Thailand is known for being a heaven on earth for vegans, but there are areas that are far more vegan-friendly than others. Phuket, Thailand is one of the areas of Thailand that I realized was not very vegan-friendly, but yet it is a very popular destination for tourists. Usually, popular tourist destinations are suitable for most lifestyles in one way or another, and that’s why I was shocked with the lack of vegan options in the main tourist areas of the island, and I had to set out to find the vegan spots for anyone else wondering where they are.
My second day in Phuket, I was staying at a hostel in Patong- the busiest area in Phuket, especially during the holidays because of the fireworks and paper lanterns on Patong Beach. I had my laptop open with vegan stickers all over it when a girl came up to me relieved to find another vegan. She mentioned that she had been on the island for a week and had come to Thailand for holiday simply because her friends told her how great it was for vegans, but she didn’t find a single vegan thing during her stay in Patong. Seeking advice and tips from me, I was stumped for the first time.
I searched before I came, and I searched every day until I left. The only places I could find were down closer to Phuket Town, and if you saw my blog about the struggles getting around Phuket, it would cost too much to go grab a bite to eat on the other side of Phuket for my liking.
Of course, the amazing thing about Thailand is that Thai food can be veganized so easily, and restaurants in different areas of the Phuket are m9re willing to accommodate than others, but I wanted to go on a hunt for the word “vegan” all the way from Kamala down to Phuket Town, and I’m happy to report back with a few options!
From north to south, let’s start in Kamala!
I’m so happy we spent a majority of our time up in Kamala away from the craziness of Patong. For a whole week, my family stayed at Kamala Beach Novotel, and it was the best part of our entire holiday in Phuket. I wrote an entire blog about the amazing things to do around Phuket, a majority of it being during our stay at Novotel.
In terms of food in Kamala, we had an incredible buffet breakfast every morning at the hotel, with everything from fresh tropical fruit and fresh squeezed juices and smoothies to roasted potatoes and toast with an amazing assortment of jam and nut butters. I had some days where I would wake up early, eat breakfast, sip on tea or coffee with fresh coconut milk, and go in for a round two once the family woke up and decided to join me.
For dinner, I cannot tell you how accommodating the staff is at the hotel restaurant. In addition to daily themed buffet dinners (which we unfortunately couldn’t partake in because of pre-made non-vegan options that didn’t make it worth it for us to buy), their dinner menu had Thai dishes, Indian dishes, American dishes, and many options in between. When we asked to remove ingredients, they were on it and more than willing to do so. The prices are hefty for what I got used to paying in Thailand, but it’s more than worth it for the convenience and incredible service.
For lunch, we were walking down the beach from our hotel one day looking to see what options we could find, and I opened a menu to a completely vegan page. You have no idea how excited I was and how fast I sat down and ordered. That place was called Coconut Gardens, and we ended up eating here almost every day for either lunch or dinner. Hands down the best Thai food I had the entire time I was in Thailand, and I never spent more than about $4 for a feast’s worth of food.
I found one thing in Patong with the “Vegan” label, and I think it might be one of the things I crave the most from my whole trip.
If you eventually get lured to Bangla Road in Patong, dodge the club promoters and head straight to the Thailand Natural Ice Cream stand where there are so many flavors of dairy-free ice cream! This was the kind of find I was hoping to get more often in Phuket, so take advantage of it! The flavors they had were Matcha, Thai Tea, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, Mango, and Coconut.
And finally, we moved down to the bottom of Phuket to Chalong, the most vegan-friendly area we went to, and the most concentrated health conscious area. There were so many Thai boxing, Crossfit gyms, and abs that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Well actually, I just ate. That’s what I did with myself.
My family helped me feast at Pure Vegan Heaven, where we each ate a dish and shared an appetizer. The prices were a little heftier here, but that’s a theme for Phuket if you’re not catching on.
We hopped right across the street to the brand new Acai Cafe and are the only acai bowls we could find in Phuket. Overpriced and delicious!
Last but not least, the most delicious vegan food we had in Phuket, Santosa Vegan Restaurant. It is up in the lush green mountains with a view of Big Buddha, and in addition to the restaurant, it is a Detox and Wellness Center with a retreat that I wish I could be a part of. Check out their site to see everything that is available, because if you ever find yourself in Phuket, I wouldn’t waste your time anywhere else.
Did I mention that the restaurant is completely vegan?? Need something more to convince you to go? There is a vegan buffet every Saturday!
OKAY! That is all I could possibly get to in Phuket, and I spent all of my energy trying to find things for us to eat. Now if you decide to go, please let me know if this came in handy at all because did I mention how hard it was to find vegan food/get to vegan food in Phuket? Just checking.