The tiny island of Koh Tao is bursting from end to end with backpackers and expats, which makes for an interesting mix of Thai culture and Western influences. Koh Tao isn't the place to go for a truly Thai experience, but if you're interested in hiking up the mountains of a teeny tiny island and getting a taste of the partying lifestyle of young backpackers, then add Koh Tao to your list of destinations. Its large expat population and constant stream of tourists keeps the island's culinary scene up to date and modern. You'll find sleek sushi spots, juice bars, and Irish pubs overflowing with joyful travelers. My friends and I snuck away from the main restaurants that line Saree Beach, and stopped at two unforgettable eateries.
When there's only one vegetarian restaurant on an entire island, you can bet your ass I'll be eating there. Babaloo is a ways away from the main town of Koh Tao, but the trek is super worth it! This beautiful restaurant is completely outdoors and is covered by a cabana style roof. Its twinkling lights and reggae music set the mood for a relaxed, delicious dinner. I ordered the Pad See Ew with no egg, which was super yummy, and the Panang Curry. Both were extremely tasty! Babaloo is off the beaten path but it's certainly worth a visit, especially for vegetarian and vegan travelers.
Chalok Baan Kao Beach, Koh Tao 84280, Thailand
Shalimar Indian Cuisine
I love good Indian food. It's flavorful, aromatic, and super filling--it doesn't get much better than that! Whenever my friends and I stumbled across Indian eateries during our travels, we almost always stopped in for a bite. Shalimar Indian cuisine is a beautiful, quiet restaurant with a variety of curries and masalas, many of which could be made vegan. The waitress spoke English really well and took my requests for no dairy and no butter quite seriously. I ordered the Aloo Gobhi, rice, and a side of chapati with no butter. It was SO good! Tons of flavor, huge chunks of potato, just the way I like it. It was such a filling and affordable meal.
Ban Ko Tao, Chumphon, Thailand