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The Thong Sala Pier is probably where you arrive at Koh Phangan. The pier has a small harbour town and this harbour town is the capital of the island Koh Phangan. Many visitors of Koh Phangan will only see this place on their way to for example Haad Rin, but Thong Sala has quite a bit of fun to offer. The harbour town has a nice market, a fairly nice beach, different kinds of shops, lots of restaurants and of course the moorings where the (ferry) boats arrive and depart.
Thong Sala Pier and the harbour of Thong Sala
In the harbour of Thong Sala there are several piers of which two are used for the ferries coming from Surat Thani / Koh Samui or Chumphon / Koh Tao. Another pier is available for very large ships that transport containers of goods, for example. When you arrive on the mainland many people are already waiting for you to offer you a ride to your destination. Don’t dwell on this because not much further on, the rides offered are already a lot cheaper. For Haad Rin (Full Moon Parties) you will lose 100 to 150 baht per person. To get to the northwest like Haad Rin, Haad Salad and Malibu Beach you will spend about 150 baht. If you want to go all the way to the northeast, beyond Bottle Beach, you pay between 200 and 250 baht per person.
DID YOU KNOW?
Monday to Saturday at 6 PM there is free aerobics class on the pier, fun to watch while you’re there. Of course you can participate as well!
The HTMS Phangan (warship at the pier of Thong Sala)
When you arrive in the harbour of Thong Sala you can hardly avoid the colossal naval ship. It is the Phangan Royal Navy Ship or also called the HTMS Phangan. The ship was donated by the Americans to Thailand in 1957 as a token of goodwill. For the Thai army the ship played an important role in the Vietnam War in which it was frequently used. In June 2008 the ship was put out of action. Not even that long ago! Since 2011 the ship is in a special basin off the coast of Koh Phangan. Today the HTMS Phangan has a completely different role. Since 2014 it is the official Rama IX Memorial Museum. Here you can see pictures, documents and memorials of King Rama IX. There are also regular ceremonies held on the deck of the ship.
The beach of Thong Sala
The beach of Thong Sala is not the best beach of Koh Phangan, but if you stay in the neighborhood it is no punishment to enjoy the Thai sun. The further away you are from the pier the better. At the pier it is impossible to swim because of the pollution and also very dangerous because of the many boats that sail here. Further south is a 1 kilometer long sandy beach. It’s almost always quiet here despite the short distance to the city of Thong Sala. In the months December to March you can swim well in the sea but in the following months the water is too far away. But then you can still sunbathe or take a walk on the beach. You can walk from this beach almost to Haad Rin but this is a long walk of over than 10 km! At least take a look before sunset, because here you can take beautiful pictures of the setting sun!
Thong Sala Beach | Image: Jeremy Davis (Flickr)
Practical things in Thong Sala
In the city it’s possible to arrange boat trips and tickets to for example Koh Tao and Koh Samui. It is also possible to pay by card, exchange or bank transfer. If you are not feeling well, you can go to the pharmacies or clinics in the city for advice and medication. In case you have to go to the hospital (Phangan International Hospital) which is three kilometers away from the center. Also not unimportant to know is that the main office of the police in the center is easily accessible. From the Thong Sala Pier you can walk there in less than half an hour. All very convenient but of course you do not come especially to Koh Phangan, fortunately there is also a lot of fun in the harbor town!
Shops and bars in Thong Sala Town
The (port) city of Thong Sala is the junction of the island of Koh Phangan. It is a constant hustle and bustle of coming and going. If you stay a few days on Koh Phangan then visiting this place is definitely worth it. There are plenty of shops (often open until 9 PM), nice restaurants and cozy bars. On the outskirts of the city you can buy groceries at the big Big C supermarket and in the center there is a large market where you can eat tasty and cheap food.
Would you like to explore the island of Koh Phangan by scooter? Then a scooter in Thong Sala from the many rental companies. Do research in advance on the reliability of the company and if possible do not leave your passport behind. Also make a movie or photos of the scooter before you drive away, preferably in front of the owner. so you have proof that damage was already present.
Thong Sala Town | Image: Erik Jaeger (Flickr)
Pantip Food Market / Thong Sala Night Market
The Pantip Food Market is a nice street food (evening) market in the center of Thong Sala. The market is open daily from 4 till 10 PM with an outlet until 11 PM. From the Thong Sala Pier you can walk there in about 10 minutes. Walk straight on from the pier to the roundabout and go under the big welcome sign in Koh Phangan, walk up to the 7-Eleven and you’re already there! At the Pantip Food Market you can put together a typical Thai street food buffet and eat it on the covered terrace. You look where a spot is free and slide on a chair. There is plenty of choice! Sate, fish, chicken and sausage from the BBQ. mango sticky rice, lots of curries, pad thai, vegetarian dishes and cold drinks, it’s all there! Rather not Thai for once? You can also buy western snacks at the many stalls of the Pantip Food Market. To get a complete meal including dessert and a drink together, you will lose a maximum of 250 baht. And then you’re really stuffed!
Good places to sleep near Thong Sala
Thong Sala offers some great places to spend the night. We have chosen to offer you a number of options that are very cheap and basic to luxury with a western price tag. We also took into account the distances from the Thong Sala Pier. We communicate this distance with every option so that we can give you a better idea about the walking distance for example.
Distance from Thong Sala Pier = 3,8 km
Mikasa Beach House gets great reviews from everyone! The hotel has a good value for money and is located on the beach of Baan Tai (just next to the beach of Thong Sala). It’s the ideal base to discover Koh Phangan for a few days. The hotel has nice budget bungalows, with balcony, fan and private bathroom (cold water only). But there are also luxury rooms with sea views from your bed and balcony with air conditioning and hot shower.
Distance from Thong Sala Pier = 7,5 km
Between Thong Sala and Haad Rin is this nice spot. Here you can relax with a cocktail in your hand at the pool or at the beach in front of the door. Sea Love Bungalows has different types of accommodation available both with fan and air conditioning. A small and intimate location where the manager still has time for her guests! A good location to book during the Full Moon Party!
As soon as a Full Moon Party arrives, prices skyrocket and hotels on Koh Phangan quickly become fully booked. Often you are required to book a minimum of 2 or 3 nights at the same hotel. Do you want to experience this bucket-list party? Make sure you book your accommodation well in advance! Read in our article about the Full Moon Party everything you need to know and when the full moon parties are in 2020.
Distance from Thong Sala Pier = 3,7 km
In the beautiful garden (including swimming pool) of Carpe Diem Residence are the beautiful and well-kept bungalows. The ideal place to sleep for families who want to stay near Thong Sala. There are two types of bungalows. The first has a bedroom with an extra sofa bed in the living room. The other has two bedrooms. At Carpe Diem it is possible to rent a scooter or car. Handy if you want to explore the island! Seize the day!