This quick guide to Mae Phim is compiled from discoveries we made as well as helpful tips our hosts gave us. Some things we wished we had known sooner – so if you are only in town for a couple of days, maybe these will help you! I’ve included some basic directions of where stuff is – basic only because it’s not a very big town! This mini directory comes with a caveat that the info was valid March 2015.
Petrol station and 7-11 – there’s only one petrol station in Mae phim, it’s on the main road heading East from the beach. Just follow the road round (5 mins driving) and you can’t miss it on the left hand side.
ATMs – Kruengthai and SCB at the petrol station. There’s a Kasikorn ATM on the beach road, and there isn’t a Bangkok bank ATM– the nearest is Klaeng Tesco Lotus. To get here, follow the main road east, and after about 10 minutes you will come to a roundabout. This is Klaeng and Tesco is on the left just before the roundabout.
Motorbike Rent – Laem Mae Phim Resort in the centre on the beach front rents bicycles for 50 baht a day and motorbikes from 200 baht per day (that’s for a Yamaha Fino- bigger ones available for more). You can also rent a ‘family’, which is a motorcycle with sidecar and roof, for 300 baht per day. You usually see this as the base for a mobile food stall – always makes me smile to see a kart of dried fish driven by an equally weathered old lady trundling down the road…..
Laundry – a little further past the petrol station and on the other side of the road is a laundry lady who offers wash or wash and iron. There’s no sign, just look for lots of clothes hanging out to dry!! We didn’t see any other laundry service in town and she’s pretty busy, so allow 3 days for wash and iron.
Washing machines – the Avatara condos have a washing machine shop who charge 20 baht per load. You can buy washing powder from Viva supermarket next door. The Avatara have two blocks, as you drive west on the beach road, this is in the first block.
Shops – in Mae Phim there are two types of shops: Thai corner shops, stocking the usual (thai) essentials ranging from fish sauce to toilet roll. The other shops stock holiday essentials such as sun lotion, swimwear, towels, toys, and every type of inflatable you could ever wish for.
Supermarkets – The corner shops stock Thai essentials, however for more food stuffs there is Viva supermarket also at the first Avatara condo block (shown below). This is a Swedish supermarket stocking frozen, refrigerator and cupboard bits, toiletries and some Swedish specialities. They also have a small amount of fresh bread and fruit. The nearest 7-11 is at the petrol station, there is a small Tesco lotus in Klaeng. For fresh produce, best head to the local food market… The next town, Ban Phe, has slightly larger Tesco and Big C, for the really big stores head to Rayong.
Local food market – there’s a daily local Thai food market, however it shifts location each day. You will find it on the main road heading out of the village past the petrol station, just look out for lots of parked cars and people everywhere (see above)! It sells fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and lots of fresh fish. There are also ready to eat takeaway curries, stir fries, noodles etc, Thai desserts. There are a few vendors selling things grilled things on sticks, iced drinks and popcorn, but this is mostly a market for cooking rather than wandering and nibbling!
Poppies Bakery (below)- For those craving bread, there is a Swedish bakery called Poppies. It’s located in the second Avatara Condo block as you drive west on the beach road. Open Monday to Saturday it bakes fresh everyday, you can choose from various loaves, rolls and the essentially Swedish kannelbulle (cinnamon rolls). Poppies also has indoor and outdoor seating areas where they serve breakfast, sandwiches and Thai lunches (coffee 50 baht, sandwiches from 95 baht). Rolls, toasted baguettes and sandwiches are available with various fillings including genuine Swedish ham and cheese – a rare find! Poppies also offers ham, cheese, butter etc for sale, as well as motorcycle rent.
Massage – there are a few massage places, we didn’t get around to trying any so can’t recommend one over another. There’s one off the west end of the main road (first left if heading from Poppies back towards the village) there’s a spa in Villa Bali resort on the main road, and there’s a massage shop in the row of shops at the far east end of the beach. Past the petrol station on the right there’s a tiny Thai massage place too.
Bus – The songthaew (pick up bus) runs along the main road from 7am and goes twice and hour. There’s no prescribed timetable nor stops, so it’s a case of finding a shady spot and waiting to wave one down. These songthaews (as far as I’ve seen) are dark blue with silver tops. They go in both directions, towards Klaeng or Ban Phe. A ride from Mae Phim to Ban Phe costs 30 baht and takes about 30 minutes.
Taxis? There are no taxis as such in Mae Phim, however most of the travel agents offer a taxi service. I thought these seemed quite expensive. Another option is a songthaew to Ban Phe where there are more transport options due to it being a bigger village and also where the ferry for Koh Samet goes from. You can buy big bus tickets at the bus station, minibus tickets, songthaews and taxis are found near the ferry terminals.
Hawkers – I didn’t see any beach hawkers whatsoever, just the odd cart which stops on the road alongside the beach and rings it’s bell / plays a tune / honks it’s horn to let you know it’s there. Carts include the usual drinks, coconut ice-cream, somtam (papaya salad), fresh fruit, roti, seafood and we also saw an articulated lorry full of inflatables too (you can never have too many blow-up alligators in my opinion)!
Beach activities – things you can pay to do on the beach include hire a tube ring to bob around on or go on a jet-ski powered banana or sofa-seat ride. I was actually quite keen on the sofa. Mr, however, said my feeble arms weren’t up to hanging on, and I would be propelled ungraciously into the water at the first sharp turn. We didn’t get around to trying it this time, I’d like to prove him wrong one day though……
I have a bit on Mae Phim restaurants and accommodation coming soon, because I’ve waffled on too long already…..Show on map