The Best Thai Islands and Locations for Vegans and Vegetarians
Which is the best area of Thailand for vegans to travel? After two months of consistent travel throughout this Southeast Asian country, I have put together my picks for the best to worst places to visit if you are vegan, vegetarian, or just plant-based. There are obviously many places in the country I was unable to visit but I tried to visit as many of the popular places as I could as well as enjoying some time off the beaten path and enjoying local experiences. Enjoy this vegan Thailand travel guide!
Thailand is an absolutely beautiful country with an incredibly rich history. This country has so much to offer, from luxury accommodations for the super wealthy to budget options for backpackers. The capital of Bangkok is one of the most energetic cities I’ve ever visited. From the energetic Bangkok to the quiet, secluded islands, this vegan Thailand travel guide has plenty to show you throughout this gorgeous country.
Along with most destinations below, I have included my own guides to my top restaurant choices for each area. Be sure to click on the destination title for more information!
1. Koh Samui
Koh Samui was by far my favorite island in Thailand for the vegan options alone. The island is one of Thailand’s busiest. Yoga retreats and fine dining is available, as well much more local restaurants serving up great vegan Thai food. The variety of options around the island was wonderful, even when at non-vegan restaurants. While not as busy as Phuket, Koh Samui is definitely a very lively island that has adopted Western influences while also remaining very classically Thai. Although Koh Samui may not be my overall favorite island, you can’t deny the amazing vegan food offered on this island.
2. Koh Phangan
This infamous party island offers up more than just the Full Moon Party. Vegan restaurants and yoga retreats are plentiful in a very convenient location to each other on Koh Phangan. Situated near each other, the vegan restaurants on this island make up an almost vegan village. If you’re are here for the full moon party, you’ll most likely stay on the southern end of this island. Most of the vegan restaurants and yoga spots are located just a short scooter ride away from where you’ll arrive by boat. Be sure to check out this amazing island.
3. Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta was by far the most chill, relaxed island that I visited during my entire trip. The island is rather large and very fun to ride a scooter around. The vegan options were pretty vast and delicious. The vegan restaurants on Koh Lanta offer less vegan Thai options, but instead more Western styled dishes. Be prepared for a slower pace when coming to Koh Lanta, as I feel everything on the island runs on “island time”. Koh Lanta is a great destination to visit if you have some extra time in your itinerary, but probably not worth a specific trip to come visit if you are pressed for time.
Railay Beach was without a doubt the highlight of my trip, but I can’t say the same about their vegan offerings. With only one true vegan restaurant, Railay is definitely lacking in the plant-based business. The nearby town of Ao Nang in the Krabi province was also rather limited on vegan options. The vegan options I found in Krabi were few and far between. The cliffs of Railay are definitely something everyone should come see when visiting Thailand, just don’t expect a great vegan scene in this area.
While I only spent a few days in Bangkok, the plant-based offerings were slightly underwhelming from what I was expecting. I’m sure there are great vegan restaurants in Bangkok, I simply did not have a chance to visit any. Walking around malls and city sights, the vegan options were not as plentiful as expected. I’m sure that if I had more time stay in Bangkok that I would’ve discovered many vegan restaurants to make me fall in love with this vegan Thailand destination.
We stayed in Phuket for two weeks and honestly were a bit disappointed. It may have been the specific area we stayed but the vegan options were extremely limited. When compared to the rest of Thailand, Phuket’s plant-based scene was almost non-existent. The vegan food we did have was not very good, and the island is so hectic that we found it hard to get from place to place easily. There are several vegan restaurants scattered throughout the island, but don’t expect to find many options at non-vegan restaurants. Although I’m sure Phuket offers many wonderful things, the veggie scene is not one of them.
Honorable Mention: Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a city located in northern Thailand and is renowned for being a holistic hot spot. Unfortunately I was unable to visit Chiang Mai during my trip due to time restraints. I have heard from countless people that Chiang Mai is one of the best regions of Thailand, and I truly believe them. The vegan options in Chiang Mai are plentiful just with a basic GoogleMaps search. Although I was unable to visit, Chiang Mai still deserved a mention in this guide. It definitely gives me a great reason to return to Thailand, if just to visit Chiang Mai!
Veggie Options Overview
Before coming to Thailand, I expected to be overwhelmed with a vast array of vegan/vegetarian options. The Thai islands are truly what makes this country so wonderful for vegan travelers. Almost like little oases, the islands listed above provided me with some of the most enjoyable vegan dining experiences of all my travels.
Obviously, there were many areas of Thailand that I was unable to visit. That being said, https://www.happycow.net/ is always a great resource when doing research about a specific area. Keep in mind that many restaurants in Thailand either don’t have any online presence at all or the information available is rather limited. For this reason, communicating with locals is always a great way to find out about additional veggie spots. The Thai people are very friendly and always willing to help!
I hope you enjoyed this vegan Thailand travel guide! I truly had the adventure of a lifetime exploring this country for two months and am so grateful for all of my experiences. This is a very exciting time to be a veggie, as veganism becomes more and more popular around the world. This trip was just the beginning of my travels throughout the world, and I’m so excited for what comes next.
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