Vegan Chiang Mai? I got you covered. I spent almost 3 months in Chiang Mai in January – February and May 2018, and I LOVED it so much I came back again in May. I wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype, but ultimately it did. My first month I wasn’t sure, but by the second month I made friends and found all my favorite places. I actually left, then came back because I liked it more than my other planned destination.
Now, I did a lot of stressing about my visit trying to figure out which areas to stay in, which serviced apartments to look at, what was normal to pay for things, etc. etc. Thus, while there are already a few vegan Chiang Mai Vegan guides out there, I’m hoping to make this the most comprehensive by also including info about where to stay, how to get around, how to meet people and some cool events to check out. Hopefully it helps you settle in even quicker than me.
As usual, if you have a tip, please send me a message and let me know!
Last updated: 28 June 2018
Index of Vegan Chiang Mai Guide
- Coliving Spaces
- Hotels and Hostels
- Serviced Apartments
- How to Get Around
- Burning Season
- Music and Open Mic
- Thai Cooking Class
- Community/Making Friends
- General Restaurants
- Healthy Food
- Food Stalls
- Mexican Food
- Thai Food
- Jay Restaurants
- Sweets and Bakery
Where to Stay in Chiang Mai
Hub53 – A coworking and coliving space near Nimman in Chiang Mai. I stayed here my third time visiting. The coworking space is great, even has a nap room and a massage chair. Coliving was pretty affordable, and everything you need included like fresh water, communal kitchen, coffee. My bathroom had a mildewy smell though and as it was on the ground floor, not as much light as in the picture. I think it’d be fine if you ask to be on the 2nd or 3rd floor though if that matters to you.
IN THE CITY Co-living and Co-working Space – Offers hostel and private room option. Breakfast is included and all-vegetarian. Right in the Old Town so near lots of vegan spots. Great for digital nomads visiting Chiang Mai.
Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort (Thapae Gate area) – This place is an ALL-vegetarian hotel and I stayed two nights while in Chiang Mai. Their breakfast is 95% vegan and includes stuff like waffles, pancakes, fruit bar, fried rice, pad see ew, toast with homemade peanut butter, soymilk for coffee, various juices, etc. It’s pretty epic. They also have a pool and in general it’s pretty lux for starting at 60€ per night. You can read my full review post here (click image):
Nourish Vegan Bed and Breakfast – A new vegan accommodation that popped up. Great if you’re visiting Chiang Mai for a shorter time and want to be smack dab in the Old Town near a ton of vegan restaurants and cafes. Various room setups starting at around 40€ per night.
Green Tiger Vegetarian House (Booking.com / Agoda) – They have both dorm rooms and various sizes of private rooms and all food is served at the all-vegan Reform Kafe downstairs. I tried to book them a few nights last minute, but they were all full, which is a good sign I guess! I bumped into another vegan who said he loved it there. Reform Kafe itself is excellent, so I imagine they are great! Price for a dorm room starts at around 10€ per night, private room around 50€ per night.
Nice view at Green Tiger Vegetarian Guest House, attached to Reform Kafe, one of my fav vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai
Dozy House (Booking.com / Agoda) – A friend stayed here and vouched for it, private rooms only. Said it’s really friendly, good location, living space and little restaurant onsite. Nice clean rooms, AC, in the Old Town so walking distance to many vegan places and it’s right across from the Healing House open-mic, which I love! Rooms start at 15€ per night.
Rumpai Loft Habitat (Booking.com / Agoda) – This one is a bit far out if you don’t ride a motorbike (or get a bicycle or take taxis), but it’s GORGEOUS. A friend stayed here and raved about it, plus you get a mountain view from the rooms. It’s quite cheap to book them monthly, but you can book shorter-term as well for a bit more money.
How freaking gorgeous is this room at Rumpai Loft?!
Thunder Bird Hostel (Booking.com / Agoda) – I went to a few events here and can vouch it’s a nicely designed, clean space. They also have labeled vegan options on their menu at the restaurant/bar onsite, a nice big kitchen and piano for guests. Plus it’s close to stuff. A bed in the dorm starts at around 5€ per night.
La Bella Nuit House (Booking.com / Agoda) – I didn’t end up staying here, but it was recommended to me by fellow vegan Ryan Patey and I ended up walking past it every day. They have various private rooms as well as shared dorms. It’s a good location and good price. If you get the nicest private room with balcony, just be aware it overlooks a major road. A bit cheaper on Agoda usually that booking or the other websites I found so compare both above. I researched it thoroughly, but they ended up being booked out as I waited until the absolute last minute. It’s just outside of Nimman so you can get over to Maya mall for the best veg food court stall there and the rest of Nimman.
Outside of La Belle Nuit House in Chiang Mai
Looking for more places to stay in Chiang Mai? If you’re staying a few weeks or less, Agoda is probably your best bet. I’ve compared prices between the search engines as I travel, and while I usually recommend Booking.com, Agoda has been consistently cheaper for me throughout Asia. Here’s a search box for Chiang Mai for you to browse:
(If you book through one of my links I generate a small affiliate commission. This goes towards paying hosting fees, etc. of the blog. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can just head to booking.com directly.)
If you’re staying at least a month in Chiang Mai, it will be much cheaper and nicer to rent a serviced apartment. Prices range from around 5000 (130€) to 20,000+ baht per month. It’s best to book an AirBnB or hotel the first couple nights and then go view the apartments in person. My experience in SE Asia so far is that the pictures often don’t match the reality. You’ll want to do an internet speed test when you visit, and you get a better idea of what you can get for X amount of money so you don’t get overcharged. The supply is more than the demand, so even in the high season (January) you will likely find something. I arrived in January and a lot WAS already booked, but it worked out in the end and I still had a few options to choose from.
I looked at about 30 places on one day, the day after I arrived. Here’s my recommendations of my favorites around Nimman. Keep in mind, I was looking for the cheaper end of the spectrum, max 10,000 baht. For all of these, best to look them up in Google and just show up during regular business hours.
Bahn Thai – This is the standard that everyone recommends and one of the cheapest. Rooms start at around 5000 baht per month, around 130€, not including bills. They also have a pool. They are not fancy but they have everything you need. Especially if you don’t choose the cheapest room they have it’s fine. Only downside is their internet is slow. This can be worked around if you just get a good unlimited data sim card for your phone and tether to this. I did this often around Thailand and when Skyping my parents they even said it was a better connection than I ever had with them on wifi in Germany! You can also just go to one of the internet companies and buy a router and plan with then if you’re staying a few months or more. They’ll come install it just in your room and it’ll be faster than Bahn Thai’s.
Huay Kaew Residence – This is another one of the cheaper ones. When I went, they had only the cheapest rooms available, starting at around 6,000 baht for a month. These rooms were totally fine, but I was aiming for slightly nicer and the 8,000 baht rooms were all booked. They have a TON of rooms though so probably there’s always at least something free here. They’re in between Nimman and Old Town.
SG Residence – This was on the higher end of my budget, but was the nicest and highest value for money of any that I visited at around 9,000 baht per month (including internet and not including bills). They also have a gym on site. Wifi was around 20 down, 15 up or so. It’s not right in the action like Baht Thai, but still only about a 10 minute walk from Maya Mall.
Rumpai Loft – This place is a little further out by the airport, so if you don’t ride a motorbike or use taxis often might be a pain…but…it is GORGEOUS. With beautiful mountain views from the window. A friend stayed here and raved about it and it looks so amazing I’ll probably try and stay here next time I’m in Chiang Mai. My friend said they paid 6000 baht per month so quite affordable. If you want to stay less than a month you can book via booking.com here.
More than 10,000 baht (260€) but I visited or heard good things about:
Green Hill Place – I few of my friends stayed here and said good things. They have an apartment started at around 12,000 I believe, but the cheaper ones were booked when I went.
The Nimmana – I spent a lot of time here as a friend lived here. I swam in the awesome pool, used the gym, and the sauna onsite, so can definitely vouch that the apartments here are nice! Plus it’s right in the action of Nimman, but down a peaceful side street so still chill.
Here are some other places to look at on your search, of varying prices:
Doi Mansion, Pansook 1 & 2, Chiang Mai Rose House, Huay Kaew Place, Sakulchai Place, The Siri, V Residence, Ing-Place, The Dome Residence
I know I just wanted to know where to even look when I arrived, as a lot of places don’t have websites. I suggest you bookmark them all in google maps and just make the rounds when you arrive. Note: These are all in or near Nimman, simply because that’s where I wanted to live. Obviously there’s lots more options in other areas of the city if you’re into that. I mostly found places to visit by doing a lot of zooming in to google maps and just walking around the streets.
Songthaew – If you’re in or near the Old Town, Nimman or one of the main roads going to these places, the best way to get around is by Songthaew. These are red converted pick-up truck busses. They’re sort of a cross between a bus and a taxi. You hail them and say where you want to go (best to just use a local landmark like one of the temples, moat gates, major road names, etc.). They will tell you yes or no depending on if it fits with the routes of the other people in the back (or maybe they just don’t wanna do there).
During the day and early evening, you should only pay 30 baht. Lots of them will ask you for much more, around 100-200 baht. Don’t accept this, just say 30 and turn them down if they want more and hail the next one. If you’re staying in the touristy area of the city (near Thapae Gate), just walk a bit out of there to the moat and it’s easier to get a Songthaew for cheaper. At night after partying they will cost more 50-80ish. Don’t ever pay more than that, really. If they ask for more than 80 and you can’t find one for less, it’s cheaper just to take a Grab or Uber. When you have more than 1 person going the same place you can negotiate more with them too. I love the Songthaews and saved a lot of money taking them. Don’t be afraid to try them!
Grab – If you’re going a bit further out of the moat, traveling with a couple other people, or traveling late at night, best to take a Grab. Just sign up for the app with your card. Usually it’s only 1-2€ one-way to get anywhere. I even took a Grab to the music festival I went to in the mountains for about 6€.
Bike – You can rent a bike and get around that way. If you’re just a casual cycler, check out the bikeshare Mobike. You can download their app here. It’s 150 baht for 30 days or 250 baht for 90 days unlimited use. To me that’s basically free. I started using it my third time in Chiang Mai and it’s amazing and so convenient.
Motorbike – Lots of people also rent motorbikes, but technically you need a motorcycle license for this. If you already have one you just need to get the international license. The police DO check the licenses in speed traps relatively frequently though, and I saw lots of tourists pulled over. There’s also a lot of traffic, so I mostly walked everywhere if it was 30 minutes or less away. If you want to learn to drive a motorbike, or just feel you need a little practice before hopping on, my friend Janni gives lessons. She’s fantastic, affordable, and trained me to drive for my future travels to more rural locations.
Bus – Okay, there is a bus…but I spent 45 minutes searching the internet, downloading apps and reading official websites and still couldn’t figure out how to ride it. Even a new bus to and from the airport! Hopefully they integrate it with Google Maps soon so it’s actually user-friendly.
From mid-February until the rainy season begins sometime in April there is burning season in all of northern Thailand. The farmers burn crops to prepare for the next season and the air gets way more polluted and smoky. I’m generally pretty immune to this kind of thing, but towards the end of February it even started to affect me a bit. Plenty of people stay, but if you have asthma or something like that you probably don’t want to come during this time. If you stay the whole season, you should probably invest in a mask to filter out the pollution for any longer periods outdoors.
I see a lot of people asking “When exactly is burning season?!” in forums. It’s not really a planned thing on a certain date. It just happens whenever it happens when the farmers begin to start burning. When I researched it, the internet said it starts in March, but by mid-February when I was there it was already pretty bad.
You shouldn’t drink from the tap in Thailand. It’s fine for brushing your teeth, but not regular drinking. That leaves you with several options depending on where you’re staying. A lot of condos have water delivery, so you can ask to have that. Then you get bottles and return them when you’re done to get new ones. You can buy bottled water, but that’s bad for the environment. Lots of places I stayed didn’t have water delivery, so I generally bought one bottle from 7-11 then refilled it in the water machines scattered around the street. Just make sure the one you choose looks like it’s maintenanced, as an unchanged filter could lead you to an afternoon in the toilet if you’re not careful. I never had an issue, but I tend to have a stomach of steel.
Refilling my water from one of the water machines on the street. Filling this big bottle only cost 2 baht.
Okay, there are a bazillion cafes in Chiang Mai and a lot of them have some type of non-dairy milk so these are just the ones I went to. It’s also hard for me most of the time to clarify between cafe and restaurant as most of the cafes serve food. So it’s just the coffee-focused ones here and the others are in the restaurants section.
Vegan Thailand Note: Be careful as some types of Lactasoy actually contain milk. Lactasoy is one of the cheapest soymilks so lots of places have it. Some of their varieties are vegan, but some are not. The normal blue box one has milk powder in it. There’s a collagen one that I imagine is also not vegan. I’ve drank the essential amino acids one though (pinkish box) and that seems to be vegan from the ingredient label.
Art Cafe and Roastery (Chang Phueak) – I stumbled upon this place near my house and was super excited to find a little wild-looking bird who lives there! The bird is just flying around the cafe singing and also tried to steal my almond milk. Their coffee is really good too. They have food as well, but I don’t think it’s vegan so I never looked. I always just went for coffee. Beautiful light cafe space inside, tucked back a little bit from the street.
Thai Iced Coffee with Almond/Soymilk, plus the local resident bird who also wanted some.
The Baristro (Nimman) – This is a pretty fancy coffee place. None of the baked goods are vegan, but you can get vegan coffees and the interior is chill and a nice place for working. They had some of the most interesting and weird coffees I saw anywhere. I got this one with espresso and coconut water and it was SO good.
HOW FANCY IS THIS YO?! This coffee from The Baristro was SO GOOD. Tons of coconut water in there and coconut shavings!
The London Tearoom (Nimman) – Lots of teas, coffees and they always have at least one vegan cake! Inside sort of feels like someone’s living room, but cosy!
Coconut cappuccino and vegan chocolate fudge cake from he London Tea Room
Nine One Coffee (Nimman)
Thai Iced Coffee from Nine One Coffee. I don’t remember if it was with soy or coconut milk, but it was tasty and I liked the espresso ice cube touch! I popped in here to do work on their wifi for an hour or so one day.
Blue Diamond (Old Town) – You’ll also find this place under bakery below, but they’re a greta cafe too. Really nice outdoor garden, and indoor spots too.
Iced Americano and Coconut Cinnamon Bun from Blue Diamond
Avocado Tempeh Salad from Blue Diamond
What to Do in Chiang Mai
The Healing House – I accidentally stumbled upon a Healing House open mic at the Woke Folks Festival and was astounded my how badass and great the talent is here. The organizers here also have a major role in planning the Jai Thep festival, and do weekly open mics on Fridays. Check their Facebook paged linked here for latest events.
Thursday Jam Session at The Edge – This one tends to be more rock focused. I went to an event here and it was pretty good, they also do parties and such.
North Gate Jazz Co-Op – This place is always PACKED, but the quality of the music here is REALLY good. Worth checking out at least once. Maybe get there a bit earlier to grab a seat.
Hike Doi Suthep – The easiest trail to do near Chiang Mai is the Monk’s Trail / Pilgrim’s Trail up Doi Suthep. You can look it up online, or go to Basecamp Coffee near the bottom of the mountain who can help you figure out where to go.
When a friend and I went, we were lucky enough that it was cherry blossom season, so we took an extra trip once at the top toward Sakura, where we got to see some of these pretty cherry blossoms in a Hill Trive village. Funnily enough, after our Uber stranded us in the middle of the mountain due to the difficult roads, we ended up hitchhiking in the back of a pickup truck with a bunch of monks, then with a Thai couple who drove us all the way back down.
Cherry blossoms up in the mountains.
Take a trip to Pai – Pai is a super hippy backpacker town in northern Thailand. You can get there from Chiang Mai in a minivan for about 4€ each way. It’s a very, very winding ride, so take motion sickness pills if you get carsick. It’s pretty touristy, but absolutely worth a visit. I recommend staying slightly out on the other side of the river from the walking street. I had some of the best vegan food in Thailand in Pai, and their walking street market is SO fun, with SO much good vegan stuff. Plus the nature is absolutely beautiful, and the bungalow I stayed in was so chill. I will definitely be going back. Here’s my full post on how I found my inner hippy in Pai and all the vegan food I ate.
How I spent my entire time in Pai, Thailand. Chilling in a hammock in beautiful nature and eating epic vegan food.
May Kaidee Cooking School – A vegan Chiang Mai must. This is the most well-known vegetarian and vegan cooking course in Chiang Mai, and the one I did. I very much enjoyed it, and really felt like I was able to recreate the dishes on my own after doing it. Plus, they give you a little cookbook to take home with all the recipes at the end! They are all-vegetarian, you just have to specify vegan as there’s 1-2 dishes that would have egg. Highly recommended. Besides the general Thai cooking course, they offer several special ones on their website too, and also courses in Bangkok.
My lovely Thai cooking teacher at May Kaidee! I ended up having a private lesson! Was so much fun even if I look like a hot mess here.
Here’s what we made:
From left clockwise: papaya salad, fresh spring rolls, pumpkin hummus with cucumber and rice cakes. Sticky rice dyed with butterfly pea flower in the middle.
From bottom left clockwise: Pad Thai, peanut sauce, massaman curry, brown rice. We also made our own tom yam paste, which is in all of these dishes.
Mango sticky rice with banana and coconut. Surprisingly easy to make.
If you want to see quick videos of the cooking process, check out my Thai Cooking Highlight on Instagram (only works on phone).
Morning Glory Cooking Class – I didn’t do this one, but a friend did and enjoyed it! My understanding of the major differences are that you don’t make each dish yourself in this course. While you make a lot more dishes than the may Kaidee course, preparation is spread between the group and you just get a few to make each. They also do a market tour as part of this one to show you what herbs and veggies to buy at a local market. Their website is not super user-friendly so might be best to just ask them about it while eating there if you can’t figure it out.
Fruit Winter Fest – I didn’t go to this, but I bumped into a lot of vegans who did my first week or so in Chiang Mai. It seems to happen in early January and is a festival centered around fruit. It is comprised of public meetups and two private retreats. The intention behind Fruit Winter Festival (FWF) is to bring together people from all walks of life who are interested in improving their health and deepening their relationship with themselves and others.
Jai Thep – Usually at the very beginning of February, this is a small, amazing music festival in the mountains outside of Chiang Mai. It was actually my first ever music festival, and it was amazing. Plus, it worked out to about 33€ with camping for the whole weekend, and there were plenty of delicious vegan food options. There was a stage with drum n bass, one more minimal techno, a stage for live music, an open mic stage that anyone could use and a chill out stage. They even had a portable planetarium, and my favorite part…lots of hammocks spread around to chill in.
My happy place in a hammock at the Jai Thep festival.
Shambala In Your Heart – Another festival, this one happened in mid-February when I was in Chiang Mai, about 1.5 hours away. While Jai Thep is more like a mini Burning Man, Shambala is longer at 10 days and a bit more chill. I didn’t go to this either, but from what my friends said it’s more DIY. Anyone with a ticket can sell things or host a workshop, and that’s the core of the event. So less a music/dancing focus and more focus on the workshops, yoga, and events.
Chiang Mai Nomad Girls – If you identify as female, this group is great. Additionally, every Wednesday there is a Chiang Mai Nomad Girls meet up at Free Bird Cafe from 12:00 – 14:00. I went a bunch of times and always met a few cool people. Just pop by and sit down at the table, it’s obvious which one. It’s only for women, and comes from the Facebook group of the same name. There are other events organized by the group as well, like a board game night, just click the link and have a browse in the events section.
Lesbians in Chiang Mai Facebook Group – If you’re a queer woman, check out this group. I attended a meet up when I first arrived and then just decided to host my own meetups for several weeks, and that’s how I met a lot of people. My last weeks in Chiang Mai someone started an LGBT Saturdays meet up at Corner Cafe as well. It’s also posted in the group, so have a browse there.
LGBTQ Chiang Mai Facebook Group – The one that’s not just for women. Not quite as active while I was there, but still a good place to post to meet people or check for events.
Vegetarian and Vegan Chiang Mai Facebook Group – The group itself isn’t always hella active, but if you post people always answer. I ended up tagging along for a lunch after someone posted asking if anyone wanted to meet up. The people there were really cool, and we ended up hanging out trying out different vegan restaurants, some went on hikes, etc. the rest of my time in Chiang Mai. Don’t be afraid to post yourself if no one else is!
Corner Bistro LGBTQ Night – Every Saturday at the bar Corner Bistro there’s an LGBT night for men, women, and anyone in between. There is usually some sort of game like Family Feud or a Pub Quiz and then dancing later on. Everyone is super friendly. It happens every Saturday, but they usually post each new event in the LGBTQ Chiang Mai group as well.
S.W.E.E.T. Organization – My housemate and her friends started up this organization while I was there and it’s going strong. The focus on events for empowering women, but also have some LGBT events too. So far I’ve seen stuff like rooftop movie nights, women’s breakdancing camp, trans and drag experience, LGBT dinners, and they plan to do some mountain biking camps and retreats, etc. I believe men can attend the events, but the topics tend to be on women’s empowerment. Anyway, check them out as I watched them put a lot of passion into this project and it looks rad!
Chiang Mai Bread (delivery and shop in Wat Ket, southeast of the moat) – If you’ll be in Chiang Mai a couple weeks or longer, DEFINITELY order from Chiang Mai Bread. It’s another vegan Chiang Mai must. Not only is their bread fantastic, but they also have vegan cheese, kombucha, kimchi, hummus, nutritional yeast, and more. It’s only 50 baht for delivery, so unless you live near their shop, probably cheaper just to have it delivered. To place an order, just message them on their facebook page here. Their full product list is also on their facebook page.
From top left: Vegan Muenster on regular sourdough bread, vegan kimchi, vegan butter on cinnamon raisin cashew sourdough, dill havarti on regular sourdough and leyden (with cumin and caraway seeds) on regular sourdough.
Close up of the vegan muenster cheese from Chiang Mai Bread. It was my favorite one!
Vegan butter from Chiang Mai Bread. This was also one of my favorite things I ordered from them. It was perfect.
Baan Suan Pak Store – I didn’t order from them myself, but I saw them recommended in one of the Chiang Mai groups. They have lots of health food items for good prices, in case you’re in Chiang Mai for a bit and looking for some harder to find stuff, or just don’t feel like scouring the city.
7-11 (everywhere) – Okay not really a grocery store, but this convenience store is EVERYWHERE and there are a few vegan options there. If you check the freezer, they have a vegan noodle dish and a vegan rice dish. Just look for the jay symbol. They’ll also heat it up for you there if you need. I also spotted some vegan Hersheys cookies and cream and chocolate soy milk, and you can get vegan Oreos, chips, etc. there. Shoutout to Ryan from T.O.F.U. Magazine for this tip!
Vegan Frozen Vermicelli Dish with mock abalone from 7-11
This coconut milk, red bean and black sticky rice popsicle is vegan and delicious. There are a few other vegan flavors, but not ALL are vegan so read the ingredients.
This vegetarian steamed bun from 711 is also vegan
Crossfit Chiang Mai – I’m not hardcore enough, but a lot of people recommended this crossfit place to me when I was asking around about gyms. They said it’s also quite social and easy to make friends there. If crossfit is your thing or you wanna make it your thing, worth a try!
Yoga in the Park – Every single day at 9am there is yoga in Nong Buak Hard Park in the southwest corner of the Old Town. You can just show up. Bring a mat if you have one, or a towel if you don’t have one. Otherwise I think you can rent a tatami mat for 10 baht in the park. If you’re a yoga teacher, you can also message the admins of the Facebook group and they’ll schedule you in.
Doi Suthep Walkers – This one is for the diehard hikers among you. They organize a hike every Saturday. They alternate a hard one with a less hard one. The ones I saw in general while I was there were mostly pretty intense, so it’s not for the unfit, and make sure you read the full description of each hike to make sure it’s right for you. They do go on some really cool hikes, and the admins of the group seem really knowledgable. Although I am semi-fit, I was too intimidated to go on one of the official hikes, so I ended up organizing an easier hike in the comments of someone’s post instead. You can post if you’re looking for people to do the Monk’s/Pilgrim’s trail with you, then just go to Basecamp Coffee shop and they can help you figure out the route (it’s also clear from Google Maps). From that coffee shop you can walk to the mountain.
Fitness Thailand – You can get a day pass here for 200 baht (about 5€). They have a full gym with sauna, steam room, loads of machines and classes, etc. Bring your own lock for the lockers. They do the Les Mills classes Body Pump, and Body Combat, as well as yoga, Streetstyle Jazz, spinning, abs classes, etc. They even have a boxing ring.
Tyrone’s 80s Aerobic Fitness Classes – OMG, this is a MUST DO in Chiang Mai. It’s not an especially hard work out, but so much fun, and such a unique exercise class. In case you always wondered what it was like to be in a Jane Fonda video…
To be honest, I was horrible at making the most of the massage scene in Thailand. I only got 3 massages in two months, haha. If you don’t know what a Thai massage is, do a bit of research online first. It’s very different from what we usually think of as a massage in the West, and sort of like a workout, haha. Oil Massages are the ones that we’d normally get in the US, UK, Germany, etc.
Herbal Steam House – I didn’t go hear, but saw it recommended over and over again. They have private herbal steam room cabins that you can use in addition to massage. I meant to get there, but just never got around to it. Next time! Just look up “Herbal Steam House” on Google Maps. They don’t seem to have a website.
Women’s Massage Center by Ex-Prisoner – I also didn’t go here, but heard a lot about it and it seems like a good concept.
Candy’s Cosmetics and Spa – This is apparently THE place for facials. I had never gotten a facial before and wanted to try it so went here. It was super nice and they gave me tea and overall a pleasant experience. They have a lot of different ones to choose from. Now that my curiosity is satisfied though, not sure it’s a thing I’ll spend money on often.
Santra Massage – I got a really great foot and leg scrub done here. I’m not sure if this is actually the same, and no search results are turning up on Google, but it said Santra on the wall. Anyway, it’s right by Reform Kafe on the main road. If you’re going north on Sri Poom Lane 7, make a right onto the main road, Sri Poom Rd, and it’s the first massage parlor you come across on your right, just a 1-2 minute walk.
Warorot Market (near Thapae Gate) – This is the most popular market. It’s definitely worth a look around, and there’s ha very affordable vegan jay stall on the ground floor for food. After I was in Chiang Mai a bit longer though, locals let me know this market was actually more expensive since so many tourists go there. Still, it won’t break the bank.
Warorot Market from above
Takeout food from the jay vegan stall at Warorot market. It’s on the ground floor in a corner.
Chang Khian Market Fruit & Vegetables (Chang Phueak) – This was a nice market near where I lived along the street selling fruits, vegetables, tofu, noodles, spices, etc. Super affordable and local stuff. I’d often buy an entire week’s worth of vegetables and tofu for a few euros. Everyone told me it’s cheaper to eat out in Thailand. While it is cheap, I don’t think that’s true. Not if you shop at these kind of local markets at least!
My haul from the Chang Khian Market: Glass noodles, broccoli, red pepper, potatoes, onion, carrot, bok choy, mushrooms and fresh tofu. I believe this came to around 100 baht.
Monday Farmer’s Market Chang Phueak (Chang Phueak) – Another one from where I lived. Every Monday a lot behind where my house was filled up with stalls. You can get a lot of fruits and veggies, tofu, etc. here for super cheap. Be warned, there’s some stalls with vats of fish that they kill fresh for customers so that’s not so pleasant. The farmer’s market is in google so you can look it up there for the exact location.
Muang Mai Market (Chang Moi) – My cooking teacher from my May Kaidee cooking class recommended this market to me as being the cheapest and best for fruits and veggies. It was on the other side of the city from me (near Warorot), so unfortunately I never made it. Apparently you can get a kilo of mangos for 40 baht there.
A good resource in addition to this page is the Veggie in Chiang Mai website and Facebook page. On the Facebook page especially she posts vegan events, up-to-date info about markets with vegan stalls, and sales and discount at vegan places.
General Vegan Options in Chiang Mai
Shan Vegan Food (Chang Pueak) – This one was new since my first time in Chiang Mai, so some friends and I drove to check it out. It’s quite far from the center, so you’ll need to take a taxi or a motorbike. It’s also really hard to find! They had no sign at all out front so we drove past it three times until my friends called them and the woman stood out on the street so we could find her. Food was good though! It’s kinda like being in someone’s living room. It’s Shan Burmese style food. Maybe since it’s new they’ll make it easier to find them soon. Anyway, if you’re in the area or up for an adventure worth a trip, otherwise I’d focus on the places in town first.
Shan Vegan Food Salad Rolls
Shan Noodles – tasted like pasta with red sauce, but I really enjoyed it!
My favorite salad, Burmese Tea Lead Salad. So umami and good.
Moreganic Restaurant (Old Town) – This is the restaurant affiliated with the all-veg hotel Away Chiang Mai Thapae Gate. You can read my review of the hotel here. I organized a vegan meetup here to try this place out. Their Khao Soi is pretty great. It’s on the more expensive end, but hey, sometimes you need that.
Khao Soi from Moreganic Restaurant – this one was pretty great
Tofu skewers from Moreganic Restaurant
Ama’s Vegan Kitchen (north of Old Town) – A bit far out, but pretty yummy. There are a LOT of mosquitos there so come prepared. Someone told me there is one room you can asked to be in that’s closed off, but I didn’t know to look when I went. Apparently there are one of the only actually organic vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai, as most that say they are organic aren’t actually and just buy their food from the regular market. They have a vegan egg!
The aforementioned vegan egg along with fried rice. Tastes more like potato, but good!
My friend’s tofu dish from Ama’s Vegan Kitchen
The salad rolls we shared from Ama’s Vegan Kitchen. Yes, they were as small as they look, haha.
Pink House Garden (South Gate) – One for the people in the south! Once I learned this place had multiple vegan cakes, I had to go. So I organized a vegan meetup there. The cakes are good! Food is good too, and nice atmosphere. You get free tea as well!
Bad photo of my massaman curry with added tempeh from Pink House Garden. One of the few places with tempeh in Chiang Mai.
One of the vegan cakes at Pink House Garden. This one is chocolate, they also had a coconut one and something with passionfruit.
Pun Pin (multiple locations) – They have two locations, one by the airport and one by the south gate. I went to the airport one. I really didn’t like my mushroom larb burrito, but maybe I just chose wrong.
Mushroom Larb burrito – way too lemongrass-y for me
The Falafelist (Old Town) – The only place worth going for falafel and hummus in Chiang Mai. Still not quite Berlin standards for me, but hits the spot. And they have vegan cake too!
Falafel Salad and Falafel Platter from The Falafelist
Amrita Garden (Old Town) – This place has tons of fermented stuff and is known for their vegan cheeses. They have the most vegan cheeses from anywhere I’ve seen, including a vegan cheese platter. They were out of a lot of them the day we went, but in general the food was and looked amazing. I’d sad I only went on one of my last days as there’s def more stuff I wanna try!
Amrita Garden Burger
Tempeh Wings from Amrita Garden
Amrita Garden Eggplant Lasagna – No noodles in this, but I tried a bite and it was delish.
Reform Kafe (Old Town) – This place has the best vegan Khao Soi I had in Chiang Mai, hands down. Also best portion sizes. I went here at least 4 times and loved it. They also have a guest house above so if you’re looking for a place to stay in Chiang Mai and want to love above a great vegan cafe (with included breakfast there!) scroll up to the “Where to Stay” section above. Anyway, Reform is great. Go there.
The aforementioned best vegan Khao Soi in Chiang Mai from Reform Kafe. Plus a Thai Iced Tea with coconut milk bonus. 🙂
The Green Tiger Salad had avocado and potato in it. Super yum. Also a basic, but really good and savory vegetable tofu noodle soup. Both from Reform Kafe.
Mango Sticky Rice from Reform Kafe
Sometimes you just have a dessert craving, you know? This banana pancake with chocolate coconut ice cream from Reform Kafe was great.
Food4Thought (Chang Phueak) – This is a mixture of western and Asian food with lots of vegan options, including vegan cheese. Nice big garden space too. They’re supposed to have a great tofu scramble burrito for breakfast, but I never got there before dinner. Lots of meet ups are held here, too. A bit pricier, but good food. The Burmese Tea Leaf Tofu wrap was my favorite thing I got there.
Tofu Burrito with added vegan cheese from Food4Though
My Secret Cafe in Town (Old Town) – I wouldn’t recommend making a special trip for this place as they don’t have many vegan options, but if you’re traveling with non-vegans and just need to know there’s something for you, try here. It’s a cafe and bar, nice space, and they also have lots of live music. The employees speak English really well and can chat to you about what can be veganized. Vegan items labeled on the menu, too.
Vegan tofu and noodle dish from My Secret Cafe in Town. Must specify “no egg”.
Cat House (Old Town) – The quality and freshness of the food here is AMAZING. They also have a “Cat Shack”, which I haven’t been to. There are not really cats, just a cat theme, hah. Cat House also catered the festival I went to, Jai Thep, and I ate their food every day. Not all vegan, but their vegan options are TASTY.
Vegan Vietnamese pancake from Cat House. Huge and SO GOOD.
Vegan Heaven (near Thapae Gate) – Mixture and western and Thai food. They also do vegan breakfast plates, so a good option for brunch. I found the Pad See Ew to be a bit bland, but the fried mushrooms and breakfast plate I had were yummy.
Pad See Ew and Fried Mushrooms from Vegan Heaven
Vegan English Breakfast from Vegan Heaven, comes with coffee – Go for their Western food, not their Thai food.
Taste From Heaven (Old Town, Thapae Gate) – Same owners as Vegan Heaven I believe, similar menus. Everyone kept telling me about their brownie, so I had to go check it out. Good place for vegan fast food and western-style breakfast, too.
Vegan Fried Chicken Wrap and Papaya Salad with Tofu from Taste From Heaven
Vegan Brownie with Ice Cream from Taste From Heaven – It was more on the cakey side, but still yummy.
ImmAim Vegetarian and Bike Cafe (Santitham) – This place was constantly raved about to me. Unfortunately I was already pretty full when I got there so I just had a (yummy) salad. They’re known for their special pad thai, which is cooked with coconut milk.
I think this was green mango salad if I remember correctly! It was really yummy!
Khun Khae’s Juice Bar (Old Town) – This place does fresh and cheap smoothies and smoothie bowls. I believe my smoothie bowl was only 60 baht. Cheapest smoothie bowl in Chiang Mai.
Cacao smoothie bowl from Khun Khae’s Juice Bar with mango subbed for banana
Alice’s Restaurant (Old Town, Thapae Gate) – They have fish on the menu, but plenty of vegan and even raw options, like raw sushi. They’re walking distance from Away Chiang Mai Thapae, the all-vegetarian hotel I stay at (see above) if you happen to be in the area. The focus of their menu is healthy food.
Mango and brown rice salad with spring rolls from Alice’s Restaurant
Raw vegan brownie from Alice’s Restaurant
Happy Green Restaurant (Pa Daet area) – This one is quite far out but worth the Grab or Uber ride at least once. For 120 baht you get access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s all Thai food, but I put it in the healthy section as everything is quite healthy. We have people in our group who were gluten-free and some even oil free and they managed to find something. They have several curries, a couple soups, fresh spring rolls and a big vat of steamed pumpkin, sweet potato and veggies when we went. You can also see a view of the river and a beautiful temple from the seating area at the back. Pretty great! We went with a group of 10 or so people from the Vegetarian and Vegan Chiang Mai facebook group.
View of one section of the buffet at Happy Green Restaurant
Free Bird Cafe (North Gate area) – This place has gluten-free stuff, smoothie bowls, pancakes, salads, salad platters, desserts and coffees. All profits go to a good local cause. They have a charity shop in the back, in case you need some new clothes or need to donate some from your carry-on. Freebird also focuses more on sustainability, they sell bamboo straws and cutlery, natural bug spray, lip balm, soaps, etc. and use them themselves. Products are all made my locals. At the time of writing, the Chiang Mai Nomad Girls Meetup met here every Wednesday, so I was here a lot. Their food is a bit more expensive, but then again, you are supporting a good cause and it’s all tasty!
Okay, shoutout to this coffee from Free Bird, the Cocomocha, as it is probably one of the best coffees I’ve ever had. It’s a mocha made with coconut milk. So good.
Green tea fried rice. Super tasty. Has fermented tea leaves in it and some crunchy things. I dunno what they are but yum.
Passionfruit Italian soda. So refreshing on a hot day!
Lavender latte, a.k.a. a latte made with lavender simple syrup. Yum!
This Khao Soi, a northern Thai dish, was tasty, but I found the portion a bit too small for me here. You can get a side order of rice and toss it on top for extra oomph.
For some reason I was constantly craving brownies in Thailand, maybe because chocolate is not as popular there and even a vegan chocolate bar is kind of hard to come by. Anyway, Free Bird Cafe wins the vegan brownie award. To me brownies should me FUDGY AF. Most I had were cakey (wahh). This one was basically made from melted chocolate, almond butter and some magic. It’s also gluten-free for you peeps out there who are into that.
Pure Vegan Heavan (Nimman) – This place has a healthy, superfood kinda vibe. It’s a bit pricier, but their food IS really good. I got a ginger tumeric tonic and it was really tasty and the Mexican bowl mmm.
Vegan Mexican Bowl with cashew cream, shredded tofu, guac, etc. from Pure Vegan Heaven
Falafel wrap from Pure Vegan Heaven
Fried Banana Fritters from Pure Vegan Heaven. Okay not totally healthy but yummy! I think they are fried in coconut oil and the dips are naturally sweetened.
Salad Concept (Nimman) – This is (obvi) a big salad place. It’s not all vegetarian or vegan, but there are plenty of vegan options. Order a salad from the menu or create your own. You can also get everything as a wrap. They also have vegan mac-n-cheese, but I found it quite bland. I also didn’t love my salad, but it was huge and beautiful so no fault of theirs. I’ll go back and design my own salad next time.
Salad (I forgot which) and vegan mac-n-cheese from Salad Concept
Maya Mall Basement Food Stall (Nimman) – I LOVE this place. A vegan Chiang Mai must in the cheap eats category. I must have gone at least 10-15 times while I was in Chiang Mai. They have a buffet where you choose items with or without rice. They’ll also make fresh Khao Soi or vegetable noodle soup for you. If you’re staying by Nimman, this is a great place to hit up for lunch every day.
Khao Soi from Maya Mall Veg Food Stall – not the best Khao Soi I ever had, but a solid choice.
Some more food from the Maya Mall Veg Food Stall: Some potato curry, Pad See Ew (my favorite) and a fresh spring roll.
Mango Sticky Rice Stall in Maya Mall (Nimman) – Another good find in the food court in the basement of Maya Mall. I asked them and they confirmed the mango sticky rice is vegan. Not everything there is, so be careful.
Mango Sticky Rice from the food stall in the basement food court of Maya Mall
Salsa Kitchen (Santitham) – This place has a separate all-vegan menu yaaaas. It’s also quite good, fresh, two types of vegan cheese sauce, etc. A vegan Chiang Mai must when you’re having a craving for Mexican food. They also have a second location (creatively named Salsa Kitchen 2) up north of the old town.
Vegan nachos from Salsa Kitchen
Vegan Enchiladas from Salsa Kitchen
This vegan cheesy bean dip from Salsa Kitchen was lit
Aum Vegetarian Restaurant (South Gate) – This place is super chill, you take off your shoes and sit on the floor on pillows in the loft upstairs. A veggie with tofu rice is only around 60 baht. Nice and fresh.
Thai eggplant and tofu dish with rice from Aum
Tofu noodle soup from Aum
Stir-fried morning glory from Aum
Anchan Restaurant (Nimman) – They have a rotating menu here and the quality of the food is absolutely excellent and fresh. I got the Anchan noodles, which are purple! Make sure to specify tofu instead of egg. Dishes are labeled vegan, and the place is all vegetarian.
Anchan noodles from Anchan Restaurant
Srifaa’s (Chang Pueak) – I went here because it was near me and the google reviews raved about it. They’re not vegetarian, but the staff understand what vegan is. I got the massaman curry below. It was good, but nothing to write home about. If you’re hungry and in the area, it’s fine to stop in, but not worth an extra trip for their vegan options in my opinion. It is very affordable though!
Massaman Curry from Srifaa’s
Bee Vegan (Suthep) – This is another one of my favorites, each dish was around 60-80 baht as well. Nice quality, fresh, yummy shakes.
Massaman Curry from Bee Vegan – It was one of my fav massaman curry’s I had. Oh, and papaya salad.
Papaya salad with tofu from Bee Vegan
Tofu Pad See Ew with tofu from Bee Vegan, comes with a free little soup!
What is jay? This is important information for vegans in Thailand. You’ll notice it my this symbol:
This means vegan in Thai (also no onion and garlic in their version). There are loads of jay restaurants across Thailand, generally religiously vegan. They also tend to be very affordable, only 40-50 baht or so per dish.
Matae Vegetarian (Santitham) – Nice, simple vegan food. I got these noodles with some jackfruit meat for 40 baht (about 1€).
Vegetarian Society (Hai Ya) – This place was an experience. It’s cafeteria-style, and the cheapest place I ate in Chiang Mai. You pick dishes from a buffet and pay at the counter. They also have a juice section with loads of fresh juices and a couple vegan desserts. Attached is a vegan grocery store as well. It wasn’t the best food I had in Chiang Mai, but it was good and only 20 baht for me meal (0,50€).
My meal at The Vegetarian Society in Chiang Mai. Was some kinda eggplant thing, rice and spinach.
Blurry picture of my vegan brownie from The Vegetarian Society
Some snacks I bought at The Vegetarian Society: Crispy Tempeh and some Butterfinger-like candies.
Suan Dok Vegetarian (Suthep) – This is hands down my favorite vegan place in Chiang Mai when taking value and food quality into consideration, so thanks to Giselle and Cody from Mindful Wanderlust for taking me here! Every dish is 40-50 baht and they have every fake meat you can imagine. Their tofu papaya salad is the best I’ve had so far. Their tofu just melts in my mouth. GO HERE. It’s also right around the corner from Ice Cream Love You, which has a bazillion crazy ice cream flavors.
Suak Dok Vegetarian Won Ton Soup and vegan pork and noodles.
Vegan duck with noodles, the aforementioned amazing papaya salad with tofu and some kinda spicy coconut milk soup from Suan Dok Vegetarian.
Ming Zhen Vegetarian Restaurant (Chang Phueak)– I’m proud of myself for finding this as it wasn’t on Happy Cow yet, haha. It’s down the block from the house I was staying in and also super affordable each dish is 30-40 baht or you can choose from the small buffet. I wouldn’t go across the city for this place, but it’s great for lunch if you’re within walking distance. They close at 5pm and I don’t think they’re open on weekends.
Noodle Soup from Ming Zhen
Vegan Pork with Ginger over rice from Ming Zhen
Home J Vegetarian (Chang Phueak) – This was also right down the road from my house. They are WAY more expensive than the other jay places, and portions are not very big. I think its because everything organic? They also do a vegan with soy cheese and are 100% vegan (even the stuff that says egg isn’t really egg, I checked with the owners and some other long-time vegan customers who spoke a bit of Thai). The pizza is great, but I wonder if the soy cheese has casein in it as the texture was VERY realistic. Didn’t taste like dairy, but the stringy-ness made me think it must have casein. There was no way I was gonna be able to suss that out in Thai though so try at your own risk. If you live near here definitely try it out.
Vegan Fried Pork from Home J. This is the big portion for 99 baht.
Pizza with soy cheese, papaya salad and vegan chicken nuggets from Home J. I checked with a Thai-speaking expat, English-speaking waiter at the restaurant and on Happy Cow that the cheese was soy. It didn’t taste like dairy cheese, but the texture was so accurate I’m unsure if there’s casein in it in retrospect, and there was no way I was going to be able to sort that out verbally…so try at your own risk.
Ming Kwan Vegetarian Restaurant (Old Town) – Another basic jay place with a buffet. You can also get soups, khao soi, etc. to order. Cheap and yummy. This place was nearby an AirBnB I very quickly stayed in (and ended up fleeing at 3am due to a crazy amount of mosquitos inside) so I checked it out and ordered from the buffet.
Some noodles, eggplant and vegan fish plus a spring roll from Ming Kwan in Old Town. All from the buffet.
Trace Hotelistro (near Waworot Market) – If y’all read my post on Pai, you know the smoothie bowls at Bom Bowls BLEW my MIND. When I went back to Chiang Mai the second time, I learned they started serving the Bom Bowls smoothie bowls at this place. YAAAS. That snickers bowl, oh my gosh. Even if you don’t like smoothie bowls…just go and eat this one. They have good coffee and a really nice interior too.
Blue Diamond (Old Town) – Blue Diamond is where it’s AT in terms of variety of vegan baked goods. I did hear they are quite mean to their employees tough, which a friend told me at the end, so something to consider. They have a nice garden out in the back, where I did some co-working, though they charge you 25 baht to use the outlets to charge your laptop. Anyway, go for the cinnamon buns. They also have savory food, it’s not all vegan, but tons of labeled-vegan options. Great place to go if you’re traveling with non-vegans for brunch (they have pancakes!), coffee, or lunch/dinner.
All vegan baked goods at Blue Diamond
More baked goods from Blue Diamond, including vegan chocolate croissants!
Some regular vegan croissants fresh out of the oven from Blue Diamond.
Vegan chocolate pie with coconut ice cream from Blue Diamond
Vava Frozen Yogurt (Nimman) – I think this is a chain, but I only ever went to the one in the basement of Maya Mall. It is pricey, but they have a vegan Almond Breeze flavor so good for the occasional froyo fix!
Almond Breeze vegan froyo from Vava Frozen Yogurt in the basement of Maya Mall
Coco Corner (Nimman) – This is a coconut-themed place with lots of different options for coconut desserts and shakes. Happy Cow says their brownie is vegan, but I asked and it’s not, so be aware of that. The coconut ice cream IS vegan though, and it’s great. I got the Coco Corner signature sunday, which had toasted coconut and super cute presentation.
Coconut ice cream from Coco Corner in Nimman
Ice Cream Love You (Suthep) – I’m saving the best for last here, and it’s right around the corner from Suan Dok Vegetarian so you can make a night of vegan heaven out of them both! This place is not all vegan, but they have a bazillion flavors and 90% are vegan. So is the rotee, pictured below. They have crazy flavors like beer ice cream, and normal ones. There is sooooo much choice. The menu clearly labels what’s vegan.
Cappuccino, banoffee chip (my fav) and Malaysian tea vegan ice cream from Ice Cream Love You
I remember these were my favorite flavors, though I forgot what the middle one was. The left is Korean Frozen Yogurt, which was miraculously vegan. It was nice and tart and amazing. The right is my standby of banoffee chip. The middle I love, but the flavor escapes me now.
Namamema (Old Town) – This is a stand just outside the hotel of the same name. I got the vegan sundae with salted coconut ice cream, mango coconut ice cream, rice chips, mango and sticky rice. It was quite refreshing on a hot day! Definitely check them out if you’re in the area!
Mango Sticky Rice Ice Cream Sundae from Namamema stall in Old Town
Da’s Home Bakery (Old Town) – This place is near Blue Diamond. It’s not quite as epic, but this cinnamon bun muffin was really good. They sell several vegan things and coconut yogurt, etc. If you’re in the area, worth a look.
Cinnamon Bun muffin from Da’s Home Bakery in Old Town