transportation in Thailand_three wheeler_tuk tuk

Tuk Tuk Thailand: try the Three-Wheeler transport

Tuk Tuk Thailand or three wheeler bicycle is probably one of the most recognizable transportation modes in Thailand among visitors and tourists. Learn more about Tuk Tuk as well as where to take Tuk Tuk. Also, we will cover tips and other things to look out for when taking such transportation in Thailand!

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Three wheeler in Thailand

Tuk Tuk Thailand_history

The first version of Tuk Tuk or three-wheeler in Thailand date back to the early 20th century. The earliest version of the three-wheeler started out as a single-seater attached to a bicycle. Almost 30 years later Tuk Tuk became a motor vehicle that developed into a three-wheeler with a roof that you see in Thailand today. Some Tuk Tuk today has evolved into a 4 wheeler, almost like an open-air minivan. The three-wheeler can comfortably fit 2-3 passengers. However, you may sometimes see Thai students seating 5-6 pax in 1 Tuk Tuk. Certainly, this brings safety into question, more on this below.

Where and when to take three wheeler

Tuk Tuk Thailand_three wheeler transport

Tuk Tuk (and its cousin) can most commonly be found in cities that are popular among tourists. Hence, you will definitely find Tuk Tuk in cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Hua Hin. 

When to take Tuk Tuk? 

If you are in Thailand, it might be a good idea to take Tuk Tuk at least once to enjoy the experience. This is because a Tuk Tuk ride will allow you to fully soak in the breeze (and sometimes pollution too) and the city’s vibe/buzzes. Having said that, Tuk Tuk is great for short-distance travel as they share the mobility of motorcycles but with added comfort.

However, Tuk Tuk might not be the best everyday transport option. Why? First of all, most Tuk Tuk has no air-conditioning. So if you are taking a ride through the city center, this will mean heat and pollution. Secondly, Tuk Tuk has fewer safety measures when compared to taking a car. This is because Tuk Tuk has no seat belt, which means added risk in case of an accident. Lastly, the price is not cheap. We will cover more of this in the next section.

How much is the three wheeler transport?

So how much is Tuk Tuk in Thailand? It really depends since often time they run on the rider’s quote and not meter. A ride on Tuk Tuk can cost anywhere from THB100 to THB500+ depending on the distance. However, one thing that you really need to watch out for when taking a Tuk Tuk is 1) you need to agree on pricing first before you get on 2) the price is likely overstated, especially if you are a tourist. 

Your best bet is to take out an app like Grab to check pricing beforehand. So that if the Tuk Tuk’s rider is quoting a similar price (or only slightly higher), then you know you are getting a decent deal. Some popular Tuk Tuk spots may also have pricing list available and this helps to prevent any scam.

How much is tuk tuk in Thailand

Are there Electric Tuk Tuk in Thailand?

Grab launched an electric Tuk Tuk service in Chiang Mai back in 2019. That year, Grab partnered with the government and private sector to establish Chiang Mai Smart Mobility Alliance Network. The aim of the network is to reduce the use of private vehicles in Chiang Mai by 35% in 5 years’ time and eventually reduce pollution in the city. This electrification of Tuk Tuk in Chiang Mai will also help to reduce the carbon footprint in the city. 

Electric Tuk Tuk driver-partner of Grab will be able to easily leverage Grab’s electronic booking app to get customers. At the same time, these drivers will be able to enjoy cost savings of fuel compared to their LPG counterparts.

Alternative to Tuk Tuk Thailand

Apart from Tuk Tuk or three wheeler, you can also utilize other transportation methods like taxi, grab taxi, BTS or motorcycle. We have a dedicated article covering transportation mode in Thailand.

Should you use Tuk Tuk as your mode of transport?

Personally, we think you can try it once when you just arrive in Thailand. This is purely for the experience. Other than that, if you are cost-conscious, Tuk Tuk in Thailand can actually be costly. You might get a better deal by just taking Grab/Taxi, or even the train (BTS or underground train). Moreover, if you go with family and kids, Tuk Tuk rides do not have proper safety measures. You might have better peace of mind if you take taxi/Grab.

Those who go to Thailand often usually do not take Tuk Tuk to move around the city. 

However, the move towards the electrification of Tuk Tuk is promising. With the lower cost of fuel, we hope that the cost savings can be passed on to passengers as well!

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Tom Kha vs Tom Yum_featured

Tom Kha vs Tom Yum: Similarities & Differences

Thailand is known for spicy and sour soup. Household names like Tom Yum soup may need no further introduction, but have you heard of Tom Kha soup? We have written other articles on Tom Yum noodles and Tom Yum hotpot. Recently we also covered the topic of Tom Kha soup calories. Learn more about similarities and differences between Tom Kha vs Tom Yum here!

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How about the taste of both soups?

Both Tom Kha and Tom Yum have spicy and sour taste. This spicy and refreshing taste comes from chili, lime and a bit of fish sauce and sugar. Both soups make good use of Thai herbs to add nice aroma to the dish. Having said this, we will cover more of the soup ingredients in a later section.

The creamy version of Tom Yum soup also contains creaminess (usually from coconut milk), very much similar to Tom Kha soup. So from taste and texture standpoint, the two soups are quite similar

Tom Kha vs Tom Yum: appareance

Tom Kha vs Tom Yum_featured

The most striking difference between Tom Kha vs. Tom Yum starts with the soup color. Tom Yum is a red/orangish-colored soup. On the other hand, Tom Kha has a mild, white-colored soup. Tom Yum (especially the creamy version) derives its red color from red chili, shrimp, but most importantly Thai chili paste. Tom Kha’s white color is due to its major ingredients, coconut milk!

Soup ingredients


We have mentioned earlier that the two soups can taste quite similar. That is because they share many same ingredients such as:

  • Herbs: Lemon grass, kaffir lime, galangal, shallot
  • Seasoning: Chili, lime, fish sauce and sugar


Despite the similarities, there are a few striking differences in the ingredients.

  • Protein: While both soups can use any protein, the most common protein for Tom Yum is shrimp (Tom Yum Goong) and other seafood. On the other hand the most common protein for Tom Kha is chicken (Tom Kha Gai)
  • Other key ingredient: Key ingredients for Tom Yum soup are chili paste which adds spiciness as well as red color to the soup and evaporated milk that adds creamy texture to the soup. Whereas for Tom Kha soup, the soup is either made purely from coconut milk or a mix between chicken stock and coconut milk!

Apart from the list above, there may be some other variations of the two soups. For instance, addition of mushrooms, tomatoes or even onions – this really depends on the recipes.

Calories for Tom Kha vs Tom Yum

There are two versions of Tom Yum i.e. clear Tom Yum and creamy Tom Yum. That is why Tom Yum can have as low as 270 calories or as high as 350 depending on the recipe. Check out our other article on Tom Yum soup calories and health benefits. 

On the other hand, Tom Kha contains ingredients like coconut milk which is high in calories. Hence, a serving of true Tom Kha soup made from 100% coconut milk can have as high as 700 calories. However, this number may be lower if the Tom Kha uses a mix of chicken stock with added coconut milk.

Which soup should you try?

Both soups are great! If you like clear soup, unfortunately Tom Kha soup does not have the option. However, Tom Yum has both versions: clear soup and creamy soup. We personally prefer Tom Yum because of the clear Tom Yum soup. In hot weather like Thailand and Singapore, clear Tom Yum soup is very refreshing and feels lighter. We do love creamy Thai soups as well but only have it once in a while. Also, keep in mind that soup like Tom Kha should be consumed in moderation due to its calorie count. 

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Tom Kha soup calories_featured

Tom Kha Soup Calories & Vegetarian Option

Thailand has many renowned dishes like Tom Yum soup or green curry. However, you might have seen a white-colored soup in a Thai restaurant or while you are in Thailand. The white colored soup you have just seen is called Tom Kha soup. But do not let its plain look deceive you, the soup is rich in flavours. Having said that, do you need to be worried about Tom Kha soup calories? Let’s learn more about Tom Kha soup calories in this article.

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What is Tom Kha Soup?

Tom Kha soup refers to a spicy and sour coconut milk soup which most commonly contains chicken and mushroom. The one containing chicken in the soup is called Tom Kha Gai – as Gai means chicken in Thai. Coconut milk gives Tom Kha a smooth tasting, white colored soup base which is then enhanced by herbs like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. These herbs add nice fragrance to the soup. Tom Kha derives its taste primarily from fresh chili, lime and fish sauces. Some recipes also add a bit of sugar for sweetness.

Tom Kha soup calories

Tom Kha soup calories_ingredients

A serving of Thai Tom Kha soup, which makes use of 100% coconut milk, for a single person contains about 700 to 900 calories. However, if you have Tom Kha soup with a bowl of rice, then you are looking at adding another 100 to 200 calories to the meal.

You might wonder what makes Tom Kha soup so high in calories? Let’s break Tom Kha soup’s major ingredients down.

  • Protein = 708 cal
  • Vegetable = 64 cal
  • Coconut milk = 800-900 cal
  • Other seasonings = 30 cal
  • Total = 1,700 cal for 2 servings

From the breakdown above, the answer lies with coconut milk. That is, 100% coconut milk without dilution contains as much as 800 calories per 500 ml box. 

Can Tom Kha be lighter on calories or can it be vegetarian?

A recipe which makes use of chicken stock can reduce the amount of coconut milk by up to half, effectively reducing Tom Kha soup calories count. Apart from that, switching to leaner chicken like chicken breast can also help (or add more mushroom and less chicken). 

While you cannot remove a key ingredient like coconut milk from Tom Kha soup, you can consider another great tasting Thai soup like Tom Yum instead. Clear broth Tom Yum contains less than half of Tom Kha calories.

Can Tom Kha be vegetarian? The answer is yes. There are recipes that purely use coconut milk and no chicken stock. For such a recipe, removing chicken and replacing it with a variety of mushrooms effectively makes the dish vegetarian (and might need to replace fish sauce with salt).

What other vegetables fit well with and help with Tom Kha soup calories?

While Tom Kha soup mostly contains mushroom, some other vegetables also fit well into the soup.

For example, you can add tomatoes into Tom Kha soup. Tom Kha soup is sour thanks to lime. And as you can imagine, adding tomatoes will add more sour taste to the soup. Another vegetable you can add is white Chinese cabbage. While they contain water and may dilute the soup, they also absorb the nice spicy & sour Tom Kha soup once simmered!

Should you try Tom Kha and is it healthy?

Tom Kha is a delicious dish that you should try. It might be a bit high in calorie count but there are ways to reduce the it. So if you are health conscious, you can still have this Tom Kha soup by making a healthier version of it. Vegetarians can also try this Tom Kha soup by replacing the proteins with vegetables and mushrooms. 

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beef larb_featured

Beef Larb: taste, recipe and pork/chicken/veg alternative

Larb is a great-tasting Thai dish that did not enjoy as much spotlight as its cousin, Thai papaya salad aka Som Tum. For those of you who are not familiar with Thai food, but is a Marvel movie fan, hear us out. Larb is the dish Aunt May used as the reference in her pun to Peter in “Spiderman: homecoming”. There are many variations of larb like beef larb, pork, chicken or even vegetarian friendly version! Learn more about Larb in this post.

beef larb_aunt may

Larb: Thai-isan dish

Larb is a spicy and sour meat salad originated from the Isan region of Thailand (North-eastern Thailand). Even though larb is often called “salad”, it is actually a cooked dish that is served hot. The main ingredients include meat, herbs and seasoning. Thais normally serve this dish with some fresh vegetables at the side. Larb also tastes great when eaten together with sticky rice. You can often find larb in Isan style or Som Tum meal. People often serve larb along side Som Tum or some Thai BBQ, together with sticky rice and/or kanom jeen. There are many variations of larb dishes, but our favourite is cooked beef larb!

beef larb_featured

Beef larb vs. Chicken larb vs. Pork larb

As mentioned above, there are many ways to make larb. You can make larb with beef (hence beef larb), pork, chicken, or even duck. Larb typically makes use of minced or finely chopped meat which also works great in absorbing all the seasoning and spices. If you are visiting Thailand, there are a few things to watch out for when ordering larb

  • Beef larb: In Thailand, there are both cooked and raw beef larb. While in Bangkok, you can expect most vendors to sell larb with cooked beef. However, just indicate in your order to be safe.
  • Pork larb: Pork larb sometimes also contains innards such as pork liver or intestine. If you are not a fan of innards, you should ask the restaurant to exclude them.
  • Spicy level: Larb (or Isan food in general) tends to be spicy. If you are not used to eating spicy Asian food, asking for a milder version might be a good idea.

Recipes for Beef Larb

Whether you are looking to cook beef larb or other variations like pork/chicken, the preparation method, herbs and seasoning are mostly similar.

For every 500g of beef, you will need:

  • Shallot: 3x
  • Onion: 1/2x
  • Chili flake/dried chili: 2-3 tablespoons (put less if you cannot handle spice)
  • Lime: 2 teaspoons
  • Fish sauce: 2 tablespoons
  • Ground roasted rice: 2 tablespoons
  • Chopped spring onion/parsley: 1-2 tablespoon(s), kaffir lime leaves can be added as well!

The cooking process is simple. First, boil minced beef until almost cooked then remove it from the cooking pan/pot. Mix all the seasoning and herb into the pan/pot at low heat then put minced beef back in. Stir well and lastly add ground roasted rice before serving. You can serve it with fresh lettuce or with kanom jeen /sticky rice.

Can larb be vegetarian?

We quoted larb as Thai meat salad earlier. While this is true, we recently come across many meatless larb dishes here in Thailand. Before we move on, we have to say that these larb dishes are meatless, however they may still contain fish sauce which is a product of fish.

So what type of meatless larb have we seen? We have seen tofu larb (made with fried tofu) or with various types of mushrooms as well as glass noodles. The meatless version of larb also tastes great with sticky rice and kanom jeen! Having said this, we still stand with our decision that beef larb is the best!

Should you try Beef Larb in Thailand?

Yes! If you have tasted other more popular Thai food like Som Tum, you should expand your horizon by trying other dishes like larb. Among other larbs, we enjoy beef larb the most. Since there are many types of larb that you can have, you can pick one to your liking. Plus, with the beef larb recipe that we shared above, you can make your own at home too. Simply change the meat option if you want to make your own chicken/pork/duck larb.

what does butterfly pea tea taste like_featured

What does butterfly pea tea taste like? Learn about its taste!

Have you seen nice blue or purple color in cafes or Thai restaurant? While you may have wondered if the drink has been colored artificially, the blue or purple colour might be natural! In Thailand, people have been using butterfly pea as a natural food and beverage coloring. With more innovative drinks coming out, we started to get questions like “What does butterfly pea tea taste like?” Let’s find out the answer in this article.

What are “butterfly peas”?

what does butterfly pea tea taste like_butterfly pea plant

First of all, what are butterfly peas and which part of the plants that people use to make coloring? Butterfly pea is a plant commonly found in South and Southeast Asia. The plant’s scientific name is Clitoria ternatea and it belongs to a flowering plant family. Butterfly pea flowers are typically dried and used for coloring, however you can also find butterfly pea extract directly.

What does butterfly pea tea taste like?

Butterfly pea itself has very little to no taste. So to answer the question “What does butterfly pea taste like?”, the answer is, little to no taste, that is for pure butterfly tea without any additives. There is no standard recipe for what people often call butterfly pea tea, in fact, there are so many different beverages that people commonly call “butterfly pea tea”.

Pure butterfly pea tea

Pure butterfly tea is made of dried butterfly peaflower and hot water. It is a flower tea without any caffeine! However, you will need to take note that unlike rose tea made of rose petals or buds, butterfly tea does not contain any strong fragrance. Hence, the tea itself will not have strong taste or smell. Some butterfly tea bag may have a bit of added fragrance or some may choose to add honey into the mix in order to add smell or taste. Nonetheless, brands that are promoting butterfly pea tea for health benefits usually will only have 100% butterfly pea in their tea bags.

Butterfly pea lemonade

what does butterfly pea tea taste like_lemonade

Butterfly pea lemonade is where it gets more interesting (and refreshing!). It is very common to add lemon or lime into butterfly pea tea, but whether the beverage is classified as tea or lemonade, it depends on the amount of lemon.

You can brew the butterfly pea and then mix it with lemon (or lime juice in Southeast Asia) and a bit of sugar for a refreshing sour and sweet taste. Some recipe also introduces soda water for some fizz. You can also add herbs like lemon skin or rosemary for more taste and fragrance! So what does butterfly pea tea taste like here? The answer here is: it can taste like lemonade!

Butterfly pea milk tea

We have covered sour and refreshing taste of butterfly pea lemonade, but another popular butterfly pea tea beverages is butterfly pea milk tea! Butterfly pea milk tea, like its cousin Thai milk tea – is a milky beverage. But here we use butterfly pea tea as a base instead of the red Thai tea (hence the drink base color is blue!)

Common ingredients include hot water, dried butterfly pea flower, fresh milk, some syrup and ice. In Thailand, people also add evaporated milk for extra milkiness! So what does Thai butterfly pea tea taste like here? Milk tea!

Health benefit of butterfly pea

The popularity of butterfly pea is not only because it adds interesting blue color to food/drinks, but also its health benefits.

Butterfly pea’s blue color is due to anthocyanins, which are antioxidant compounds. Specifically the name of the antioxidant responsible for the bright blue color is ternatins. Studies show that ternatins can alleviate inflammation and prevent cancer cell growth. There are other antioxidant compounds in butterfly pea that have different functions like anti-cancer, antimicrobial, antiviral, and boosting immunity.

Many people also consume butterfly pea tea for weight loss, to stabilize blood sugar and also they put topically on the skin for hydration.

Is butterfly pea tea nice to drink?

Yes, it is nice to drink and there are variations of butterfly pea tea, each with a unique taste. If you like it more herbal and healthy, you can have it just as is, brewed like the way you brew tea. But if you like it more refreshing with some citrusy smell or taste, you can make a butterfly pea lemonade. And, if you like milky taste and texture, you can create a butterfly pea milk tea. Pick your favorite.

Other than its unique color, butterfly pea tea is also packed with antioxidants that are healthy for the body. This makes butterfly pea tea drinks not only attractive in color and tasty but also healthy. 

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Thai fried egg_basil pork

Thai fried egg: what it is and how to make one

You are most likely familiar with sunny side up, over easy, medium and hard. But have you tried Asian fried egg? Thai fried egg in particular is crispy and it enhances the flavour and texture of many Thai dishes! Having said that, you should find out more about this type of fried egg and what makes it unique with us!

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What is Thai fried egg?

Thai fried egg or Kai Dao refers to a way that egg is commonly fried in Thailand. However, keep in mind that it does not mean fried egg made from Thai chicken or eggs. Instead, what sets this Thai style fried egg apart is the way to cook it such that the egg white becomes crispy while egg yolk is still runny (or completely cooked if that’s your preference).

While Thais often serve this egg alongside other Thai dishes, you can eat it alone with white rice as well. However, normally we will add a simple sauce made from fish sauce, chili, and sometimes lime to the dish for some extra taste.

Thai fried egg_chili

How to make Thai style crispy fried egg

There are a few simple tricks to achieve the crispiness of Thai fried egg while keeping the egg yolk runny.

The heat: To achieve the ultimate crispiness, you will need high heat. Hence, cooking with a stove/gas would be easier than an induction cooker

The pan: Curved pan (commonly used in Asia) or we call it “wok”

The oil: Generous amount of oil to ensure that it can cover all of the egg white

The cooking method: First, heat the oil with a big fire then reduce to medium right before you add the egg. Second, add the egg into the center of the curved pan to ensure that the egg white is surrounded by oil. Then, use a spatula or wok turner to scoop up oil from the side to pour it over the egg yolk until it suits your liking (runny or over medium). This will produce crispy egg white with runny egg yolk in the middle!

Thai style crispy fried egg

What dishes go well with this egg?

We would not call Thai fried egg a dish, however, this egg makes many other Thai dishes a lot better. In fact, many restaurants in Thailand offer this egg as part of the dish. Otherwise, you can pay an extra THB10 – THB15 for it.

  • Kra pao: Kra pao or Thai basil stir-fried is one of the staple dishes in Thailand. The dish however is not complete without Thai fried egg! Or better yet 2 of them
  • Thai green curry: Thai green curry is delicious with rice or Ka Nom Jeen noodles. However, whether you like rice or noodles, the green curry will taste better with a fried egg! (boiled egg also works as an alternative)
  • Pad Kee Mao: Pad Kee Mao tastes great on its own, however adding a fried egg can make it even better!
  • Garlic pork: Stir fried pork with a lot of garlic and soy sauce and white pepper also goes really well with fried egg or Thai chili sauce
  • Fried rice: Thai fried egg and chili fish sauce add taste and texture variation to fried rice on top of bringing more nutrition. Check out simple fish sauce recipe here
Thai fried egg_basil pork

Is Thai style crispy fried egg different from Thai omelette?

If you have heard of Thai omelette with crab, it is different from Thai style crispy fried egg. Similar to their Western counterparts, fried egg and omelette are different things. We will be covering Thai omelette in a different article.

How much do we enjoy this egg and why?

We especially love this egg when it comes with other dishes, especially Kra Pow rice. This is because the egg really adds texture to the food, especially the crispy edges of the Thai fried egg. Moreover, if you have runny yolk, it will add moisture to the dish. We do not know about you, but we do not like our dish to be too dry sometimes. In conclusion, go ahead and try Thai fried egg and see whether you like it as much as we do!

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lard na_soup noodle

Lard Na (aka Rad Na): Thai noodle with thick soup

Have you ever seen noodles with sticky soup while in Thailand or when you are in a Thai restaurant? The dish you just saw is called Lard Na and it is quite delicious! Previously we have talked about other Thai noodles including Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mao, and Pad See Ew and their comparisons as well. Learn more about this noodle, its variation, taste and what makes the soup sticky here!

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What is this dish about?

Lard Na is a Thai dish that originates from Chinese cuisine. Based on its name, Lard Na directly translates to “Lard” = Pour, “Na” = surface or topping. The dish derived its name from how this types of noodles are prepared and served. First place your noodles in a bowl, then pour the hot soup which also contains protein/vegetables before serving, hence the name Lard Na. If you had lived in Malaysia and Singapore before, you will also see some similarities between this noodle and Hor Fun.

lard na_lard na soup

Lard Na soup: what makes the soup sticky?

This dish’s unique feature is its sticky soup base, but what makes the soup sticky? This noodle commonly uses pork stock soup as the base. You can then mix the stock with corn starch for the sticky texture. To enhance the flavor, Thais often add to the soup a bit of sugar, white pepper, light soy sauce, and fermented soybean sauce.

Lard Na noodles

You can use many types of noodles in this dish. Thais usually use large rice noodles as Lard Na noodles. However, the most special noodle type for this dish would be the crispy egg noodles. Lard Na with crispy egg noodles makes use of fried round/flat egg noodles to add extra texture and crunchiness to the dish (which is very yummy!). Apart from that, you may find other noodle variations such as vermicelli or even instant noodle!


lard na_ingredients

From our coverage on Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mao and Pad See Ew, you should know by now that Thai noodles are flexible when it comes to ingredients. The same also applies to this noodle. Nonetheless, we will go through the common ingredients below.

Noodles: You have a broad choice of noodles ranging from crispy noodles to vermicelli or big rice noodles. You can mix and cook the rice noodles with dark soy sauce first before being served

Soup: As mentioned in the above section, you can create the soup/gravy using soup stock, corn starch and a bit of sugar, white pepper, light soy sauce, and fermented soybean sauce

Protein: Specially prepared Pork is the most common choice for this dish. Slice the pork and mix them with corn starch, baking soda, oyster sauce, pepper, and egg for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This is to give the pork taste and tender texture. However, apart from pork, you can also find other meat options like chicken and seafood as well

Vegetables: The most common vegetables used in Lard Na are young kale and baby corns. However some shops also add other vegetables like carrot, asparagus or mushroom

Do not forget about seasoning

While Lard Na is a Chinese cuisine-influenced dish, it cannot escape Thai’s love for seasoning. Thais typically serve this dish with chili, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, and white pepper on the side (or at least chili and vinegar). We personally love adding spicy and sour taste to our noodle!

Should you try Lard Na in Thailand?

If you like noodles with thick soup / gravy, this noodle might be right up your alley. You should try this noodle while in Thailand because there is a difference between this and the Chinese-style thick gravy noodle. Also, with the different kinds of seasoning typical of Thai dishes, you will have a unique experience with this dish. 

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is marijuana legal in Thailand_cannabis salad

Is marijuana legal in Thailand? 2022 update and outlook

Is Marijuana legal in Thailand? Understand Thailand cannabis legalization process

There has been news about Thailand legalizing marijuana. You might also have seen photos of food and beverage businesses incorporating cannabis in their menu. Many of our readers have raised a lot of questions along the line “Is marijuana legal in Thailand?”. This is not an uncommon observation especially after Thailand initiated its push to legalize cannabis in 2019 – and there has been a lot of market movements until 2021. 

Now in 2022, Thailand is starting to release details on the requirement and process which will allow households to grow cannabis/marijuana at home. Learn more about latest trends with us in this article!

Thailand passed the Narcotics Act (No. 7) B.E. 2562 (A.D. 2019) which allows the use of cannabis for medical and research purposes. 

However, this does not mean anyone can freely grow, have in possession, consume or distribute cannabis. Understand restrictions and allowed usage according to the most updated Thailand drug law below.

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Understanding Thailand drug laws

The Narcotics Act of B.E. 2522 identified marijuana as a category 5 illegal substance. Category 5 includes cannabis, hemp, psychoactive mushrooms, krathom, among other things. Possession of category 5 illegal substances can lead to imprisonment or fine of up to THB 1.5m (~USD 50,000). However, with the Narcotics Act (No. 7) B.E. 2562 effective on February 19th 2019, the use of cannabis for medical and research purposes is now legal. 

Footage from SCMP on 360 Cannabis Expo, Thailand.

Is Marijuana legal in Thailand then?

The short answer is NOT YET, to a larger extent. This is because recreational usage of cannabis is still illegal. Moreover, people can only use cannabis leaves and roots for cooking.

Can anyone cultivate cannabis? Only licensed medical professionals, state-registered agricultural community programs and government agencies can cultivate and possess cannabis. 

The state-registered agricultural community program allows households to grow up to 6 cannabis plants each – with intended medical usage.

In order to consume cannabis, you will need a prescription obtainable only from a FDA-licensed physician. However, locally produced CBD extracts (with less than 0.2% THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis) are exempted. People can use these extracts for medical and herbal usage.

2022 cannabis legalization update

In 2022, the Ministry of Public Health is pushing for legalization of all cannabis parts. And this is seen as the last remaining hurdle for the full use and commercialization of cannabis. Previously, Thailand removed stems, roots, leaves and sprigs of cannabis from its Category 5 narcotics list, but kept flowers and buds on it. Under the new Narcotics Code, cannabis and hemp are no longer on the list.

However, one form of cannabis will remain in the list i.e. cannabidiol (CBD) extracts with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of more than 0.2%. This is not to worry the general public because most commercial use of CBD (in soap, cosmetics, supplements, etc.) has <0.2% of THC. This level of THC is deemed dangerous according to the WHO.

January 2022

In January 2022, the government has announced a plan to remove cannabis from the drug list. This means they are allowing households in Thailand to grow cannabis at home after notifying the local government. This change however, still needs to be published in the Royal Gazette, after which it will take another 120 days to come into effect. 

May 2022

In May 2022, the government announced a plan to allow households to register and grow cannabis at home. The plan is set to roll out in June. Interested households can register through a mobile application “Plook Ganja” without having to go through any approval.

June 2022

Now that we are in June 2022, the Thai government has legalized cannabis for cultivation and commerce. Marijuana and hemp were legally removed from the narcotics list effectively on June 9th, 2022. You still cannot smoke cannabis in public though. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay a penalty of 25,000 THB (or USD 780) or a jail sentence of up to 3 months. On the other hand, the legality of smoking cannabis at home or in private areas remains ambiguous. 

There is some recent news about the application for cannabis cultivation at home via the Plook Ganja app. The excitement of the Thai people registering for cannabis cultivation caused the app to crash. Keep in mind that to use the app to register you will need Thai ID number. 

Is marijuanna legal in Thailand_plook ganja

Thailand drug law on marijuana and its impact today

There are state-registered pilot programs for households that are growing cannabis plants. 

Restaurants in Thailand also can legally use some parts of cannabis into their cooking. For example, they can use the leaves and roots supplied by FDA certified producers in their cooking.

This development is rather new. So there is still some misalignment between the FDA and Ministry of Public Health on the usage of cannabis plants. 

Regardless, you can see cafes and restaurants started using CBD and certain parts of cannabis in their offerings. This is happening only at a small scale today, not that mainstream yet. Some examples are IS AM ARE, Kiew Kai Ka Cafe and GTG Cafe.

The current Narcotics Act (No. 7) B.E. 2562 (A.D. 2019) will be up for another review in 2023. So, there is hope that the usage of marijuana will be a lot more open in the future.

(We also have a post about safety in Thailand if you are starting to feel unsafe about a country that is legalizing drug.)

Cannabis in Thailand Food and Beverage scene today

What kind of Cannabis menu can you find in Thailand? 

Is Am Are restaurant incorporate Cannabis into multiple dishes like omelets, fried fish and salad.

At GTG cafe, they incorporate CBD into various drinks including ice milk tea. You can also get CBD cookies or croissants with CBD-infused butter.

Kiew Kai Ka Cafe serves Thai green curry with cannabis leaves and cannabis leaf salad. The salad has fried cannabis leaves served with Thai-style salad dressing (photo below).

is marijuanna legal in Thailand_spicy pork salad

Ordering cannabis infused snack online

Corona virus outbreak has made dinning out difficult in Thailand, hence many shops are now switching to sell items online. This trend has extended to cannabis and marijuana related F&B. We have tried a couple of cannabis infused snacks and beverages which we delivered on our door step!

Verdict on the question “Is marijuana legal in Thailand?

Based on the Thailand drug law, cultivation and possession of cannabis are still illegal except for medical/research usages. However, there are interests from both the public and FDA to legalize cannabis further in the future.

In 2021, we are starting to see more incorporation of CBD and certain parts of “certified” cannabis into the F&B sector – but that is pretty much all. Another update from 2022 is that government will proactively promote that almost all hospitals in Thailand now have cannabis clinics offering alternative medicine. They are also looking to putting approved medicines with cannabis extracts on the main drug list for the universal coverage scheme available to all people.

Keep a look out for more updates as both private and public sectors are making moves ahead of 2023 when the Thailand drug law is likely going to be revised again.

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Thailand legalize marijuana_plant

When will Thailand legalize marijuana for general usage?

In the past article, we have talked about Thailand’s marijuana laws and their limitations. There have been some developments in Thailand marijuana scene in the past few years. Some observations include more people growing marijuana in the country as well as marijuana-themed menus are introduced in some cafes and restaurants.

This article will look into the timeline, 2022 development, and prospects of Thailand legalizing marijuana.

Table of Contents

Timeline of Thailand's progress in legalizing marijuana

  • 1979: Thailand passed Narcotics Act AD 1979 to replace the original Narcotics Act AD 1922 and Marijuana Act AD 1943. Cannabis fell into the category of a type 5 Narcotics (i.e. illegal) 
  • 2019: Thailand passed the Narcotics Act (No. 7) in 2019 to allow the usage of cannabis for research and medical purposes
  • 2020: FDA announced that cannabis leaf, root, and CBD produced by certified sources are exempted from being part of type 5 Narcotics 
  • 2021: 100+ locations (government agencies and state-registered agricultural communities) have registered to grow cannabis with the FDA
  • 2021: Restaurants and cafes are incorporating certified parts of cannabis into their menus
  • 2022: January 2022 – the Thai government has annouced a plan to remove cannabis from its drug list. This move, once formalized, will allow households to grow cannabis for non-commercial use at home
  • 2022: May 2022 – the government has announced an update which is expected to take effect in June 2022. The update will allow households in Thailand to register to grow cannabis at home through Plook Ganja mobile application
  • 2023: Another amendment of the Narcotics Act might take place in 2023

Growing marijuana in Thailand

There are now more than 100 companies and state-registered agricultural communities that have registered to grow cannabis with the FDA throughout Thailand. Registered households can grow up to 6 cannabis plants while registered companies operate on a larger scale.

In this example, the company is growing almost 1,000 plants. The FDA keeps track of approved locations, and you can see that households and companies are growing cannabis throughout Thailand.

Thailand legalize marijuana_planting locations

The Thai government announced a new project in August 2021 to dedicate 10,000 rai (16 square kilometers) of land area for herb plantation development. The project however, also includes plantation of cannabis and hemp. This project will be developed in the Eastern Economic Corridor located in Chonburi, Rayong and Chasengsao (3 Eastern province in Thailand).

Furthermore, the Thai government has announced a plan to exclude cannabis from its drug list in 2021, allowing households to grow cannabis for non-commercial use. This change however, still needs to be published in the Royal Gazette, after which it will take another 120 days to come into effect.

Thailand legalizing marijuana for the F&B

The FDA is reporting over 5,000 patients who received cannabis as part of their medical treatment each month. However, the general population can only legally consume cannabis at restaurants and cafes that incorporate certified cannabis into their menu.

We are starting to see new cafés that specialize in cannabis and CBS menu like GTG Café. 

Most recently, COCA, a long-standing Thai restaurant brand (since 1957), also introduced a Cannabis menu under “Coca feel good”. In this menu, they incorporate cannabis into main dishes, soups, and desserts (reviews and photos in Thai).

Thailand legalize marijuana_Coca menu

Photo and review from Spoonwalk.

What’s the prospect of Thailand legalize marijuana for more usages?

The answer is we are still unclear on this. Thailand is still very strict and far away from countries like the Netherlands when it comes to marijuana law. There are, however, interests from both the private and public sectors on this.  It would be exciting to see the developments in the coming years ahead of, hopefully, another revision to the Narcotics Act in 2023.

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Pad See Ew calories_featured

Pad See Ew Calories: How healthy is this dish?

We have covered many stir fried noodle variations in Thailand. Previously we make a comparison between two popular Thai stir fried noodles Pad Kee Mao vs Pad See Ew. In this article, we will be breaking down Pad See Ew calories and how to make a lower calories version of this Thai noodles.

Pad See Ew calories

A serving of Pad See Ew has roughly between 500 to 900 calories depending on the serving portion. For our estimation, we use a recipe from Phol Food Mafia. Compared to other Thai stir-fried noodles like Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao, Pad See Ew have a relatively simple recipe and their calories for 1 to 2 servings can be found below.

  • Noodle: Large rice noodles 484 calories
  • Protein: Pork and egg 270 calories
  • Vegetables: Chinese Kale 30 calories
  • Sauce and seasoning: Dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and oil 135 calories

A combination of the above ingredients totals up to 900+ calories for 1-2 servings. Note that in Thailand, Pad See Ew is often served with a range of optional seasonings like sugar, chili, fish sauce, and fish sauce. So if you add any of these (especially sugar), the calorie count will go up as well!

Noodles calories in Pad See Ew

Pad See Ew noodles calories mostly come from carbs, or the noodle itself. This dish typically makes use of big rice noodles which has a relatively high-calorie count when compared to other noodles. Another popular noodle alternative for Pad See Ew is vermicelli which contains 150 calories / 100g as opposed to 220 calories / 100g. Making this switch can reduce Pad See Ew noodle’s calories from carbs by more than 40%.

Ways to reduce calories in this dish

Pad See Ew calories_vermicelli

If you are health conscious, you might want to cut down the Pad See Ew calories further. Similar to the alternatives that we offer to cut down Pad Thai calories or Pad Kee Mao calories, you can cut down Pad See Ew calories too.

You can simply opt-out from adding any other optional seasonings like sugar or fish sauce. Meat and egg are a must for Pad See Ew. However, you can choose to replace pork with leaner chicken in order to reduce calorie count!

Is Pad See Ew healthy?

Consuming anything in moderation is still considered healthy. Similarly, if you consume Pad See Ew in moderation you will be fine. However, keep in mind that this dish tends to be sweeter. In addition to the carbs (noodles) used in this dish, the sugar in seasonings can pose a risk to those with blood sugar health problems. 

You can choose to reduce the sweet soya sauce and oil when making this dish if you are health conscious. Also, reduce the calories of the dish by following our recommendation for alternatives. 

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