade on Highway four exiting and entering Khao Lak.

On several occasions we had pizza and on others a magnificent Thai red curry with fluffy jasmine rice. The beer – and there are several varieties – was always cold, the food hot and delicious, the service swift, friendly and unobtrusive and the bar had a very happy ambience to it.

Dining at Walkers Inn is both good and cheap. Everything is served here from sausages, bacon, eggs and mash for the homesick Brit backpacker, to some of the best pizzas that I’ve encountered anywhere. As is to be expected with a Thai cook in the scullery, the food of the nation is a resounding success.

One afternoon we decided to order fish and chips as we had been dining almost exclusively on Thai cuisine for over a month. “Do you do fish and chips Andy”, I inquired. “For two”, he asked quisically. I nodded in agreement and a little later battered cod and some lovely chips arrived at our table. I must point out that the fish and the chips were both originally frozen but you will find that anywhere in Thailand. The country does not have a native cod species and no restaurant or hotel would ever go to the trouble of preparing chips (pomme frittes) from scratch these days when the frozen variety is so ubiquitous and convenient. The meal was excellent and at 120 baht it was an absolute bargain.

There are many other places to eat in Bang La On, some very good, some good and some just so so. But Walkers Inn stands out for hospitality, friendliness, ambience and nice food at very reasonable prices along many screens for viewing all of the important overseas sports events, be they the EPL soccer matches, Rugby Union super rugby or test matches, F1, American basketball, or NRL and AFL from Australia.

SUMMARY:Walkers Inn is on the right hand side of Bang La On coming into the town after descending the big hill that separates it from the next village. It is an open air bar with both western and Thai cuisines on offer. It serves a variety of beers that are chilled to perfection.

FOOD: Lovely food, cheap, and plentiful. The pizzas are particularly recommended.

SCORE: Food, 7/10, service 9/10, ambience 8/10, value for money, 9/10. TOTAL: 33/40.

NOTE: Walkers Inn became so popular that it rose to number three on Tripadvisor. After that a lot of expectant visitors had a desultory experience and posted some very negative reviews on Tripadvisor. They couldn’t see what the place was meant to be. It was and is a simple, no frills, honest-to-goodness pub/bar/eatery, with good value meals and outstanding hospitality. Some of those tourists came expecting to dine in an elegant ambience, with starched white table cloths, bow tied waiters and an extensive carte from which to choose.

When reading Tripadvisor it is advisable to read between the lines as well as the lines themselves and in that way it won’t end in tears for the visitors or the publican.

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