BonAppeThai! Dining with locals in Phuket with BonAppetour

Dine in a local home with in Phuket with BonAppetour - Bumble Bee Mum

If you have never heard of BonAppetour, it is a platform similar to AirBnb or HomeAway, except that instead of linking travellers up to accommodation, it links travellers up to FOOD.

Read More:  Our BonAppetour Experience in Singapore

Video Source: BonAppetour

After how much we enjoyed our first BonAppetour experience,  we went on to search for BonAppetour hosts in Phuket when we were planning our Phuket trip during the September holidays.  I would have loved to go for one of the Thai cooking classes offered by Selly, Yun or Pairoj, but with the boys around, it wasn’t very feasible.  So I contacted Selly who had a daughter about the same age as MF and MY and booked a home dining with her instead.

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Before the visit, I had to settle our transport from Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach to Selly’s place.  I weighed my options: To drive, take a taxi or hire a private driver.   Driving would have been the cheapest option, but I wasn’t all that familiar with Phuket.  Taxis were notoriously expensive in Phuket.  So we ended up booking a private driver from Mr Chai Driver in Phuket.  The driver called Selly to get directions from her and we were brought through a residential district that I would never have been able to navigate on my own before arriving at Selly’s place.

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Selly, her husband and daughter were all ready to receive us when we arrived one hour later than our arranged time.  OKAY.. MY BAD.  We were there for dinner and that meant driving through Phuket during peak hour and I didn’t account for traffic jams.

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Selly’s husband was from England, so both Selly and her husband spoke good English (better than mine!) so we were able to communicate easily.  They served us some sparkling rose wine and I was immediately glad I didn’t decide to drive.

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Selly’s daughter welcomed her new friends with ice-cream.  But just to highlight that Selly did check with me whether it was okay for the boys to have ice-cream before dinner before she took the ice-cream out for them.  So don’t worry, she’s not going to feed your kids ice-cream before dinner if you don’t approve of it.

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So while the adults chatted over wine in the living room, the kids were having an ice-cream party of their own in the room.  Don’t you find it amazing how kids can just gel together automatically, regardless of where they come from?

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The kids played together like they have known each other all their lives.  Selly’s daughter played cartoons for the boys on her TV, shared her toys with them and even tried to teach the boys some Thai alphabets. It was such a priceless experience, not just for me to witness as a parent but also for the boys whom I hope would be as gracious when we have guests coming to our home.

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Just like our earlier BonAppetour experience, the boys totally made themselves at home.  They were lazing on the bed as if it was theirs!

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Selly had also told me that we could swim in their pool and she could also show us around the local market – which was something I was really looking forward to.  Unfortunately, it was raining when we were there, so we just stayed at her home the whole time.

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Selly only started cooking after we arrived.  Good thing though, otherwise the food would have turned cold by the time we reached one hour late. :p

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However, she had prepared all the ingredients she needed beforehand.

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So once we arrived, she took the ingredients out of the fridge and promptly started cooking up a storm.

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Her husband entertained us while Selly was busy cooking, and we learned that Selly has been a private home chef (where she would go to people’s homes to cook for them) for more than 4 years.  Her husband was extremely excited over being part of the BonAppetour community, where guests would go to their home instead of Selly going over to people’s homes, because it gave HIM the opportunity to interact with visitors from around the world.

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I loved the open kitchen in their home, where we could watch how the food was prepared.  I tried to steal some pointers on how to cook Thai food but failed miserably because Selly was so fast!

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From the way she prepared the meal, Selly’s experience was evident and within 30 minutes, she had 6 dishes on the table.  I guess next time I should sign up for her Thai cooking class after all.

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As she cooked, the aroma of the tom yum goong and curry flooded the house and I swear my mouth was watering as we waited for the food to be served.

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The first dish we had was Pad Thai – which was one of the items I had requested for beforehand.  If you have a favourite Thai dish, you can request for Selly to prepare it.  Or you can just leave it to her to come up with the menu.

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I LOVED the Pad Thai!! I had a lot of pad thai during the 7 days we were in Phuket and Selly’s Pad Thai was the yummiest we had all trip!

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Selly also prepared some fried rice for the kids, in case they weren’t used to eating Thai food, but the boys ended up eating all the Pad Thai.

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We also had a curry which was so good.  Just give me plain rice and that curry gravy and I would be a happy girl.

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We also had a HUGE bowl of Tom Yung Goong, much more than we could finish.  I wish we weren’t here on our last night in Phuket.  I swear, if it wasn’t our last night, I would have packed home all the leftover Tom Yung Goong and cooked some noodles with it in our apartment for the next few days.

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We also had a sweet and sour fish.  And at this point, I must highlight how considerate Selly was.  She fried the fishes, and took out a portion of it for the kids before she drizzled the sauce and chili over the rest of it.  SO MOTHERLY!! And she even made those tomato flowers to decorate the dishes!

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And for the vegetable dish, Selly fried some asparagus with an OMG generous heap of prawns.  I would have classified this as a seafood dish rather than a vegetable dish, but Selly said something like, “Here’s the vegetable.” when she served it, so it was meant to be the vegetable dish.  And she deliberately served a non-spicy vegetable dish so that the kids could eat it.

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And what better way to end a meal than with a classic Thai dessert – mango with sticky rice! Again, a request by me who LOVES mango with sticky rice.  Especially in Thailand where mangoes are generally super sweet.  Not 50% chance sour like in Singapore. :p

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We had a great time at Selly’s place, where we not only got to taste her awesome cooking, we learned so much about life in Phuket from our conversations.  We talked about housing, education, cost of living.. all the nitty gritty stuff that we would never have learned if we didn’t hop on the BonAppetour bandwagon.

Next time, maybe I would just book a whole culinary holiday with her! Accommodation, meals by Selly, tours.. all included! 🙂

Book your home dining with Selly

If you would like to book a home dining experience with Selly, click > HERE < and go to ‘Contact Host’ to check her availability. Do read our tips on using BonAppetour if it is the first time you are booking a BonAppetour visit.

And if you are ready to try out BonAppetour, here is how you can get USD15 credit to start you off.  Simply sign for your BonAppetour account using my referral link below:


Note that the discount code for the USD15 credit is only valid for 6 days upon signing up and for a minimum purchase of USD100.  This means that, while there is no restriction on the date of your dining, you have to complete the booking with the discount code within 6 days of signing up.

[disclaim]Disclosure: If you successfully book your BonAppetour experience with the sign-up bonus from my referral link above, I will also receive USD15 credit.  Thank you very much! :)[/disclaim]

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  • Wow looks so tasty! Go learn go learn!

  • Benita says:

    Awesome article 🙂 Oh how i miss real Thai food… those photos!

  • Allison says:

    This looks like a great experience. I think it would bring so much to a trip to be able to dine with the locals. Mango and sticky rice is my favorite Thai dish. I request it every time we go to Thai restaurants but of course you can’t beat having it in Thailand. #wanderfulwednesday

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Mango & sticky rice is soooo yummy! When the mango is sweet. Not all the mangoes used by Thai restaurants here in Singapore are sweet, so it’s a gamble whenever I eat it here. So yeah, can’t beat having it in Thailand!

  • This is such an awesome concept! I might have to try it out on our trip to Ireland this Christmas 😉

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Ooo.. Do they have a host in Ireland? If they do, I’m sure it will be a really cool experience! I wanted to find a host in Copenhagen for my trip there next Summer, but they don’t have a host in Copenhagen yet. Really hope this concept can take off so that BonAppetour can expand their host listing!

  • 6 dishes in 30 minutes is so impressive! I love love love thai food and what a way to eat it – looks like a great experience.

  • Lauren says:

    Love this idea! As I always say food and eating is such a crucial part of travel! What a cool was to incorporate the culture of cuisine into a trip!

  • Emma Raphael says:

    This sounds like a fantastic experience, and that food looks absolutely stunning! We did a similar thing before we moved to Denmark, to find out a bit more about the country we were moving to and its customs. It was really worth doing, but I think you got the better deal in terms of food! 😀 #farawayfiles

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Did you write about what you did in Denmark that I can read about on your blog? I’m headed to Denmark next year and would love to read about it and see if I can fit it into my itinerary. Right now BonAppetour doesn’t have any host in Copenhagen so I would love to know what’s this similar experience you had.

  • Love the idea of getting a personal dining experience and local information without staying with someone. That foods looks delish! Thank you for sharing – now I want Thai food! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin #FarawayFiles

  • I am feeling sooo hungry after seeing all that wonderful Thai food! I absolutely love the idea of a home dining experience on your travels. This sounds like a fantastic experience – both for you and your children. Definitely one to save! Thanks so much for linking up with #FarawayFiles

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I specifically found this host because she has a daughter about the same age as my sons. I am glad my boys got some cultural exchange while at it. Though I have to say Frozen (the movie they were watching in the room while eating ice-cream) seems to transcend all cultures and nationalities.

  • Katy Clarke says:

    Oh my gosh. This is definitely my kind of travel experience. I was almost crying actually because I miss south east Asian food so much. It’s really hard to find a good asian food in London. I had a terrible and expensive Vietnamese dinner this week and was so disappointed. Anyway, I really should try and make it myself so this experience would be wonderful for me. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hahaha.. I can imagine how bad that Vietnamese dinner must have been. Whenever we visit western countries, we start to have craving for Asian food after a few days and we end up dining at some random Asian restaurant and they are rarely good. Though I have to say Panda Express in USA wasn’t too bad.

  • Ahila says:

    The meal looks delicious. I did enjoy reading about your previous Bonappetour experience as well. I guess I should try it out sometime.

  • Elizabeth says:

    This looks like a wonderful experience! I love eating with locals and I love Thai food 🙂 It is also great to see you doing this experience with kids — I find it can be hard to entertain kids while enjoying a meal or tour, but there are ways!

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