guides

The Chiang Mai Vegan Food Guide

One of the reasons we first chose to visit Chiang Mai was because we found out how vegan friendly the city is. Northern Thailand is well known for its great food and especially Chiang Mai has an amazing range of really good restaurants. That many of them are vegan or have vegan options is of course a big plus. I do have to be honest. There’s been a lot of disappointments and the search for great vegan food has not always been the best but after all, we ended up finding many great places so I decided it was about time I shared my vegan food list with you all.

Little note before we start: excuse the photo quality, photographing dinners at night with a phone is not my strongest quality haha + I often forget to take photos of my food as I get too excited to eat, so I’ll try to fill up the gaps in the next couple of weeks! 

 

THAI FOOD

anchan chiang mai elsewhere blogANCHAN

The food in Anchan is without any doubt the best Thai food in town. Beautiful Thai dishes, full of flavour and made with super fresh veggies. The 10 – 15 dish menu changes every week, but honestly all dishes we tried here were absolutely amazing! It’s slightly more expensive than other restaurants but it’s a price happily paid for quality food.

28/12 Nimmanhemintr Road – Chiang Mai
Tuesday – Saturday, 11AM – 8:30PM

tasteTASTE FROM HEAVEN

The first restaurant we tried in Chiang Mai, and one we go back to on a weekly basis. The menu has both Asian as Western options and they’re all so good. Our favourites: the pumpkin curry, the crispy morning glory, the black bean sandwich (with avocado) and the penang curry. We always leave satisfied as the taste is great, the portions are big and the staff is super friendly!

34/1 Ratmakka Road – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 9AM-10PM

maykadee chiang mai elsewhere blogMAY KAIDEES

Another restaurant where we had many dinners. Super cheap and super delicious. They mostly serve Thai dishes with a couple of exceptions. My favourites are the massaman curry, any stir fry and the pancakes with fresh fruit (breakfast or dessert, any excuse for pancakes is a good one).

29/4 Chang Moi Kao Road – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 9AM-10PM

food lanna, maya mall, chiang mai elsewhere blog
NOODLE STAND AT MAYA FOOD LANNA

Pad thai has been an all time favourite, but going vegan kind of changed my opinion. I tried many vegan pad thais in town and was always disappointed. Until we tried the noodle stand at the Maya ‘Food Lanna’ (4th floor). The noodle stand serves fried noodles with meat/fish/… AND has one vegetarian pad thai which is accidentally vegan, for only 30 bath. Best and cheapest pad thai in town.

Maya Mall, floor 4 – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 11AM-10PM

THAI ORCHID

A tiny, well hidden local restaurant close to the Muang Mai markets. Only the owner speaks English, so it is a bit of a guess what is going to end up on your plate when choosing from the buffet, but all I can say: everything is delicious and vegan! We tried many curries, some weird but o-so-good fried bamboo and other veggie dishes. Not unimportant: this local restaurant comes with local prices!

24 Wichayanon Road – Chiang Mai 
Monday – Saturday, 8AM-4PM

vegetarian stall, MAYA mall , chiang mai elsewhere blog
VEGETARIAN STALL AT MAYA FOOD COURT

I absolutely love this place for a quick lunch/dinner. Located in the basement (B1) of the MAYA mall, this vegan stall let’s you pick and mix many Thai dishes. My favourites are the pumpkin, the steamed spring rolls, the spicy green beans and everything that looks like green leafy vegetable. We spend about 50 bath per person for a meal there, so let’s say it’s a good deal.

Maya Mall, floor B1 – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 11AM-10PM

buffetLOCAL VEGETARIAN BUFFET

Not once has this buffet restaurant let us down. They only have 4-6 dishes on the menu, depending on what is left / what time of the day you pop by, but the quality and taste is great! I’m also fond of the oldskool Thai interior: think of granny style tables, pink plastic plates and boxes, fans on the wall and super bright white light. Definitely not for a romantic dinner, but great for a locals lunch.

Hussadhisawee Road, opposite side of 7-11 – Chiang Mai
Monday – Saturday, 8AM-3PM

 

PIZZA

Street pizza & wine house, chiang mai elsewhere blogSTREET PIZZA & WINE HOUSE

One of the cosiest restaurants in town serving amazing pizzas. It took us way to long to finally make a move there and the only thing I can say now is that I wish we went quicker! They have no vegan pizza on the menu, but a couple of veggie options that can be ordered without cheese. The base of the pizza is perfectly thin + crunchy and the toppings are fresh and tasty. They also have great fries by the way… just saying…

7-15 Thapae Road – Chiang Mai
Tuesday – Sunday, 11:30AM-11PM 

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BY HAND PIZZA CAFE

This Pizza restaurant has a vegan options on their menu. They serve 4 different vegan pizzas and they are all amazing (just watch out for the spicy one, because that is mega hot + extremely garlic-y but still super delicious if you can handle that). There’s also possibilities to customise your pizza and add some ingredients. Great place for pizza night!

25 Moonmuang Soi 7 – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 5PM-11:30PM

 

MEXICAN

Olé gourmet mexican, chiang mai elsewhere blogOLÉ GOURMET MEXICAN

I was about to write a couple of Mexican restaurants down as I love Mexican food and you can easily veganise it by asking for no-cheese/no-sour cream, BUT when we discovered this restaurant, the other places ended under the delete button. Olé serves THE best vegan burritos in Thailand (+ they’re massive for only 80 bath), has amazing nachos and other veggie dishes that are they can make vegan for you and is located in a very cool spot. It ticks all the boxes and we’d eat there every day if possible.

88 Thapae Road – Chiang Mai
Monday – Saturday, 2PM-10PM 

 

SUSHI

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MUSASHI CONTEMPORARY SUSHI BAR

Personally for me, nothing beats a sushi night out. In Chiang Mai there is just one problem, most of the sushi places only serve fishy sushi (I mean, what’s going on people?!). Luckily, we found this place a while ago that actually has veggie/vegan options and they’re delicious! My favourite: ‘Lake Forest’, could seriously eat several plates of that!

13 Nimmanheamin Road Soi 13 – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 11AM-10PM

 

HAPPY LUNCHES

foodfortoughtFOOD 4 THOUGHT

Oh boy. This place serves big colourful lunches that will put a smile on your face for the rest of the day. Most items on their menu are meaty/vegetarian with the option to make it vegan. On the menu: wraps, burgers, pastas, salads and amazing sweet potato fries. Also love the cute garden setting!

15/5 Moo 1, Soi Sudjai – Chiang Mai
Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30AM-8PM

salad concept, chiang mai elsewhere blogSALAD CONCEPT

A restaurant chain with 2 different location throughout the city. This is not a vegan restaurant, but it offers the option to make your own salad or wrap. Lot’s of vegan options are available, even vegan dressings! The portions are big (depending on how many toppings you choose of course) for about 100 bath.

Nimmanhemin Road Soi 13 – Chiang Mai OR
94 Chai Sri Poom Soi 1 – Chiang Mai

Monday – Sunday, 11AM-10PM 

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IMM AIM VEGETARIAN CAFE

One of the best things about the warm Thai weather is that you can be outside all the time. That’s one reason to spend your afternoon in a garden like the one of Imm Aim. The other reason is to try their Thai food, delicious fresh salads, Mexican DIY wraps, tasty sandwiches, fresh juices and fruity smoothies!

10 Santitham Road – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 10AM-8PM

 

VEGAN BURGERS

amrita
AMRITA GARDEN

We found out about this little garden cafe pretty late, but once we did, we returned on a weekly basis. Amrita garden serves one of the best vegan burgers I’ve had in Chiang Mai – especially the one with the avocado option. The patty is super tasty and they’re not afraid of adding some good sauces. I also recommend to try their delicious noodle soups, the vegan spaghetti bolognese and the vegan pastries (you read that well). Everything we tried here so far was a winner!

Samlan Road Soi5 – Chiang Mai
Wednesday – Monday 10AM-8:30PM

 

BURGEROHOLIC GOURMET (CAFE)

Burgeroholic started in a tiny van transformed in a restaurant located at the Night Bazaar Market, a good concept that comes with good food. But since about a week or so, they have their own cafe! They serve about 4 different burgers of which one is vegan (YAY). Accompanied by the best fries in Chiang Mai. Your greasy night out will never be the same again… Good to know: some of the sauces are non-vegan, so just ask to make sure! Oh and also, they’re not very consistent with opening hours so don’t be disappointed!

5 Charoensuk Road – Chaing Mai
Monday – Sunday, 6PM-12PM

Juicy4u, chiang mai elsewhere blog
JUICY4U

Not very happy about the size of this burger (you’ll need 2 or even 3 in my case to fill you up), but I have to admit they’re very delicious. This is definitely the healthier burger in this list. It comes with different sauces, a little salad and the option to add avocado. Can’t say no to that can you?

Ratchamanka 5 – Chiang Mai
Monday – Saturday, 8:30AM-5PM

 

BREAKFASTS

smoothiebowlsRUSTIC & BLUE

Rustic & Blue is by far my favourite breakkie place in town. It’s not a vegan cafe but they have many vegan options, some non-vegan meals can be made vegan and they serve all day breakfast. The meals are prepared with fruit and veg of their own produce which is definitely a plus too. We tried some delicious smoothie bowls with soy yoghurt and all I can say is that they are to die for!

Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 7 – Chiang Mai
Tuesday-Friday 8:30AM-9PM, Saturday-Sunday 8:30AM-10PM

bluediamondBLUE DIAMOND BREAKFAST CLUB

The first time I visited this restaurant, I was totally disappointed. I went for lunch and had a tofu burger that was absolutely hideous. Also the service is a nightmare (we experienced this several times): super rude manager, staff doesn’t speak English and half of the order won’t come out but will be charged. So why is this in the list you’re asking? Because they sell vegan pastries. Think croissants, donuts, muffins,… all your vegan-fast-food-heart desires. They are absolutely delicious. My tip? Go buy them as take away and do not spent more than 5 minutes in there!

35/1 MoonMuang Road, Soi 9 – Chiang Mai
Monday – Saturday, 7AM-8:30PM

FREE BIRD CAFE

Free Bird Cafe is a little Burmese restaurant + second hand shop that supports Burmese refugees. Next to Burmese food, they serve delicious breakkies and smoothies. I was sold when I read ‘vegan pancakes’ and enjoyed the one with pineapple and banana!

116 Maneenopparat Road – Chiang Mai
Tuesday – Saturday, 9AM-5PM

SWEET TREATS & SNACKS

mango sticky rice, chiang mai elsewhere blog
MANGO STICKY RICE LADY

The best mango sticky rice in town is sold by an old lady close to the Thapae Gates. Her purple sticky rice is not only the prettiest, but also the tastiest by far. It’s all you can buy in her little food stall, and it will cost you about 40 bath.

Rachadamnoen Road – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, during the day + evening

ice love you, chiang mai elsewhere blog
ICE LOVE YOU

It’s Thailand, the weather is hot and you’ll need ice cream. Chiang Mai has it all covered! This vegan ice cream cafe has any flavour you fancy. From mango sticky rice (YAY) to durian (personally less yay) and many other colourful fruity flavours.

25/34 Suthep Road – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 10:30AM-10:30PM 

pun-pao, chiang mai elsewhere blog
PUN-PAO 

My 2015 food obsession has started here. Steamed buns are my new not-so-guilty pleasure! I both love the sweet and the savoury buns, they’re perfect for my favourite time of the day: snack time. Just look for the Thai vegetarian sign or ask the girl/boy behind the counter which ones don’t contain animal products.

422/1 Banpaprakarn Road – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 8AM-9PM OR
Maya Mall, floor 4 – Chiang Mai
Monday – Sunday, 11AM-10PM

ENJOY YOUR MEAL!

 

stories

Chiang Mai’s Nimmanhaemin

The last days of 2015 are passing by, and I’d love to end the year with another Chiang Mai post. Why all this Chiang Mai? Because without any doubt, Chiangers has been the discovery of the year, and I almost don’t dare to say it but it obviously took over the place of my favourite city in South East Asia. This city has been amazing the past months and I can’t think of any other place that could have treated us better.

Let me show you around in my neighbourhood. These streets are the best looking streets in town and within one week of arriving, I knew this is where I wanted to be. So what is it about this place? Nimmanhaemin is definitely the hippest/happening area of Chiang Mai. It’s digital nomad central, it’s the coffee culture capital of Northern Thailand and it’s definitely the most stylish place around.

During any time of the day something is happening here. You’ll find early birds sipping their latte art coffees in the bright morning light. Around lunchtime you’ll spot fashionista’s doing their shopping, locals going on lunch dates and the digital nomads working their laptop life in the local cafes and coworking spaces. Later in the day, the area fills up with students eating some ice cream after school, tourists riding their bikes around and locals going for after work drinks. In the evening, this area becomes a foodie paradise. The streets fill up with street vendors, the hippest restaurants open their doors and little artist’s markets pop up. When everyone’s belly is filled, the bars open up, ready for nightlife.

The streets (or sois) of the Nimmanhaemin area are a real labyrinth, making sure you will miss out on cool spots while visiting. The fun part about it is that there is always something new to discover. Also the amount of new places opening up is amazing. The trees colour the area peacefully green and the funky little cafes and restaurants give the whole area a unique feel. I could spend hours walking around here and exploring the area. Definitely a must when visiting Chiang Mai!

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stories

Baan Kang Wat artist village

Oh Chiang Mai. You keep surprising me over and over again. Even though it feels like it’s a such small city, as we keep bumping into the same people and feel like we’re taking the same roads everyday, there is so much to explore. Getting lost in the streets and finding new things through the web. My list of ‘cool places I visited in Chiang Mai’ is expanding like never before. Now, let me introduce you to one of my favourites. The Baan Kang Wat Artist Village.

So first when I found out about this, it seemed like a mission to get there. The village is located about 5km from the city center and I was being lazy riding my bike there. But then, on one of my mornings off cycling, I decided it was about time to go exploring again. Easier found than expected, we quickly arrived at the village. Moments of joy when walking in, because this was above my expectations.

So what is Baan Kang Wat exactly? It’s a little village filled with little cafés, restaurants, artist shops, markets and galleries. There’s veggie patches and an open air theater. It’s green and peaceful, but also vibrant and alive. It’s a happy place, and without any doubt a great place to escape the city or to get inspired. And above all, it’s the perfect spot to spend your Sunday afternoon.

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personal

my 2016 goals

The new year is just around the corner and our new year’s resolutions are getting listed. Eat healthier, work harder, exercise more, read more, spend less money but earn more money, work for that career goal and so on. These are the ones we all want to apply to our own lives and the ones we all manage to break. Including myself. So why are we or why am I even making this list?

I guess we all write these things down to get ourselves somewhere, to set unattainable goals and to be the best version of ourselves. But why can’t we just give ourselves one goal which is: be happy? Something that shouldn’t be that hard and which is a goal that is definitely reachable. It’s something I’ve personally been struggling with in the past and honestly it’s the only thing in this life that I truly want to change. I might want that perfect body, I might want a beautiful home, I might want that ultimate wardrobe, but will that make me happy? Initially probably yes, but then when I get there, I’ll probably want something else.

So am I struggling with happiness? I have my moments. Sometimes I wonder if I’m happy, if this is what I wanted in life or I realise I’m not living ‘here and now’ but in an ‘I want this, I wish that’-cloud (yea that’s no real word but I’m using it anyway). I hear it from friends, I see it in the media, I read it on blogs. We want more and more from life every year. More money, more friends, more stuff, more clothes, more travels, more more more. More happiness. We compare ourselves to others. What they have, what they’ve reached, what a beautiful life they have. But do they really?

I think it all really starts with changing my mindset. Is it about owning things? I mean, do we need a massive house with designer furniture and a swimming pool? Do we need wardrobes filled with expensive clothing and go to luxurious holiday destinations in order to be happy? Or is it about being the best at everything? Being better in life than others? Making more money than our friends or having a better ‘career status’ than the people around us? No it’s not. And even though I feel like society and the media sometimes try to lead us in that direction, I don’t think we have to follow.

I honestly think it is all about creating a life you like, filled with good experiences, with friendship and love, with peace of mind, with doing things you enjoy. For me happiness has no place for worries or stress, it does not include working a job I don’t like but instead, trying to make a living of doing what I love (not easy but not impossible). It’s about being inspired everyday and wanting to wake up for exciting things to happen. Let’s create happiness rather that search for it forever.

Think of this… Why work a job we don’t enjoy just to earn more money, to fill up our bank accounts, to buy all this stuff we want but not really need. Work so hard until we get a burn out and come home to watch tv on our expensive flatscreens. All by ourselves. Lonely. Why diet or calorie-ristrict the days away because you want to be skinny, being ‘hangry’ all day in order to achieve your goal, because that might make you happy. Why wait for happiness to come to you while searching for the love of your life or for a best friend. Why not start today and enjoy life with smaller things, like being yourself, even though not everyone will appreciate it (which is perfectly fine), or by surrounding yourself with people that love you and care about you. Like working an interesting job, which might not pay as much as that big career, but is enjoyable. Like filling our brains with interesting knowledge and good memories. Like actually living our lives. By making every day the best day of the year, and every year the best year of our life. Why not do things for US by taking care of ourselves mentally and physically. It doesn’t have to be hard. It can be easy.

So what contributes to that happiness? How can you live life the fullest? That will probably be different for everybody. You can probably figure it our for yourself. Write down the things you love rather than the things you want to change about yourself. For me personally it’s many things. Finishing an illustration project (a job I love), the feeling of coming home from a big work-out, eating out with friends, surrounding myself with people that inspire me, exploring new places (that do not necessarily have to be far away), taking photos, reading inspiring books/magazines or listening to podcasts that have a different view on life, eating well (as in foods that are good for me and that allow me to eat till I’m full rather than calorie restricting), having a good conversation with someone, enjoying little things from the smell of a morning coffee to a blue sky or even just a little bicycle ride, meeting new people, listening to music, going for a walk or a run, going to bed early or have a creative evening/night and the most important one, following my dreams.

If I can just include a couple of these in daily life, the way I feel is already immensely different. It can go from getting up after the worst sleep with a bad morning mood, to ending the day feeling inspired, bright and mostly happy. And the following morning waking up full of energy. We only get one chance in this life so let’s make the best of it. Let’s not waste it on jobs we don’t like to buy shit we don’t need. Let’s live now. Let’s be happy.

Here’s to the best year of our life so far. Here’s to 2016!

stories

Elephant Nature Park

Some things about the tourism industry are really bothering me. If you ride around Chiang Mai for example, or take a red cab through town, you see tourist attractions advertised everywhere. Next to visiting the zoo, there’s petting tigers, riding elephants, a night safari, snake shows and monkey parks just to name a few. Thailand is such a beautiful country, but no one seems to care about its animals. As long as they can bring money in, it’s all fine.

If you’re into animals and would love to meet some, I do have good news for you. There’s a couple out there that are not about entertainment, caged animals and making a shitload of money. Like this one park we visited a couple of months ago: the Elephant Nature Park. There’s no circus, they’re not locked in cages or chained and you won’t be riding them, instead you’ll meet some of the elephants while walking through the park, feed them, bathe with them, learn about them and not unimportant: sponsor a good cause.

An elephant park that is a good cause? Yep. As many of the Thai elephants get hurt in the entertainment businesses, tourist attractions or logging (basically slavery), the Elephant Nature Park gives home to many rescued elephants. Some of them are blind, others have broken legs or very bad wounds from landmines  and mistreatment. In this rescue center they get a chance for a better life. They get the medical care they need, are surrounded by their friends and family and treated with respect by the volunteers and employees working in the park.

The 2.500 bath (about 60 euros) you pay as an entrance fee is a bit of a budget killer, but think what it does for the elephants rather than your entertainment. For this price, you’ll get a van bringing you to the park (and back of course), a whole day of elephant fun and not unimportant: a vegan lunch buffet. Yep. You heard that right. I heard the guide say to someone in the group: ‘yes vegan. because why eat animals if you love them?’. He’s got that right! There’s also volunteering weeks if you’re interested!

OH HEY! We also made a fun video which will be up soon! Keep an eye on the elsewhere facebook page!

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