Every now and then, I like to have some quiet, quality time with myself. This means that I drive to one of my favourite cafe joints, here on Koh Phangan. While I do quite often try to refrain myself from ordering treats that are high in sugar and fat, a good coffee is something I can’t live without. To me, interior design and mood of a place are equally important. I prefer coffee house kind of feel with cozy and homely vibe, dark materials and big sofas or armchairs. This style can be found in abundance in Bangkok or Koh Samui but not so much on this island. However, we do have some really cool places here. These are my top 6 cafes, in no particular order. Enjoy!
I know many locals consider Bubba’s to be the number one cafe on the island. And I can’t blame them. The products are excellent and the menu is refreshingly different and versatile: it makes your mouth water just by reading it. It caters for vegetarians and meat eaters, though it tends to lean on the former. I was happy to notice that they had added wine to the menu as well, so if you’d like to wash your tapas down with some vino, it is possible now.
I don’t find the inside decor of this Ban Tai cafe very inviting, to be honest. It’s not bad but it’s nothing special either, in my opinion. Therefore, I prefer the cozy patio on the street side. The only problem with this is that the noise can be pretty bad, to the point that you can’t hear what your comrade is saying. Unfortunately, this island gets its fair share of maniacs who speed like crazy with their motorbikes. If it’s high season or Full Moon period, it’s not always super pleasant having your tucker outside because of the noise. Or am I just getting old and complaining too much? That’s very much possible indeed.
A great thing about Bubba’s is that it organises small coffee tastings. They have their own coffee producers up North and the coffee coinneusers get to sample the new coffee flavours and learn more about coffee production. I was lucky enough to do a tasting a short while ago and I really enjoyed it. Learned so much about coffee from the jovial and welcoming owner, Robin. Send a message to Bubba’s on their FB page for more information.
Hundred Islands Coffee Bar
This place, which is situated in Ban Tai, but quite close to Thong Sala also, is really cute. Although it’s just by the road, the noise is not too bad. It’s actually quite nice looking at the people driving and passing by. Coffee here is a serious business so you can expect to get a good cuppa. You have your usual espressos, cappuccinos, the sweet Thai coffee, and if you like, they have percolating coffee as well, which has been popular in recent years among the mocca enthusiasts.
Ok, so the coffee here is good, but moreover, the banana pancakes here are the best on the island. They might actually be the best banana pancakes ever! Try them out and tell me if you agree with me. They have smoothies, cakes and food also.
Mon-Sat, 8.30-18, Sunday 8.30-17
A relative newcomer in Thong Sala, just like Doppio across the street. The rumors tell us that some digital nomads spent perhaps even a little bit too much time here with their laptops not that long ago (and perhaps not making enough purchases). Ooops!
The place has a nice, airy vibe to it with lots of natural light (think Scandinavian decor!). They have traditional, sugary cakes but also healthier versions. If you are not a cake person at all, you could try their sugarfree smoothies or delicious overnight oats. Vegans can have their lattes dairy free. It can be done with soy or almond milk.
I was happy to find out that they also serve decaf coffee here. This you don’t find in Thailand often. Moreover, if you fancy something cool, they have a variety of homemade icecreams with different flavors. I haven’t tried them yet, but next time I will, for sure.
Mon-Sat, 8.30-21, Sunday 9-18
Doppio is my favourite cafe when it comes to interior design. It is really inviting and I love the wooden chairs. This is the kind of ambiance in which I want to take my time and sit down for a little bit longer. Doppio is clearly more concentrated on coffees, other hot and cold drinks, such as chai or Thai tea. They have cakes, muffins and savory dishes, but the menu is not as extensive as for instance at Nira’s.
Nevertheless, service is friendly and fast so you can concentrate on your espresso experience. At Doppio, you can also sit on the bar stools which are facing a bustling street. It makes a good spot for people watching if you are by yourself. Doppio is situated in Thong Sala so it is quite close to the port and next to the food market, if you get peckish.
This place is an institution here on Koh Phangan. It is located very conveniently right off the port, so everyone who arrives here passes this just by meters. It is a proper bakery with fresh pastries, both salty and sweet, cakes, filled baguettes etc. You can buy delicious bread or rolls to take home if you’ve had enough of the cheap toast they sell everywhere on the island.
What’s more, they have healthy smoothies and fruit juices, nice cream (vegan icecream), both Western and Thai food. The breakfast menu is extensive and the prices are not too bad, in my opinion. Menus and coffees can be tailored to suit vegetarian/ vegan diets, as long as you remember to mention this beforehand. Wifi works good and service is friendly and waiters speak English. No wonder people keep returning to Nira’s!
This lovely cafe is situated in Sri Thanu, which is the yoga- new age hippie mecca of Koh Phangan. I actually did my yoga teacher training just around the corner. They have amazing raw food cakes and bliss balls, and I think the “Snickers” cake is just divine. I prefer to wash it down with a coconut milk cappuccino, and just to let you know, this coffee portion is fair, to say the least.
Here, they concentrate on food that nourishes you and is good for your body. Organic produce are used whenever possible. They have various vegetarian and vegan meals available and the decision what to eat will be hard because everything sounds so delicious. You could also try one of their healthy smoothies if you happen to be fasting or don’t feel like eating for some reason (which is crazy if you ask me).
Ok, so these were my favourite places for a little me time and mocca love. Let me know if your fave cafe is missing. Would be happy to hear which places you love most. The ultimate cafe guide is in the making actually. The only problem with that is that I have to sample the produce fair a bit, haha.
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