Jamie's Phuket Blog

Kopitiam Restaurant in Old Phuket Town

We took a little walk around in Old Phuket Town last month, mainly looking to buy a guitar for our daughter, but also just to enjoy the old town with it's old buildings and interesting little shops. Thalang Road is the center of the old town, and over the last couple of years especially now that all the ugly overhead wires have been hidden, the area has become very pleasant and more popular with tourists, especially Thai tourists - if you walk down Thalang road or the little side street called Soi Romanee you'll always see young Thai snapping photos of each other in front of old doorways! Lots of small cafes and restaurants have opened on and around Thalang road over the last few years and there are also some older establishments. On this walk we decided to try out Kopitiam on Thalang Road. There was a table full of Phuket locals sitting outside, always a good sign for good food...

Kopitiam locals

Kopitiam coffee shops are found commonly in Malaysia and Singapore - the word comes from Kopi (Malay for Coffee) and Tiam (a Hokkien Chinese word for Shop) - Hokkien people migrated in large numbers to Phuket in the 19th century and in Phuket Town this is obvious - many people are of Chinese descent, many shops have Chinese signs and there are Chinese shrines in and around Phuket Town.

Kopitiam is run by the same family who run the well known herb shop next door - and the family also owns the Wilai restaurant which is on the other side of the herb shop (see photo below). The Wilai restaurant itself has a little secret - a passageway through the kitchen leads to the Shrine of the Serene Light (which has its main entrance on Phang Nga Road one block south). There's quite a bit of history here!

The Oldest Herb Shop

The history is evident inside Kopitiam, which has kept an old feel, built in the turn of the century (20th century) style shophouses with wooden beams across the ceiling and a stone floor plus decorations consisting of Chinese signs, old photos and tasteful wooden furniture. No need for aircon - it was a warm day, but these old shophouses never seem to get hot. A couple of ceiling fans is enough.

Kopitiam restaurant, Thalang Road, Phuket

Kopitiam Restaurant

We ordered ice coffees and simple Thai food - the menu is not huge, you can get most Thai dishes and prices around 70 - 90 Baht per dish. We had some chicken with garlic and pepper and also a chicken penang curry. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos - it was so tasty the food was finished quickly! Will have to go again soon to add some "food porn" photos to this page...

Photo of old Phuket Ferry

More photos of Kopitiam on my Flickr pages

You can have a history lesson while you wait for the food - there are loads of old Phuket photos around the walls showing the town, tin mines, and I was particularly interested to see pictures of the old ferry connecting Phuket to the mainland - the Sarasin bridge was only completed in 1967. Before that, Phuket really was an island!

Kopitiam Restaurant

Old Typewriter

I always enjoy a walk around Phuket Town. There's more work going on right now on other streets to hide all the wires like has already been done on Thalang Road. This is my favourite part of Phuket and my wife and I even joke (but in a serious way) about living in an old shophouse in town....

Update 2015 - Must update this page :) Kopitiam is a regular place for us. Always tasty!

Kopitiam Location Map

View Kopitiam by Wilai - Restaurant in Phuket Town in a larger map

Kopitiam Restaurant in Old Phuket Town  |  Jamie's Phuket Blog