Thailand Food Diary - Illustrated, Colorful & Vegan

A short trip to Thailand...

If you've read my previous blog post, you know that I've spent a week in Thailand in September. On this very inspiring (and relaxing! (Massages!)) trip, I didn't get to do a lot of sketching - I had to keep up with my parents and my husband after all! 

You might also know that I love drawing food and that I document my vacations as visual doodle diaries.

So there we have it: A food illustration as a summary of all the things I ate in Thailand, sketched in various cafes, restaurants and hotel rooms, then colored with watercolors as we arrived back home.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you book via one of the hotel links, I’ll receive a small commission. No content was sponsored. You can check out my disclaimer here. 

A week in Thailand: Vegan Food Diary & Illustrations. A quick guide to vegan-friendly restaurants, hotels and resorts in Bangkok and Huahin.

I love drawing food and diary entries,
and this page is a visual representation of what I ate in Bangkok and Huahin.

Since I'm the only vegan in our little family travel group, I was a bit wary... already the flight didn't offer any special meals to be ordered in advance and my cereal bar supply was at zero.

I shouldn't have worried! While certain places (mostly bars or Western/fusion restaurants) limited me to black coffee, there was still an abundance of traditional Thai food options I could indulge in - and I discovered several vegan restaurants, too.

More Illustrated Travel Diaries:

Thailand's markets and street stalls with their colorful fruit selections are a paradise for any vegan (or non-vegan) traveler. More impressions and recommendations for a vacation in Thailand on my blog!

Thailand: Markets, Sweets and Fruit

And of course: Fruit. Not only were they omnipresent and cheap, they made for pretty sketches, too. I couldn't get enough of the different kinds of mango and papaya, especially - those are so expensive in Korea!

If you travel to Thailand as a vegan, don't bother with bringing snacks - you can find all kinds of labeled (or just obviously vegan, aka fruit and vegs) food, even in small convenience stores.

Mango with sticky rice, soaked in delicious coconut milk. My staple dessert (or, well, meal) choice on traditional Thai markets in Bangkok. When traveling as a vegan through Thailand, fruits and coconut based desserts are the safest bet.

Whenever we ate at markets or in restaurants where I couldn't determine if a dish was vegan or not, I went for dessert instead. Not the healthiest solution, sure, but since those weren't dairy-based but instead prepared with coconut milk I happily indulged. 

A word of warning: Don't underestimate coconut milk. I rarely (if ever) buy it in Korea and wasn't expecting it to be this filling! Even a small dessert for lunch tided me over till dinner.

The various markets and street stalls offer mostly sweet vegan options, though. For savory dishes Thai dishes that don't contain fish sauce or shrimp, you might have to dig a bit deeper.

Anything with curry and coconut makes me happy! Travel and food diary for Thailand: Bangkok and Huahin. Illustrated, colorful, tasty, vegan!

Vegan Restaurant and Hotel Option in Bangkok: Ariyasom Villa and Na Aroon

While we rented an apartment together for most of our stay in Bangkok, we indulged in a more luxurious hotel for the last night. (...and yeah, rainy season sales are great.)

Hidden Places in Thailand, Bangkok: Ariyasom Villa. The dreamy, whimsical old-fashioned building is both hotel and restaurant. It offers a selection of pesco-vegetarian and vegan dishes in a calm atmosphere in the middle of busy Bangkok.

The Ariyasom in Bangkok is a whimsically decorated and old-fashioned building with a restaurant (called Na Aroon, which you can visit even if you aren't a hotel guest) that serves the most delicious food we'd tasted on our whole trip.

There are vegan options as well as fish specialties, but no meat. A pesco-vegetarian restaurant, if you will, with the option and knowledge to veganize pretty much every dish on the menu that isn't vegan already. 

At the Ariyasom Villa, I encountered the luxury version of your good old market fruit stall...

At the Ariyasom Villa, I encountered the luxury version of your good old market fruit stall...

I fell in love with all those Thai flowers - maybe a theme for another sketch!

My mission: Eat all the complementary fruit, everywhere.

Rain pouring down into the courtyard of the Ariyasom Villa in Bangkok. The old-fashioned building made for the perfect cozy retreat - watching the rain as you sip coffee and sketch.

Rain pouring down into the courtyard of the Ariyasom Villa in Bangkok. The old-fashioned building made for the perfect cozy retreat - watching the rain as you sip coffee and sketch.

Did I mention that we went during the rainy time of the year? While we avoided the worst of it, the last couple of days in Bangkok were marked by heavy downpours that invited to lazy coffee-drinking sessions indoors.

Can definitely recommend this season despite the occasional encounter with rain: Hotels are a lot cheaper off-season, you collide with fewer fellow tourists, and the weather didn't stop us from discovering the countryside and city.

A closer look at the food drawings. I loved the red curry with wild blue rice up in the right corner. Also, drawing blue rice makes me feel kind of stupid.

A closer look at the food drawings. I loved the red curry with wild blue rice up in the right corner. Also, drawing blue rice makes me feel kind of stupid.

Na Aroon's vegan menu was a dream, with spicy curries, aromatic wild (and blue!) rice and lots of appetizers. Eating the full course meal was a challenge, though, even after days walking around the city and working up an appetite! The portions are quite large and especially the coconut milk based dishes fill you up quickly.

My favorite was their red Forest Curry - a spicy soup without coconut milk but lots of vegetables and spices like fresh peppercorn, served with rice.

A green curry at the Veganerie...

A green curry at the Veganerie...

... and the spicy Forest Curry at Ariyasom.

... and the spicy Forest Curry at Ariyasom.

Vegan in Bangkok: The Veganerie

For simpler, but still delicious, fare, we visited the Veganerie. By now, this vegan restaurant and cafe has expanded to several locations in Bangkok. They serve a wide selection of smoothies, juices, desserts (waffles!), ice cream... but we mostly went for the savory dishes like salad bowls, zoodles (zucchini noodles) and take-out options like burritos.

Thailand Vegan Food Guide: A Visual Diary to Bangkok & Hua Hin Vegan Restaurants

One of their smaller shops is located in the Siam shopping mall center so I actually visited it several times on the way from and to our apartment.

I actually don't have much of a sweet tooth and prefer desserts like rice cakes with sesame fillings (yay Korea), very dark chocolate and the like to waffles, cakes and ice cream, so the Veganerie's expansive dessert menu didn't do much for me. I chose salad & noddle bowls instead - the salad dressings especially are to die for!

More Veganerie fare in Bangkok: Their salad bowls with zucchini noodles (zoodles?) and sesame dressing are delicious! I've since tried to recreate the sauce at home and failed spectacularly.

More Veganerie fare in Bangkok: Their salad bowls with zucchini noodles (zoodles?) and sesame dressing are delicious! I've since tried to recreate the sauce at home and failed spectacularly.

Since I just mentioned my love for rice cakes... you might want to keep your eyes open for the colorful Thai rice dumplings filled with sweet (huh?) peanut paste. 

Rice cakes, dumplings, and lots of fresh food made for the ideal small lunch - or snack-instead-of-a-meal-since-we're-busy-walking-around in Bangkok.  Vegan food diary & restaurant guide for Thailand: Bangkok

Other favorites of mine included vegetable dumplings and pretty much everything with Tamarind or ginger. I love spicy food and fruit, so Thailand was probably the ideal place to visit anyway...

The breakfast fruit buffet at Evason Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand.  This vegan-friendly resort and all its restaurants made traveling as a Vegan so much easier~ Everything was fresh, delicious, and presented and served with sustainability in mind. No plastic, lots of glass bottles, and lots of plant-based menu options.

Vegan in Hua Hin, Thailand

We didn't only stay in Bangkok itself but traveled down to Hua Hin, where we stayed at the Evason Hua Hin Resort for a couple days. Their spa service is famous and I had my first ever full-body massage there. Everything hurt - but hurt so good. 

The whole resort focuses on a concept of sustainability - no plastic, everything served in glass bottles or wrapped in recycled paper, and it reflected on the food selection, too. 

Breakfast buffet at the Evason Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand.  This vegan-friendly resort and all its restaurants made traveling as a Vegan so much easier~ Everything was fresh, delicious, and presented and served with sustainability in mind. No plastic, lots of glass bottles, and lots of plant-based menu options.

Their breakfast buffet had a lot of vegan options - not only "accidentaly" vegan ones, but an actual serving station for soups, noodle and rice dishes and curries, all vegan. And of course fruits, juices, cereal (with soy milk as an option) and bread. 

Eating vegan at the Evason Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand. This vegan-friendly resort and all its restaurants made traveling as a Vegan so much easier~ Everything was fresh, delicious, and presented and served with sustainability in mind. No plastic, lots of glass bottles, and lots of plant-based menu options. For more vegan travel tips, hidden places, and lots of illustrations, visit my blog!

If you could still walk after eating all that for breakfast, lunch options were available, too. Since we visited off-season, the restaurant's prices were reduced by half. Which... had me eating probably two times as much. 

We took so many pictures of food and landscapes... we forgot to take a family pic (on which we aren't drunk) so this is as close as it gets. I tried to keep with the locals' preference for clothing that isn't too short and revealing, especially when visiting traditional Thai restaurants or, of course, temples and historical sites.

We took so many pictures of food and landscapes... we forgot to take a family pic (on which we aren't drunk) so this is as close as it gets.
I tried to keep with the locals' preference for clothing that isn't too short and revealing, especially when visiting traditional Thai restaurants or, of course, temples and historical sites.

I'd never been to a place as luxurious but at the same time down-to-earth like this! It was lots of fun dressing up for fancy dinners after a day of discovering the Hua Hin countryside, or getting massages - I could definitely get used to this type of vacation! My husband and I  are usually more of backpacking/camping/staying-at-a-friend's-house type of travelers, so a family vacation with my parents opened some new doors.

I did use Ebates to get a bit of cashback on our hotel bookings, though! If you sign up in 2017, you get an instant 10$ credit and then percentages off once you book via certain online booking sites. The couple %'s in cashback added up quickly for us!
More vegan food options and recommendations for Thailand: Huahin and Bangkok. The raw food desserts at the Evason Resort/Hotel was especially delicious and fancy!

In the evening, we focused on traditional Thai meals again, with the addition of cocktails, beer, and wine. There's even a winery in Huahin, so we tasted several local ones. I feel very grown-up as I write this.

The "Coast" restaurant located in the Evason Resort was our choice for the last evening. The food was definitely fancier than any other vegan food I had. Less hearty and filling than the Ariyasom, and more focused on unique ingredients, textures and taste combinations. I had mushroom-cashew-creme soup, for example, and a vegan raw tiramisu for dessert to share with my skeptical mom. Not a place I'd eat at every day, but definitely a unique experience.

Addictive roasted peas, obligatory drinks...

Addictive roasted peas, obligatory drinks...

... and an obligatory selfie. 

... and an obligatory selfie. 

The week went by way too fast... 

We'd been visiting Thailand as an extended stop-over on the way home from Switzerland to Korea, so time was limited and our luggage a mess. But I can definitely imagine traveling to Thailand again and hope to discover some more remote regions, more delicious food and to find more inspiration for drawings!

Fruit and peanut sauce and rice dumplings... what more to ask for?  Illustrated Thailand food & travel diary on the blog. Colorful, tasty and vegan!
Red spicy forest curry and blue wild rice at the Ariyasom Villa in Bangkok, Thailand. Food & Travel Diary on the Blog. Colorful & vegan!
You can find my Thailand illustration stickers here!

You can find my Thailand illustration stickers here!

I hope you found this little snapshot of vegan options in Thailand helpful - or at least enjoyed the drawings and my ramblings. 

For more vegan restaurant tips and hidden places:

Thailand Travel Sketch Diary INKTOBER 2017 & Printable Stickers

Inktober (or, well, October) is the month during which, every year, I finally fill my sketchbooks.

I often neglect sketches in daily life. Of course, I draw every day. It's just rarely for "just" a sketch. Most of my drawings have an end product of sorts in mind, be it a commission piece, new Etsy stickers or prints. 

So this year during Inktober, I tackled something I had difficulties with: 

Landscapes and backgrounds!

And what would be better as a subject than my trip to Thailand a couple months ago? 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you use one of the product links to shop, I’ll receive a small commission. None of the products are sponsored. You can check out my disclaimer here. 

Buddha statue among the ruins of Ayutthaya, Thailand. Travel sketchbook by Evelyne Park, Inktober 2017

Travel Sketchbook, Thailand, Ayutthaya

While I wasn't able to sketch a lot while in Thailand (try getting everyone to sit still for long enough!) I took all the pictures I could. 

The most inspiring place we visited was Ayutthaya, the temple and city ruins near Bangkok. I love historical settings and nature - both showing their best sides in one place!

Ayutthaya temple ruins, lost city in Thailand. Travel sketchbook impressions by Evelyne Park

Inktober Sketch of Temple Ruins, Ayutthaya

Inktober, as the name implies, focuses on ink drawings, so I started with just a pencil and a pen. The stone textures and intermingled sparse trees made for great subjects.

When sketching with photographic references, I usually don't copy a specific image, but toss several elements together. This means that I get to play with perspective and composition, while still having the reference material to capture the unique and unfamiliar architecture.

Not using any pictures as reference and instead drawing straight from memory seems to create a more washed-out vision of the real thing, since my hand defaults to sketching forms and patterns I'm familiar with instead of the specific, in this case Thai, scenery.

  • I use a Muji Mechanical Pencil in 0.3 for first rough outlines - this pencil is especially travel friendly since it's so sturdy! 
  • The ink outlines are made with Sakura Pigma Micron pens. Be careful: Two of my pens seem to have leaked during the flight? I'm not sure why because Micron's pens are usually very durable and I enjoy using them a lot...
Ayutthaya, Ruins, Photography by Evelyne Park evydraws

This picture was one of the reference pieces I used for the sketch above. You can recognize the individual buildings, but I switched their order and composition.

Wat Mahathat Buddha Head in Tree, Ayutthaya Thailand Travel Sketch by Evelyne Park

Wat Mahathat Buddha Head Ayutthaya Sketch

The Buddha statue head in a tree at Wat Mahathat is famous, isn't it?

Living in Korea, I learned that it's disrespectful to take pictures of the Buddha from above or at eye level. To capture that, I drew the tree with the statue's head embedded among its roots as if looking at it while lying on the ground. 

Wat Mahathat, Head of Buddha in Tree, Travel sketchbook drawing, Evelyne Park

The intricate roots and branches of the old tree made for an interesting motive, and I still hesitate to either color or ink this pencil sketch. Organic forms like the tree seem to suit soft pencil lines better...

Inktober 2017, Travel Sketches, Landscapes, Thailand Ayutthaya Statue, Evelyne Park

So many statues! It's quite the challenge to capture facial expressions cast in stone (and old and weathered...) but I like how this one turned out. 

In this sketch, too, I kept the eye level of the observer below the Buddha statue itself. 

The tree wasn't really that big but the leaf textures were too much fun to stop!

Ayutthaya Headless Statue, Watercolor Sketch Travel Sketchbook Evelyne Park

Ayutthaya Watercolor Statue Sketch

One of my favorite pieces. This headless, hand-less and, fascinatingly, arm-less statue was hidden among more imposing ruins, and I nearly didn't take a picture of it. Luckily, I at least had a snapshot on my phone that later served as reference for this pencil drawing combined with watercolors by the Korean brand Shinhan

Travel sketches, Ayutthaya Thailand, Headless Statue, Evelyne Park

All of Ayutthaya had this eerie, imposing and serene atmosphere. It's quite hard to capture in a sketch...

There's also this sense of sadness at the loss of a once great city, and all the historical events that lead to its ransacking and destruction. I tried to capture both the grandeur and the tragedy that make Ayutthaya so much more than just a tourist attraction.

Temple Ruins of Ayutthaya, Thailand

Inktober isn't over yet and I'll post more sketches soon! 

I started working with watercolors about half-way through the month, and also added landscape sketches of Jeju Island for variety. 

Printable travel stickers, Thailand, Beauty of Thai Culture, Handdrawn watercolor sticker printable | Free sticker printable page on my blog!

As for something more in my "usual" style for Etsy, I've finally finished painting and editing my Thailand stickers. While the printable files aren't yet available on Etsy (that will take me one or two days... my PC is still a mess...) I'll make the US letter size version temporarily available here. These should be great for travel diaries!

Are you participating in Inktober? How is it going? I'd love to see more blogs showing their Inktober journey!