If you’re a birdwatcher ( or simply have a passing interest in watching dozens of raptors feeding ) and also like good value Thai food, then Khon Phlad Thin restaurant, just outside Trat is the place for you.
Located 10 minutes drive from Trat or about 30 minutes from the ferry piers to Koh Chang, Khon Phlad Thin is a fishing restaurant. The original idea was to fill a large pond full of fish and then anglers would come and fish and could also have a beer and get some food whilst they did so. This type of restaurant is popular across Thailand.
What the owner didn’t plan on was the arrival of so many Brahimy Kites. huge fish pond, which covers an area of around 20,000sqm, is lined with trees and to the rear is a mangrove forest where the kites nest. Over a decade ago, the restaurant owner released over 100,000 catfish into the pond. And when these were fed, with chicken intestines, some kites descended to try to grab some of the chicken pieces.
Over time, more and more kites began to show up for the daily feeding. Circling overhead and swooping when the fish were fed. A few years ago the owner switched to use pork fat to feed the catfish instead, as this was cheaper and, some also floated on the surface. This attracted even more birds.
Nowadays, visitors can often see over 100 Brahminy kites at the lunchtime feeding. You’ll need a good camera to get close up photos, but it’s still an impressive sight watching the constant swooping of waves of birds one after another.
Feeding time starts around 12pm. One of the staff will paddle out into the pond on a kayak. This sight attracts birds as they obviously know this is a signal for feeding to begin. The birds either circle overhead or perch on branches in trees overlooking the pond. Once the food is thrown they begin to descend.
The restaurant owners spend around 10,000 Baht / month on food for the fish ( and birds ) so whilst you don’t have to eat at the restaurant, visitors are welcome just to come and watch the birds, it is polite to do so.
And fortunately, the food is pretty good too. They make more local style dishes, meaning heavy on the chili and flavours. There’s nothing subtle about it. Not much in the way of decor, food presentation or good service. But it’s not that type of place. Order your favourite dishes, grab a beer and watch the show. It’s very impressive to see so many of these majestic birds in one place.
Price: $ – $$
Location: Turn off the main road a few Km south of Trat, then take the road, 3155, towards Laem Sok pier. The restaurant is around 4Km from the junction on the left, look for the large eagle statues roadside.
These restaurant reviews are just my thoughts on a place at the time I visited. I’ll mention if I know the owner well or get any freebies. But for the most of the time I am happy to play tourist and don’t mention this site at all. Obviously it isn’t possible to sample every dish on the menu and the type of food you have for lunch will differ to evening. In addition, owners and more importantly chefs, can change and your experience may differ from mine. If it does, post a comment below.