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A Healthy Vegan Guide to Phuket
Sharing this (very) slightly late, but here it is! My healthy vegan guide to Phuket, or in other (more accurate) words, everything I ended up eating and doing during my short visit. I visited Thailand for a photography project, and decided to stay a few short days in Phuket. We stayed in the northern area of the island, at Twin Palms Resort which was absolutely stunning and the perfect place to relax and disconnect. My room had a direct walk out to a pool which was really nice too 🙂
When I travel, I really enjoy discovering new vegan spots and visiting yoga studios–I have a hard time sitting still or spending all my time by the pool, so I did a little adventuring in different areas of the island, and that’s what I’ll be sharing today. I used to visit Phuket every single year to see family for Christmas, but we always stayed on Patong beach, a very tourist friendly beach. Back then, I was also not vegan, nor did I enjoy yoga or working out, so I basically spent my time at the beach. I find that it’s always really fun to explore cities with different goals in mind. Looking for vegan friendly, healthy spots and creative things to do resulted in my finding restaurants I never knew existed on the island, and really really enjoying my time there.
In general, vegan food is really easy to come by in Thailand, as a lot of the traditional food is easily made vegan. Additionally, it’s very common because in Thailand, most Buddhist monks believe that refraining from eating meat purifies the body. This is called Jay (เจ) food, and most Thai people are familiar with what that means so if you tell a server “kin Jay” or that you eat Jay food, you can rest assured it’s vegan. The only thing to note is that Jay food will not contain garlic or onion and a few other spices. Finally, the tropical fruits and produce are incredible in Thailand, so if you prefer to eat predominantly raw, that is also very doable and affordable too.
Restaurants I liked:
Not a completely vegan cafe, but they offer high protein vegan nice cream bowls (Nanabowls) as well as raw vegan desserts from local company Crunchbox. They also sell some products made by local Phuket artisans! I recommend the peanut butter Nanabowl.
I loved finding Nanabowls in Phuket because they are made the way that I make them at home–thick, not runny nice cream bowls and they are packed with protein. The peanut butter bowl has 25g of protein and they are delicious. Nanabowls are served at a few other locations on the island, but the flagship location is Wilson’s Cafe.
Atsumi Raw Cafe
This raw cafe has everything from raw pizzas to sandwiches, raw burgers and lots of dessert options. I opted for a green juice (not so pleasantly named the candida juice), and the raw burger which I highly recommend. I didn’t try any desserts, but I would definitely go back to try them!
Pure Vegan Heaven
I tried Pure Vegan Heaven when I was on a different island in Thailand, in Koh Phangan and I loved it. They have both sweet breakfast options and savoury meals.
Santosa is a little on the pricier and high end side of the spectrum as far as food in Thailand goes, but it’s a stunning spot to watch the sunset from. The dishes are delicious and there are raw desserts too! On certain days they have buffets as well and all the food is vegan.
This is a macrobiotic restaurant spot that also sells a few specialty grocery items and snacks. They also offer a Sunday buffet!
Project Artisan Layan
Project Artisan is north on the island and has a restaurant, but also some fun workshops and a spa. The restaurant has a few vegan options, but I recommend going in for a workshop for something creative and fun to do!
Watch a sunset at promthep cape
Promthep cape, south of the island, is a really beautiful point to watch the sunset from. I highly recommend doing this one evening when the weather is clear.
Belove Yoga Studio Rooftop
This is the only yoga studio I’ve tried while in Phuket, but I had a great class there. The only thing to take note of is that it can get hot and humid, depending on the time of the day you take a class but it is also Thailand so 🙂
Get a massage at Let’s Relax
There are a lot of stereotypes around massages in Thailand (thanks Hangover movie), but you truly can get an amazing massage in Thailand. My personal opinion is that most massage spots are safe–I mean, yes there are probably places where certain individuals frequent with a different goal in mind, but use your best judgment and feel out the massage spot you pick. If you’re ever unsure, I recommend opting for Let’s Relax, a really well known spa chain in Thailand with locations all over the country. The facilities are spotless, service is really incredible and the massages are as well. Since you’ll be in Thailand, I recommend getting a Thai massage, which is a very mobile and full body experience.
Visit Phuket’s Old Town
Old Town is a great area to visit if you’re ever in the mood to stroll around and really embrace the feeling of being in Phuket. There are little vendors, markets, museums and temples/shrines you can check out while you’re in the Old Town Area.
Note about animal activities:
Any activity or tour including animals that offers elephant rides is absolutely not ethical. Many tourists visiting Thailand will book elephant rides because it’s a very popular thing to do in Thailand, however elephants are mistreated and carrying passengers on their backs is actually very damaging to their bodies. I really recommend against supporting this industry, and opting to visit an ethical elephant sanctuary instead. Otherwise, just keep an eye out as you’re driving around Phuket as you may catch sight of some on the sides of the road.
So these are all the things I did when I was in Phuket last–I hope you find some fun recommendations from the list above!
Love and coconuts,