Ko Pha Ngan is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Ko Pha Ngan as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Ko Pha Ngan’s different areas.
The commercial and administrative capital of Ko Pha Ngan, Thong Sala is a constant bustle of taxi drivers, merchants, expats and newly-arrived sun worshippers. Here you will find banks, ATMs, medical clinics, travel agents, pharmacies, the island’s main post office and the police headquarters. You can also pick up essentials from one of the many larger supermarket chains.
The central produce and meat market is worth perusing and provides visitors with tasty fresh fruit and an authentic Thai experience. The market takes up most of Soi Phupathana; from the pier head right (away from the roundabout) and as the road veers left turn left at Corner Kitchen and then turn right at Soi Phupathana -- just follow your nose toward the fish smell.
Pantipmarket (better known as the Night Market) is a must for a late afternoon snack or dinner. The small, mainly food market is always filled with a mix of locals, expats and tourists and has very cheap local food – often on a stick. You can’t miss it on main Taladmai Road, a block up from the roundabout next to the 7-eleven and clearly the centre of town.
Clothes shopping is good here too, with both markets and shops. More boutiques open each year hawking everything from mainstream T-shirts and swimmers to one-off outfits. You'll find them mostly on Taladmai Road and Taladkoo Road, better known as Chinese Street, which is the one-way street at the south end of town (half way to Soi Phupathana -- don’t turn at Corner Kitchen). Taladmai Road and the surrounding streets are filled with market stalls selling souvenirs, clothes and typical Thai tourist tat. Shopping is cheaper here and with greater variety than most of the island. Expats come from all over to shop here (and eat!).
Most tourists only stay long enough in Thong Sala to catch a ride elsewhere after they negotiate the pier, but there are a growing number of decent accommodation options and a great variety of Thai and western cafes, so it is worth going for a walk around this busy town.
Try and arrive on a Saturday to enjoy the Walking Street night market from 16:00 till 21:00. You can see the market from the pier if you look right when getting off the ferry. It starts one block down at Harp Bar and is closed to traffic to allow for the long amble up and around the bend all the way up Chinese Street. Come hungry and try lots of local foods. Other nights the locals do aerobics to loud music and play sports in the public park by the pier.
Thong Sala has four Muay Thai (traditional Thai kick-boxing) stadiums. You will see small trucks driving around town with posters and very loud loud-speakers announcing when and where the next fights are on. There are also a number of Muay Thai training centres in and around town offering private or group training and courses, including Diamond Muay Thai and Muay Thai Chinnarach. From the roundabout head away from the sea, left at Soi Krung Thai and left again at the T-intersection. Masons Arms will be on your right with Chinnarach opposite and Diamond sitting in behind (turn right on the dirt road).
By Romi Grossberg.