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Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Thai Foods, vegan / vegetarian | 5 comments

A vegan in Koh Lanta – what and where to eat??

A vegan in Koh Lanta – what and where to eat??

I have to admit Koh Lanta has been a challenge as far as finding good spots to eat 100% vegan. Probably the hardest place in the whole country so far!
Long beach - Koh Lanta

Long beach – Koh Lanta

 

Lanta has a majority of Muslim population, the island is still very unexplored and not taken by the massive tourist industry which destroyed the real Thailand in other parts of the country. During low season, the very few  tourists that visit the island, go away, so there’s only us, the travelers, some nomadic folks, long time visitors and most of all, the crowd that likes to experience the real thing.

 

Due to it’s Muslim culture, most of the food is based on meat, fish and eggs. EVERYTHING has either meat or fish in it, so we have to be very patient when trying to explain the concept of eating absolutely no animal product. Vegetarianism and veganism are not a trend here and most people can’t grasp the idea.

 

In most parts of the island, we can find chicken roaming around free with their chicks, so chicken is a big favorite in Lanta.
Although Lanta is a tropical island, with a great climate all year, it doesn’t produce any vegetables, which means, everything has to be imported from mainland, raising the prices, lowering the freshness, quality and variety of the veggies.

 

 

vegan in Koh Lanta
The Thursday market

 

The local market works on rotation, Mondays we can find it at Long Beach, Thursdays it will be at the Relaxing Bay, and for the other days… well, you’ll have to check it out! So, if you have a scooter, then your fine, if not, you have only one day a week where you can buy fruit and veggies near by. This  was a problem for me.

 

food in koh lanta thailand

 

The markets are very small, the fruits and vegetables here are expensive compared to the mainland and even my home country – Portugal! Another problem is the fact that most of the produce has no price tag in it, which means that whoever is selling it, might very well do a tourist price for you.

 

vegan in thailand

The local market, once a week only

VEGAN FOOD IN KOH LANTA – THAILAND

 

Vegetarian restaurants are very limited here. You can find one which is affiliated to a yoga school, between Relaxing Bay and Long Beach, but it’s not that cheap. There’s another beautiful restaurant in Saladam, capital of Koh Lanta, which has vegan and vegetarian options, but it’s very expensive (for Thai standards, still cheap for western standards) and you need either have a bike or a scooter to get there.

I have to admit, this was the first time I really felt hungry on a daily basis. When I had the chance I’d buy a pack of tofu for 10thb and cook it with my noodle soup, since Neng kindly allowed me to use the clayzy house kitchen for that as an exception since I was always hungry.

 

I think that for the first time ever I start to show some signs of protein deficiency, since all I eat is basically fried rice and that’s it! I’ve lost a bit of muscle since I’m here.

 

The water is another problem, in Thailand is dificult to find mineral water, most of the bottles are actually distilled water, which lacks all nutrients. After a few months we feel tired and dehydrated. In Lanta I bought a few bags of electrolytes, which are super cheap 6thb and you can find them at any 7eleven.

 

 

Electrolyte sachet

 

Here are some ideas of where to eat:

 

MR. GREEN
Long beach near the Muay Thai Stadium

This was the place where I went for lunches and dinners on a daily basis for the first week of my staying at the Clayzy House. Mostly you can have friend rice with veggies for 50thb or friend noodles with veggies for the same price.  If you explain NO EGG, NO MEAT, NO FISH they will understand, but it can be tricky with the fish sauce.

 

THE CLAYZY HOUSE
Long Beach

The clayzy house offers meals during high season. check out their menu and ask them to cook it vegan. The prices are very reasonable and you don’t have to go far, if you’re staying in there.

 

The clayzy house


KRUA KRITSANA
Phrae Ae beach (long beach) near the Muay Thai stadium

The very best option I found. Great portions, amazing taste, very friendly service and seems to be the favorite place to eat around Long Beach. After I found this little spot I became a loyal costumer and everyone knew already that my food should be vegan only. Fried rice with veggies or fried noodles with veggies cost 50thb.

 

My favorite spot to eat

 

Fried rice with veggies

 

Fried noodles with veggies
GREEK TAVERNA

665 Moo 2

A real Greek restaurant offering Mediterranean dishes at moderate prices.

 

KUNDA ANTI-POP CAFÉ & VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
Klhong Khong Road

The only 100% vegetarian stop in the whole island. They serve Brownies, chai, coffee and vegan cakes.
They use only local and fresh ingredients. Western ingredients are expensive and hard to find in Koh Lanta, so this place offers the best option for those goodies!

There are also a few bakeries, pizzerias and other western style restaurants around.

Yes, Koh Lanta can be a nightmare for food is you are on a very low budget and like to eat something more than friend rice or noodles, but it’s a magical place. It’s still very pure, very unspoiled, it has an amazing energy and for the first time I felt I was far from the Western Culture.

I stayed in Koh Lanta for over a month. I couldn’t leave, I felt really happy and alive there, everyone I met turned out to be amazing, and I found everything I was searching for in that little tiny Island.

If you have the opportunity, get a scooter and drive to the south of the Island. The southern part is very isolated, totally untouched by tourism and you can have a tropical beach just for yourself. The waters turn very blue and turquoise the further you go, it’s really beautiful out there.

 

MORE ABOUT VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FOOD IN THAILAND? CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES:

 

VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FOOD IN BANGKOK

VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN FOOD IN PAI 

5 Comments

  1. Thank goodness I just came across this article. Arrived in Koh Lanta this morning and I am starving after a few days running blind in Bangkok. Off to get me some rice and vegetables! Thank you!

    • Hahaha Kat, I know the feeling! I really struggled in Koh Lanta. And after almost a month there, I had protein deficiency, because I was just eating veggies and rice on a daily basis, no beans, nothing really consistent. You can buy tofu at the market near the jetty, itºs really cheap, but raw :(

  2. Hello,

    Firstly, thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. I went to Mr green today and they have a veggie section. However the meals are now 80baht + rice. The veggies are next to nothing, the portion was tiny and the meal lacked any authentic taste in both mine and my partner’s dish. I would not recommend it despite being a little cheaper.

    Also allow me to note you will not get a protein deficiency eating rice and vegetables as rice and vegetables contain plenty of protein.

    Further more, there is now two vegetarian restaurants. One is ‘Pure’ and is totally overpriced but the portions are generous and tasty. We both had the smoothie bowls at 150 baht each. Pricy for travellers expensive for budget backpackers like us. The other restaurant I refuse to go to due to the prices.

    All the best my plant based friends.

    • Hey Mark, thank you so much for the update on Koh Lanta! My post is quite old (2013) so I believe many things changed, including the price rise. Back then, Lanta didn’t offer much for us vegans, maybe the fact that most of the population is Muslim and less used to eating vegetarian, I actually struggled to eat back then. Probably the only place I ever struggled to eat.

      Sad to know there are a couple of over-priced places nowadays. I have a hard time understanding why vegan and vegetarian restaurants have to be so expensive??!! Specially in a tropical island, but according to what I know, they don’t produce anything and import all food from mainland.

      Yes, one can get protein deficiency just with rice and veggies. I remember my body desperately craving for beans, chickpeas, tofu, whatever! I was constantly starving for protein. One has to consume 0.8 – 1 gr of protein per kilo of our weight. It doesn’t matter how much rice I ate, I was not getting 50kg of protein, besides, rice is not a complete protein. Food was the only downside of Lanta, but fortunately the market had really cheap tofu.

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