Loei Province is in the North-East region of Thailand and its major city, Loei, is a place I’ve travelled to on several occasions. Loei is a mountainous province and its dominant city is decent-sized but hardly one that will receive an invite to the Big City Ball. It’s also a place that has very little in the way of western-style entertainment but there is one soda fountain with a bubble and bite that I can recommend – The Ban Thai Bar and Restaurant…. let’s swing through its front doors.
The Ban Thai is stationed in the city centre and a few minutes walk from the Muanmanee Boutique Hotel – accommodation I can speak highly of having stayed there on my last two visits to Loei. The Muanmanee has a fresh-faced, clean-heeled look, the Ban Thai a lived-in, loved-in, quirky style (there’s a motorbike in one corner) but its mass of pictures, pots and plants, ornaments and decorations all drop anchor together to pigment a ship-shape, fine-looking restaurant fit for a ship’s captain to dine in.
The restaurant has a menu with a good mix of Thai and western dishes – its clientele is a combo of Thais and westerners too, but the seated area out front is fresh off the boat, migrant turf.
Nightlife in Loei is thin on the ground – the areas around the Loei Orchid Hotel and King Hotel are the best places to pick up on for bars, and the Robot discotheque (near Loei Orchid Hotel) is the hottest place in town if you like your nightlife boom-boom loud. The Ban Thai bar and restaurant is considerably quieter but smooths along with a genial ambience and is a good choice for an evening or afternoon’s relaxation.
The Ban Thai is a laid-back type of haunt, its low-pressure climate, friendly staff, appetizing menu and wall to wall ornamental eye-ball make it an excellent choice for anyone looking to loosen up and chill down with a fine meal and drinks. The restaurant has a range of wines, spirits, hot and cold beverages, across-the-board Thai beers, Beer Lao (pictured above), as well as a solid stock of European bottled beers. Popular western dishes include steak, pork chop, fish steak, pasta and pizza. The menu also has authentic German food too.
It’s a place I recommend if you are travelling to Loei and need an antidote and visual lotion to ease away your travel aches and pains after arriving there. The food is excellent, not pricey, and the atmosphere and cordiality mountain high.
The Ban Thai Bar and Restaurant in Loei – Map
The Ban Thai restaurant is about a five-minute walk from the Muanmanee Boutique Hotel and is highlighted by a blue flag on the map below. The restaurant is opposite the OTOP shop and its entrance is on Nok Kaeo Road (the flag position is misleading). Click on the map to enlarge.
2015 Update – The Ban Thai has now closed and its owner, Chris, has opened the Saloon Bar a few hundred yards from the old one. The map has been updated to show the Saloon Bar which has the same menu as the Ban Thai had. Click to enlarge.
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