Unless you want to go with the often over-priced and bland Thai food that resorts in this area are notorious for, we suggest you head straight to Ko Kho Khao’s beaches and grab a table or lounge chair at one of the island’s great beach restaurants. Note that some places shut down in the low season months of May through October.
Not far from C&N Resort is Lazy House which offers reasonably priced seafood barbeques, Thai and Western food, and cocktails -- get there before the sun goes down for a relaxed and memorable dining experience.
Further north, Mama’s Kitchen quickly became our favourite go-to beach spot, serving up tasty Thai meals along the sands of Laem Tubkaek near Cousin resort. Set back is the bamboo kitchen with a covered dining area, while a few more tables are scattered in the shade closer to the sands. The family who live on site also rent out a small bamboo bungalow for 700 baht a night. No electricity, so don’t expect any WiFi – anyway, only a fool would stare at a screen here with this terrific ocean view and scenic setting.
At the far northwestern tip of the island, just beyond the old airport, sit Hula Beach and Sunset restaurants. The food isn’t brilliant at either place but the wide sandy, near-deserted beach that stretches out in front of them makes up for it. All of the above are open all day until 21:00 or 22:00.
There are also some good Thai-Western barbeque restaurants near the pier. Harbour Restaurant is a worthy choice for indulging in lobster and steaks on an open air patio over the water. Its varied menu also includes coffees, pizzas, desserts and Thai dishes, and even a kids’ meal section.
Not far up the road you’ll find Taco Time, which bridges the gap from Thai to Western. The big menu here has many Thai dishes, but it’s best to go for one of the Western choices including tacos, fajitas, pizza, pasta, salads, and a full bar has cocktails with tequila and other spirits, and even Corona beer – at a pricey 170 baht for a small bottle. The Mexican dinners are not cheap at around 250 baht each, but come in large portions that will satisfy your Tex-Mex cravings.
There isn’t much of a late-night scene on Kho Khao but we reckon the Ha Pla resort restaurant, with its welcoming attitude and fantastic beachfront setting, is the best place to stop for a sundowner. The few bars we spotted away from the beaches looked rather sad and empty.