Thongsala is the principal town for the island and is home to all the main services and travel connections. There is also a great choice of shops, bars and restaurants so it’s worth visiting both in the day or the evening; there are also plenty travel shops offering tours and activities.
There are several banks in Thongsala, with five on the main street and two on the Post Office road; and there are also several money exchange windows, all with ATMs. The hospital is only 4km away and a few private health clinics in the town, there are also numerous pharmacies; Koh Phangan’s Police Headquarters is on the Chaloklum road, 1km outside Thongsala. The main ferry port is also in Thongsala and all of the ferry operators have offices on the jetties.
There is an excellent choice of restaurants in the south west, especially in Thongsala; with traditional Thai seafood restaurants, curry stalls and good quality street food; a multitude of Western restaurants such as Italian, English, French, Greek and Japanese. Most are either at the main crossroads (100m up from the round about) or on the seafront, the markets around the 7-11 convenience store have some of the best street food.
The south west has a great number of activities and things to keep you occupied; there are several dive operations based in Thongsala and numerous marine tour and fishing companies. There is also a paintball arena and plenty of places to hire mountain bikes, jeeps and motor bikes in Thongsala. There are regular Thai Boxing matches in the evenings and also several parties in Baan Tai and on the Wok Tum coast.
Thongsala is the island’s main trading post with an excellent variety of crafts, jewellery, clothes, artwork and traditional Thai items. There are a great number of boutique shops throughout the town and numerous supermarkets and fresh produce stalls. Prices are reasonable and are often hard to beat and many outlets supplying goods in bulk for export. Most shops are open till 8 or 9 in the evening.
There are loads of bars in Thongsala, with the majority on the main street; many have pool tables and TV for live sporting events. From Ao Nai Wok to Ao Hin Kong there are several hillside bars with great sunset views. Heading towards Baan Tai from Thongsala there are numerous beer bars lining either side of the road.
There are several guesthouses and hotels in the Thongsala area which are good value and ideal if you need to stay in town for an early ferry. There are also numerous reasonably priced resorts along the beaches either side of the town.