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Ko Ngai

Eat and meet

Ko Ngai

Food and drink on Ko Ngai is expensive; if you've grown accustomed to 30 baht noodle stands then you're in for a shock. This is partly due to the island's isolation, but perhaps moreso to its upmarket resort trend. Expect to pay a minimum of 100 baht for simple dishes like fried rice and pad thai, with curries and stir-fries running between 120 and 200 baht, and seafood, along with most Western dishes, hitting 200 baht and beyond.

Every resort has a restaurant, and these are the only choices available. There are no freestanding restaurants, convenience stores or anything else on the island -- everything you eat or drink will come from a resort. And the menus at all resorts are quite similar -- expensive seafood barbecue and standard Thai-Western fare.

One would think the pricier resorts would have significantly pricier menus, but in fact Coco Cottage's and Thanya Resort's menus fall in roughly the same price range as Koh Ngai Villa and Koh Hai Sea Food, so you're better off spending the extra 20 or 30 baht for the higher-end resort restaurants, which we found to be significantly better than the midrange spots.

We found the Thai salads at Thanya to be authentic, tasty and professionally prepared with fresh seafood, chillies, lemongrass and mint. Their roast duck was also tender, delicious and well priced. The Thanya restaurant is stylish and subdued with its simple, contemporary design, and they offer hand-made cocktails like cosmopolitans, mojitos and caipirinhas.

For romantic ambience, the ocean view patio restaurant at Thapwarin Resort is Ko Ngai's best. The food is good too, especially for Western fare like french onion soup and beef tenderloin. The Thai food is also delicious, although definitely toned down for Western tongues, and their seafood barbecue menu offers some interesting a la carte choices like barracuda for 75 baht. They also offer all kinds of iced coffee, tea, mixed juices and alcoholic cocktails. A midday spicy ginger soda is a fine choice, or perhaps the house mixture of rums and juices called Bumbastic! for after hours.

If you want to skip the fancy cocktails and let loose with a Chang or Johnny Walker and soda, head straight to the bar that's smack on the beach at Koh Ngai Camping Resort during high season, which is the launching point for many a night to remember.

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