Samui Wining & Dining
Going Native

Joining the locals for lunch at Kao Lay Lae View Restaurant


Our recommended local Thai restaurant this month is wonderful on so many levels. And if you’ve spent a day or two exploring the island you may well have passed by it. Kao Lay Lae View restaurant opened less than a year ago but has quickly built up a loyal local following. And it’s ideally situated for a relaxing lunchtime break.

           Finding it is relatively straightforward too. Come out of Chaweng Beach Road on the southern end, you’ll see Ohm’s motorcycle shop diagonally opposite, it has hundreds of motorbikes sitting outside it. Turn left (heading south) and zero your odometer. You’ll pass by Lamai and Hua Thanon on the ring-road and after 12.4 kilometres you’ll see a road on the left signposted as the 4170. There’re also signposts for the Tiger Zoo and Aquarium. Follow this road for another 3.3 kilometres and the restaurant is on the right-hand side. You can’t miss it as it sits out on its own. And I’d suggest parking on the same side of the road as the restaurant where there’s more space.

            Without a doubt, the first thing that strikes you is the elevated view. The name of the restaurant translates as ‘see the mountain view’ in the southern Thai dialect. And a huge flat plain, stretching for miles, lies below the restaurant surrounded on three sides by rolling hills and mountains. It’s just fields of coconut and rubber trees and grazing land for cattle and buffaloes. This is the part of the island that’s been proposed many times over the last decade or so as being suitable for a second airport. However, that’s unlikely to happen for a variety of reasons and once you take in the calm serenity of the surroundings, you’ll pray that it never does.

         Kao Lay Lae View is owned and run by Khun Cherry and her family. She was born and raised on Samui and her family has lived on this land for countless generations. For many years, she worked for the local government in Nathon but last year she and her husband, Khun Oh, were discussing what they should do with the family land. Some of her friends suggested that with such lovely views it would be a perfect place for a restaurant, and she’s always harboured dreams of running her own place anyway. Although, as she says, being your own boss isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, “As any small business owner will tell you, in reality, the bank is the boss. That said, on the plus side, as the restaurant is above my home it’s a very short commute up the stairs to work!”

        Inside the restaurant, there’s plenty of sturdy wooden tables and chairs, oodles of space and an outside terrace area. And around the walls there’re pictures of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) when he visited the island back in 1962. “He was the fourth King of Thailand to visit Samui dating back to Rama V in the late 19th century,” Khun Oh explained. Khun Oh’s a history teacher at the local high school and has recently published a book on the history of Samui that took two years to complete. It’s the most comprehensive work ever done on the subject and there’re copies in the National Library of Thailand in Bangkok. It’s written in Thai but may well be translated into English at a later date (if any locals or resorts on the island would like a copy they can call him on 0 846 268 925). Both Khun Cherry and Khun Oh’s families have collected artifacts from Samui over the years and their parents’ houses are crammed full of all manner of museum pieces. In the future they’d like to construct an exhibition centre and museum focused on the island’s incredible history, but that’s for a later date.

        Right now the emphasis is on the restaurant, and the menu is packed full of familiar Thai dishes and local specialities. It’s open from 11:00 am until around 8:00 pm and offers late breakfasts too. An Asian set-breakfast is just 99 baht, a continental version 109 baht, and an American one is 139 baht, or you can have muesli and fruit salad (40 baht each) and some delicious hot pancakes with banana for only 50 baht. You can also have a hot or cold cappuccino, latte, mocha or espresso for 35-40 baht, tea or hot chocolate for 35 baht, fresh fruit smoothies for 45 baht, with cold beers starting at 50 baht.

        Thai dishes are priced between 80-120 baht and they have all kinds of curries, stir-fries, spicy salads, noodles, soups and seafood. And whilst the names of the dishes will probably be familiar to you, they have their own take on many of the recipes. However, if your taste-buds are craving some new sensations, then they have wonderfully aromatic dishes you may not have tried before. In no particular order, Cherry recommends the spicy grilled beef salad (80 baht); sweet and sour seafood (80 baht); the spicy fluffy catfish salad (100 baht); stir-fried Samui clams with sweet basil (100 baht); and stir-fried local crab with a light curry sauce.

          Kao Lay Lae View restaurant has great value for money food, Cherry and her family are very welcoming, the views are spectacular and the peace and quiet is always appreciated. And if part of your trip out for the day is also about finding some secluded beaches then turn right coming out of the restaurant (still heading south) and travel on for another kilometre where there’s a side road on the left. Take this and follow it for a couple of kilometres and you’ll come out on Ban Thale beach. If you’re staying in Chaweng or Lamai then spending some time down here will feel like being on a completely different island.

Cherry speaks very good English and if you do get lost somehow or are with a large group then you can give her a call on 0 812 701 284 and she’ll be happy to help you. Local recipes, local folks and local hospitality – that’s what makes the ideal local restaurant.




Johnny Paterson      



Copyright 2018 Samui Wining & Dining. All rights reserved Siam Map Company Ltd.