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Where to eat on the cheap on Koh Tao, Thailand.

One of the things that many people would like to know before arriving on Koh Tao is how much to budget for food! For all you “flash-packers” out there, there is a vast array of top notch restaurants to satisfy all your cravings from exquisite Thai food to mouth-watering Italian dishes cooked by real Italians!! You will see these temptations all over Koh Tao…with Mae Haad and Sairee being home to the lions share of choice.It is, however, reasonable to expect that if you dine out in these fabulous places 3 times a day you will deplete your funds considerably which is inadvisable if you actually want to get any diving done!


So for all you peeps that would prefer to conserve your funds and experience Koh Tao the traditional back packer on a shoe string type of way, you will breathe a sigh of relief to know there are just as many cheap, yet tasty options available to keep your hunger at bay! In Mae Haad, the “central business district” of Koh Tao where we are located, we have regular favorites for sure! Right next door to us we have the “chicken stick lady”, an absolute treat who BBQs chicken and pork (on sticks!) which can be served as a quick snack or transformed into a healthy lunch with the addition of by far the tastiest papaya salad on the island. This is an example of traditional Thai “street food” where you take away your dish – here of course we provide many take-away containers to save the unnecessary use of polystyrene and plastic in line with our strong no plastic message. Papaya salad can be taken spicy or not, with shrimps or not and with peanuts or not so the taste varies very much dependant on what you fancy at the time. This is an excellent choice for boosting vitamins as it’s crammed full of freshly prepared ingredients but perhaps the best thing about it is the price! The salad alone costs 40THB and each stick of meat just an extra 20THB – bargain!!



A real golden nugget on Koh Tao is the “yellow rice man”! This is a shack on the way to Chalok on the south of the island which opens daily for the lunchtime special of yellow  rice served with sliced breaded chicken and fried onions with a bag of sweet chilli sauce for those that like the spice! This is a massive portion and will sort any hunger out for a straight 50THB. You really can’t beat this for taste and value!!


There are many places to eat that have bamboo fashioned tables with corrugated iron roofs and kitchens the size of a small box room. These tend to be the best, most authentic places to eat! Their extensive menus follow a similar format with respect to most things being available in chicken, pork, beef, shrimp and vegetable in the form of curry soup, fried rice, “no name”, and noodles. These sit amongst a handful of Western style dishes also available. The biggest tip is that a common portion control tactic is to ask for “on rice”. This results in a slightly smaller portion with the price staying at 50THB. You can bump it up to a whopping 70THB by asking for “separate rice” if you are a bit hungry!

The favourite of many of our customers and staff here is Bam Bams where P’Bam opens daily from dawn until way past dusk and serves a multitude of cheap treats! Perhaps the best dishes here would be fruit salad with muesli and yoghurt for 60THB which definitely fills you until lunch, then chicken or vegetable fried rice which is easily the tastiest on the island and a mere 50THB for a hearty portion will keep you going until dinner! For a Thai dish, the curry soups are definitely a winner however if you are craving some Western stodge, P’Bam is also well known for serving the mighty chicken schnitzel with chips and salad – a huge portion for just 80THB!


After a night out or perhaps to satisfy your 4 O’clock afternoon slump, you can find the good old pancake man spinning the batter on most street corners! For sure, wherever there is a 711, there is a pancake man!! Fillings range from the sweet banana-chocolate pancake for around 50THB, to the savoury combination of tuna, cheese and vegetable for around 70THB – these really are a must if not for the performance alone! So you can see it is easy to live on a budget here and many do eat for as little as 250THB a day which means more funds for diving, what could be better ?If this made your mouth water then click the LIKE button below and share it with your friends…..

2 Comments on Where to eat on the cheap on Koh Tao, Thailand.

  1. commented by Jim Freer on 8 April 2012

    You can’t forget the Somosa man for an after dive pick me up at only 20bht. Delicious !

    1. commented by Ayesha Cantrell on 9 April 2012

      Indeed they are and it seems like magic that he always pops up just when you need him !

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