Within Sichon (สิชล), Thailand there is a stunningly beautiful and non-commercialized coastal fishing village in Southern Thailand.
In this Sichon (สิชล) travel guide I’ll share with you all details about this amazing off-the-beaten-path community in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Talad Baan Plai Thon (ตลาดบ้านปลายทอน)
My wife and I were in Nakhon Si Thammarat visiting some of her relatives, and one day we decided to drive over to Sichon (สิชล) to check out a local fish market that I had heard about.
Sichon is actually an entire district within Nakhon Si Thammarat province in southern Thailand, and Sichon is also the name of the town within Sichon district.
This fishing village market, known as Talad Baan Plai Thon (ตลาดบ้านปลายทอน) is located just south of the town, about 5 km or so.
My wife and I arrived at about 8 am in the morning, and although I was immediately impressed and in awe of the market scenery located right next to the beach, I had a little initial disappointment because there were no fish at the fish market.
How disappointing is it to come to a fish market and there’s no fish? It’s like showing up to a restaurant you’ve been dreaming about, and when you get there it’s closed.
Luckily, we talked to some of the Aunty’s at the market with empty fish trays, and they mentioned that the boats hadn’t yet come back to shore in the morning – so the fish were still on their way!
Coconut griddle cakes (ขนมครก)
As we waited for the boats to arrive, we started hanging out and eating some small Thai snacks for breakfast.
The more we hung around the market, the more my wife and I loved it even more, not only for the food, but for the incredibly friendly and hospitable people.
Khanom krok (ขนมครก), Thai coconut griddle cakes are one of my personal favorite Thai sweet snacks, and these friendly Aunty’s make one of the best versions you’ll ever have in Thailand.
When you go to order, they actually invite you to sit down and hang out while you wait for your order, and you can sit there and eat as well.
Aunty explained to me that they use no sugar in their khanom krok (ขนมครก), but just a combination of pure coconut cream, and a little rice flour to hold them together, and cooked in an ancient iron griddle over fire.
The coconut griddle cakes were perfectly rich and creamy and caramelized on the bottom edges.
You’ll find khanom krok (ขนมครก) all over Bangkok too, but these are far superior than your average street khanom krok, due to both ingredients and cooking method. These were probably the best I’ve ever had in Thailand, along with the friendly service and scenery.
Price – 20 THB ($0.58)
It didn’t take too long for some of the fishing boats to start slowly coming back to shore, one by one.
One of the best thing about this local fish market in Thailand is that it’s almost completely non-commercialized (here’s a comparison of more of a commercial Thai fish market).
Just about all the seafood caught is sold and consumed within the community, rather than being transported to other major cities or even Bangkok.
It remains a pristine local community, and it’s incredibly beautiful.
More and more boats started landing on shore, and as soon as a boat came in, a handful of ladies would rush over to see the catch.
I just couldn’t stop admiring the beauty of the natural scenery.
The market is literally picture perfect, located right next to the calm beach lined with coconut trees.
It was one of those destinations where I almost fell into a dream like status. It really reminded me of some of the serene places in Zanzibar or on the coast of East Africa.
The fish started trickling into the market, the trays filled with mostly small fish like yellowstripe scad and mackerel.
An Aunty explained to me that some of the fishermen were family and they sold their own catch at the market, while other market vendors would buy from fishermen and re-sell at the market.
You could visit Talad Baan Plai Thon (ตลาดบ้านปลายทอน) and get lucky to see some bigger fish and other seafood, but today was honestly not a great catch.
And that’s totally alright.
I loved seeing the local lifestyle. All the fish at the market on this day were what people living in the community would buy and eat – not some giant fish that they would want to sell in a bigger city.
Cooking chili spicy eel
One of the dreams of being a travel eater is having someone local cook, like Grandma cooking Sri Lankan curry from scratch years ago.
To me, that’s the best of the best of traveling for food.
My wife and I met an Aunty selling eels (ปลาไหล), not seawater, but freshwater, and they looked fresh and delicious.
We decided to buy the rest of her eels (1 bag is 60 Baht ($1.72), and she kindly agreed to take me back to her home in the village and cook them.
The next thing you know, I was on the back of her motorbike en-route to her family home to cook spicy Thai eel curry (pad phet pla lai ผัดเผ็ดปลาไหล).
After expertly slicing up the eel, she fried it pad phet style – a southern Thai version of a chili paste stir fry with extra chilies and herbs (here’s a similar recipe that my mother in law makes).
She packed all the chili curry eel into bags, and brought me back to the market. It was amazing and a completely random experience.
By this time, in the middle of the morning, all the fishing boats were back, and the fish market was pretty quiet.
So we decided to drive around and find a restaurant to eat lunch.
Monkeys picking coconuts
The natural beauty in Sichon (สิชล), Thailand is just picture perfect – the swaying coconut trees, lush greenery, and glimpses of the glassy surface of the sea.
Driving along we stopped to see some coconut farmers, and their monkeys who were picking coconuts.
According to NPR, monkeys have been picking coconuts in Southeast Asia for over 400 years.
And while there is some notable controversy about the practice, from what I observed, it looked like the owners were taking great care of their monkeys and treating them almost like family. This particular monkey was named Kai Mook.
NOTE: I’m not one to judge about the practice, but I’m just sharing a few of the things you’ll see and experience when traveling around Sichon.
Lunch in Sichon (สิชล)
Part of the beauty of traveling to Sichon (สิชล) is its quietness and non-commercialism. However, you won’t find many restaurants either, but that’s alright.
We stopped at one of the very few visible restaurant located just down the beach from the fish market.
Again, the Aunty’s were just so incredibly nice and friendly and happy to see us there.
It’s a fully Halal restaurant and we ordered a couple of simple Thai stir fry dishes including pad kraprao neua (ผัดกระเพราเนื้อ), minced beef stir fried with holy basil, and kai jeow (ไข่เจียว), a Thai omelet.
Additionally, she wouldn’t even charge us for it, but she cooked up a plate of hoy liab nam man hoy (หอยเสียบน้ำมันหอย), small local clams, stir fried with oyster sauce. The clams were caught literally meters away from the restaurant on the beach.
Total price – 130 THB ($3.80)
And not forgetting that curry eel (pad phet pla lai ผัดเผ็ดปลาไหล)!
It was a flavor overload, absolutely packed full of curry paste, including chilies, turmeric, lemongrass, basil, and green peppercorns.
The eel itself was buttery and rich, and coated in immense flavor. It was my kind of a dish, and I couldn’t have been happier sitting there on the beach, eating this simple home-cooked style meal in Sichon (สิชล).
After lunch, there was nothing I could have possibly wanted.
Unless of course there happened to be a coconut, which in the land of coconuts, there’s always a coconut. I actually had gotten the coconut from the coconut famers earlier in the morning.
And that completed our small adventure and relaxation at Talad Baan Plai Thon (ตลาดบ้านปลายทอน) in Sichon (สิชล), Thailand.
Sichon Travel Guide
Sichon (สิชล) is a non-commercialized, peaceful and friendly, fishing community village in Southern Thailand.
While there are some semi-large resorts in the northern part of Sichon, if you go to this fish market village, Talad Baan Plai Thon (ตลาดบ้านปลายทอน), you’ll be surrounded by pristine local culture.
You can find some basic bungalow style accommodation like S.N Plytorn Beach Hotel, that I drove by, which looked very small and very quiet. It’s the type of place you’d go to get away from everything, and enjoy the local culture.
I came to Sichon on a day trip from Khanom, located about a 30 minute drive from Sichon. It’s also an amazing beach town, a little more developed than Sichon, but still very peaceful and quiet. My wife and I stayed at Baanchaylay Resort, which was fantastic.
If you have a chance to visit Talad Baan Plai Thon (ตลาดบ้านปลายทอน) fish market for a day, or to even spend a couple of relaxing days there, it’s truly an off-the-beaten-path and non-commercialized local community in Thailand, and that’s what makes it so beautiful.