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Ko Bulon Lae

Eat and meet

Ko Bulon Lae

Bulon is not a party island, but you will find a few great culinary surprises mixed into Thai food that's above average for a small island that caters mainly to European tourists.

Every morning (and often later), we found ourselves drawn back to the centrally located Su's Corner, a tiny Thai/French-run cafe just inland from Panka Noi Bay. The owners wake up early to whip up satisfying cinnamon rolls and baguettes among other baked goodies. Chicken, tomato and cheese sandwiches on said baguettes are the best on the island, and we heart that burgers get high marks as well. The owners' adorable daughters lend a hand in making great som tam and other Thai staples. Fresh coffee is also served at the few outdoor tables sheltered by red umbrellas. This is a very laid back family operation -- the cafe doubles as their house -- so do be patient if it's busy.

Most resorts have their own attached restaurants specialising in Thai food, but some are better than others. Chao Le Homestay and Baan Sulaida both offer large portions of home-cooked Thai dishes and seafood barbecue that taste great and are also cheaper than elsewhere. If you don't mind spending more, Pansand Resort is popular with Thai visitors thanks to its authentic tom yum soup, spicy salads and whole steamed fishes. Nearby Bulone Resort also does decent Thai food along with the largest selection of Western options on the island. They added a coffee corner for 2014 that serves fresh coffee, nice and strong.

Another place where you'll find a very good espresso is Panka Noi Pizza, an Italian-run restaurant serving phenomenal pasta dishes, pizzas, breads, salads, mixed grills and wines. There's nothing like kicking back with a delicious plate of Bolognese and bruschetta as you soak up the sea views. Expect to pay 200 to 350 baht for pizza and mains -- totally worth it for the quality and setting.

Travellers come to Bulon for the peace and quiet, but Coconut Bar on the hill next to Baan Sulaida does come through as a worthy spot to sit back with a cold beer or rum and cola. Decorated with Bob Marley posters and floor cushions, the ramshackle establishment plays low-key reggae tunes from sundown to midnight.

Expect virtually every restaurant to be closed down if you visit Bulon in low season. Even in late October, we once found ourselves wandering around asking the locals if anyone could cook us a meal.


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