On Ko Wai, all food and drink comes from the restaurants operating on limited hours at each of the five resorts. They all serve beer and Koh Wai Paradise does some cocktails, but this is not a place for nightlife. Try to grab dinner before 21:00 or you might go to bed hungry.
The largest restaurant is at Koh Wai Paradise, where a big plate of fried rice made with curry powder and seafood satisfied us for 120 baht. They offer a full seafood menu to go with basic sandwiches and Western breakfasts, and the fresh coffee served French drip style was a nice surprise on an island where we expected only instant brew. You’ll also find the usual Thai staples like pad Thai and green curry along with a selection of potato crisps and other snacks.
We prefer the ambiance at Good Feeling’s restaurant with its tables set up closer to the sea. Here we had an 80-baht plate of krapao muu sap, a common Thai stir-fry blending holy basil, garlic, fresh chillies and chicken—it was flavourful and we appreciated how the cooks added plenty of chillies like we requested. Good Feeling also bakes some bread and while you shouldn’t expect imported meats and cheeses, we reckon the dough will satisfy those who have reached rice overload. You’ll also find some snacks to go with wines and liquors sold by the bottle. The beer was served super cold as well.
We’ve not tried the restaurants at Pakarang, Ao Yai Ma or Koh Wai Beach Resort, but they all have similar menus mixing Thai dishes with a handful of Western bites. A guest staying a week at Ao Yai Ma told us the meals he had there were better than at the other spots. He recommended the whole fish and we’d expect quality in the seafood department from Ao Yai Ma, which is run by a family that have been fishing off Wai for at least two generations.
The other option would be to stock up on groceries on the mainland or a larger island and bring your own food to Ko Wai. If going that route, keep in mind that rats have been known to invade bungalows in search of a bite.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.