Thailand: A Vegan Paradise

Golden temples and tropical beaches are what you can’t miss in Thailand, that’s a given. However, did you know that the country also has an impressive vegan scene? Follow Vegan Kitty Cat’s journey to eateries in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Thailand is a country that keeps calling me back. I came here twice with family when I was young, but remembered nothing except for coconut water, Pad Thai, and having my hair braided on the beach. This visit is very different because it’s the first time I’m here as an adult, and as a vegan. I was worried if it’d be difficult to find plant-based food, but later realized there’s a plethora of vegan and vegetarian places just by browsing on Happy Cow. I should instead be worried about not having enough time to try it all!

I spent the majority of my time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Chang. The whole trip lasted 19 days, with 5 days in a meditation retreat in the countryside (I’ll write about this experience in a separate post). This list of eateries I like is by no means a comprehensive guide to vegan food in Thailand, but hopefully it’ll give you a glimpse of how easy it is to travel here as a vegan.

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Bangkok

Bangkok is the capital and the most populous city of Thailand. Be prepared to be amazed by the grandeur of the Grand Palace, the serenity of the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), and the vast variety of plant-based food.

May Veggie Home (vegan)

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Bangkok is known for its traffic jams, and I have to say it’s almost as bad as Beijing (or even worse). The first time I tried to come to May Veggie Home, it took me 2.5 hours in a Uber to go 12 kilometers. When I finally arrived at the restaurant, it was past 10pm and closed. But how can I come to Bangkok without dining here, after seeing what it has to offer on its website? The next day I came again and finally made it – and I’m glad I did. As an avid traveller and frequent visitor to vegan restaurants around the world, I have to say this is one of my top 5. Here you can find Thai, Indian and Western dishes with desserts and smoothies. Recommended dishes: Vegan Chicken Burger, Cocoa Rice Milk, Coconut Ice Cream, Chocolate Cake.

Phone # 089-0427215
Address: 8/3 Sukhumvit Soi 16 (Asoke-Sukhumvit Intersection), Ratchadapisek Road Klong Toei,Bangkok
http://mayveggiehome.com/


Ethos Vegetarian Restaurant (vegetarian)

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It’s almost a tragedy that I came here for afternoon tea right after having lunch, so there wasn’t much room left in my stomach. I had to skip their vegan lasagna and homemade tempeh. I was amazed by the strawberry pancake though, which was served with maple syrup, fruit, and coconut cream. If you ever visit here, let me know how other dishes are! Recommended dishes: Strawberry Pancake, Berry Smoothie, Hummus with Pita Bread. (No AC)

Phone # 02-2807549
Address: 85/2 Thanon Tanao, Wat Bowon Niwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
http://www.ethosnet.biz/


Mango Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurant (vegetarian)

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I had the best Pad Thai of my life here at Mango. Usually Pad Thai is served with scallion and bean sprouts, but this one is served with grated green mango on top, whose sourness goes perfectly with the tamarind sauce. The restaurant is located near the famous Khao San Road, which means if you get too full you can take a walk, do some shopping, or get a massage. There’s a super cute cat in the restaurant, too. Recommended dishes: Mango Pad Thai, Red Curry, Coconut Smoothie.

Phone # 082-4579071
Address: 19 Thanon Tanao, Wat Bowon Niwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Facebook.com/MANGO-Vegetarian-Vegan-Reastaurant-and-Art-Gallery-821759707838666/


May Kaidee (vegetarian)

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May Kaidee isn’t just a restaurant, but also a cooking school, with different locations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I wish I had time to learn how to make the Thai dessert Mango Sticky Rice. The restaurant also carries vegan Tom Yum paste and other pre-packaged ingredients for you to cook a nice Tom Yum soup at home. Recommended dishes: Green curry, Pad Thai.

Phone # 02-6294413
Address: 59 Tanao Road, Bang-lam-phu, Bangkok (Tanao)
https://www.maykaidee.com/

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Chiang Mai

As the biggest city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is MUCH less crowded and fast-paced than Bangkok. Here, you can rent a motorbike and stroll through the ancient city walls along the moat, or visit endless temples within the Old City. When renting a motorbike, try bargaining a bit, and know that it’s normal for them to keep your passport. I wasn’t comfortable when they asked for mine, but my boyfriend reassured me that it’s just their SOP.

Karma Kitchen (vegetarian)

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Karma Kitchen just opened in April this year so we were very lucky to come one month later. All vegan options are clearly marked. I had one of the best falafel sandwiches and the best hummus + peanut burger here. Another highlight of the restaurant is the two dogs and two cats resting on the floor, possibly right behind your chair. Don’t worry – they’re best friends and they don’t fight. Recommended dishes: Mushroom Burger, Hummus + Peanut Burger, Falafel Sandwich. (No AC)

Address: 27/2 Moon Muang Soi 9 Sriphum, Amphoe Muang Chiang Mai
Facebook.com/Karma-Kitchen-473499186184593/


Amrita Garden (vegetarian)

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If you’re craving for Japanese cuisine, this is the place for you. In addition to Japanese dishes, they also have spaghetti, burgers, and rice balls. I have to admit I came here three times over the course of three days. Something to keep note of is that the banner outside the restaurant says “vegan”, but it’s actually a vegetarian restaurant with milk and honey in some desserts and drinks. Remember to double-check with the staff before placing your order. Recommended dishes: Vegan Spaghetti, Temple Ribs, Soba Noodles, Thai Soy Milk Green Tea. (No AC)

Phone # 086-0539342
Address: 2/1 Soi 5 Samlan Rd. T phrasing, A muang, Chiang Mai
http://amritagarden.net/


Free Bird Cafe (vegetarian)

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The cafe is very small and I could have passed it without noticing, but once I walked in there, the pamphlet grabbed my attention immediately. It’s a cafe opened by an NGO “Thai Freedom House”, whose purpose is to help refugees from Myanmar by providing education for immigrant kids. The space upstairs is a learning center where kids learn English, Thai, or Chinese. A corner in the cafe is set up for selling donated goods, and they also sell handmade, cruelty-free mosquito repellent, facial masks and facial scrub.

The food is mostly Burmese style, with Western dishes such as sandwiches, pancakes, and smoothies. If you’re ever in Chiang Mai, why not stopping by, enjoying a nice meal and contributing to their meaningful cause? If you have clothing or books in good condition, you can also donate to them. Recommended dishes: Mango Smoothie, Hummus Eggplant Sandwich. (No AC)

Phone # 081-0285383
Address: 116 Maneenopparat Rd, Chiang Mai
Facebook.com/FreeBirdCafe/


Fuang Vegetarian (vegetarian)

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The Thai restaurant is located in a quiet alley with a relaxing vibe. The patty of their tofu burger is a piece of fried tofu, which I really liked. Recommended: Summer Rolls, Lentils with Bread, Tofu Burger. (No AC)

Phone # 085-640083
Address: Sri Poom 4 Alley, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai


Radiance Restaurant at the Pavana Chiang Mai Resort (vegan-friendly)

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The restaurant is inside a spa resort in the suburb of Chiang Mai, about 25 kilometers from the Old City. I only discovered this place because I was hiking in a nearby national park, but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of vegan options on the menu. Recommended: Raw Zucchini Lasagna, Veggie Fried Rice, Chocolate/Banana Almond Milk Smoothie. (No AC)

Phone # 053-920888
Address: 196 Moo 4 Tumbol Huay Sai, Amphoe Mae Rim
Facebook.com/radiance.restaurant.cnx/


Wrap & Roll Burritos (vegan-friendly)

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Just when I was telling my boyfriend that a night bazaar is probably not the best place to look for vegan food, I spotted this Wrap & Roll Burritos food stall with “vegetarian” and “vegan” written on the chalk board on the wall. So I was like, oh, never mind, found it! I’m not sure if this food stall will be there permanently though, so good luck!

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar location: Tha Phae Rd, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai

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The biggest good news for vegans is that you won’t starve in Thailand. Even if you can’t find any vegan or vegetarian restaurants, a regular restaurant can at least whip up some vegan Pad Thai or fried rice. Just be clear about your request (no meat, eggs, milk, fish sauce, shrimp sauce, etc.) Also, many restaurants in Thailand don’t have AC, so be prepared to be toasted if you came in the summer. When we were in Chiang Mai it was pretty much above 40 degrees C every single day.

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Tourism is a major source of income for Thailand, so it’s pretty easy to get around here speaking English. You can also find many kinds of dried fruits in convenient stores, so it won’t be a bad idea to prepare some snacks before you go on a long trip somewhere.

Share with me your favorite vegan eateries in Thailand by commenting below. 🙂

 

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