Thong Sala (ท้องศาลา) is the main port and largest settlement on Ko Pha Ngan.
Ferries run from Ko Samui daily. The journey takes about an hour.
- Departing Nathon multiple times a day for 200 baht.
- Departing Mae Nam at 12:00 for 200 baht.
- Departing Surat Thani multiple times a day for 250 baht (3 hours + 1 hour bus ride from train station), or 400 baht for the fast ferry (2 hours + 1 hour bus ride from train station)
- Departing from Raja Ferry (near Don Sak) 08:00, 10:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00 for 220 baht (2.5 hours)
At Thong Sala, taxis and pick up trucks take passengers around the island. The drivers hold signs stating their destinations. Prices are fixed at 100-150 baht/person to Haad Rin, 150 baht to the northwest corner of the island, and 200-250 baht to Thong Nai Pan. Don't take a taxi from the pier upon arrival, but walk to the roundabout: the taxi station there has better prices that are not newcomer inflated, but still as high as anywhere on the island.
There are many places where you can rent scooters. Costs range from 100-150 baht/day. They will almost always require that you leave your passport with them for the duration of the hire. Most places are very strict about damage and will charge large fees if you bring back a scooter damaged.
- Thong Sala has a few very good traditional Thai massage shops where you can also take a massage course.
- At Lomprayah Pier there is aerobic dancing every evening for free. Starts at 18:00, except Sundays.
- Lim Ping Pong. An excellent small organic and Western convenience store. (Almost certainly misspelled its name, but it's close to how it's said). If you approach from the south (Ban Tai) it's on the right-hand side near the post office. It's a very modern looking building and is in the back of a store which mostly sells glass and home ware. It's tricky to spot the first time so walk around and ask people. All the locals know where it is.
- Tesco-Lotus. 10:00-22:00.. Decent supermarket with a delicious and inexpensive bakery.
Thong Sala has a food night market which consists of multiple food carts ranging from ready made curry stalls, made-to-order restaurant carts, noodle carts, chicken vendors, and desserts such as Thai confections and banana rotee (pancakes).
Also, along the road near Thong Sala, you will see many "BBQ" restaurants advertising "all you can eat" for about 99 baht. This is a great way to eat, and it is economical as well as delicious.
During the day, food carts can be found throughout Thong Sala. Great food cart items include som tam, the tasty spicy papaya salad, pad Thai, and grilled chicken.
- A's Famous, 146 Soi Krung Thai, Thong Sala (Opposite Krung Thai Bank in Thong Sala), ☏ . American restaurant and deli. Run by Michael Hershman, Cambridge, Massachusetts-born and Los Angeles raised, who moved to the island in the 1980s. He gets his smoked salmon from Norway; his roast beef from Australia; his salamis from Italy. He roasts his own coffee from Chiang Mai.
- Ando Loco. Thong Sala's Mexican restaurant of the year for two years running. Authentic cuisine using imported spices. Best tequila and margaritas on the island.
- Nira's Bakery (facing the sea, on the same road as the pier, about a block south.). Great bakery with a range of sliced and unsliced breads (cracked wheat, rye, etc.). It's also a cafe with nice food and free Wi-Fi.
- Pizza Chiara (near 7-Eleven and night market). A simple but complete Italian restaurant. Good pizzas and pastas, helpful Italian owner.
- Umi, 73/10 Moo 1, ☏ . 10:00-18:00. Vegetarian. Simple and delicious curries, salads and soups from around the world. Daily specials menu including Indian, Korean, African, Mediterranean, and other world food.
- Yellow Cafe. 07:30-17:00. A Ko Pha Ngan original, famous for delicious deli snacks, hill tribe coffee, and a lush tropical garden.
- AmStardam Bar (high on a hill, north of Thong Sala). Amazing sunset views, and sometimes hosts a "warm up" party to the Full Moon a few days in advance.
- The Harp Bar, 74/4 Moo 1 (opposite the pier). 09:00-02:00. Serves food from 09:00-24:00. Great menu with traditional Irish and world food. Full-sized pool table and a free jukebox.
- [dead link] The Masons Arms (just outside Thong Sala on the coast road to Had Yao.), ☏ . A proper pub with draught beers, pool, darts, table football, beer gardens and traditional pub food. Air-con in the bar makes for a nice retreat to enjoy a few pints.
- Shambhala Bungalow Village, 69/10 Moo 4 Naiwok Beach (2 km north of Thong Sala, 100 m before Amstardam Bar), ☏ . Bungalows built of natural materials in a nice garden with lots of trees, 5 minutes north of Thong Sala by motorbike, 15-20 min walking. The beach is great but has the same low tide problem in summer as all the west coast of Ko Pha Ngan, little water during the day, but the lagoon is beautiful and the beach was always nearly empty. Owned by a sweet Thai woman who speaks good English and is helpful. All staff are from her family. There is a beach restaurant (but breakfast is not included), 3 beach bungalows, the others are behind on stilts with sea view. No air-con. Large balcony with bamboo table, floor mattresses, hammock. Free Wi-Fi. 600-1,200 baht depending on room and season.
Thong Sala is well serviced and has numerous facilities. There is a police station, hospital (with English speaking doctors and staff), laundries, pharmacies, a post office, five banks, ATMs, money exchanges, and Western Union.
- Haad Rin (Hat Rin) - site of the famous Full Moon Party. A taxi from Thong Sala to Haad Rin is almost always 100 baht, and you can share a taxi with 10-12 people as you get off the ferry.
- Ferry to Don Sak on the mainland at 05.00, 07.00, 11.00, 13.00, 17.00 (2.5 hours)
- Thong Nai Pan - secluded east coast beaches