Thong Sala is the main town on Koh Phangan although most people just pass through on their way to one of Koh Phangan’s many beautiful beaches or to one of the abundant full moon type parties. We had booked in to the Awe Resort in Baan Tai five months earlier (and negotiated a darn good rate based on staying for a month – i.e approx $50 a night which we worked out was cheaper than living at home by far!!) The resort is just about walking distance to the centre of the town, (good exercise in the absence of a lap pool or fullly equipped gym!) It’s an unusual place right on the beach with just four two story villas, a pleasant garden, great staff (Wan!) and a small but perfectly adequate swimming pool. We’ve also hired a jeep a couple of times and enjoyed exploring the shops, cafes and restaurants of Thong Sala as well as some of the other amazing places on the island.
If you are not in need of the local Tesco try the characterful Thong Sala Night Food Market, its’ an incredibly cheap place to eat and full of both locals and tourists. The nightly market opens early in the evening and is a collection of approximately 20 different mobile food stalls each selling a slightly different variety of Thai food. Traditional food carts line the street ranging from ready made curry stalls, made-to-order restaurant carts, noodle carts, chicken vendors, and desserts such as Thai confections and banana rotee (pancakes). All delicious and well worth the visit especially as the average cost of a bowl of chicken noodles is just 50p!
Alternatively, indulge yourself once in a while at a classy establishment! Milky Bay Resort, Fisherman’s, Fish at Thips, Beach Lounge are all excellent evening places to eat although if you’re travelling with young children to go early. Some of these places get booked up during the busy months (December – April, July and August and around every full moon of course) so make a reservation!
My advice – if you’re planning to stay longer than a week, make the most of the superb local establishemts on the road or beachside but once a week have a decent ‘splash out’ like we did…although you will have to extend your budget to approximately $20, especially if you wish to take advantage of the cocktails…the restaurants in Thong Sala really are exceptional value.